I’ll be away this weekend but star guestblogger See-Dubya will be keeping tabs on the case. Check this space for updates on Saturday and Sunday. I’m sure there’ll be something.
ABCNews has obtained new court documents that show police are probing the possibility that Seung-Hui Cho may have confided to someone else his plans to unleash a bloody campus massacre that left 32 victims dead earlier this week…
[A]nother warrant affidavit filed Friday … says that “there is probable cause to believe the computer information maintained by Virginia Tech for Seung-Hui Cho and victim Emily Hilscher, may contain information relating” to a murder. The warrant also cites a criminal investigative analyst who tells police “that in 80 to 85 percent of homicide cases the victim is known to the offender.”
On Thursday, Virginia Tech police seized Hilscher’s laptop computer and her cell phone.
They don’t say in whom he might have confided but they do mention that he spoke to his parents every Sunday night. Maybe he said something oblique to them the night before the shootings and they didn’t realize the import? As for Hilscher, Cho of course had a history of stalking women online, and there’s now circumstantial evidence to suggest that she might have been on his mind:
Many days, Andy Koch would return to his dorm to find suitemate Seung-Hui Cho standing in the hall, staring out a window that offered a sweeping view of neighboring West Ambler Johnston Hall.
Cho never lived at West AJ, as the towering dorm was called. He had no friends there, as far as anyone knows. And yet a room on the fourth floor was the spot where the 23-year-old senior chose to start the deadliest one-man shooting spree in modern U.S. history.
The same article goes on to theorize why Cho might have targeted the engineering department. Someone e-mailed me on the day of, or the day after, the shootings to suggest that he may have started off as an engineering major and then shifted to a “soft” major like English when he couldn’t keep up. Sounds like that might be close to the truth:
Another mystery: Why did the English major target Norris, a building dominated by engineering and foreign language classes? Chris Davids, a Virginia Tech senior who went to high school with Cho, said he remembers seeing Cho on campus a lot freshman year, and concluded that Cho, like him, started out as an engineering major.
“If he started in engineering and had to switch to English that might be a reason why he’s angry at the engineering department,” Davids said.
Another lingering question here, which I asked in one of the earlier posts, is when exactly Cho’s introversion metamorphosed into something pathological and dangerous. His great aunt in South Korea told the media that he was diagnosed with autism as a kid, and now it’s come out that some of this classmates before he got to college suspected he might have kept “a hit list.” That may just be a case of kids making up stories about the weirdo in their midst, but it’s worth noting that there are two sources for it and they come from different points in his childhood: one went to middle school with him and the other was with him from eighth grade through high school. Strange that a rumor like that would persist without there being some substance to it.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Here’s the statement the Cho family issued earlier today. According to cops, no fewer than 168 and possibly as many as 225 shots were fired; most of the victims were hit at least three times. Will this make a difference in public opinion on gun control? CBS took a poll and found that it hasn’t. Not yet, anyway.
UPDATE (by See-dubya): While hard news on the shooting is slowing down, reactions are coming in from big columnists and also from Planet Zroknob, aka Daily Kos, emphasis mine:
My heart aches. Of course I mourn the passing of the thirty-two Virginia Polytechnic University students, as do we all throughout the globe. Nevertheless, I cannot forget how my heart hurts for the thirty-third victim, the one the media never seems to count among those killed, Seung-Hui Cho. On April 16, 2007 thirty-three lovable and fragile individuals passed.
In case that disappears, or if you can only take a small dose of this without projectile regurgitation, or if you just don’t like giving Zroknob the traffic, Little Green Footballs has a screencap with more than enough crazy for you.
Remember: The only person worthy of hatred is George Bush. And Dick Cheney and John Bolton and John Ashcroft and Joe Lieberman. But Psy-Cho? We feel his pain.
I’m not going to apologize for dubbing this psycho “Psy-Cho”, by the way. He wants to be feared and taken seriously and have his name spoken in hushed tones. I’m not going to give the respect he never tried to earn, and I want anyone who wants to do what he did to know that his legacy will be eternal ridicule and derision. As I wrote in the other column, it works for big-time terrorists like Abimael Guzman and Zarqawi, so it will work for malfunctioning poser nerd terrorist wannabes like Psy-Cho.
Anyway, more reactions: Victor Davis Hanson shares (scroll down) his own crazy roommate story from–can you believe he went to UC Santa Cruz? This UC Santa Cruz? It involves flaming arrows. He recommends passing along this advice to freshmen entering the modern, “therapeutic” university:
You will meet very eccentric people there, with all sorts of problems and strong passions, most of them antithetical to your own. Don’t expect moral guidance necessarily from your professors, or physical protection from your colleagues or the administration. Ask for such help, but don’t count on it. Instead keep you eyes open and at all times expect the worse.”
Peggy Noonan visits the therapeutic university culture as well:
The school officials I saw, especially the head of the campus psychological services, seemed to me endearing losers. But endearing is too strong. I mean “not obviously and vividly offensive.” The school officials who gave all the highly competent, almost smooth and practiced news conferences seemed to me like white, bearded people who were educated in softness. Cho was “troubled”; he clearly had “issues”; it would have been good if someone had “reached out”; it’s too bad America doesn’t have better “support services.” They don’t use direct, clear words, because if they’re blunt, they’re implicated.
I’d say that’s pretty blunt.
IVY LEAGUE BALDERDASH UPDATE also by See-Dub: Not to be outdone by Yale’s outlandish banning of realistic weapons from stage plays, Cornell President David Skorton raises the bar for Ivy league numbskullery:
“We are one,” said Cornell President David Skorton. “We are one community, one people, one planet. We are here today to affirm that oneness … We are here to bear witness to the passing of the 33 members of our family at Virginia Tech University who have met an untimely and terrible fate.”
And, he said, “We are here for all of those who are gone, for all 33. We are here for the 32 who have passed from the immediate to another place, not by their own choice. We are also here for the one who has also passed.”
He added that those present were there to “join with our friends in the Korean and Korean-American communities for we are all one family, most especially today we share the same sorrow and the same need for comfort and reassurance.”
Good gravy. What preening folderol. “Ooh, ooh, look how exceptionally moral and broad-minded I am–I consider Psy-Cho part of my very family. Top that. You can’t? I win the tolerance sweepstakes. Yay ME!”
Why in the world did President Skorton give that shout-out to the Korean communities at Cornell? One of two possible explanations is that Skorton thinks they were feeling a great degree of racial guilt for the sins of their monstrous blood-brother. (“Racial guilt” isn’t something most people feel these days, but it is indoctrinated in Ivy League schools.) I’m sure he and most of the Cornell faculty blubber themselves to sleep over the collective sins of white dudes around the world, so it’s only logical to think that Korean-Americans need some special affirmation when a Korean student does something bad. But no need to worry, my friends. President Skorton has absolved you of the stain of Cho.
The other possibility: maybe he was trying to head off an Ugly Racial Incident. But for President Skorton’s brave inclusion of the Korean American Community in his address, Cornell’s vast Intolerant Redneck-American Community would have perpetrated an outrageous wave of despicable hate crimes upon every Korean in Ithaca.
But now that’s not going to happen. Thank you President Skorton, for delivering the Korean-American Community at Cornell from such an awful fate!
Hat tip to Wytammic, whose daughter goes to Cornell. Which would mean Wytammic is paying President Skorton’s salary. Think about that when you write those tuition checks, pal.