Three thousand miles away from the action, I feel for the loss of over thirty young adults on the Virginia Tech campus. It’s a national tragedy, and so it should be.
This inquiring mind, though, also wants to know about what drove one of the those young adults to turn on his contemporaries.
I don’t know what demon would drive Cho Seung-Hui, an intelligent English major, less than a month away from the rest of his life, to literally throw his life away in a flurry of gunpowder and bullets aimed at others.
I’d like to know what was going through his mind as he wrote two plays that just drip with vitriol. True, Shakespeare it’s not, although “Richard McBeef” does have a key plot point from Hamlet in it (character’s father is killed by step-father, whom the character hates with a vengeance). Although, as Derek Pegritz points out, taken out of context they may not have that effect, taken in the context of what happened (Stephen King, as macabre as his novels are, is otherwise a well-adjusted person), it doesn’t seem an unreasonable conclusion. And, it’s the ONLY window we have into this guy’s thought processes.
The fact is that I want to know what went through this guy’s mind. Murders like this don’t just happen out of the clear blue sky. They take months, even years, to develop. But something pushed this kid off the deep end.
We here in Hawaii still remember the Xerox murders, where a disgruntled employee of Xerox took the lives of his immediate boss and six co-workers. It came out afterward that Byran Uyesugi, the gunman who is now serving a life sentence, was quiet and reticent on the outside, and raised goldfish and koi. But deep underneath was a seething anger that exploded that day in 1999.
And not too long ago was not a mass murder, but a Texas man who kidnapped and killed a ten-year-old girl with apparent intent to EAT her. I blogged about it here. The disturbing thing here was that he was a documented mental illness case, and blogged about his struggles and his fantasies that were getting more and more weird.
We do know that Cho was a loner, and those who knew him did not know him well. A square peg trying to fit into a world of round holes. I can only imagine what kind of anger he had in him, which built up until, with no other outlet, it exploded out the muzzle of a Glock 9mm.
Sometimes the shyest, most reticent people can be the most dangerous people of all. And, in my view, often these are the people whom society needs to help the most.