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The Troubled Mind of the Virginia Tech Shooting Suspect

My heart goes out to the victims in the Virginia Tech mass shooting incident. So many young lives wasted, so many tears, so many questions. WHY? WHY?

I can just imagine the grief and hoplessness the victims’ families are feeling right now. What boggles me is the mental state of [tag]Cho Seung-Hui[/tag], the 23-year-old suspect in the [tag]Virginia Tech[/tag] massacre that left 33 people dead and others hospitalized.

What troubled him?

Take a look.

On Tuesday, authorities identified as a senior undergraduate English major at the school, where officials have said that Cho’s creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school’s counseling service, the Associated Press reports.

“He was a loner, and we’re having difficulty finding information about him,” school spokesman Larry Hincker said Tuesday. Police and university officials, however, could not provide any reason for why he might have been responsible for the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history.

Still, the Chicago Tribune reports that Cho was becoming increasingly violent and erratic, and that he left a rambling note in his on-campus dormitory room in which he railed against “rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” at school. The paper, on its Web site, also said he recently set a fire in a dorm room and stalked some women.

Source: Virginia Tech Suspect Called ‘A Loner’

I agree with Cathy that bullying can be a culprit or some childhood abuses might have aggravated his state of mind. A high school classmate says that Cho Seung-Hui was bullied by fellow high school students who mocked his shyness and the strange way he talked.

His professor had concerns over his creative writing and who described Cho as “troubled.” Apparently he was referred to the counseling service, though the results are unknown as of this time.

Do you think Counselling is enough to sort out a troubled mind? Perhaps his medication for mental depression was not the right meds. With therapy and with the right meds, Cho might have had a chance. But without any professional help, a troubled person has impaired social interaction and other difficulties. Even reading blogs or being a blogger might not be enough to soothe a troubled mind.

Persons with a troubled mind can’t just snap out of their miserable state. They need professional help.

I don’t want to blame the boy’s family for this. See, a family can get used to their children’s personality thinking it is normal behavior.

Take for instance this bereaved mother of a 23 year old boy who died by suicide. So why am I comparing suicide and the mass shooting? Let me continue…the boy was a loner, who kept to himself in his room during weekends. The mother tried to get answers surrounding the death of his son from his friends but didn’t get any. Though he had friends, he never confided in them. His friends were just as baffled. The mother suspects that her son had a troubled mind after she was told that suicide may have been caused by her son’s undiagnosed depression.

My point is the family might not be able to sense or assess if their kids are troubled. Is it the school’s responsibility to inform the parents of the boy of their suspicions. After this shooting massacre, will teachers become more sensitive to their student’s writing? Will creative writing students inhibit themselves from writing dark and depressing themes for fear of being labelled as “troubled”?

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university’s English department has this to say

Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it’s creative or if they’re describing things, if they’re imagining things or just how real it might be. But we’re all alert to not ignore things like this.

Professor Lucinda Roy adds that

““I think it’s crazy” that there are no stronger procedures for dealing with seriously troubled students, she said in an interview with NBC News. ““I think there needs to be a change. We must intervene, and that is all there is to it.”

My personal view on the matter is that the school should inform the parents if they see signs of a “troubled mind”. How else will the parents know? The sad part is that since the boy is in a US college, parents don’t need to be informed.

What about the children in our own country?

Schools implement random drug testing which is commendable . The good news is that drug usage is measurable and parents can take action to rehabilitate their children. What about our kids’ mental state? It’s not easily identified. Schools like Ateneo College require annual psychological testing. I don’t think the state university requires psychological testing. I have heard of death by suicides in my alma mater even during my time. Our country might not experiece a similar [tag]Virginia Tech Shooting[/tag] spree because guns are not easily available. But wait. Troubled kids go into drugs though. And when they can’t get their drugs, they might commit criminal offenses.

School , family , peer pressures and a troubled mind are just a few of the ingredients to snap a fragile mind.

Let’s all take care of our mental health as well.

Breaking News indicates he was declared dangerous even before the shooting incident.
Virginia Tech Suspect /></p>
<p><a href=Cho Seung-Hui : A killer’s Manifesto:

CNN also learned Wednesday that in 2005 Cho was declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice, who declared he was “an imminent danger” to himself, a court document states.

A temporary detention order from General District Court in the commonwealth of Virginia said Cho “presents an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness.”

A box indicating that the subject “Presents an imminent danger to others as a result of mental illness” was not checked.

In another part of the form, Cho was described as “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization, and presents an imminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness, or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for self, and is incapable of volunteering or unwilling to volunteer for treatment.”

More at Gunman sent package to NBC News

here is the youtube of [tag]Cho Seung-Hui Killing Manifesto[/tag]

12 thoughts on “The Troubled Mind of the Virginia Tech Shooting Suspect”

  1. Noemi, that was very good idea — when schools see that something is bothering the students, they have to inform the parents. but i am not sure about the culture of other countries (i will not anymore mention country’s names because it might be sensitive). they have this thing like protecting privacy, human rights. though of course there should be a partnership between parent and schooling. particularly also if the student is already an adult.

    as to professional psychiatric help, the filipino mentality has not yet really accepted this. there is always the wrong connotation of going to the psychiatrist. perhaps it is high time that media–TV, radio, new media, blogs (just like what you are doing now), podcasts–to educate the filipino about good mental state.

  2. @sexymom- yes even consultations with a shrink is taboo. Parents think they are already a failure if they are recommended to see a psychiatrist. I know of a parent who refused to believe her child in the USA was severely depressed. The parents told her that she just needs to pray more. Desperation is a sin, they adviced their kid.

    Fortunately a sensitive friend called them up and told them that their daughter was driving in circles (literally ) and pulling her hair out. Only then did they bring their daughter back home.

  3. I’d agree that education of the public about mental health is a good idea. I think it’s a must. I actually even heard of some “possessions” here in the province and then the folks would automatically bring the poor patient to an “exorcist” and it only makes the disorder worse. I hope people would realize that there are mental disorders that could seem like “demonic possessions” and would try, at least, to consult a psychiatrist before resorting to nonconventional means. It is good for some people to have faith, but having faith to the point of idiocy is not good.

    I don’t think teachers being more sensitive to students who rather have troubled minds is violating the right to privacy. That, of course, depends on how they’ll handle the situation. It should be kept between the teacher and the student and his/her parents. Also, if there is an annual psychological testing to be performed, results should be kept between the counselor and the student. And professional help should be sought once it is learned that a certain student would be a danger to those around him. But privacy should be strictly observed.

  4. it’s always sad to hear about young people who are lonely or misunderstood, and who are so angry that they hurt others… my heart goes out to all of them. and to the friends and families of the people who were hurt…

  5. My heart goes out to parents of the victims and the parents of Cho. I can image the grief and shame that that Cho’s parents are going through. They are victims as well as the parents of all of the victims. Seeing these pictures every 5 minutes grieves my spirit. I do no like what I see. Cho looks like some of those games that children play each day. We all need to be protected from these images. They should be labeled whenever they are shown. Those images depict cowards and they should never be shown without those words. People will see these images later on and will not know the background behind these photos.

    The actions that Cho took was a COWARDLY act. Those pictures should not be shown continuously without the caption COWARD on them. These images are going throughout the world. Some people will thing that he is a hero but that is not the case. This is a COWARDLY act. It should be shown as such. The teacher who allowed his students to escape was a hero. All of his pictures should be labeled HERO whenever they are show.

    All of those photos of terrorists acts in the wars should be labeled with captions of CCOWARDS as well. They are using cowardly tactics. It is only cowards who would strap bombs on babies then run off and leave the babies in a car to be killed and kill other people. People who would shoot other people in the back of the head are also COWARDS.

  6. @Prudence- I shake my head whenever I read about those possessions.

    I truly hope schools all over the world start to be more sensitive to their students. Some maybe pressured to perform well which may aggravate any mental condition they have

    @acey- I know. I feel so sad of their loss. So sudden.

    @shi_light- I don’t think Cho was in his right frame of mind. Some of his actions were not controlled by a sane mind so I can’t say he is a coward.

  7. Clinical depression is something we can never hope to understtand unless we experience it. It seems to me though, that the university officials did everything they could to help this boy two years ago. What’s scary is that even professionals CANNOT tell whether a person is potentially dangerous to society or not. In this case, it seems they thought he was a danger to himself (ie. suicide) but not to others. The bigger question is why he was allowed to buy a gun with that kind of record.

  8. It’s really a heartbreaking and tragic event. I feel sorry for the people who lost their lives, got injured and the families left behind. I pray for everyone affected by the tragedy.

  9. @trinity- The Gun accessibility has long been an issue in the states. I wonder if they should take a look at the current laws on gun sales

    @rach- yes let’s pray for everybody that have been affected by this tragedy.

  10. There’s now a heated debate on whether or not the video should have been released at all, or maybe if it was released too soon.

    Other important aspects is that there was a lack of information exchange between those who had contact with the shooter.

    But, right now, I think the students and the Virginia Tech community is right, when they ask for more focus on the victims.

  11. It was a tragic thing really! Senseless!

    I do believe that clinical depression is a major thing in the States … the price of being a vey fast paced economy.

    Unlike here, in our country, we’re very closely knit, the reason why we can monitore more closely our children.

    My prayers for those families concerned.

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