Archive for April 2007

Musings on Virginia Tech #2: The Need to be Understood

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

It’s a fundamental human need…the need to be understood. If this need is not perceived to be met, one will go to any length to achieve it. Even going so far as to send one’s manifesto to NBC, before going on a killing spree.

It appears Cho had some challenges in that department, because it came out that he had long-standing speech difficulties, which troubled his parents even from a young age and apparently was fodder for his classmates’ unkind remarks.

Some Musings on the Tragedy at Virginia Tech

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

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.

Parking Turns Ugly in Kakaako, Sparks Debate

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

A friend of mine sent me an e-mail about CompUSA, that was forwarded from someone else, from someone else, from someone else, ad infinitum. The length of it prevents me from posting it in its entirety, but you can read it here.

Normally, I take most forwards that comes in my mailbox from this person with a grain of salt. It irritates me no end when e-mail forwards reach me telling me to do this thing or warning me that that thing is going to happen, because more often than not they’re hoaxes.

So naturally, I was skeptical at first. I couldn’t find the 24/7 Towing company mentioned in the e-mail in the phone book (either white or yellow pages), and basically said unless I found compelling evidence, I wouldn’t put much stock in that e-mail.

But then, I visited and this was one of the hot topics there. And apparently, there is a name and face associated with the originator of this e-mail. The Charlie who signed the e-mail is apparently one Charlene Aldinger, director of public relations at Bishop Museum, says the Honolulu Advertiser.

Apparently, her daughter parked in the lot at about 7:45 a.m. before the store opened and went across the street to get something to eat with the intention of going back to the store to get some headphones. The car was towed at 8:18 a.m. Another customer found herself in the same predicament. Turns out the car was towed all the way to Waipahu, and that’s where the fun…if you call it fun…began.

Long story short, Ms. Aldinger took about three hours to get the car (a rental, apparently) back from the impound. And then, out came the curare-tipped keyboard.