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18 April 2007 @ 10:41 pm
Think twice about his motives.  
Mr. Bear made it home at 9:00. He deserves a cookie!

The Shooting at Virginia Tech is all over the news again tonight. As scenes of fleeing students, crying family members and pictures of the shooter holding guns flashed again and again on the television, teachers and various investigators came forward and talked about this 'sick sick kid'. As if now it seems that nobody has learnt of his motives, why he shot who he shot, and why did he bear so much hatred. So far the only reason the authorities have given was one - He is a psychologically disturbed child who decided to go on a killing spree. As simple as that.

But for some reason I can see more, I feel like I can see more beyond the motives of this child. I don't know, but as soon as I heard people at work mentioning that he was Korean, one thing strucked me -- bullying.

While everyone at work went on and on about how he is crazy and an unexplainable, I couldn't stop thinking to myself, why? why? why did he bear so much hatred? was he abused and relentlessly tormented when he while he was at school?

My heart felt guilty but it wanted to symphasize...

I know I might have told this story too many times before, but I was once a new immigrant to North America. When I was eleven, I followed my father, out of a land I was once familiar with, to Salt Lake City, Utah. I must admit that I didn't have very fond memories when I attended elementary. I didn't speak any English, I dressed funny, wore a thick pair of glasses and smelt funny. Nobody talked to me, and I was too shy to talk to anyone. There were a lot of tormenting going on. Kids making fun of me on the school bus ride, poking me with sticks and refusing to have me join in with things. In the first few years of highschool, I had similar troubles blending in with the crowd. At P.E. class, nobody wanted to be my partner, girls kicked soccer balls at me to pass time and called me names. I've always wanted a pair of trendy sweat-pants for P.E. instead of those red, tight-legged pants my parents bought me from China, but at the time, our family was too financially-drained to afford anything new. (I remembered my Christmas present was a fourteen dollar shirt, and it was my only piece of new clothing for the year.)

I couldn't remember why I didn't tell anyone. Maybe it was because I used to have such low self-esteem that I blamed it all on myself- I wasn't liked because of something I did wrong. You would ask me why haven't I talked to any teachers or counsellors. One thing being the language barrier, and I was just feeling shameful and at fault. But there was one elementary teacher whom I will always remember, the angel in my life- her name was Miss Jenny Moore. One day one of the teachers asked why I looked unhappy, and I told her that everyone in class said I 'stink' and didn't want to play with me. And little had I expected, that teacher told Miss Jenny and she drove to a supermarket during lunch break and bought me something that eased all my troubles (until now!) - a deoderant. She gave me clothing and little gifts from time to time and always talked to me. Her class was the only thing that I looked forward to during all that teasing and tormenting at school.

At highschool it was a little different, teachers simply don't want to deal with things. They are tired and worn. Some kids are very popular with teachers, they are pretty, outgoing, social and vocal. No teachers would believe (or even take action) if you told them that some of them were "mean" kids. And weird kids are just weird kids. Very few teachers wanted to even bother with them.

That's the exact impression I got from watching Cho(the shooter)'s teachers on the News. One of them, the proclaimed poet, made a speech about how Cho was a disturbing student and how much she wanted him out of her class - "I am not keeping a student whom nobody in class felt comfortable with. As a poet, I can feel that something's not right about him. I don't even want to be near him."

What a shame. I think even though some of his writings might be a little 'disturbing', perhaps someone would have took time to figure out what caused him to write with so much hatred? Perhaps he is writing about his own experiences when he was a child? Perhaps he's exposed to heavy family violence, even 'til now? Simply isolating and outcasting him from the rest of the crowd would not help. It would only encourage others in class to torment him even more when a teacher sets the example.

The news continued to wonder about his motives, 'Why? Why did he do what he did?" The FBI's spoke person said he was plain blood-thirsty, he was depressed and clearly requires psychological attention. It makes one wonder if these people are dumbstrucked. The things he said in his tape-- aren't they clear enough to describe why?


"Do you know what it feels like to be spit on your face and have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave? Do you know what it feels like to have your throat slashed from ear to ear? Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement?"

"You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life. And you want to inject as much misery in our lives because you can, just because you can. You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren't enough, you snobs. Your trust fund wasn't enough. Your vodka and cognac wasn't enough. All your debaucheries weren't enough. Those weren't enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything."

"You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy's life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people."

It's not hard to figure out that he had been relentlessly tormented by some "rich kids" and decided to plan a revenge. Nevertheless, this side of the story was never told on the news. It's been said that Cho also mentioned names in the video, which has been cut-out due to various reasons. I wouldn't be surprised if he have said things about individuals, the "rich kids", and the things they have done, but the American Television wouldn't show any of that of course, otherwise it wouldn't produce the same feeling they wanted in their audiences.

Nevertheless, after this lengthy diatribe, I must express that I do not condone cho's actions and I do express my wishes to those who have deceased. Yes, perhaps some of them might have been rich kids who's had it all and decided to pick on this poor asian boy to pass time, but Cho's dying wish of "inspiring generations of the weak and the defenseless" by killing these people didn't seem at all realistic. You would think this might brought immediate attention to public schools about bullying, but no. Did teachers and students repent and thought maybe they could have treated him better? Not at all. But then what can you expect from people who have just lost their love ones, and from parents of these children. All I can say was, Cho was once a victim, too, and so are many children. People, people, think twice, think twice.

suffire on April 20th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
I don't know if you still remember the Columbine High School Massacre, but the case seem very similar, psychologically unstable student alienated from rest of school, perhaps bullied by others for prolong periods of time which caused angst, resentment, hatred. I'm quoting the following passage from Wikipedia:

"In the aftermath, there was a great deal of debate about what motivated the killers and whether anything could have been done to prevent the crime. Unlike most other school shootings, the fact that both shooters committed suicide made this one particularly haunting, as answers would be slow in coming, and there would be no arrests or trial through which the victims could vent their outrage. The reality of social cliques in high schools was a frequent topic of discussion. Many argued that the pair's isolation from the rest of their classmates prompted feelings of helplessness, insecurity and depression, as well as a strong desire for attention. Some schools also began programs to expose and stop school bullying, which many charged had fueled anger and resentment within Harris and Klebold.[22]

Some commentators charged that school administrators and teachers at Columbine had long condoned a climate of bullying by the so-called "jocks" or athletes, allowing a "toxic climate" of outright intimidation and resentment to fester which, they claimed, could have helped trigger the perpetrators' extreme violence.[23]"

I'm more worried about how this influences the degree of racism against asians, the article here voices most of my fear, likewise I was disturbed by the fact that the news media kept using the term "resident alien", it somehow makes immigrants sound inhuman. I can never understand people who blame this sort of thing on race and not gun control. And the ambassador of Korea, why want your entire nation to starve for 32 days to pay repentance, did the whole nation of USA fast for 13 days because two white student went through their shooting rampage? Don't they not understand this sort of behavior only lead people to blame race for the violent act?

anyway, just some quotes from the article:

"And others wrote words of fear and alarm, decrying the constant representation of the Asian-born but American-raised perpetrator Seung-Hui Cho as a foreigner, pointing to blog postings attacking Asians as an inscrutable, unassimilable threat from within, and noting unconfirmed reports of backlash -- a South Korean flag being burned in Fort Lee, N.J.; a Korean American student in Manhattan threatened by white classmates.

"Most of the perpetrators of mass school killings have been white," said Paul Niwa, a journalism professor at Emerson College. "After those shootings, do you think white people felt guilty that the shooter was white? Do you think white people felt that since the shooter was white, that the shooter would give society a bad impression of whites? A shooter can be white and nobody thinks that race played a part in the crime. But when someone nonwhite commits a crime, this society makes the person's race partially at fault."

" The degree to which these paired memes -- "smart but quiet" and "fundamentally foreign" -- are repeated in the coverage of these two crimes is striking. In Lo's case, it was enough to prompt attorney Rhoda J. Yen to write a paper titled "Racial Stereotyping of Asians and Asian Americans and Its Effect on Criminal Justice: A Reflection on the Wayne Lo Case" for Boalt School of Law's Asian Law Journal, in which she raises the theory that this racial imagery may have tainted Lo's ability to receive a fair trial."
suffire on April 20th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)

The reporting around Seung-Hui Cho seems to have followed the same through-line: Right here on Salon, Joe Eaton reported one of Cho's high school classmates calling him "a quiet guy, a really, really quiet guy," but also a "'supersmart' student known for his math skills." Most news reports have also referred to him as a "resident alien," a legally proper but semiotically complex term that seems to emphasize difference -- while a "legal permanent resident" sounds like someone who belongs in this nation, an "alien" doesn't even sound like he belongs on this planet. It's a word that seems designed to be followed by "invader" -- a phrase whose appropriateness is underscored by the pictures of Cho, scowling and fisting guns at the camera, that now stare out from every news site. "
flying_young on April 20th, 2007 07:21 am (UTC)
Ah, the News, the Media, what a corrupted, ugly system... I'm glad some of us are able to see through their hideous scandals.

Up until now the popular news stations still hadn't yet touched on the real root of this problem, that is, like you mentioned - a troubled, alienated kid exposed to prolong bullying by certain students in the school which led to such extreme explosion of hatred and vengence. It has nothing to do with race, it's not a war between the Koreans and the Americans nor that of the Asians and the Whites. This kid didn't do it because he was Korean, he did it as a result of the poor treatments he received at school for many many years. Until this problem has been properly addressed, it will continue to happen again and again. Knowing Bush, he might fall headlong into declaring a war with Korea for all he likes, but this, sadly, will not solve the problem.
flying_young on April 20th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
I don't know if you have read any Chinese newspapers lately, especially local ones like Singtao. Chinese papers also seemed to put heavy emphasis on the term "Oriental", and often report exaggerated or false findings (they wrote in today's paper Cho wanted revenge because his white girlfriend cheated on him). And a few newspapers in China falsely reported that the shooter was Chinese, but it turned out that the guy's LJ has been mistaken as Cho's. It's unbelievable how they kept on emphasizing the terms 中国留学生,持F-1签证 in their bolded headlines. It does nothing but raises a wave of panic across the oversea student population in North America, but I guess that's the kind of feeling, the kind of riot they expect to get out of their readers.

On the other hand, I do hope this incidence does not strain the relationship between the Koreans (or the Chinese) and the Americans. It's hard to see clearly in the midst of anger, but there's more to this than what the media shows us. And until they get to the root of the problem, this will never been solved.
(Anonymous) on April 2nd, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
maverik auto 439