New VTech thread: Was Cho schizophrenic, “mean,” or both? Update: NBC receives material mailed by Cho; Update: Video added; Update: Cho called Columbine killers “martyrs” in manifesto; Update: Envelope signed “A. Ishmael”

posted at 4:40 pm on April 18, 2007 by Allahpundit

There’s new information about him this morning but most of it is stuff we already know. The cops held a press conference to say that he stalked two women in 2005 and then got sent away to a mental hospital for a spell, which we learned last night from that bizarre CNN interview with his two former roommates. Meanwhile, the NYT has a scoop about the cops having initially misidentified the suspect in the first shooting as Emily Hilscher’s gun-aficionado boyfriend. If only the LA Times hadn’t had the same scoop hours earlier.

Here’s some genuinely new information, though, via ABC News. A forensic psychiatrist who’s been following the story says Cho’s behavior sounds familiar, and it goes way beyond depression:

What then leads you to believe Cho had schizophrenia?

How he related to his roommate was just too bizarre to be depression. The bizarre content of his plays — mashing a half-eaten “banana bar” in someone’s mouth, the hypersexual, nihilistic (death obsessed) obsessions in the absence of depressive guilt or tearfulness are another clue. The progressive decline of a period of years. Those with schizophrenia, especially in their earliest years, are not readily recognizable as such — their condition is evolving. But here was someone who, as early as 2005, was carrying himself so strangely that he was a spectacle. The depressed withdraw and disappear. Those who are so peculiar in their manner so as to be inappropriate (taking cell phone pictures of his teacher, speaking inaudibly, pulling a cap low over his eyes) exhibit signs and symptoms more indicative of schizophrenia. He was communicating in a rambling manner reflective of what we appreciate as autistic thinking — characteristic of schizophrenia. In a similar vein, Mr. Cho’s stilted communication in his homicide note (deceitful charlatans — not the language of a 23-year-old college kid) is also the manner of a schizophrenic’s communications, as is his pronounced delay in responding to questions.

Poet Nikki Giovanni, who taught Cho in one of her classes, tells the LA Times that she actually had guards stationed nearby at one point to intervene in case Psy-Cho (as See-Dub dubs him) went off. And here’s what she told CNN:

“I knew when it happened that that’s probably who it was,” Giovanni said, referring to her former pupil. “I would have been shocked if it wasn’t.”…

[In the fall of 2005,] Giovanni went to the department’s then-chairwoman, Lucinda Roy, and told her she wanted Cho out of her class, and Roy obliged.

“I was willing to resign before I was going to continue with him,” Giovanni said. “There was something mean about this boy.”

Giovanni said she’s taught her share of oddballs in the past, but there was something malicious about Cho’s behavior.

“I know we’re talking about a troubled youngster and crap like that, but troubled youngsters get drunk and jump off buildings; troubled youngsters drink and drive,” she said. “I’ve taught troubled youngsters. I’ve taught crazy people. It was the meanness that bothered me. It was a, really, mean streak.”

We all knew weird, quiet kids at college, but I certainly never knew anyone so weird that the teachers felt they needed guards around in order to teach him. British journalist Toby Harnden (who’s been reading this blog, among others, to keep tabs on the story) is promising an interview on Thursday in the Telegraph with Cho’s roommate that’ll reveal even more warning signs about his lethal strangeness. And so I repeat my question from last night: how did they let this time bomb keep ticking for so long?

The other stuff I’ve got right now is just a grab bag. The Times has posted a new graphic showing the layout of the second floor of Norris Hall; so far as I know, no one’s explained yet why he went upstairs instead of sticking to the first floor. Bob Owens discovers that ABC News is deleting comments that challenge them on their crappy reporting about large-capacity magazines. And readers are kicking up a fuss about the Australian Telegraph’s sensationalistic headline and lede about Cho’s possible obsession with Emily Hilscher. I think it’s nonsense: they’re just being tabloidy about the fatal attraction element, not blaming her for her own murder.

I’m sure there’ll be updates here throughout the day, albeit (hopefully) not as many as the last few posts have had. In the meantime, compare Iran’s reaction to the shooting to the “teacher’s lesson” on terrorism for “Bowling for Columbine.”

Update: Steyn tries to parse the rules for what constitutes “adulthood” these days: “[W]e live in a selectively infantilized culture where twentysomethings are ‘children’ if they’re serving in the Third Infantry Division in Ramadi but grown-ups making rational choices if they drop to the broadloom in President Clinton’s Oval Office.”

Update: Just breaking — NBC says it received a package from Cho which it has reason to believe was sent between the first and second shootings. Supposedly it contains photos and video, which probably means they’re images he took of the first shooting on his cell phone right after it happened. You’ll recall he was known to take cell-phone photos of his classmates during class, one of his little habits that freaked them out.

NBC says it’s already turned over the information to the police. Stand by.

Update: Multiple photos, video, and “rambling writings” were in the package.

Update: It sounds like the video, at least, wasn’t of the crime scene but of Cho listing his “grievances.” He must have mentioned the first shooting, otherwise I don’t how they could be so sure that he filmed it after that had happened: “Cho Seung-Hui sent NBC News a long and rambling communication and video about his grievances, the network said Wednesday. Network officials turned the material over to the FBI and said they would not immediately disclose its contents pending the agency’s review.” Update: They’ve updated the article to say that the timestamp is the giveaway. Hmmm.

Update: I won’t repeat my ticking-time-bomb question yet again, but … okay, I will repeat it. If they knew in 2005 that he was “mentally ill” and an “imminent danger to himself,” why did the magistrate refer him for outpatient treatment?

Update: More: “The package, timestamped in the two-hour window between Monday’s shootings, was sent to NBC News head Steve Capus. It contained digital photos of the gunman holding weapons and a manifesto that ‘rants against rich people and warns that he wants to get even,’ The Associated Press quoted an unidentified New York law enforcement official familiar with the case as saying.”

Update: NBC says it’s going to air portions of the video tonight. Wow.

Update: Still more. Why would Cho have sent the video to the president of the NBC News instead of Brian Williams or whoever? “The package, timestamped in the two-hour window between Monday’s shootings, was sent to NBC News head Steve Capus. In an interview with MSNBC.com, Capus said Cho talks to the camera in the videos. In one instance, he makes a vague reference to the massacre, Capus said, and said, ‘This didn’t have to happen.’ ‘The statement is hard to follow, kind of rambling. He speaks about hatred,’ Capus said, adding that it was ‘distrubring, very angry, profanity laced.’”

Update: The post office must have been his last stop before Norris Hall: “The package bore a U.S. Postal Service stamp recording that it had been received at a Virginia post office at 9:01 a.m. ET Monday, about an hour and 45 minutes after Cho shot two people in the West Ambler Johnston residence hall on the Virginia Tech campus and shortly before Cho entered Norris Hall, where he killed 30 more people.” There are 23 Quicktime files in the package, according to NBC.

Update: Go see the photo on MSNBC’s front page. The survivors said he was wearing a tan shirt during the attack, almost like a boy scout’s uniform.

Update: I admit I’m keen to see what Cho had to say for himself, but Mona Charen makes a good point. Does NBC realize what it’s doing here by extending Ismail Ax’s 15 minutes of fame?

And speaking of which, I don’t see any writing in red ink on his inner arm in that NBC photo.

cho3.jpg

Update: Yet another update from NBC. Lest there was any doubt left, this was highly premeditated. And as I speculated the other day, the ammo appears to have been unusually lethal:

The production of the videos indicated that Cho had worked on the package for some time, because he not only “took the time to record the videos, but he also broke them down into snippets” that were embedded paragraph by paragraph into the main document, Capus said…

Other photographs show Cho holding a knife, and some show hollow-point bullets lined up on a table, Capus said.

Update: Spruiell thinks this is a bad call by NBC too. I think it’s a close call, but I’m not sure I agree.

Update: The NBC Nightly News is airing now. Brian Williams just said the return address on the envelope was signed “Ismail” — or “Ishmael,” as Williams pronounced it. Pete Williams says there’s evidence that he was preparing this at least six days before the shooting.

Update: Here’s the segment from the Nightly News. Question: Where were these videos shot? I assumed it was in his dorm room, but that white brick background looks more like a hallway.

Update: They aired a little more video at the end of the show. More of the same: Cho ranting about trust funds, hedonism, Jesus Christ — and then, in the written document he gave them, a reference to “martyrs like Eric and Dylan.”

Update: Catherine Herridge is on Fox News right now telling Shep Smith that a VTech spokesman said this afternoon they had no idea Cho was taken a mental hospital or investigated for stalking in 2005.

Update: All right, two screencaps. First is the envelope slip, showing pretty clearly he signed it “A. Ishmael.” Presumably that means what was written on his arm was “Ishmael Ax,” not “Ismail Ax,” which makes the already dubious jihad theory that much more dubious.

ax003.jpg

Recall that reader Ray F. theorized a few days ago that “Ismail/Ishmael Ax” was a reference to James Fenimore Cooper’s story “The Prairie,” the lead character of which was “Ishmael Bush” — spelled the same way Cho spells it here. So let’s not rule that theory out just yet.

Now the second photo. Is this him wielding his “ax”? It’s a strange way to hold a hammer.

ax.jpg

Update: NBC’s got a slideshow with new photos in the sidebar here. You can see clearly in their copy of the envelope slip that it’s “Ishmael.” Note the array of hollow-tipped bullets in photo 7.

Update: Williams and Williams say there’s no way to tell (yet) when the videos were recorded, but note that at one point he says, “You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today.”

Update: Newsweek’s got a great, terrifying article up about Colin Goddard, a senior who was in French class in Norris Hall when Cho shot his way through the locked door and began walking up and down the aisles, pumping bullets into students. Goddard was hit in the leg but played dead until Cho left. Then:

Suddenly, the classroom door burst open again. The killer was back. “He came back in and started going around the room again, shooting people.” Up one aisle and down another, Cho moved through the room, repeating the path he had taken the first time. When the killer reached Goddard, he felt two more bullets punch into his body, one in the shoulder, and one in his buttocks. “My chest and torso were kind of underneath a desk, that’s why I think I got shot in my extremities,” he told NEWSWEEK.

It sounds like Cho committed suicide in that very room just a few moments later, moments before the cops burst in.

Update: I know people are going to start sending me this link soon, so let me flag it now and warn you: the Northeast Intelligence Network is a notoriously alarmist site. Before you go jumping at shadows about jihad and 9/11, wait for a credible media source to report it.


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found a disturbing drawing of a little stick figure with a gun (labeled “me” by the student) shooting a whole school full of little bleeding stick figures? Would that be evidence of a “danger to himself and others”? I thought so, so I turned in this evidence to the principal. Nothing ever came of it. The kid dropped out, and to my knowledge never killed anyone. Should he have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution for that drawing? Perhaps, but it would not have been legal without his parents’ consent. It probably also wouldn’t have been justifiable.

We stumble across these sorts of things from time to time and our district agressively addresses them. We’ve had Columbine-type threats on our campus (ones that have made the national news), but so far nothing more serious than that–plans “manifestos” and the like only. But if the district gets a hint that there is a potential problem, they get the kid in and his (so far, always a he) parents and whomever else needs to be involved. It’s usually adolescent angst, but it doesn’t hurt to check.

Bob's Kid on April 18, 2007 at 11:08 PM

I keep forgetting to mention… I blame Marilyn Manson, The Matrix, video games, and guns!

RightWinged on April 18, 2007 at 11:03 PM

DON’T FORGET PRO WRESTLING! He was watching wrestling on friday nights!

Keljeck on April 18, 2007 at 11:09 PM

I blame the Nintendo Wii it was just to damn interactive.

EnochCain on April 18, 2007 at 11:12 PM

AGAIN, A Ishmael, Ismail Ax, etc. doesn’t mean anything that we know of yet. Certainly there is some significance, but we look like a-holes if we go assuming it’s related to Islam at this point. Which is why I’m glad people like Januarius haven’t been back. He, and others, have obsessively and often idiotically attempted to find Islam links. These people need to take a breathe.

RightWinged on April 18, 2007 at 10:38 PM

Many people have: Debbie Schlussel, Atlas Shrugged, RedState. This is not being “idiotic;” it is being vigilant in a post 9/11 world and speculating about evidence. At Drudge right now, there is an article speculating he was influenced by a dark South Korean movie. Oops! Not supposed to speculate!

What does Ismael Ax mean? What was in his manifesto? AllahPundit has just linked to a site that claims that he had 9/11 references in his manifesto.

I think those obsessively getting freaked out about others like Debbie Schlussel speculating need to chill out. If you can’t definitely state what Ismail means, RightWinged, just let people speculate, until we get the evidence. There is nothing wrong with that, and who gives a sh** what left-wingers at the Huffington Post think.

Anyway, I’ve been busy writing a post tonight about my experiences at Virginia Tech. I’m having a hard time uploading pictures though.

januarius on April 18, 2007 at 11:14 PM

Prepare to be annoyed… The fricken’ Telegraph has a PR piece on Korean immigrants in America.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/04/18/wcampus1218.xml

We AREN’T LASHING OUT AT KOREANS!!! STFU!

The piece goes on and on about all the businesses they own and how hard working they are, etc. That’s all fine and good.. .BUT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS SITUATION.

The article is basically a couple paragraph summary history lesson, then oddly jumps (doesn’t flow) to end this way:

“I’m from South Korea, so I am a little bit scared,” said Jiyoun Yoo, 24

Only one person was responsible for the massacre, she said, “but maybe it will affect all South Korean students”.

“I think it’s going to affect us quite seriously,” said Sunwoong Kim, president of the Korean-American University Professors Association.

Hey idiot, why are you scared Yoo? And how is it going to affect you quite seriously Kim? Shut up all of you.

RightWinged on April 18, 2007 at 11:15 PM

RightWinged on April 18, 2007 at 11:15 PM

Yes, of course. The big Korean backlash. Like the big Muslim backlash. Is that the angle we’re supposed to be getting? I hate foreign media trying to put their own socialist spin on what’s happening in America.

thedecider on April 18, 2007 at 11:21 PM

Many people have: Debbie Schlussel, Atlas Shrugged, RedState. This is not being “idiotic;” it is being vigilant in a post 9/11 world and speculating about evidence. At Drudge right now, there is an article speculating he was influenced by a dark South Korean movie. Oops! Not supposed to speculate!

What does Ismael Ax mean? What was in his manifesto? AllahPundit has just linked to a site that claims that he had 9/11 references in his manifesto.

I think those obsessively getting freaked out about others like Debbie Schlussel speculating need to chill out. If you can’t definitely state what Ismail means, RightWinged, just let people speculate, until we get the evidence. There is nothing wrong with that, and who gives a sh** what left-wingers at the Huffington Post think.

Anyway, I’ve been busy writing a post tonight about my experiences at Virginia Tech. I’m having a hard time uploading pictures though.

januarius on April 18, 2007 at 11:14 PM

As we’ve said, speculation and irresponsible speculation are two entirely different things. Drudge disseminates news and let’s the people sort it out. AP has a very similar role.

My problem with what you’re doing is obsessively grasping at Islamic straws. You’re extrapolating WAY to much, instead of, as you say, letting the evidence come in.

Look, I’ve repeatedly said that the Ishmael thing is an important thing to keep in mind. But you’re taking it way to far without basis.

And Schlussel screwed herself and you screwed yourself earlier. She insisted that a photo was of Ishmael/Cho in Indonesia, and that his friend had removed it from flickr. Problem is IT CLEARLY WASN’T HIM. Schlussel didn’t say “take a look, I’m not sure”, she insisted it was him.

YOU came to HotAir, linking to the ridiculous post and telling people hear to “eat crow”, because they’d simply been responsible and said you need to chill.

Keep all the tidbits in mind, but stop running wild here grasping at straws and making the rest of us look bad.

RightWinged on April 18, 2007 at 11:24 PM

I went to eat lunch at a Korean restaurant yesterday about an hour after I heard the guy was Korean, and it didn’t even cross my mind. I find it rather hard to believe it’s going to cross anybody else’s, either.

Blacklake on April 18, 2007 at 11:25 PM

I keep forgetting to mention… I blame Marilyn Manson, The Matrix, video games, and guns!
RightWinged on April 18, 2007 at 11:03 PM

and Oldboy.
Great movie, btw.

SouthernDem on April 18, 2007 at 11:26 PM

ScottMcC on April 18, 2007 at 3:19 PM

Scott, I agree with you. My comment about Cho’s parents really had more to do with the impression I got about them from one of the suite mates. And it was an impression only, as there has been very little info about his parents. I could be completely wrong about them. Perhaps they are more savvy than I gave them credit for.

Connie on April 18, 2007 at 11:30 PM

Rightwinged- Gregor, Tantor, and I have been discussing this behavior by Koreans in the last comments on the former string about the Tech massacre. I’ve been trying to explain the nature of Korean anti-Americanism and this is a manifestation of it. It is all about them. I predicted this would be the reaction. I know their Confucian mindset very well, having an Asian studies degree and having lived in the country.

Take a look at some of the comments in this article:

https://www.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2007/04/19/200704190033.asp

Finally, when reading these comments about some bogus American backlash recall how South Koreans reacted to the accidental death of two Korean schoolchildren in 2002. It is evident they are projecting how they would behave onto us, but we are more civilized:

http://www.usinkorea.org/1st/TRAGEDY/index.html

These comments are very common and demonstrate the pervasive anti-Americanism. A Korean slaughters Americans (and other nationalities) and it becomes all about discrimination against Koreans. It is a very similar mindset to Muslims (one community).

You can take a look at our comments in the string before this one.

januarius on April 18, 2007 at 11:34 PM

Blacklake-

It is called projection. They think Americans will act that way because that is the way they would act.

http://www.usinkorea.org/1st/TRAGEDY/index.html

januarius on April 18, 2007 at 11:35 PM

I have a friend who is a paranoid schizophrenic, his parents have tried to get him committed several times, but the state keeps letting him out because he hasn’t done anything wrong (yet).

I’m not saying we should swing back to the days when mere oddity could get you thrown in a mental hospital. But there must be a place somewhere between the “bad old days” when committing somebody was relatively easy, and the present state when it is virtually impossible to get somebody committed before they engage in an irreversible act of violence.

Cato on April 18, 2007 at 4:10 PM

Slightly different, but this might interest you.

Timothy’s Law

Connie on April 18, 2007 at 11:37 PM

I think I have to agree with RightWinged on the budding 9/11 angle. How are we to know when to accept a given outlet’s broadcast of this (or any) claim as coming from a credible media source? FNC may be my preferred mainstream medium, but I don’t think I’d ever cite Geraldo as a credible (and certainly not a non-alarmist) voice. FNC, CBS, MSNBC… there’s not a straight game in town without at least a few fringe-dwelling, alarm-mongering blowhards at one or more of the helms. Until confirmed up or down, I’m going to view the terribly alarmist 9/11 angle as the tantalizing and unconfirmed rumor that it is. Even if it bears out, it obviously doesn’t necessarily imply a truly terrorist-friendly or Islamofascist affinity on Cho’s part. From every available piece of evidence, Cho cuts the image of a disaffected, perhaps truly nuttered youth, keen on parrotting all manner of generic claptrap about “rich kids” and “charlatans” that he’s either heard some other disaffected youth parrot or read about in one of his English classes. If he happened to toss in for effect a few lines he’s heard spouted by bin Laden or Zawahiri in similar video manifesto form, then that seems only to confirm this Cho’s delusions of relevance, rather than to flesh out his ideology, which appears to be unfocused and blindly hateful. For someone hell-bent on causing a stir and making people ponder his largely arbitrary, unfocused rage, I think I’d be surprised if he didn’t draw from the most alarming legitimate scourge of our times. 40 years ago, he might’ve pledged allegiance to the Red menace if he thought it’d secure airtime.

So I wouldn’t hesitate to explore the possibility that his parting documents cited terrorists or Islamofascism, but I would indeed hesitate to draw any particularly meaningful conclusions therefrom.

Cho was an aberration, an individual highly divergent from normal, healthy humanity – perhaps clinically classifiable, but nonetheless, someone to whom we shouldn’t waste too much time trying to apply our understanding of normal societal variations.

flip on April 18, 2007 at 11:43 PM

januarius on April 18, 2007 at 11:34 PM

I linked to a story on ridiculous concern over “backlash” too. What does any of that have to do with the irresponsible nonsense Schlussel and her minions (you) have been putting out?

RightWinged on April 18, 2007 at 11:46 PM

We AREN’T LASHING OUT AT KOREANS!!! STFU!

I don’t know RW, I heard things have been a little slow this week at the Kia dealership.

Buck Turgidson on April 18, 2007 at 11:47 PM

RightWinged,

First of all, Debbie Schlussel is a very reputable site. She is an attorney, is extremely intelligent, and has a great knowledge of Islam. I was linking to a reputable site.

My problem with what you’re doing is obsessively grasping at Islamic straws. You’re extrapolating WAY to much, instead of, as you say, letting the evidence come in.

Example? We know he wrote Ismail Ax on his arm; even NBC is running with this angle. What is wrong with speculating and researching the possible meaning of Ismail? Blogs would be a very boring place if no one could speculate. Please chill out about this.

januarius on April 18, 2007 at 11:51 PM

I don’t know RW, I heard things have been a little slow this week at the Kia dealership.

Buck Turgidson on April 18, 2007 at 11:47 PM

lol

RightWinged,

First of all, Debbie Schlussel is a very reputable site. She is an attorney, is extremely intelligent, and has a great knowledge of Islam. I was linking to a reputable site.

My problem with what you’re doing is obsessively grasping at Islamic straws. You’re extrapolating WAY to much, instead of, as you say, letting the evidence come in.

Example? We know he wrote Ismail Ax on his arm; even NBC is running with this angle. What is wrong with speculating and researching the possible meaning of Ismail? Blogs would be a very boring place if no one could speculate. Please chill out about this.

januarius on April 18, 2007 at 11:51 PM

I usually agree with Schlussel when I see her comment here, but I’m not a regular reader of hers and after today I definitely never will be.

You can say she’s reputable all you want, but she put up a picture of a kid that clearly wasn’t Cho, but because he had a similar name and went by Ismail in Indonesia, she ran with it. She’s offered no apology or correction to the girl who took and posted the picture of her friend. She’s not even noted in the post “turns out it’s not him”. Is that reputable? And you, running here and linking to it and telling people to eat crow. Give me a break.

Yeah, we know about Ismail Ax on his arm (though don’t believe that’s seen in any of the pictures, but we’ll still assume those reports are accurate), and we now know that the return address on the NBC package was A. Ishmael. So, that doesn’t mean anything. Okay, we know the important role Ishmael plays in Islam. End of story at this point. We can keep in mind that he complains about rich kids and debauchery, and even note that it looks like he recently shaved his head. But you’ve been obsessively trying to link him to Islam in earlier threads with this minimal evidence. I’m totally on the fence over it, but let’s wait and let evidence speak for itself. Or we could take the rumor that he rants against Bush in the manifesto and start guessing that maybe Rove programmed him to say that, because it will score points for Bush, just like Rove always makes AQ terrorists tape themselves bashing Bush, to give him a bump in the polls. That’s what you sound like.

RightWinged on April 19, 2007 at 12:01 AM

I don’t know RW, I heard things have been a little slow this week at the Kia dealership.
Buck Turgidson on April 18, 2007 at 11:47 PM

Of course they have. They can’t keep up with this.

thedecider on April 19, 2007 at 12:04 AM

Hey Rightwing…so,….schizophrenics are “faking it”? Funny you should say that , because in the beginning of their illness many people think that….I don’t think over time though there would be a lot of self satisfaction in walking the streets like a zombie, chain smoking and drinking coffee as your only entertainment. Half dressed and roaming the city , sleeping in boxes, mainly having the shell of a life for 40-50 years…I think the novelty would wear off?? doncha think???? I wouldn’t wish that illness on my worst enemy…my father died of a a rare cancer that drs said was the most painful,uncomfortable they treated….I would still pick that over the last 45 years of my sisters usefless ,pained and tortured life. One thing I know for sure, I would definitely kill myself if I ever found out I had it. Many in my family worry and wonder about our children…and whether they will be struck with one of the worst diseases you can have.

Mellen on April 19, 2007 at 12:09 AM

Hey Rightwing…so,….schizophrenics are “faking it”?

Mellen on April 19, 2007 at 12:09 AM

You’re an extremist.

RightWinged on April 19, 2007 at 12:13 AM

First of all, Debbie Schlussel is a very reputable site. She is an attorney, is extremely intelligent, and has a great knowledge of Islam. I was linking to a reputable site.

She also associates every Arabic name with terrorism. Just ask Obama.

Nonfactor on April 19, 2007 at 12:24 AM

I KNEW IT! This is exactly the scenario I thought and feared it would be from Day One, students hid under their desks, as they typically do, just like at Columbine and my school, and Cho used it. Went up and down the aisle and shot people point blank. Now shooters know to exploit this. Most of Klebold and Harris’ victims were hiding under desks in the library. We have to train students NOT to hide under desks, they are entirely vulnerable, immobile and unable to fight back. The worst place you can be is under a desk, you can’t run, and you can’t fight.

Schools HAVE to establish programs to resist or lockdown protocols, this CANNOT be allowed to happen again, because there WILL be more psychos like this guy. Students and faculty have to be drilled in a formal response.

Bad Candy on April 19, 2007 at 12:36 AM

faraway–also he has a white t-shirt in some and a black shirt in others.

see-dubya on April 18, 2007 at 7:44 PM

Yeah, I noticed that.

Rick on April 19, 2007 at 12:38 AM

Schools HAVE to establish programs to resist or lockdown protocols, this CANNOT be allowed to happen again, because there WILL be more psychos like this guy. Students and faculty have to be drilled in a formal response.
Bad Candy on April 19, 2007 at 12:36 AM

I couldn’t agree more. These “school shooting” incidents aren’t going to go away. And what preparation or training has been developed to combat it? Really, I’m asking because I haven’t heard of any. Our kids are sitting ducks. We have tornado drills; in the 50′s (before my time) there were nuclear bomb drills. What makes this any different? Why aren’t schools developing strategies to combat this problem. Somehow, I don’t think more camera’s and rent-a-cops are going to solve the problem.

thedecider on April 19, 2007 at 12:47 AM

What about metal doors on classrooms that lock from the inside? They do this on airplanes now for cockpit doors. Why not the classroom?

thedecider on April 19, 2007 at 12:49 AM

decider, I don’t know the complete answer. But I do know that students HAVE to at least be trained not to hide under desks. I realize that’s the natural response, but it can’t be allowed to happen anymore, its gotten too many kids killed. Stay on your feet, you can’t attack or run laying prone!

Bad Candy on April 19, 2007 at 12:54 AM

Trying to correct/clarify some firearm related items:

1) The Glock 19 is part of the Glock “family” of 9mm handguns. Magazine capacity is 10rds, 15rds, 17rds, 31/33rds (the 31rd magazine is often sold with a +2 base increasing capacity to 33…in states where magazine capacity is restricted, a 10rd magazine is still available).
2) It is LIKELY that the Glock sold in Virginia would have come with 2 15-rd Magazines. The firearm was designed for the 15-rd Mag’, the 10-rd being a less reliable compliance artifact from the expired 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. 17rd Magazines would be readily available locally (because the Glock 17 & 34 which are larger pistols requiring the 17rd magazine which also fits the 19 would be common stocking pistols for a shop that carries Glocks), 31/33rd Magazines would be less likely to be found depending on the shop, but certainly the odds of their availability would increase at a Gun Show because of the law of probability…more dealers, more opportunity.
3) The larger magazines work just fine in the Glock 19, a skilled operator would notice very little difference between the 17-rd and 15-rd magazines in the G-19. Even a comparative novice would be able to quickly adapt.
4) From the photo, the “big stick” 31/33rd magazines seem unlikely based on the vest worn…it appears though that he has stowed some magazines in the lower pockets from the bulge.
5) Regarding the “unusual lethality” of the 9mm rounds in the NBC photos, it is difficult to ascertain brand from the face up view. The aggressive hollow point profile is consistent with the Speer Gold Dot which is a potent and popular carry round. However, it is still a 9mm Handgun round which has limited immediate lethality capabilities (as compared to a rifle or shotgun round). Shot placement and time to medical attention would be more likely factors than the ammunition to account for the surprising proportion of fatalities to injuries.
6) Assuming the reports of 12/05 committal are correct, the killer lied on his 4473 form regarding having being adjudicated mentally deficient or committed to a mental institution which would have disqualified the purchase.
7) His “carry profile” wasn’t optimally suited for reloading quickly. A skilled professional competitor can swap mag’s in about a second. A diligent amateur can achieve 2 second reloads with practice and the right carry arrangement. Having purchased the firearm in March, even with diligent effort, it is unlikely (absent previous experience as yet undocumented) that the shooter would have been able to reload in much less that 5 seconds out of that vest arrangement…longer reload times are likely for a novice shooter.
8) A healthy adult can cover 7yds/21-feet in about 1.5 seconds. These kids had a chance…but it’s unlikely that any of them knew it or were “wired” with that mind set.

Spree killings occur most frequently in “gun free zones” such as was the case at VT. There is a good reason they very seldom occur at Shooting Competitions, Police Stations, Military Barracks, Gun Show, or NRA Conventions.

In the aftermath of this terrible event, it should be painfully evident that the role of law enforcement is to arrest criminals AFTER THE FACT, to COLLECT EVIDENCE, and to provide ethical/accurate testimony resulting in a CONVICTION. The “army” of police officers was powerless to stop this killer who procured a firearm (by my best judgment illegally) and used a simple chain lock approach to keep them at bay long enough to complete his horrific mission.

Safety is an illusion. There is no protection that police can provide for us. If there is a lesson to be learned from the VT tragedy, it’s that each one of us is responsible for PROTECTING OURSELVES and the ONES WE LOVE.

It was against the law for someone who was committed to a Mental Institution to purchase a firearm.

It was against school policy for him to have the guns on campus.

It was against the law for him to MURDER 32 PEOPLE.

More laws are not the answer.

More laws will not save lives.

More gun restrictions will simply create more “target rich environments” for psychopaths.

Find it in you to learn to protect yourself and your loved ones by whatever means is practical. Even those with severe disabilities can learn to be aware of their surroundings and to use good judgment about where they go when.

DO NOT just rush out and buy a gun. If you are inclined to exercise your 2nd Amendment right, GET SOME INSTRUCTION. PRACTICE. Learn that being smart is better than being a crack shot. Don’t submit to fear, learn to find the best way you can to fight back.

Keep Safe,

CZ52′

CZ52GUY on April 19, 2007 at 1:08 AM

Looking at this, I all can think is…

“What a dipsh!t loser. Hope he enjoys getting pineapples shoved up his a$$ in hell.”

Kai on April 19, 2007 at 1:15 AM

William Amos wrote:

We either toughen our gun laws so kids like this cant get access to them or we take closer looks at troubled people and have government infringe on their rights.

Both require giving the government greater power over its people than it should have.

This is Laurie Dann all over again.

Cho exhibits a pattern of increasingly distirbing behavior. He even get adjudicated a mentally ill and remanded — that’s COMMITTED, folks — to state custody for treatment as an outpatient. Nobody notifies the NICS as required under Section 103 of the Brady Act which does not care if the treatment is inpatient or outpatient (besides, he spent several nights in the mental institution before being remanded).

No record exists in NICS that he’s mentally ill and no longer qualified to possess or purchase a firearm under the Brady Act. And not just one, but two gun purchases go through in a state that limits handgun purchases to one a month.

Instead of holding law enforcement, the judicial system, and the shrinks responsible, collectively if not individually, just as in the Laurie Dann case, the media and the gun grabbers are blaming “the gun” and the gun dealer for this tragedy.

I have zero doubt that the families of the dead will sue Roanoke Guns, when they should be suing the mental hospital, the shrink, university, the cops, and everybody else involved that didn’t do their job.

Now, several people have mentioned in this thread of how difficult it is to get someone committed. Believe me, IT IS NOT.

My wife is an attorney and a client of hers was committed by his mother because he expressed a desire to become an ordained minister. Yeah, you got to be a nutcase if you want to be a Christian minister as far as some people are concerned.

His mother went to the States Attorneys office, and swore out an afadavit that he was a danger to himself and others, a warrant and commitment order for observation was written up and signed by a judge, and the young man was arrested by a sheriff deputy and 4 young men in white coats and hustled to the mental ward.

In Illinois, such an order is good for 24 hours at most, and the subject is free to go after that period of time has elapsed unless a clinical psychiatrist determines that the person is mentally ill and requires treatment. Such temporary involuntary committments do not result in a NICS entry, unless a positive diagnosis of mental illness is rendered after the observation period.

I was flabbergasted when I saw the magistrate who adjudicated his mental illness, duck and cover and pretend his hands were tied. Ditto for the shrink representing the University. Ditto for the chief of campus police.

Cho *IS* responsible for this heineous act, just as Laurie Dann was for her rampage. This is not in doubt. But, the courts, the medical doctors and counselors involved, and the campus police, all own a piece of the blame for the failure to do their job.

georgej on April 19, 2007 at 1:35 AM

Gotta hand it to Gut for his class warfare angle.

Connie on April 19, 2007 at 2:09 AM

It was interesting to watch the interview that Olbermann did with Capus, the Prez of NBC news yesterday. Olby asked Steve what it felt like to get a package like that and see first hand what was inside. Capus replied, “It just took the wind out of me”. I assume he meant” he was winded after jumping up and down and yelling “Yipee!” for 20 minutes. Obviously, there is no way for the President of a network news department to answer that question completely honestly and be in good taste. But it just struck me as an incredibly stupid question to ask and put your boss in a almost certain position of having to lie or evade the question. Capus chose the straight forward “lie” route.

greggish on April 19, 2007 at 9:05 AM

My sister works in student health dept at UVA. I don’t envy her task ahead.
My 2nd cousin was schizophrenic. He committed suicide a year ago at college.

Buck Turgidson on April 19, 2007 at 9:07 AM

Example? We know he wrote Ismail Ax on his arm; even NBC is running with this angle. What is wrong with speculating and researching the possible meaning of Ismail? Blogs would be a very boring place if no one could speculate. Please chill out about this.

Yeah, I’m a little sick of people whining too. I even see this, posted by AP:


Update: I know people are going to start sending me this link soon, so let me flag it now and warn you: the Northeast Intelligence Network is a notoriously alarmist site. Before you go jumping at shadows about jihad and 9/11, wait for a credible media source to report it.

Hmmm… Let’s wait on a “credible media source”?

Ok, NEIN is somewhat… umm alarmist at times, but not ALL the time. I happen to know one of the folks there and he does a good job of vetting stories. Sometimes though, they do go “all out”. But, every ONE of us can see that…

1) Cho’s dad lived in Saudi Arabia.
2) Cho’s “chosen name” was “Ishmael”
3) Cho ranted about “debauchery”, Christianity, the rich. He even mentioned “his religion” (whatever that is).
4) Sister works for State. Yep, she actually does. Michelle reported it. Guess for whom? She has something to do with money going to Iraq. Before that, she was in Bangkok, Thailand. (I’ve been there, plenty o’ muslims there)
5) His character rants in the plays…. were about the decadence of America.

Now, this is just my opinion but, people call a spade a spade and stop pretending that this isn’t something bigger. Yes, he might have been crazed, possessed or any number of other things. But to presume… shall I say to FAIL to presume in this case that there may indeed be an Islamic connection is called DENIAL.

I know a lot of folks who come originally from South Korea. For the most part they are family oriented, strict people who make their kids follow their religion, go to church and behave themselves. MOST of them are Christians. A very few are not and tend to be “outsiders” even in the Korean community.

So, the pieces are falling into place. I’m not saying “run with this story”, but I sure am saying “keep a very CLOSE EYE” on it so that the media DOES NOT OVER LOOK IT.

Rick Donaldson on April 19, 2007 at 1:07 PM

Now, several people have mentioned in this thread of how difficult it is to get someone committed. Believe me, IT IS NOT.

Not to argue, but, it depends on State Laws where you live, it’s not up to the Federal Government, so in some cases to get some one committed are easier than others.

Rick Donaldson on April 19, 2007 at 1:15 PM

Old news… or perhaps not all that old.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A31586-2003Aug7?language=printer

Rick Donaldson on April 19, 2007 at 2:02 PM

All right, two screencaps. First is the envelope slip, showing pretty clearly he signed it “A. Ishmael.”

If that qualifies as “pretty clear”, I must need glasses.

I went over to the MSNBC site and went thru it all to find a clear picture and in one of the videos they blow it up huge and it clearly reads “Ishmail”.

Perchant on April 19, 2007 at 8:44 PM

Correction, it reads “Ishmiel”.

You can see it in the video titled “Virginia killer sends package to NBC”. It’s at http://video.msn.com

If he did spell it differently both times he used it, he really doesn’t identify with the name strongly.

Perchant on April 19, 2007 at 9:05 PM

What’s interesting about Iran’s “reply” …

(President Bush) has scant regard for the life of Americans as well. His buddies had masterminded the supposed hijacking of aircraft from Boston and the subsequent implosion of New York World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001 that killed over three thousand US citizens.

I thought fellow Islamist were taking credit for masterminding this blow to the “great satan.”

BrunoMitchell on April 20, 2007 at 10:28 AM

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