The horror at Virginia Tech caught me by deep surprise yesterday, when I decided to check a news website for a brief respite while at work. The format of the page–with a headline up top, made me pause. What the hell had happened. And then I was filled with grief.

This morning, the shooter was identified as a Korean student at Virginia Tech, who brutally carried out his plan, shooting most of his victims with no less than three bullets. What’s more:

One law enforcement official said Cho’s backpack contained a receipt for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol. As a permanent legal resident of the United States, Cho was eligible to buy a handgun unless he had been convicted of a felony.

No amount of information can explain what happened, and why it happened this way. Still, I find myself reading news reports, hungry for understanding. And right now, I am becoming a proponent of gun control.

In another note, a statement was issued from the South Korean embassy:

The Embassy of the Republic of Korea is shocked and dismayed by the violent crime that took place on April 16th at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. We express our deepest sympathies and most sincere condolences to the victims and their families and friends.

Additionally, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a note of condolence, adding that they hoped that the tragedy would not “stir up racial prejudice or confrontation.” I too, as a Korean American, can’t help but express that fear myself–I hope that the tragedy doesn’t broaden.

Update: Cho Seung Hui was a writer, it seems. And a reporter gotten ahold of his writings, which allegedly landed him in counseling, so alarming were they to his professor and classmates. The two plays on AOL news are called Richard McBeef and Mr. Brownstone — at first glance, he clearly has a penchant for titling his stories after characters.

Have read a few pages of “Mr. Brownstone.

A first glimpse at “Mr. Brownstone” leads quickly to violent dialogue that says “I wanna kill him…I wanna watch him bleed like he made us kids bleed.”

Nevermind the vivid and violent imagery presented to us even earlier on, one that makes me sit in silent awe at how much anger the lines contain:

His shit is so thick and oddly shaped that he can’t go and all his shit are piled up in his intestines all the way up to his chest. He probably rips his sphincter to relieve a single gram of turd after two hours of pushing, sweating, teeth clenching, screaming in frustration, and holding breath for a half gram of green mold shit.

The lines are spoken by a character named “John,” but to me, it’s clearly an expression of how much rage the writer (Cho) held in. The emotional “constipation” and the horrifying character of the output (aka “shit” that is thick, oddly shaped, moldy green, and inflicts great pain and bodily harm) speaks miles.



Filed under Life, The World

6 responses to “horror

  1. I was thinking about this this morning, reading a lot of what I would call irresponsible headlines, i.e. “Shooter from South Korea” and so on. I too hope that people don’t rush to judge a country and its people by one person’s actions.

  2. It shocked me as well. Though, I really hope that people don’t develop prejudice for one group of people based on the actions of one.

  3. This is heartbreaking. And reading his plays, that excerpt you posted, frightening.

  4. It is all thoroughly heartbreaking and this will not leave my psyche soon, if ever. Reading his writings just makes it all the more painful and heartwrenching. Could this have been prevented? Could people’s lives have been saved? Could his life have been saved? The questions multiply.

    My editor asked me to write an article about this event (I had not written anything for the magazine since before my stroke)–and without hesitating I said yes.

    I wrote the article in two hours (a record breaker for slow-writing me)–and now it is in my editor’s hands. Did I write something too personal? Who knows. But this thing really does something to a person’s psyche, doesn’t it?

  5. Like Gord said, this is not an issue of ethnicity, so the news needs to stop mentioning race. It is a human issue. That should be personal to us all so you shouldn’t worry about your article. I’m sure it will make people think just as your entries here do.

    And it really made me think of all the pedagogies we discussed in our theories&strageties class. I remember reading how a composition teacher is supposed to be distant from the student’s work, which would be impossible for me!

  6. this hurts me, too–as a teacher, as a student, as a writer, as a girl from northern va. who graduated from one of the victims’ high schools ten years ago. i worry about the demonization of a particular group of people too. in addition to people of korean descent (and by default asians in general since most of society judges on first glance and not by much more), i worry about the images of people with mental illness.

    i liked what nikki giovanni said about her former student, the gunman: “‘I know we’re talking about a troubled youngster and crap like that, but troubled youngsters get drunk and jump off buildings; troubled youngsters drink and drive,'” Giovanni said. “‘I’ve taught troubled youngsters. I’ve taught crazy people. It was the meanness that bothered me. It was a really mean streak.'” (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/18/vtech.shooting/index.html).
    I appreciated the distinction she made, if only for my purely selfish reasons.

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