Thursday, April 19, 2007

Unique Virginia Tech massacre spun like dreidel

Watching pundits and partisans spin the Virginia Tech incident in forty different ways has been exhausting.

Generally, it's a political draw. The left 'wanted' (once the atrocity was known but the shooter's identity still concealed) a white kid who'd been brought up in a pro-NRA household. The right wanted a Middle Eastern exchange student. A South Korean initially stultified both--there just isn't much of a template for how to react to East Asian killers in the US.

Gun restrictionists are pointing out that without the pistols, there'd be no tragedy. Advocates of the second Amendment counter that a gun-free campus allowed a criminal like Cho the chance to shoot fish in a barrel and that if a few other students had been packing, he would never have made it into the double-digits.

The Marxist line that he was releasing pent up anger over the affluence of the affluent doesn't go far, as his parents are solidly middle class small business owners. Pursuing a pedantic English degree doesn't help the downtrodden worker image much, either.

The lazy European press is trying to assert that debauched American culture is to blame. But an augur named Steve Sailer astutely predicted that the absurdly violent South Korean movie industry provided Cho something to emulate.

I've yet to hear a racially-oppressive argument crop up, and since Cho apparently made no mention of race, it may not. Given Cho's anomalous profile, I'm not perspicacious enough to see much of a race angle in the story (although I've seen a few Asian commentators latch onto the idea that Cho was as American as the kid next door; the "It's America's fault, not the East's").

To the extent that such an angle might be viable, it may be of interest to know that the girl he was rumored to be stalking was white. An Asian man frustrated in his pursuit of love would be one way the story could end that would 'fit' a larger social trend: nearly three-fourths of Caucasian-Asian marriages involve a white male and an Asian female, and black women, who're left out in the cold as well, very rarely partner up with Asian men (I've never seen such a couple in person).

Elsewhere, radio host Neil Boortz had an interesting take on the feminization of the public school system that he speculates may have played a role in the ineptness of the thirty students executed one after another as they cowered under desks. I'd like to think that in such a situation, I'd have the mental wherewithal to attempt to silently communicate with others and hastily arrange a time for everybody to rush the shooter simultaneously. I'd probably have been supine in the face of impending doom, too. But I'd like to think my grandfather wouldn't have been.

There's also the position that antidepressants and the drug companies behind them are to blame. It's all over the blogosphere but conspicously absent or marginalized in most mainstream media accounts. Chalk it up to the vast power of big pharmaceuticals, or the zealotry of scientologists (like any other typical conceited blowhard, I'll go ahead and write off both 'extremes' since my knowledge base is so limited on the issue).

The two unadulterated winners are immigration restrictionists (of both the legal and illegal variety), and critics of academia's inability to administrate anything effectively.

Oh, and a conspicuous loser is English as a serious major. Look at the puerile tripe this guy was writing as an undergraduate in college.


agnostic said...

There is definitely a racial angle. On Scarborough Country 4/17, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams flashed Cho's "manifesto" to the camera, which zoomed in for a few seconds to show just how dense the text was.

I am 95% sure I saw the letters "KKK" on the page -- they jumped out due to being block capitals and repeated the same letter. I couldn't read any of the context -- was he pro, con, or was it just another Big Name added in for dramatic effect, I dunno. But I'm almost positive he mentioned them.

As for the races of the girls he was stalking -- he was taking pictures of the female friends of his roommates, as well as his classmates. Given that he didn't isolate himself among Asians, most of these girls were probably white.

JSBolton said...

This case will undoubtedly keep throwing out inconvenient complexities, as the details are looked into.
If he used the day of Columbine, wasn't that also supposed to be on Hitler's birthday?
The main fact is that he was a foreigner with no rights here, who nevertheless obtained all sorts of privilege and tolerance, and he was here only on the 'qulaification' of being someone's relative.
There is also a lesson to be learned as to the gratitude to be expected from people who have been saved.
Those who know well that it is more likely hatred that should be expected, keep urging us to go on trying to win hearts and minds.
Man is not so constituted as to
be so prideless as to be often grateful to one who has saved him.

al fin said...

All of these "angles" will probably fall away and lose significance with time. The key point is the chronic, lifelong mental instability, and alienation in the middle of a crowd.

I thought it was very telling that the South Korean government met in emergency session to discuss possible repercussions against Korea and Koreans from this incident. Paranoia? I think not. It is rather the way that third worlders (mental third worlders) tend to think.

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but what the hell. The talk about the psychiatric medication remined me that during the 1960's and 1970's hippies and other types used to get high of Ritalin. Now it is used for mental health. Go figure. Maybe he was using Accutane as well. That drug is suposed to make some suicidal or worse.
As for the Koreans meeting to discuss possible "repurcussions" I can only imagine that it was all about "saving face" for them.

Audacious Epigone said...


Wow. It may have been another big name though--did you read his 'plays' (linked at the end of the post)? He throws out disjointed phrases and terms that comprise the whole gamut of junk you hear out of the mouths of teenagers playing online computer games--"KKK", "nigger", etc shows up in these arenas all the time as well.


You're third sentence is the only crystal clear aspect of the incident. NPR's Robert Siegel hyad an editorialist piece where he asserted that Cho was as American as apple pie, etc--no doubt trying to preempt the point you make.

Al Fin,

In multicultural societies, that isolation is a lot more likely to occur. If you have trouble making friends and fitting in socially under normal circumstances, that's accentuated greatly if most of the people around you are from different cultural backgrounds, speak a different native language, etc.


Cho's grandfather, refreshingly disgusted, demonstrates the idea that the individual acts as a dependent unit of the family, rather than just as an individual.

agnostic said...

Right, like I said, I couldn't tell what the context was, but I doubt it was the only racially charged word out of 1,800. Maybe the others were just all-purpose rant slogans, but I'd still like to know, in order to understand what make the guy tick.