Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Cho Sent Package to NBC News, Network Says - Washington Post
In these days following the Virginia Tech tragedy, I have tried to stay abreast of the event itself and the community discourse that has followed. I had the hope that something illuminating and uplifting would find the tips of my fingers, but I am still waiting.
In the meantime, I just let my mind wander among the thoughts of the dead, including the killer, Cho Seung Hui. I did some research along time ago at Blacksburg and still vaguely remember the campus. My musings keep retuning to the outrageousness of it all, and what it tells us. So far, I don’t think it tells us much of anything.
Although some, including the Asian Journalist Association, would like to argue the point, everything about Cho, including that he is a Korean immigrant is germane to the discussion. Every nook and cranny, and rock this person ever crawled under deserves to be revealed and examined in microscopic detail. We will probably learn nothing, but the lives he took and the injuries he caused demand it.
So why will we learn nothing? Largely because exceptions defy the rules – and Cho was exceptional. Koreans should not worry; his heritage tells us nothing about the intersection of mass killers and the Korean people, or Asians, or immigrants for that matter. I know many Koreans, immigrants and nationals, through school, work and studying tae kwon-do (martial arts), and it was no ‘insane Korean killer’ that did this, but rather just an insane killer who just happened to be Korean.
He could have been black, brown, or white; Christian, Hindu or Muslim. Deranged minds do not discriminate with their host forms. The more important question is how he slipped through the cracks with dorm advisors, counselors, professors, doctors, and authorities. All accounts present this kid as a walking billboard for “1-800 I Need Help!”.
So let’s talk about all the things that could be relevant, including his ethnic background. But let’s do it not to prove any preset agenda about race or immigration, but rather to examine the world we have created for ourselves, where world societies collide and individuals go off the deep end. Making some sense of it will help us to rehabilitate our existence, if only a worthy bit.
James C. Collier
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