Saturday, September 1, 2007

Cho's Problems, and It Wasn't the Guns

There is quite an interesting follow up on the story of Cho, the Virginia Tech gunman:

"The gunman responsible for the April massacre at Virginia Tech was a sickly child — shy, frail and leery of physical contact by the time he was 3. His teachers said he began showing suicidal and homicidal tendencies by the eighth grade."

Apparently his parents and teachers made many accommodations for him, such as allowing him to avoid oral presentations, which kept him fairly stable through high school. However, he clearly had problems:

" At the urging of teachers, he went to counseling and art therapy before starting seventh grade and was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. He rebuffed his parents' suggestions that he take part in more extracurricular activities, remaining withdrawn.

In March 1999, the eighth-grader began drawing tunnels and caves that a therapist said could signify depression, or worse. A month later, after the murders at Columbine High School in Colorado, he wrote a paper saying he wanted to repeat the attacks — an exercise he would repeat in the spring of 2006 with a fictional tale that hinted at what was to come."

His family and counselors tried to get him to attend a small college close to home, but Cho insisted on going to Virginia Tech.
There was nary a mention of weapons in the article, and for good reason. Cho was a bomb waiting to go off, and all it took as separation from all those loving forces that had held him together all those years to do it. Guns, knives, explosives, the means mattered little. This was clearly not a problem with gun laws. It was a problem with how we handle mentally ill people in our society, and we have a lot of work to do.

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