April 17, 2007 — Cho Seung-Hui, the student who killed 32 people and then himself yesterday, left a long and “disturbing” note in his dorm room at Virginia Tech, say law enforcement sources.
. . .
Cho, born in South Korea, was a legal resident alien of the United States. He was a senior at Virginia Tech, majoring in English.
. . .
Cho graduated from Westfield High School, a Fairfax County public school, in 2003.
[Killer’s Note, ABC News]
Another “properly socialized” public school graduate flips out. No news here.
Lucinda Roy, the English department’s director of creative writing, described Cho Seung-Hui as “troubled,” said Professor Carolyn Rude, the department’s chairwoman, in an interview with The A.P.
[Massacre in Virginia: The Day After; On the Gunmen’s Creative Writing | 1:40 PM ET, The New York Times]
On the other hand, a typically miseducated English major is spared the agony of life in the real world, and a new literary hero is born:
Cho wrote poems, a novel and two plays, acquaintances and officials said, in addition to the rambling multipage “manifesto” directed against the rich, the spoiled and the world in general, which police found in his dorm room.
[Student Wrote About Death and Spoke in Whispers, The Washington Post]
On balance, I would still push for banning creative writing classes, in order to spare everyone else.
Further evidence that Cho intended to leave a legacy as a cultural hero, and that he will be assisted by the US media:
Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.
He had thoughtfully sent a media kit to NBC and they are releasing it as his “manifesto.” Not surprisingly, it makes reference to two other famous former public school students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Don’t forget to read the 2002 report from my buddies at the US Secret Service. It surveyed 37 targeted school shootings and found that the assailants were pretty normal public school students (p. 20).
What does Cho’s killing spree have to do with public schooling? Nothing. The public schools didn’t help him in any way. Socialization, evolution education, sex education, and diversity training didn’t help him. There is no government policy, curriculum, facility, teacher qualifications, or socialization program that would have helped him.
Universal, mandatory, institutionalized humanistic schooling didn’t help him; it enabled him. What might have helped him was a little human compassion earlier in his life.