V- Tech Stonewalling on Cho counseling

Even the V-Tech review panel is getting miffed with the ongoing stonewall from Virginia Tech, according to ABC, May 21:

“When members of the Review Panel asked University counsel Kay Heidbreder if Cho had received on-campus treatment or follow-up, she said she did not know. She added that the information was protected under state privacy laws, even after Cho’s death.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger admitted that the university should have a better answer on the question of whether Cho underwent treatment.

“Just saying we don’t know is not good enough. But we obviously need to follow the law,” Steger told the panel.

Members of the panel expressed frustration at being denied information on Cho’s treatment and follow-up.”

My Comment:

I am going to make a wild guess at what I think this means. As anyone reading this blog knows, I’ve been following this case as closely as possible, since it broke 35 days ago.

In an earlier post, I speculated that the formative event/treatment that drove Cho crazy happened in 2005-06. Not hard to guess. He was a shy guy and didn’t speak much, and he may have been prone to anger. But he didn’t snap until that year.

It’s beginning to look like V-Tech’s Cook Counseling Center is indeed the place he was ordered to go. And if the unversity’s refusal to release his records is any indication, he did go.

Let me take a risk and say I think he was prescribed drugs somewhere along the line, maybe an SSRI – that he began taking regularly (the pills his room-mates saw).

And that’s when the real trouble may have begun.

I don’t know what else might have happened.

Whether he had some sexual experience, like his relatively benign one with the escort he hired…or something that left him more humiliated.

I don’t know who his counselor was. Or whether some therapy session might not have either revealed that he had been abused or had led him, erroneously, to believe he had been abused in the way he suddenly began describing in his plays written in 2006 fall.

Who is the counselor who handled him at Cook? What sorts of pills are prescribed there routinely? Is there a pharmacy which might have records of prescriptions they could hunt up?

Can we have a closer look at the contents of the room that the search warrant disclosed?

Or, more information from his room mates about those pills?

The panel needs to be asking those questions.

And that’ s besides the questions it needs to be asking about that shaky time line.

An online comment on the ABC story follows the same line of thought I had:

“Bullets are the ultimate invasion of privacy. Anyone thinking Virginia Tech is acting out of concern for Cho’s privacy is sadly deluded. The only conclusion to be drawn from this secrecy is that Virginia Tech receives grants, scholarships or other funding from drug companies. Someone “made a phone call” to Virginia Tech administration to hush this up. And the administration withered. — America’s next bloody campus massacre may well trace back to the same psychiatric drugs that deleted Cho’s emotions and left him a robotic killing machine. Withholding facts that might correlate 33 deaths and hundreds of ruined family-members’ lives to prescription medicines cheats the medical community, researchers, patients and parents. — Is Virginia Tech only pretending to be an engineering and scientific institution? Hard science has ethical duties to publish truth, no matter whom it chafes. This institution’s secrecy casts shadows on all its research or academic work. Which studies were influenced by a phone call from a big donor? — Harvard divinity School gained international credibility by returning $2.5 million from the anti-Semitic United Arabs president. Yet Virginia Tech won’t open a file folder to do its scientific and humane duty.”
More news from a reader about V-Tech and some shady dealing there that might..or might not..have anything to do with this story. But, I want to check it out a bit. Stay tuned….and by the way, I do revisit posts to add material and links. I’ll let you know by changing the dates on the post.

I need to organize the V-Tech material so that the major posts show up as widgets – I’m just not that blog-savvy yet. Maybe, some one reading this labor of love can give me a little ‘puter advice as a reward??

Readers write in about that shaky V Tech timeline…

I received a lot of support on the V Tech article, for eg. :
Lila,

RE: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/rajiva3.html

Thank you for a thoroughly informative article about the government's many
failures in the VT shootings.

I thought you might want to know that there are some published timelines that
indicate that the police dallied for over twenty minutes (maybe even close to
30), rather than 5, 9, or 11.

Here's one link I found, with others in the discussion below, that suggest
different timelines than what the major media have been reporting:

        http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn04212007.html

-- NAME DELETED

>Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 09:38:34 -0400
>To: NAME DELETED
>Subject: Fwd: Re: Crazed Maniacal Asian Killer
>
>
>By the way, the Times Dispatch said in a timeline they published on Sunday that
the first call actually came in at 9:21 or something.  The cops were on the
scene in two minutes (it was a brief run across the field where a hundred or so
already were at the double murder).
>
>The VT site still clouds the time they got the first call from the 2nd
building; it still says 9:45, as have several other news outlets.  I think they
know they screwed up, and they are trying to fudge the numbers in the hopes no
one notices.
>
>-- NAME DELETED

>
>>Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 10:17:48 -0400
>>To: NAME DELETED
From: NAME DELETED
>>Subject: Re: Crazed Maniacal Asian Killer
>>
>>
>>>>>I should have saved the links, but I didn't.  There were several articles that
said there was a 21 minute or 27 minute delay before they entered.  I do
remember one of the columnists on LewRockwell.com mentioned it.  It's eventually
going to appear -- buried -- in police reports, but by then the debate will have
shifted to gun control, and the entry delay will be off the radar like it was in
Columbine.
>>
>>I've seen it in several of the news reports.  One person can be heard saying
"why aren't they going in?" while he's capturing the video, and gunshots can be
clearly heard.  It was pretty obvious the cops were clueless, several can be
clearly seen walking around in the video, looking like they don't know where to
go or what to do.
>>
>>It may also be a lot worse than a twenty-minute delay before they went in.
Something is really fishy.
>>
>> From what NBC reports:
>>
>>http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18138327/
>>
>>... the second assault actually started at 9:15 am.  I presume that's when he
put the chains on the doors, and then worked his way upstairs.  According to
witnesses, the shootings began at 9:20 am.
>>
>>Yet the police say they didn't get the first call until 9:45 am.  I consider
that really friggin unlikely, given that everyone and his brother now has a
cellphone, and since there are hardwired phones in every classroom.
>>
>>http://www.vt.edu/tragedy/timeline.php
>>
>>I'm tempted to do a FOIA request for the 911 logs.
>>
>>There's probably a bunch of people who still have their cellphone logs of
their 911 calls; but I bet the cops don't release the records they get from the
cellphone companies.
>>
>>The killer apparently shot himself at about 9:50.  Something's really wrong
when a shooter can do his work for 30 minutes without a response.
>>
>>Here's a couple more timelines:
>>
>>http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/17/timeline.text/index.html
>>
>>http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_9889.aspx
>>
>>The VT timeline says the cops took less than a minute to go in once they got
the calls at 9:45.  That may or may not be true (notice at the bottom of their
page says "Editor's Note: All times are approximate."); and that by the time
they got upstairs at 9:50, it was already over.
>>
>>The government had so many opportunities to prevent this guy from doing what
he did, and they missed every time.  Just like 9/11.
>>
>>You know, I wondered at first that this guy was railing against class and so
would have shot what looked to him like the white middle class wealthy people,
but he didn't.  It was entirely indiscriminate:
>>
>>http://www.nytimes.com/ref/us/20070418_VICTIMS_GRAPHIC.html
>>
>>Lost in the gun controllers hot air is the fact that politicians railing
against gun control are all surrounded by teams of well-armed footsoldiers.  See
the article I added on, below.
>>
>>NAME DELETED
>>
>>
>>
>>At 11:20 PM 4/21/2007 -0500, you wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>I have been ignoring all the crap from the media looking to find
>>>negligence on the part of the University or the police.
>>>
>>>I was very alarmed today when you said that the police waited outside of
Norris Hall for 20 minutes AFTER shots had been fired.
>>>
>>>What is the source of this information?
>>>
>>>Thank you,
>>>
>>>>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>Tuesday, April 17th 2007 6:22PM
>>Campus security stirs feelings of safety
>>Michelle Rivera, CT News Reporter
>>
>>Today, whether for the security for the presence of high officials or to add a
reassuring presence to a community left in a state of shock, there is an
increase in security around campus. With President Bush and other high officials
present for the convocation at 2p.m. , there was a swarm of state troopers and
other security officers around Cassell Coliseum and Lane Stadium.
>>
>>"I actually just came to campus for the convocation," said Paige Barlow,
graduate student for the Department of Fisheries. "I saw tons of officers all
over Cassell and Lane." As she walked near the Squires Student Center to get a
late lunch, she felt safe. "We're all still a little shook up, but it's nice to
know that the issue is being dealt with," she said.
>>
>>Others agreed that the presence of high officials was at least one reason for
the heightened security.
>>
>>"I think there are so many officers on campus today one, because the president
is here and two, because of the scare of yesterday's events happening again,"
said De Monh, sophomore business major. "I don't think there are too many
officers here today."
>>
>>Virginia State Troopers are present on campus streets, outside of various
buildings, and near walkways across campus.
>>
>>"I believe it was partly for the (security of) high officials, but also for a
sense of security for the students," said Debbie Wilkins, Hokie parent of two.
>>
>>Though many felt that the purpose of security was for the protection of high
officials, others felt it was for a sense of safety for all those on campus.
>>
>>Sarah Sparks, senior theater major, was walking along Kent Street beside the
drillfield and passed a congregation of state troopers. "I think it's a great
idea that there are so many policemen on campus," Sparks said. "It makes us all
feel a lot safer, and having the visual of so much security adds to our feelings
of safety."
>>
>>Though the heightened security had the positive effect of helping students
feel secure, it also made it difficult to travel around campus. "Security made
it hard to get onto the grounds to get our child," said Wilkins. She however
stuck to her opinion that security was a positive measure. "A lot of the kids
still feel scared and insecure, and with security here, at least they know that
today nothing will happen," she said.
>>
>>-- end --
My Comment
I agree that the shooting probably took half an hour.
I was just being ultra cautious in my article.
Meanwhile, I'd like to enlist support for a FOIA request.
Any takers?




			

V-Tech Whitewash: Review Panel Finds University Response Very Effective and Very Successful

Telling It Like It Isn’t:

V-Tech Review Panel Finds University Response Very Effective and Very Successful

“I think we know enough about the response to know it was very effective and a very successful response,” said retired state police superintendent W. Gerald Massengill, the chairman of the review panel appointed to investigate the Virginia Tech shootings. That was in a May 11 article in the Washington Post called “Va Tech Panel Outlines Agenda.”

Agenda is about right. How does 33 dead over a two and half spree on a campus crawling with cops count as “very effective” and “very successful”?

About the same way as V Tech is now apparently about “breaking down bureaucratic barriers among the courts, the school and the state as it relates to mental health information.”

More federal undermining of privacy laws, in fact. Just what we need from an administration already up to its intrusive eyes in domestic surveillance.

Massengill, by the way, is the man who led the Virginia State Police in the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon and the other panel members are Tom Ridge, the first U.S. secretary of homeland security, a top policy maker in state higher education, an administrator of the FBI’s center for the analysis of violent crime and two medical experts.

According to Massengill, the police gave him a timeline that “helped convince him that they responded as quickly as they could after the two people had been shot in West Ambler Johnston Hall.”

Since it’s the lynch-pin of the panel’s bizarre conclusion, that time line warrants more examination than the media has been giving it.

The timeline first entered the public debate on April 26, 2007 in this AP report: “5 Minute Delay Crucial in Tech Shooting.”

The article reported what is now regarded as the official version of the killings at Virginia Tech on 4/16:

Cho got to Ambler Johnston Hall a bit before 7 am; he killed his first 2 victims with a Glock 9 mm (a fairly ordinary handgun) with two rounds; his second bout of killing (30 people) was at Norris Hall and it took 9 minutes. Police supposedly took 3 minutes to get to Norris and 5 minutes to get into the building, where several entrances had been chained shut from inside.

Witness accounts are often contradictory and/or mistaken and a crisis, in recollection, can seem to have taken much longer than it actually did, but still, think about what’s supposed to have happened in 9 minutes:

Cho walked up and down the halls (2, 3 minutes, at least); he poked his head into a few classrooms a couple of times and left without doing anything; he fired steadily but with pauses in between, methodically breaking through doors that had been barricaded (that should have taken a minute at least), shot, left and returned to at least two classrooms (another minute or so each); stood over and shot students and fired individually at each (a minute?) in at least two classrooms. Although the students were trapped inside, they were barricading doors, running away, throwing themselves over each other, or jumping through windows, so they were moving targets that required him to aim and move too. And reload.

And then he shot himself. His last victim, wounded and on the floor, said he watched the gunman’s legs move to the front of the classroom, then heard a pause, then shots. No one actually saw the suicide, so what happened must remain somewhat tentative.

Why Nine Minutes

If Cho fired 170 rounds (or 255 – in at least one account) in Norris Hall, as reported, he fired almost 18 rounds per minute or a round roughly every 3 seconds. I’m not a marksman, so I don’t know if that’s likely or not. If you also take into account that he was reloading and pausing, he must have been firing an even higher number of rounds per minute than that most of the time. And, if we go by the multiple wounds in each body (3-4), he must have made about 120-130 hits (out of 170 rounds) in 9 minutes. So far as we know, he was an amateur with at most a few weeks of practice. I am not sure if that scenario is plausible or not. And again, I’m not trying to refute the timeline so much as evaluating it. But I do wonder how officials can be so sure of it. And why.

This was a time line posted on Wiki (it’s since been deleted, but you can find it, with the original footnotes, on my blog, which has collected material relevant to the case):

* 9:42 a.m.: Students in the engineering building, Norris Hall, make a 9-1-1 emergency call to alert police that more shots have been fired.
*9:45 a.m.: Police arrived three minutes later and found that Cho had chained all three entrances shut.
* Between 9:30 and 9:50 am: Using the .22 caliber Walther P22 and 9 millimeter Glock 19 handgun with 17 magazines of ammunition, Cho shoots 60 people, killing 30 of them. Cho’s rampage lasts for approximately nine minutes. A student in Room 205 noticed the time remaining in class shortly before the start of the shootings.
* Around 9:40 a.m.: Students in Norris 205, while attending Haiyan Cheng’s issues in scientific computing class, hear Cho’s gunshots. The students, including Zach Petkewicz, barricade the door and prevent Cho’s entry.
* 9:50 a.m.: After arriving at Norris Hall, police took 5 minutes to assemble the proper team, clear the area and then break through the doors. They use a shotgun to break through the chained entry doors. Investigators believe that the shotgun blast alerted the gunman to the arrival of the police. The police hear gunshots as they enter the building. They follow the sounds to the second floor.
* 9:51 a.m.: As the police reached the second floor, the gunshots stopped. Cho’s shooting spree in Norris Hall lasted 9 minutes. Police officers discovered that after his second round of shooting the occupants of room 211 Norris, the gunman fatally shot himself in the temple.

From this Wiki account (which is quite conservative and can be verified from other published time-lines), the shooting really could have taken place any time between at least 9:30 and 9:50 – a space of 20, not 9 minutes.

But even on its own terms, the official timeline seems a little odd. If students heard gun shots (which could only have been at the very latest at 9:40), and if police reached the second floor at 9:51, that still makes 11 minutes, not 9.

Why, you might ask, am I quibbling about a few minutes? After all, no one could really have been sure of anything in all the confusion. True. But that’s all the more reason why insisting on those 9 minutes seems peculiar. Especially since we also have at least one account that the police got there much later than in the official story. Confusion again? What about the video footage of the scene and reports indicating police hiding around the building? Or reports they came out of nowhere (BBC, April 17). That doesn’t square with the official story saying they rushed straight from that 9-1-1 call to Norris. More confusion? Possibly. But each additional contradiction becomes that much less plausible as simple error.

But the insistence on 9 minutes does make sense if you think about the bigger picture.
If the gunman only took 9 minutes, then the onus on the police to explain their behavior becomes much less. It’s then no longer a question of what they were doing for the half hour or so in which Cho was rampaging through Norris Hall (not to mention the two hours before) but only what made them delay after they got to Norris at 9:45 (3 minutes after the call).

And that’s simple – the doors were chained shut. Ergo, they had to wait 5 minutes while – by this reckoning – Cho finished off his 9 minute spree.

That this is the significance of having a 9 minute time-line is pretty clear, since the police officers quoted in the article direct their criticism specifically at the 5 minute delay. The critics say it was those few minutes that most significantly increased the number of victims. Meanwhile, for some reason, they’re silent about what the police were doing for the two hours before.

Bringing in the Military

Then, tacked on to the criticism of the 5 minute delay is a discussion (for the first time in the media) of what is known as the ‘active shooter’ paradigm in police operations. The critics say the 5 minute delay wouldn’t have happened if V-Tech had been treated from the start as an ‘active shooter’ situation.

What is an ‘active shooter’ situation? It’s a sniper or shooter crisis where swifter and more aggressive police tactics are required because the perp is careless about his own life and therefore more likely to take as many down with him as he can. Those aggressive tactics, called, ‘Immediate Action Rapid Deployment,’ were developed in the nineties, but really came into prominence only after the Columbine school shootings in 1999. But they still aren’t operational everywhere, supposedly because of lack of funds and training.

But notice that ‘active shooter’ is being referenced in the 4/26 article only in terms of the 5-minute delay. Why? Maybe because it’s a strategy with several advantages:

1. It lets the police take some blame, but not so much that the massacre looks like a case
of negligence. That’s a move that makes it possible to take the focus off police failureand put it on policy changes requiring more laws, more force, and ultimately more
federalization.

2. It dampens public outrage at the individuals who really are culpable. A 5 minute delay isn’t going to work anyone up the way a 2 hour delay would.

3. It lets officials introduce the ‘Immediate Action Rapid Deployment’ (IARD) paradigm into campus policing without undercutting the decisions taken by the administration or the police.

Now, IARD is a distinct step in the militarization of police response and is very much a part of the trend to systematically erase the boundaries between wartime military actions and domestic policing. Domestic crises are more and more described and tackled in military terms, just as foreign military actions are being palmed off as policing operations.

Which is why the article goes on, ”This is a seminal moment for law enforcement as far as I’m concerned because it proves that minutes are critical”

Yes – it’s seminal. V-Tech is going to help put military responses squarely on campus.

What I’m suggesting is that the more officials can take the blame off V-Tech, the more they can push for additional federal policies and laws.

So, if my thesis holds good, officials should also be taking that 2 hour gap between Ambler Johnston and Norris off the table as fast as possible, because that’s where the administration’s culpability is most obvious. Are they?

Indeed they are. One of the first things the V-Tech review panel appointed by former Governor Kaine has done is to state flatly that shutting down the campus couldn’t possibly have done any good because the shooter could always have gone back into his dorm and shot the 900 or so people who lived there. I quote,

“On Thursday, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said that the massacre may not have been averted if the Virginia Tech campus had been locked down after the two shooting deaths at the dorm. ”Well, if the campus had been locked down — because the shooter lived on campus — I mean he could have gone into his dorm with 900 people instead of going into a classroom (and) he could have shot people there,” Kaine said in his monthly listener-question program on WRVA-AM and the Virginia News Network.”

Well, surely this is a straw-man. Locking down the campus was not the only option. V-Tech could also have made an announcement on its PA system for students to lock themselves into their rooms or stay off campus. A siren could have gone off to alert people, instead of an email notice. Police could have been rushed in to guard buildings (they should have been doing that anyway, since there had been a couple of bomb threats in the weeks preceding). How did they manage to shut down the campus so efficiently in August 2006, when survivalist and killer, William Morva, was on the loose?

Kaine’s tendentious announcement also overlooks another bunch of really serious failures on the part of V-Tech. How was it that on a campus where the student population had been disarmed by policy, there were no monitoring cameras nor armed security guards near the dorms who could have stopped the shooter in the first place? Even measly little schools have them; why not this lush, plush campus with its own golf course, power station and airport and what the BBC calls “meticulously manicured” lawns?

How could V- Tech promise its students that the campus was gun-free, if they had no metal detectors or security checks to ensure it? How did Cho leave campus to post his video and re-enter loaded with ammo and guns and not set some detector or alarm off? How could he have even entered a dorm without a security card in the first place? And why were students entering and leaving Ambler Johnston until 10 AM (according to student reports) after the shooting at 7:15?

Is none of that worth noting? Would a little vigilance in any of those things not have helped at all? Does it really just boil down to those 5 minutes?.

Or is the media trying to frame what’s at stake? Seems like it, especially if we look at what else’s is going on.

Framing A Story

Quite early on, Time magazine had an opinion piece (“Va. Tech’s President Should Resign,” John Cloud, 4/19), which – with little serious argument – explicitly directed the public’s attention away from the delay between the two shootings and toward the danger signals Cho was sending up for two year before the shootings.

Now, those two years are problematic too. But the useful thing about focusing on the two years is that the failure to follow up on Cho’s problematic behavior – unlike the two hour delay – can always be blamed on policies.

And in fact, people are doing just that. Inevitably they’ll reach the conclusion that, mirabile dictu, none of it was V-Tech’s fault at all, either. It was the fault of laws, policies, programs, etc. etc…

Notice this report on 4/25 on MSNBC, for instance. It describes students standing firmly behind the V-Tech president and administration. It makes a striking contrast with earlier reports in which students repeatedly and loudly criticized the administration.

Looks a lot as if this show of student confidence developed later. But who’s pushing for the vote of confidence for the people at the top? Let’s see.

Quote: “Johnson plans to present the university Board of Visitors on Thursday with an online petition with thousands of signatures of support for Steger and Flinchum. Steger also received an endorsement from the governor.

”Charlie has been acting as a very, very good president,” Gov. Tim Kaine said. ”This kind of event could happen anywhere on any campus, and there has been an innocence taken away from the students. But the positive values, and academic tradition of this university will help the community stay strong, and keep this university attracting students.” End quote.

I’ve written about this kind of media framing before. First, the media sensationalizes. This is the pulp drama of personal narratives, human interest stories, emotion, drama, color, personalities… Then, when we get to the heart of the matter, the focus quickly shies away to broad questions of law and policy. No one’s ever at fault now. It’s always a failure to communicate, bad laws, not enough funding – anything that lets the bosses off the hook.

That was the MO of the media during the torture debate. Questions about what actually happened were quickly framed out and the debate focused on creating better policies rather than on punishing the people who created the bad ones. It was ultimately only the alternative press which pushed the debate back to where it belonged.

Likewise, at V-Tech, the mainstream public debate has been relentlessly about more federal laws of all kinds – more gun control…. or federalizing the mental health data base… or militarizing security…or imposing speech codes.

Which fits in perfectly with where this government wants to go, as a recent piece by James Bovard, “Working for the Clampdown,” in The American Conservative Magazine (April 27, 2007), indicates. Bovard describes how the Defense Authorization Act of September 30, 2006 makes it easy for the president to impose martial law in the event of what he calls public disorder — which might just be something like an antiwar protest on campus. (Not for nothing was it the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee that held a hearing on college campus security on 4/23 and on 4/26).

Meanwhile Congressman Ron Paul’s Texas newsletter, “Straight Talk,” describes the dangers of an impending and unconstitutional ‘hate crimes’ bill (HR 1592) that has every potential to create a category of “thought crimes.”

With that in mind, you begin to see that despite the overwhelming focus on them, V- Tech is fundamentally not about these things:

It’s Not About More Gun Laws:

The gun control argument runs — Were guns not growing on Virginian trees, this would never have happened, ergo – we need new laws. No guns for nut jobs.

But the trouble with this line of reasoning is that Virginia Tech is already a gun-free zone. Theoretically at least. The university beat back an attempt (in just 2006) by the state of Virginia to allow student to carry concealed weapons on campus. And, Virginia’s gun laws already do prohibit deranged people from purchasing firearms. When Cho bought his two handguns, he was already committing a felony.

It’s Not About More Mental Health Reporting

OK, you ask, then how come Cho’s record of derangement didn’t stop him from buying two guns?

Well, that’s because he had no record. Forget the Feds. He didn’t have one with the state. No one gave him one.

But doesn’t that make the case for more laws regulating the mentally deranged? Not really. The real problem was that the laws already in place weren’t followed.

First, let’s be precise here – no psychiatrist ever saw Cho. A licensed social worker recommended sending him to a treatment facility (and got a special judge to do it) and then a PhD psychologist reckoned he was a threat only to himself (and had the same special judge release him) – all in about 24 hours flat. Some evaluation. It was not only shoddy on its face but in flat violation of state law, which requires an MD to do the job. (“Cho Seung Hui’s Commitment Papers,” Bonnie Goldstein, Slate, April 24, 2007). That’s strike two just there.

And now, strike three. Although Cho was ordered to undergo outpatient treatment, it turns out that no one kept track of whether he did or didn’t. Or kept records of any kind, apparently, all of which is a violation of existing state law.

More details have emerged about what happened at the three state institutions through which Cho passed (“Cho Didn’t Get Court-Ordered Treatment,” Brigid Schulte and Chris L. Jenkins, Washington Post, May 7, 2007).

These were V. Tech’s Cook Counseling Center, Blacksburg’s New River Valley community services board, and nearby Christiansburg’s Carilion St. Alban’s Clinic, which is where Cho ended up staying overnight. Each now says it had no reason, jurisdiction, or wherewithal to follow up. They all saw no evil, heard no evil….. and did nothing at all.

Says Mike Wade, the Blacksburg board’s community liaison, “Since we weren’t named the provider of that outpatient treatment, we weren’t involved in the case.”

Says Terry Teel, Cho’s court appointed lawyer, of the court’s role in overseeing the treatment, “We have no authority.”

Says Christopher Flynn, director of V-Tech’s Cook Counseling center, “I’ve never seen someone delivered to me with an order that says, ‘This person has been discharged; he’s now your responsibility.’ That doesn’t happen.”

Really? What’s on paper contradicts all of them.

Re Virginia Tech. Here are VA state guidelines with which state universities have to comply (Act H 3064 approved by the Governor on March 21, 2007, not even a month before V Tech):

“The governing boards of each public institution of higher education shall develop and implement policies that advise students, faculty, and staff, including residence hall staff, of the proper procedures for identifying and addressing the needs of students exhibiting suicidal tendencies or behavior…….. Nothing in this section shall preclude any public institution of higher education from establishing policies and procedures for appropriately dealing with students who are a danger to themselves, or to others, and whose behavior is disruptive to the academic community.”

Re New River: Virginia state law says that community service boards “shall recommend a specific course of treatment and programs” for people such as Cho who are ordered to receive outpatient treatment. The law also says these boards “shall monitor the person’s compliance.” [Wade claims that’s “news to him.”]

Re St. Alban’s, Virginia law says that if a dangerously mentally ill person ordered into treatment doesn’t go, he can be brought back before the special judge, and if necessary, in a crisis, be committed to a psychiatric institution for up to 6 months.

Let’s put it this way: If Virginia state guidelines for universities had been followed, Cho’s history would have been on record and campus police would have had an eye on him already. And if he had been properly evaluated and monitored according to state mental health requirements, he would have been labeled a danger to society and the state police would have stopped him buying a gun.

So tell me, why do we need more laws when people aren’t following the ones already on the books?

It’s Not About More Funding:

Was it because there weren’t enough funds, as some argue? Community service boards apparently handled 115,000 mentally ill people in Virginia in 2005 at a cost of $127 million. That works out – very roughly – to about a thousand bucks per person. I don’t know if that’s shabby or not. But it doesn’t really seem relevant here. What would it have cost additionally in time or money to call up and find out if Cho had gone into treatment? Ten minutes and the cost of a local phone call.

The whole business is that amazing – no one seems to have known anything or done much of anything. No one seems to have followed up or even thought they had to. For instance, reports say the Cho’s family didn’t seek treatment for him because they didn’t have enough money, yet the family lives in an affluent Virginia neighborhood, sent their children to elite private schools, and gave Cho enough spare change for videos, a car, a cell phone, an escort service (at least once), firearms, an ungodly amount of ammo and training at a firing range.

Isn’t it much more likely that if Cho’s family didn’t get help for him, it was because of the stigma attached to mental illness, which is much greater among Asian families? And would more money really have made that better?

Let states spend as much as they want on community mental health. But don’t tell me Virginia Tech happened because of lack of money.

It’s Not About More Federal Data Bases:

Some argue that reporting to the Feds has to be tightened because under federal law, Cho’s voluntary confinement would have automatically prevented him from buying a gun. (Richard Bonnie, chairman of the Virginia Supreme Court’s Commission on Mental Health Law Reform).

Well, in the first place, as we’ve seen, if he’d been properly evaluated, state laws themselves would have stopped Cho. If people don’t comply with state laws, why are they any more likely to comply with federal laws?

According to the FBI, Virginia is already the leading state in reporting mental health dis-qualifications to the Feds. But, the problems is that Virginia state law is a tad different from the federal law. It lists only two categories that would warrant notifying the state police – “involuntary commitment” or a ruling of “mental “incapacitation” – neither of which applied to Cho, who was confined “voluntarily” and wasn’t ruled incapacitated.

Immediately after the shootings, Governor Tim Kaine (a Democrat) eliminated this distinction. He also said he thought V-Tech would help push through legislation he supports that would also subject firearms sales at gun shows to instant background checks (legislation introduced annually in Virginia that dies before a floor vote in the General Assembly).

[Interestingly, a move to expand Virginia’s mental health laws was already in the works in October 2006. It’s goal was to “modify the criteria for placing people in emergency care by eliminating a requirement that they pose an “imminent” danger to themselves or others.”
Precisely what’s now being demanded as a result of the V-Tech shootings.]

But will making every state law automatically comply with federal law on this make things better or worse? I’m not sure. If people know that their mental health evaluations automatically go into a federal data base, will that make them even more reluctant to seek help they might need? Is it a provision that might be misused by vengeful spouses? I don’t know. And what if, in the present political climate, expression of certain beliefs – say, conspiracy theories about the government – were classified as signs of mental derangement? And suppose you could be forced into psychiatric evaluation for that? What if the hate crimes bill on the table now makes even thinking or speaking a certain way a sign not only of derangement but of criminal intent toward society. You get my drift. I’m afraid that the unintended bad of more federalization might come to outweigh the hoped-for good of standardization.

In any case, to my mind, the real problem lies with the special justice who released Cho and then decided he had to attend outpatient – not inpatient – treatment  Whether Cho was sent to V Tech’s Cook center or not (Cook’s not returning calls), mental health advocates and state officials call it pretty unusual to order outpatient treatment for someone labeled a imminent danger to himself. Usually, it’s an inpatient order, says Mary Zdanowicz, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center. And, a 1994 survey of special justices found that outpatient treatment was ordered in just 8 percent of the commitment hearings, among other things, because they’re hard to monitor (Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission).

In short, measured just by current laws and care standards, Cho’s evaluation seems to have been shoddy and the special justice’s remedy poorly conceived.
And I don’t see why more laws would change that.

In fact, part of the problem looks like too much regulatory apparatus and too many state bodies with orbits that were designed to mesh but ended up clashing and too little common sense and care.

The three agencies involved at V-Tech shared responsibility like the three crones in the myth shared one eye — they fumbled so much as they passed it around that they dropped it.

In short, what we have here is a full-throttle display of the Diminishing Utility of More Bureaucrats and Laws (DUMBEL), whereby what was everyone’s responsibility became no one’s job.

Meanwhile, the policies that should be discussed are not.
We still have no account of what medication Cho was taking, although his room mates have told us they saw him taking a pill regularly in the mornings.

And we have even less discussion about a matter of crucial importance now:

How to hold the state accountable for laws it expects us to follow but doesn’t follow itself.

A piece in the Chronicle of Higher Educatio, April 24, describes the potential for litigation at V-Tech and quotes lawyers who have suggested that the university showed gross negligence.
But of course, the panel’s swift and well publicized conclusion easily gets to trump that in the public debate.

Meanwhile, the media, which rushed to shove microphones and cameras in the faces of grieving friends and family, hasn’t shown much interest in reporting on what victims face if they do try to press their claims: The doctrine of sovereign immunity. A relic of common law, it protects a state university like Virginia Tech from litigation by citizens. States have relaxed the doctrine to allow state hospitals, for example, to be sued for malpractice, still, any plaintiff at V-Tech, I am reliably told, would have to establish a case of gross negligence and they would have only 6 months to press claims. That means any stalling by the university helps it to avert a lawsuit by reducing the amount of time victims have to collect information and prepare a case. It’s very likely that the victims don’t even know about the doctrine.

The doctrine of sovereign immunity, by the way, holds that a state can do no wrong because the state creates the law and thus cannot be subject to it. On that count at least, it looks like the State of Virginia is already perfectly in synch with the Federal government these days.

Cho – new details: security, shooter theories, psych profile, updated 5/2

Update: Apparently he fired 225 rounds altogether, according to this report:

Cho fired as many as 225 shots in rampage

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Cho SeungHui fired off as many as 225 shots as he gunned down 30 students and faculty on the campus of Virginia Tech before turning the gun on himself, a law enforcement source told CNN Friday.

That figure is based on the number of bullets and the 17 empty ammunition magazines found at Norris Hall, the source said.

Another law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said most of the victims were shot at least three times. A doctor who treated some of the survivors Monday said they also had multiple gunshot wounds, and no one had less than three. –From CNN’s Deb Feyerick and Kevin Bohn (Posted 2:08 p.m.)

Update: There is an ABC report, May 2, saying that a note was left after the first shooting at Ambler Johnston. This gets really confusing. Are they talking about the 8 page note said to be in his backpack or found in his room, depending on which report you read? Or is this something new? Puzzled.

Update: 45 hits (dead and injured) according to some, 61 according to Wiki -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_victims_of_the_Virginia_Tech_massacre

OK….each victim was hit at least 3 times, so that’s 135 hits…and maybe more, say 150, out of 170 rounds fired, which is a very high hit rate. If we use wiki’s figure, that’s 183…out of 170!

Have to check when that report about 255 rounds came out .Is that old? Unsubstantiated? A new version to make the whole thing make sense? No idea right now.

 

Wiki’s description of Cho before high school makes him sound very normal; it’s even positive:

Cho studied at Poplar Tree Elementary School in Chantilly, an unincorporated section of Fairfax County. According to Kim Gyeong-won, Cho’s friend in elementary school for three years (and currently a student of Seoul’s Kyung Hee University), Cho finished the school’s three-year program in one and a half years. Cho was noted for being good at mathematics and English, and teachers pointed to him as an example for other students.[18]

Kim met Cho in fifth grade, attending the same classes and riding the school bus together. There were only three Korean students in the school.[19] Back then, he said, nobody hated Cho and he “was recognised by friends as a boy of knowledge… a good dresser who was popular with the girls.” Cho kept a distance from others because he chose to do so. Kim added that “I only have good memories about him.”[18][19]

 

In an interview with WSLS News Channel 10 in Roanoke, Chastity Frye told the station she was hired by Cho for an hour of services.“He was so quiet, I really couldn’t get much from him, he was so distant,” said Frye. “It seemed like he wasn’t all there.” In relation to this, I want to note that there were also reports that Cho had been interested in a college mate and then had complained that he saw “promoscuities” in her eyes.

Others have speculated about Cho’s isolation, pointing out that V Tech was renowned for the beauty of the young women who studied there and that the taciturn, moroseCho might have felt acutely isolated. Cho was actually a Math A student in high school who switched to English. Others have suggested that Cho was a narcissist whose complete self-abosrption , grandiosity and lack of empathy led him to avenge his own failings on others. They point out the exhibitionism displayed in the methodical nature of the killings, the exibitionism in the videos, the dress-up aspect of it – cutting his hair close and working out in the weeks before, as well as discarding his gold rimmed glasses.

This post suggests schizophrenia, associated with the children of parents who work as dry-cleaners, and caused by chemicals used in their work.

Here he is described as having conversations with himself and having stopped coming to class for a month before the killing. Doesn’t anyone keep track of attendance?

One blog post theorizes that Cho could not have been the killer, because of the nature of the gunshots that killed him. The poat also notes the early descriptions of a killer fleeing the building and of someone who was 6 ft doing the shooting.

There was no one who actually witnessed him killing himself as everone in the room (except one person) was dead in the classroom in which Cho’s body was found. That story is repeated in this account too.

Now, this report states that the police heard the last shot just as they climbed to the second floor. They didn’t say they actually aw him do it.
Another interesting fact is reported in this article which suggests that Cho might have been of Japanese origin (??? doesn’t look Japanese to me, but I know nothing about the area) and that he might be one of a group of children (maybe it means Korean children) kidnapped and trained to harass adults. Need to learn more about this.

And this:

A school official points to the name of Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman in the Virginia Tech shootings in Blacksburg, Va., in a school record at the Shinchang Elemetary School that Cho attended for first grade and half of second grade in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 18, 2007. Cho‘s family had struggled while living in South Korea and emigrated to the U.S. to seek a better life, a newspaper reported Wednesday. The Korean words read ” Immigrate to oversea, Cho Seung-Hui.”

I am not certain if this next post is authentic, but, in it apparently the gun-owner who sold the Glock to Cho says that the ATF ( Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) indicated to him that they would keep the information about the receipt (not clear) low-key. (Warning: not clear about this thread’s authenticity)

A Washington Post report describes the killer as impassive and in blue jeans and blue jacket (later he was laughing and wearing all black):

“The shooter, whose name was not released last night, wore bluejeans, a blue jacket and a vest holding ammunition, witnesses said. He carried a 9mm semiautomatic and a .22-caliber handgun, both with the serial numbers obliterated, federal law enforcement officials said. Witnesses described the shooter as a young man of Asian descent — a silent killer who was calm and showed no expression as he pursued and shot his victims. He killed himself as police closed in.”
By the way, the media is mistaken in calling this the biggest school killing. The most prolific school killer is Andrew Kehoe (45 people) in the Bath School disaster, three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, USA, on May 18, 1927.

This report talks about the number of rounds: 170 rounds were fired in 9 minutes. His body was found in a classroom with his victims. That time frame sounds incredible to me, although I hear that the Glock is capable of it.
More on Security:

Here, for comparison, is the security routine that is actually practiced on most campuses. V- Tech, despite its prior experiences, seems to be quite lax:

Boise State is actively patrolled by campus security officers, law enforcement officers and parking services personnel. The Boise Police Department is physically located on campus with a dispatch center that monitors alarms and then sends security and police officers to incidents on campus.
We are assigned six police officers plus one lieutenant exclusively. There are 38 emergency blue light phones on campus that have a direct line to the Boise police substation.

 

In the residence halls, there are on-site professional staff members 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are two security officers assigned exclusively to the residence halls. All doors require electronic card access to open.

 

Boise State operates a department of public safety. Campus security is very active in crime prevention. For example, Boise State offers an emergency cell phone program, online crime reporting services and an Ask-A-Cop program among other safety initiatives.

 

*******************

 

Now here are some timelines/explanations I’ve gathered:
This report details early explanations given by by the school.

And this has an early description of the shootings.

Monday, April 16th 2007 12:23PM
Virginia Tech police have confirmed 22 fatalities resulting from the campus shootings today. The gunman has also been confirmed dead.

Three people were escorted out of Norris Hall by police. The three were handcuffed, separated, questioned, unhandcuffed and then canine teams were sent into Norris Hall said junior computer engineer Nick Saunders who watched the events unfold from the the second floor of Randolph Hall.

According to the university, classes have been cancelled for Tuesday, April 17.

Monday, April 16th 2007 11:57AM
Three people were escorted out of Norris Hall in handcuffs by police. The three were then unhandcuffed and canine teams were sent into Norris Hall.
http://collegemedia.com/

Further details:

An Arlington County consulting firm that evaluated the emergency response to the 1999 Columbine High School shootings and other public safety crises has been hired by state officials to assist the panel that will investigate the Virginia Tech massacre.

TriData Corp. will provide staff and research support to the eight-member panel named last week by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D). Kaine, in Northern Virginia yesterday for a community meeting with the South Korean ambassador, met privately with Philip S. Schaenman, TriData’s president. Schaenman said the contract terms are being worked out.

A division of defense contractor System Planning Corp., TriData is best known for studying fire safety issues. But it also conducted a study for the Federal Emergency Management Agency on police and emergency medical response to the shootings at Columbine, in which two students killed 15, including themselves, at the Colorado school. The report pointed out problems with communications and management of the disaster scene.

The firm was retained by Virginia officials to review the chaotic response to a false positive anthrax test at the Pentagon’s remote mail facility and a similar alarm at Defense Department sites in Fairfax County in March 2005.

Again the firm concluded that poor communication and unclear chains of command hampered coordination between federal officials and local jurisdictions.Schaenman told a congressional committee that the response was “the homeland security version of the fog of war.”

ABC made an interesting gaffe related to whether the Feds actually have a data base of all drugs:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3048108&page=2

“Some news accounts have suggested that Cho had a history of antidepressant use, but senior federal officials tell ABC News that they can find no record of him in the governments files on controlled substances. This does not completely rule out prescription drug use, including samples from a physician, drugs obtained through illegal Internet sources, or a gap in computer databases, but the sources say theirs is a reasonably complete search.

(NOTE: Some readers may have inferred from an earlier edition of this story that the federal government keeps a comprehensive record of all prescriptions. The Drug Enforcement Agency says it does track prescriptions of so-called controlled substances — including some mood-altering medications — but not all prescriptions made in the United States.)

More details:

Sections of chain similar to those used to lock the main doors at Norris Hall, the site of the second shooting that left 31 dead, were also found inside a Virginia Tech dormitory, sources confirmed to ABC News.

One neighbor, Marshall Main, describes Cho’s parents as quiet and polite. Neither Main nor another neighbor recalled seeing the son in recent years.

Mask and speech mentioned in early report of killer’s demeanor

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=22&art_id=nw20070418093520510C653345

By The Associated Press

BLACKSBURG, Va. — A shooting at a Virginia Tech dorm Monday left one person dead and one wounded, a state government official with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press.

A government official with knowledge of the shooting said the gunman had been arrested. [emphasis added]

The state university said on its Web site that a shooting had occurred at a residence hall and that students should stay in their homes away from windows.

“There’s just a lot of commotion. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on,” said student Jason Anthony Smith, 19, who lives in the building where the shooting took place.

The shooting was reported at West Ambler Johnston Hall.

Officials ordered the campus closed, the second time in less than a year the 26,000-student campus was shut because of a shooting.

In August 2006, the opening day of classes was canceled and the campus closed when an escaped jail inmate allegedly killed a hospital guard off campus and fled to the Tech area. A sheriff’s deputy involved in the manhunt was killed on a trail just off campus.

The accused gunman, William Morva, faces capital murder charges.

Cho suspected his Taiwanese girlfriend of seeing another man and had a row with her in the West Ambler Johnston Residence Hall, a co-ed dormitory in the sprawling campus of the university Monday morning. When a residentadvisor came to resolve the problem between the two students, Cho shot him. He then shot the girl.

University police, who came to West Ambler in response to an emergency call, told inmates of the dormitory to stay inside and started investigations.

Cho reported as smiling in early reports:

According to one witness, “he shot every person thrice” with a smile on his face. G.V. Loganathan, the 51-year-old Indian origin professor of civil and environmental engineering, was taking a class when Cho shot him in his head.

According to reports, also killed was Minal Panchal, a 26-year-old female Indian student who was attending Loganathan’s class.

http://www.drudge.com/news/93413/cho-seung-hui-spoke-class-monday

In recent weeks his routine had changed. His roommates say he went to the campus gym at night, lifting weights to bulk up. He went for a haircut — surprising them by coming back to the room with a military-style buzz cut.

Aust and another roommate, Karan Grewal, say they were aware that Cho had pursued women on campus. They said he also seemed to have an imaginary girlfriend, a supermodel named “Jelly.” ”

Uh-oh. Cho was sneakin’ around with Sick Willy’s main squeeze, Jelly.

Think her initials are K Y.?

And that military buzz cut. That’s a dead give away. All atheist Buddhist mass murderers have those, if you will notice.

Delay in reporting deaths:

Ross Alammedine

Mass. man slain in Virginia Tech massacre mourned in Saugus

by jay lindsay / associated press writer

> email this to a friend

APR 17, 2007 10:10 PM EDT

SAUGUS, Mass. (AP) — When the computers went down at Austin Preparatory School, there was no need to call the technicians if Ross Alameddine was around.

Alameddine was a well-known a computer whiz, fixing problems so quickly that teachers didn’t bother with the IT guys. He also sold computers during a summer job at a mall a few miles from his Saugus house.

On Tuesday, the drapes at that house were drawn as his family mourned the 20-year-old Alameddine’s death at the hands of a senior who killed 32 in a mass murder at the Virginia Tech campus, before turning the gun on himself.

A few feet from the door of his Saugus home, a police cruiser was parked around midday to keep the media away and help the family deal with their grief in private.

“I’m just trying to get through the day here,” said Alameddine’s mother, Lynnette, said earlier Tuesday.

Stunned friends and former teachers remembered Alameddine not only for his smarts in a range of subjects, from math to foreign languages, but also for his dry wit and ironic sense of humor.

“We’re very sad that he’s gone,” said David Boschetto, a math teacher at Austin Prep, the private school in Reading where Alameddine’s sister also attended. “It was very, very shocking to me and the rest of his teachers … He was just a wonderful kid.”

The sophomore was in French class at the Blacksburg, Va., school on Monday when Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old, moved between classrooms, indiscriminately shooting at students in morning classes.

Lynnette Alameddine didn’t find out her son was one of the victims until more than 12 hours later, which she called “outrageous.”

“It happened in the morning and I did not hear (about her son’s death) until a quarter to 11 at night,” she said. “That was outrageous. Two kids died, and then they shoot a whole bunch of them, including my son.”

At Best Buy in Saugus, store manager Rich Stoney followed the news of the shootings because he knew his summer worker Alameddine went to Virginia Tech. He was devastated to learn the young employee was among the dead.

Stoney said Alameddine was fun-loving, good-humored and had a great touch with customers because he was able to relate his “exceptional” computer skills to the average person.

“There’s not enough good things to say about that kid,” Stoney said.

Classmate Katherine Williams said Alameddine was known in the tight Austin Prep community as a genial kid who was ready to lend a hand with homework, if needed.

Later in his high school career, Alameddine developed at interest in drama, and performed in the school’s production of the Agatha Christie play, “The Mousetrap.”

His interest in gaming was seen in a March post on a blog about Guild Wars, an online role-playing game.

At a facebook.com tribute, friends recalled Alameddine as “extraordinarily witty and sarcastic, strong willed and a grammar god far superior to all of us.”

At the Web site, some longtime classmates wrote about their days in school withAlameddine, dating back to St. Mary’s elementary and middle school in Melrose. They recalled everything from his “crazy legs” on the dance floor to where he sat in French class.

Some expressed their grief with poems and others, like a student from Bridgewater State College, kept the goodbyes simple. He wrote, “rest easy ross.”

——

 

 

V-Tech: Oddities – Photo of 30 bullets, Cho suicide note, updated 4/26 AM

This article from the Sidney Morning Herald draws attention to something that also puzzles me. Granted that Cho trained at a firing range (and also possibly through video games, although this is controversial and possibly mistaken) and may have been at it for a long time for all we know, still, how could he have figured he was going to shoot 30 people and then actually go and kill 30 people (in the second killing)?

Did he practice some kind of autohypnosis, taking the photo and then dwelling on the image to “psych” himself into doing it? It’s possible. Certainly, visualization is a very important part of peak performance training in many areas for a good reason; it works.

But then, if he was really able to shoot that accurately (the reports say he was firing from close range and missing a lot, as well), why not be completely accurate; why not 32 bullets for his 32 victims?

Could this be interpreted to mean that he only focused on the second killing not the first? Or only committed the second?
Could there still be a chance that there was another killer involved, as well (- which the police themselves haven’t entirely ruled out)? Theories will abound. We still need a lot more.

Another point: I found this early report saying no suicide note had been left. This is two days after the killing. That’s clearly wrong, since the suicide note was reported quite early on, although its location has never been made clear. That might be understandable. There was a lot of confusion at the crime scene.
The suicide note was reported in one account to have been in the room. Now I hear it was found either in the back pack found in the hall of Norris Hall OR in the room.

Another point is made in this quote:

“Along with 23 short videos of himself, Cho included a well-produced but rambling 1800-word manuscript, replete with 80 photographs, including some of him brandishing weapons and dressed as he was on Monday when he murdered 32 students before killing himself.”

Comment: So – the 43 photos mentioned in other reports must just be the photos that NBC has decided to release. That means they have more. Wonder why they have been withheld.

I would understand if they’re holding back to minimize copycat shootings or to protect the the victims, with which I would fully agree. But, of course, they were willing to release the other pictures, so I doubt that’s the reason. Maybe there is inflammatory material or things that need to be private so the investigation isn’t jeopardised.

Or – here’s a thought. Maybe, the photos (if they exist) are just more of the same; but withholding them allows them to create nebulous suspicions, on both sides of the political aisle.

Final Point:

Another quote from the same article:

“In it, Cho, 23, also makes a chilling reference to the “martyrs Eric and Dylan.”

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were responsible for the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, when 12 students and a teacher were killed before they turned the guns on themselves.”

My Comment:

Notice the jihadi-type of language – “martyrs.” Of course this language (what with all the Osama videos we’ve seen in the past few years) is part of the zeitgeist in which Cho grew up. This could be nothing more than that cultural baggage. To counterbalance that, here’s the actual language from this report:

He wrote (apologies for quoting offensive material): “Now that you have gone on a 9/11 on my life like (expletive deleted) Osama. Now that you have (expeletive deleted) your own people like (expletive deleted) Kim Jong-Il. Now that you have gone on a hummer safari on my life like (expeletive deleted) Bush? Are you happy now?”

My Comment:

Sounds more like a diatribe…he’s not exactly endorsing Osama or Kim Il Jong; he also identified himself with the crucified Christ, but that won’t stop the bloggers.
In one sense, it doesn’t really matter how you interpret the evidence. Just the fact of speculating and being anxious or uncertain creates a kind of trauma in the mind. That ‘s a technique that is extensively researched and used in specific acts of coercion and mental torture. And propaganda against foreign populations. What may be less understood is how it is used in propaganda against the domestic population.

Update: here’s a link to my post on the new, declassified IG’s report on the involvement of psychologists in framing torture techniques, and inferentially, torture  policy.