Wednesday, April 18, 2007


The college student responsible for yesterday's Virginia Tech slaughter was referred last year to counseling after professors became concerned about the violent nature of his writings, as evidenced in a one-act play obtained by The Smoking Gun. The play by Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old English major, was submitted last year as part of a short story writing class. Entitled "Richard McBeef," Cho's bizarre play features a 13-year-old boy who accuses his stepfather of pedophilia and murdering his father. A copy of the killer's play can be found below. The teenager talks of killing the older man and, at one point, the child's mother brandishes a chain saw at the stepfather. The play ends with the man striking the child with "a deadly blow."

Reproduced from here

Hindsight is 20/20, but I can't help thinking a trained psychiatrist/psychologist's eye would've probably seen the hints to a very disturbed and sick person's mind behind that kind of writing.

Why wasn't this sick person attended to immediately? Is it because we have too many angst-ridden, perverted, depraved emotions being thrown around inconsequentially to a point of desensitizing everyone? Is it because nobody could actually take any action in the absence of a direct threat? Is it because nobody has the time to care?

An unnamed professor who taught Cho characterized his work as "very adolescent" and "silly," with attempts at "slapstick comedy" and "elements of violence."

, Cho's former creative writing professor, and former English department chairperson, says she was disturbed by the student's behavior and writing to the point of warning campus police and other officials about him, but was told they could not do much as no direct threat was involved and could not violate his rights of free speech.

Reproduced from the wiki

Glory be to free speech, the freedom to own arms.


Tachyoson said...

its just like that incident where a 2mm difference in the width of a screw holding a plane together came apart.

the devil's in the details?

Perspective Inc said...

Its just so damn terrible!

Shek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shek said...

I would have done what Dane Cook recommends...find the unhappy loner in school and give him a candy bar and say Hi every day. So, when he goes on a rampage with a Glock 9mm, he sees me and thinks..thats the nice guy...I wont kill him today.

Jokes apart, I think the greater picture is the trend in USA, not just with that poor student in VT. What is it in USA that drives people to grab guns and go bezerk in a school campus of some sort? I dont think it is too much for me to co-relate all school shootings to a deficiency of some sort with the US social structure.

Rebellion said...


Sakshi said...

Such a mindless tragedy.
We don't know what prompted him to do it. But I think more than the gun control debate, we really should be talking about the psychiatric help in this country. This tragedy could have been prevented if he had received proper help.
And while I am in the mood, will someone tell the reporters to let the families grieve!! And stop calling the guy south Korean - he was an American citizen....

Neihal said...

"Is it because we have too many angst-ridden, perverted, depraved emotions being thrown around inconsequentially to a point of desensitizing everyone?"

I hope not. really!

That would be the saddest thing :(

Shek said...

you are right. We do have too many of those angst etc. people...and you know how to stop that? BEAT YOUR KIDS PEOPLE. People just stopped beating their kids to discipline them. They didn't stop there and went ahead to promote the NRA. This obviously may not hold true for the poor south Korean kid. I have no way of estimating the kid-disciplining culture in his country.

ggop said...

The professor is not anonymous. Her article appeared in the NYT. Lucinda Roy is the co director of the Creative Writing Dept.

Also, the guy got kicked out of Prof Giovanni's class because of weird writing. The class enrolment dropped from 70 to 7 students. Lucinda had 1:1 sessions and offered to go with him for counseling sessions.

But they could not force him.

Sorry for making this such a long comment.

Klastos said...

Are you suggesting censorship?

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

tachy, true. i guess nobody took these things seriously.

it is. :(

i agree with you on both counts- i don't get the gun culture and there's definitely something lacking about the social structure.,...but a person that sick needed medical help- no friends could've helped

haan yaar. :(

i think both are important points.

ti seems like it's getting that way,

dunno about beating and disciplining, but a family needs to be more involved.

ok, i just reproduced things from wiki. i read later that the guy went to get mental health support and was allowed to leave. it is a very grey area and i am not sure what can help..

no probs with log comments :)

no, not at all. i was just making a statement about how much emphasis there is on "free speech" and "an individual's freedom" etc. there's so much more to life than that, but it seems like most of us are immune.

Klastos said...

Someone sent me this article and it seemed relevant to what you appear to be saying:,,20036014,00.html

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

i saw that link, thanks. i find it hard to believe that "psychotic" writing is simply a creative outlet. I am of course, not the most well-versed with creative writing.

I am not saying that anyone who writes angst-ridden essays is suspect for a suicidal delusional person or a mass murderer. But the angst must be originating from some sadness, and the person might be asking for help. I think it should be followed up- do a lot of students turn in extreme essays like that? I don't know, and I think not. So it might not be so difficult to follow up the ones that do? correct me if I'm wrong- I only grade biochemistry papers. :p

But may be thats what Cho's writings were perceived as - just "creative" writing- and never raised any red flags. We do know, now, that he was taken in for counseling because of other things he did. Eventually he slipped through the cracks..which is unfortunate.

I agree that it's a grey area and nobody really can tell one from the other.