The Virginia Tech Shootings
“What we have here, is… failure, ta communicate.” Prison camp warden Strother Martin to prisoner Paul Newman in the movie “Cool Hand Luke”
So many reasons have been posited, in this time of deep sadness over these terrible killings. Let’s take a closer look at what we (think we) know (so far) about the very deranged Cho Seung-Hui.
The young Seung-Hui (Korean names are in reverse to English names) was raised (probably quite strictly and impoverished) in Korea, until the age of eight. His parents then brought him to this country and established a successful business. (But, don't you find it strange that there has been little-or-no news coverage on them? Very mysterious.)
He now lived in the “land of plenty” but may have been ostracized by American children (and we all know how unfeelingly cruel children can be to others who are different). And/or, his parents may have been very strict, constantly pressuring him about the decadence of American society and how he must keep close to himself and the family. He may have been self-ostracizing, as he apparently was -- by all accounts -- at college.
He may possibly have been the victim of sexual abuse.
He may have been gay, battling powerful compulsions of homosexuality, maybe by trying to make connections with girls who promptly – even cruelly – rejected his attentions, which then seemed to turn into crude and disparaging text messages to those now-despised girls.
So now, he seethes within himself, blaming all around him for being the square peg trying desperately to fit into the round hole. He retreats into his own world… a world of self-loathing, self-torture and need for revenge against everyone and everything, which he deems responsible for his pain. In this emotional inner sanctum, he has denied any and all sense of responsibility for himself and the deadly actions he now plans. He produces a manifesto, to leave a record for the world, so it will (he believes) martyr him. And therein lies a major “failure, ta communicate”. Because it should be made very clear to all our children that none of these tragically disturbed killers will ever be martyred… will ever be written into the annals of history… for there are far too many builders of civilization – and many far worse destructors – who will be remembered… long after the deranged individual killers of our time have passed and been forgotten.
Who can say what a good and understanding father figure could have averted; what an insightful and understanding counselor could have averted; what an inspired and understanding clergyman could have averted; what a loving and understanding companion could have averted; what a close circle of friends could have averted; what a kind, understanding and beloved professor, such as the tragically slain Liviu Librescu, could have averted.
But we shall never know, shall we… because of that terrible “failure, ta communicate”.
Oh, and before you ask: “Just why weren’t his psychiatric records turned over to university authorities, so they might pre-empt such a tragedy?”… ask the ACLU… they would have fought such an action, tooth-and-nail… for free.
In memoriam to the lives lost in this terrible national tragedy...
Hanley “Doc” Harding