Some VTech students findin’ it hard to stay mad at Cho

posted at 9:16 am on April 27, 2007 by Allahpundit

Aw. Maybe they can give him a cutesy nickname to help ease the feelings of alienation.

I suggest “Cho Cho.”

Cho mercilessly slaughtered 32 people in the worst shooting in modern U.S. history. But there has been surprisingly little outrage directed toward him around campus.

He is memorialized alongside his victims, and students preach forgiveness and talk about him like a troubled family member…

After a student organization placed the stone memorials in a semicircle last week on the main campus lawn, senior Katelynn L. Johnson added a 33rd stone for Cho. Johnson said she told almost no one about the stone because she feared a backlash.

She came forward after someone took it away, because she was outraged by the brief removal of the rock. She says she accepts all “fellow students, faculty and alumni as Hokies” no matter what problems they have…

Johnson said she has received hundreds of messages supporting placement of the stone for Cho. She only got a few negative responses, and only one from the Tech community.

We had the debate over when it’s appropriate for religious (and non-religious) people to forgive a killer last year, after the Amish school murders. So I won’t rehash it, but…

Jeff Highfield, Virginia Tech campus director for Campus Crusade for Christ, said the students he’s been working with are angry and frustrated, but “they’re able to understand that he must have been hurting and confused in some way and made a horrible decision.”

During group prayer, he said Campus Crusade members have not offered prayers for Cho, but have prayed often for his family “because they’re still alive” and dealing with the pain of Cho’s actions.

“It seems very natural for us as Christians,” Highfield said. “It takes different times for different people, but I believe most of our students have forgiven.”

In fairness, plenty of people are angry, per the article. Although whether they’re angry at Cho or the system, man, is a separate question.

Shifting gears, I got an interesting e-mail from reader JA yesterday following up on my post about how Cho’s package to NBC might have been mailed. Because no one at the post office remembers seeing him there, the cops are working off the theory that he might have given it to someone else to mail for him. Maybe not, says JA. Here’s a photo of the envelope for ease of reference followed by his comments:


The postage label (upper right hand) could only have been obtained at the Post Office (as opposed to online postage, or prepaid Express Mail envelopes).

The time of package processing indicated is 9:01 am. No USPS office in the US opens before 9 am [Update: Not true. See below.], but if the facility is like mine, the building is open 24/7 to allow access to PO boxes, and there’s always access to mailing slots, large and small, to drop off prepaid packages and letters.

If this package was processed at 9:01 (which might be a record for a public service clerk at the USPS, but may be routine for someone working in the behind-the-scenes processsing area), Cho would have been waiting with bated breath for the first clerk to open a line — and they didn’t notice a freaky Asian kid with maybe blood-spattered clothes — even the clerk who initialled the package?

Here’s my guess: he filled out the label in the dorm sometime in advance (it’s free and readily available, along with the envelope, at any PO branch, any time), took it to the PO after editing the final QT movie in his dorm at 7:24, taped the $14 bucks to the package and dropped it a mail slot, sometime before 9 am. If you look closely, there’s a vertical strip of the paper label missing at bottom right, which might indicate that there was some tape on the package. He might have done it before, and it might be a common practice; at any rate it’s the only explanation I can think of, other than some postal clerk lying through their teeth.

Of course the USPS wouldn’t want it advertised that they’re in the habit of doing business that way, even in a college town, where things can get pretty abnormal, especially with a lot of foreign students needing so much sensitive cultural accommodation, so the story — at least for public and press consumption — is just that no one remembers him.

I don’t know about that last part. A likelier explanation would be that he taped a large bill to the envelope, maybe a $50 to make absolutely sure it’d be able to cover the cost of the postage, and the rest got pocketed by someone. I’m not sure about the 9 a.m. opening time either; remember, it was tax day so they might have opened earlier to handle the extra volume. The other points are well taken, though, especially re: the blood-spattered clothes. Although if he really was out and about near the post office mail slot in blood-spattered clothes, how did no one notice?

JA goes on to say:

As far as Cho’s derring-do in evading the cops, I don’t believe there’s any evidence they were looking for an Asian male until the first 911 calls came in from Norris when he began shooting. The campus police locked themselves prematurely into the theory of Hilscher’s boyfriend as the “domestic” shooter, based on Hilscher’s girlfriend showing up and telling them that the boyfriend had (gasp!) guns, and had (further gasp!) been to a shooting range recently. As long as Cho kept his cool, he didn’t attract any suspicion, because no one was looking for anyone fitting his description — until the second shootings.

As far as the WaPo reporting that Cho “did not follow Emily Hilscher upstairs,” insert “immediately” before follow — he knew where he was going. Remember his roommate’s story about his obsessive staring at the dorm where Hilscher lived? He’d been living in dorms on that campus for four years, he knew his way around, and though the cops can’t discover a link, that doesn’t mean he didn’t know who she was and what floor and room she lived in. Walter Mitty, meet Psy-Cho.

Re: the derring do, right — the cops most definitely were not looking for an Asian male after the first shooting. They were looking for Hilscher’s boyfriend, Karl Thornhill. But Cho didn’t know that. The reasonable assumption for him would have been that someone had seen him on his way in or out of the dorm, at least well enough to recognize him as an Asian male. The natural thing to do in preparing for the Norris Hall shootings would have been to change clothes and put on a hat and sunglasses so that he matched the presumptive description of the Ambler Johnston shooter as little as possible. But he didn’t. And yes, I know, there’s no trying to reason out the motives of a lunatic. But if the cops’ theory about the AJ shootings being a diversion is correct, then Cho’s lunacy obviously hadn’t completely crippled his ability to reason. In fact, we’ve already got proof of that from the foresight he used in chaining the doors to Norris Hall, which kept the cops at bay for five extra bloody minutes.

As for him stalking Hilscher, good point. I wonder if the reason he was standing outside AJ before she got home on Monday morning was because he’d been tracking her movements and knew that she spent Sunday nights with her boyfriend and returned to campus early the next day. His roommates did say he’d been getting up earlier and earlier in the weeks/months before. Maybe he was out there waiting for her and when he saw her, that was the trigger. Strange, though, that he apparently made no attempt to contact her before that given that he had communicated with his previous stalking victims. Or, at least, the ones we know about.

This will probably be the last VTech post for awhile given that I’m on vacation starting tomorrow, so no need to whine at me in the comments about how “there’s no deciphering madness!” or whatever.

Update: Reader tort_feasor makes a nice catch that I should have made myself — both Blacksburg post offices open at 8:30.

Update: Reader Joel A. offers his own theory:

All post offices near my home and office have automatic postage centers. The lobby is open 24/7 and you can weigh your package, buy postage using a credit or debit card, and drop it in a special APC drop box. I’m not sure, but the postage label looks a lot like the type of postage label that an APC machine prints. Could be that he bought the postage at the APC, dropped it in the box, and a clerk processed it later. In that case, Cho would have had no interaction with a clerk (the APC machines are usually out in the lobby in an area that can not even been seen by the clerks behind the counters).

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I, myself, feel that the appropriate response to the nitwits who put the stone there would be to remove it, piss on the letters and flowers left for this POS, and dump the stone in the nearest Port-A-Toilet, where the memory of Cho can rest in piss.

They could tape a picture of his fag ass on the outside of the toilet and people could come their to vent their spleens. So to say…

Jaibones on April 27, 2007 at 9:38 AM

But, then, I have anger issues.

Jaibones on April 27, 2007 at 9:39 AM


What’s up with that?

I agree, jailbones. If I was in the area I’d go piss on any ‘memorial’ to the little turd bastard.

Mr. Bingley on April 27, 2007 at 9:39 AM

No USPS office in the US opens before 9 am

This is just stupid.

Both PO’s in Blacksburg opened at 8:30 a.m.

My PO opens at 7:45 a.m.

tort_feasor on April 27, 2007 at 9:41 AM

AP, bring me back a souvenir.

Hoodlumman on April 27, 2007 at 9:41 AM

Yowza. Nice catch, tort_feasor.

Allahpundit on April 27, 2007 at 9:42 AM

I’m on vacation starting tomorrow, so no need to whine at me in the comments about how “there’s no deciphering madness!”

Bring me something back, too. Where are we going to get our fix?

tort_feasor on April 27, 2007 at 9:41 AM

Mine opens at 8am.

amerpundit on April 27, 2007 at 9:56 AM

I don’t find it hard to believe that no-one in the PO noticed Cho. When I go to a PO, the clerks don’t make eye contact with me or engage me at all. They just look at the package, stamp it or whatever, take my money, and mumble “Have a nice day.” They are clearly mind-numbingly bored with their jobs and see so many hundreds of people per day that nothing registers.

As for blood-stained clothes, I believe I’ve read that Cho was wearing black clothes before he put on the tan-colored ammo vest over them later for the Norris Hall shooting spree. Blood wouldn’t show on his black clothes. Assuming he washed his face and hands before going to the PO, I don’t see a problem believing that no one paid any particular attention to him.

aero on April 27, 2007 at 9:58 AM

The envelope says “30 Rockefeller Ave”, when it should say “30 Rockefeller Plaza”. Just an observation.

Jailbones, I’m with you. I think your version of a memorial for Cho, is much more fitting.

amerpundit on April 27, 2007 at 10:01 AM

We had the debate over when it’s appropriate for religious (and non-religious) people to forgive a killer last year, after the Amish school murders. So I won’t rehash it, but…

I understand forgiveness in this case, and when the killer’s dead, what else is there? Holding onto anger only hurts the angry person, not the dead guy.

However, putting up memorials for him?

Look, unless I hear that his family trained him to be a cold-blooded killer, I would include his family as one of the victims just as I’d include the family members of those who were shot. But Cho himself?

Every killer has to be somewhat messed up in order to kill. Why single this kid out for a memorial just because he killed more than any other lone gunman?

Esthier on April 27, 2007 at 10:03 AM

Regarding the memorial stone, I think it’s just more indication of the sick moral equivalence that has been indoctrinated into the younger generation. Everyone expressed so much admiration for the VTech students when they asked the media to leave the Monday after the shootings so they could hurry up and get back to “normal.” I knew we’d eventually find out that the student body is in fact dominated by mushy-headed liberal-leaning (typical) college students. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they would be extraordinarily quick in their “forgiveness” and “understanding” of Cho’s actions and illness. This generation has been brought up to deny personal responsibility, after all. It wasn’t Cho’s fault to them–it was society’s fault, or the gun shop owner’s fault, or his family’s fault, or whatever. I doubt the families of those murdered are quite so forgiving, but I might be wrong.

aero on April 27, 2007 at 10:05 AM

Don’t people see the difference between foregiving and memorializing?

No, I guess not.

CliffHanger on April 27, 2007 at 10:05 AM

They could tape a picture of his fag ass on the outside of the toilet and people could come their to vent their spleens. So to say…

Jaibones on April 27, 2007 at 9:38 AM

Putting up memorials to this guy is exactly the kind of thing that will encourage another messed up kid to go on a shooting spree.

Esthier on April 27, 2007 at 10:05 AM

Every killer has to be somewhat messed up in order to kill. Why single this kid out for a memorial just because he killed more than any other lone gunman?

I remember after Columbine, the surrounding area included Harris and Klebold in a memorial for the victims. A bunch of angry parents tore it down, but they put it back up.

amerpundit on April 27, 2007 at 10:06 AM

Cho was looking for attention, and to be remembered for what he did, after he died. I guess he got what he wanted.

amerpundit on April 27, 2007 at 10:07 AM

“there’s no deciphering madness!”


Steve LLamabutcher on April 27, 2007 at 10:09 AM

Cut them a little slack. Guilt is the fourth stage of mourning, and it’s a rotten one to get past. Anger is number five, and obviously a lot of people have made it that far.

If these folks are still feeling personally responsible for not befriending Cho in six months, they’re idiots. But right now, they’re just dealing.

Tanya on April 27, 2007 at 10:12 AM

Cut them a little slack. Guilt is the fourth stage of mourning, and it’s a rotten one to get past. Anger is number five, and obviously a lot of people have made it that far.

Anger is number five? I always thought it was stage two.

Allahpundit on April 27, 2007 at 10:22 AM

I think it goes shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, resignation. (Not that I’ve dealt with this often or anything.)

The anger in that link is anger at the victim for dying and leaving you, it says.

Tanya on April 27, 2007 at 10:28 AM

I’ll take your word for it but it seems strange to me that anger would follow forgiveness. Forgiveness has to be the end point, doesn’t it?

Allahpundit on April 27, 2007 at 10:36 AM

Forgiveness? The end point is acceptance and coping, right?

Or, wait, forgiving who? The victim or the killer? Now I don’t know if we’re talking general mourning, or Virginia Tech specifically.

Tanya on April 27, 2007 at 10:45 AM

Sorry, whom.

Tanya on April 27, 2007 at 10:48 AM

Somehow we’ve forgotten the power of righteous anger.

I’m all for forgiveness, especially with the bastard dead and rotting. Forgiveness isn’t for him. It’s for the one doing the forgiving.

Memorializing Cho is, of course, repugnant; there’s no need to comment. Anyone with a brain knows its repulsive. If it doesn’t immediately disgust you – you’re brainwashed and you’ll never get it, so why try to explain it.

But the anger thing is important. Well-targeted anger has probably accomplished more than any other force in human history. “Remember the Alamo” or “Remember Pearl Harbor” ring a bell?

Anger spurs us to action. Anger prevents the same thing from happening again.

The single thing that has put us most in danger is that we aren’t all still furious, every day, over 9/11.

Anger is important. It has to be managed, and well-aimed … but its important. And this cultural passivity we’ve embraced, this sudden fear of anger … is so wrong. It runs contrary to the entire history of our species.

And it’s going to get us killed.

In case you aren’t paying attention, liberals do get angry – but they choose their targets differently than you or I do. We feel rage for the victimizers, the terrorists, the enemy.

They feel anger ONLY for those who can’t hurt them for voicing their anger. It’s a big difference. Because they’re cowardly anger weakens us; our well-targeted anger strengthens us.

And it’s going out of style quickly. Too many are shuddering at the emotion that gives us strength.

Forgive. But stay angry.

Professor Blather on April 27, 2007 at 10:55 AM

I forgive them.

But no memorials, fools.

Erase his name.

Burn his effects.

Lampoon his memory.

profitsbeard on April 27, 2007 at 10:55 AM

It’s not really anyones place, except the family and friends of the students killed and injured to forgive Cho. And I don’t get why everyone has this deep need to “forgive”. It’s really ok and part of healing to be angry at the person who deliberately hurt you. All this making of excuses and reasons as to why people do these things does nothing except discredit the victim. Remember when it was accepted that a rape victim “deserved” it in some way, esp. if she dressed or acted a certain way? (That way of thinking hasn’t totally disapeared) People are always trying to explain away (apologize) for horrendous acts. I’m not sure if it’s human nature or this western pc society that can’t see evil for what it is.

I think it’s insulting to the victims families and friends for everyone else to go around “forgiving” the killer.

4shoes on April 27, 2007 at 10:55 AM

Somehow we’ve forgotten the power of righteous anger.

Professor Blather on April 27, 2007 at 10:55 AM

I couldn’t agree more.

And I agree with you that it’s absolutely sick to attempt to “memorialize” this guy.

Why do people think forgiveness is synonymous with acceptance?

Emilie H. on April 27, 2007 at 11:07 AM

Has the world gone mad? Just the idea that it would cross their mind to memorialize that monster is appalling. Does anyone get mad at anything anymore? Are we that far gone? Have we become a nation of feel-good zombies that cannot have the basic common sense to be outraged at the right things? These kids are the future of this country, and that is truly scary. Cho’s chance for redemption is long gone, he should be demonized as the evil monster he was.

bmac on April 27, 2007 at 11:14 AM

So…nobody at Tech has a sledgehammer?

James on April 27, 2007 at 12:31 PM

About the rush to forgiveness, the word “meretricious” comes to mind.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on April 27, 2007 at 1:06 PM

Forgiveness is one thing, but he is certainly not a victim. He could make that argument (even if it progressively got weaker) all the way up until he fired the first shot. And it is a huge mistake for people to be considering him a victim, because it becomes harder and harder for justice to prevail when everyone is a victim.

CR UVa on April 27, 2007 at 2:15 PM

When this Katelynn Johnson creature says she’s received hundreds of supportive messages, I can’t help but think she’s something of an unreliable narrator. And if I was a student there, I wouldn’t want the campus chaplain speaking for me either, frankly. Both should be taken with a grain of salt.

Jim Treacher on April 27, 2007 at 2:57 PM

This may sound silly, but I’m reminded of that Star Trek episode where Kirk finds the planet of people that march themselves right into incinerators because this is more “civilized” then having actual confrontations with other people. These real life liberals are about half a step away from that.

Resolute on April 27, 2007 at 7:30 PM

No one objects to anything any more. That’s how Cho made it through all his life stages, without being questioned, or without many doing much about his ‘ways’.

Our kindergartens teach Kumbaya. Schools continue the myth. Universities truly propagate it. The media enforce it. The Soroses finance it. The babyboomers tried once, and now again, to realize their ‘idealisms’. The sane old are dying slowly, the young are too young to know better. Who’s left with common sense?

Entelechy on April 27, 2007 at 11:49 PM

But, then, I have anger issues.

Jaibones on April 27, 2007 at 9:39 AM

Try counseling. We wouldn’t want you in the slammer Jai. Heh.

Buck Turgidson on April 28, 2007 at 1:13 AM