He was wrong, of course.
But after looking over such information as I've been able to find, I strongly suspect that there was a
It's pretty damn clear that within his lifetime, there were few, if any reality checks or positive, useful interventions, nothing to introduce a bit of reasonable doubt regarding the universal malevolence of "normal people."
That would be the distinction between him and me - the realization that as strange as "those others" were, they were not all out to get me - and that from time to time, I was just as able to misinterpret their actions and misunderstand their motives as they were apt to screw up with me. Which leads us to the current spectacle, which is providing me no little morbid amusement, with patches of deja vu as the media and blogoshere attempts to "understand" Cho Seung-hui and his rampage in Blacksburg.
Why, how; everyone wishes to know - so long as they are reassured that there is absolutely no fault to be found with them, the institutions they value or the prejudices and odious assumptions they hold dear. All are concerned with finding a "reason" that will permit society to continue as usual, or at least, find some identifiable group to impose restrictions upon in the name of safety.
As a "person of difference," with many characteristics in common with Cho Seung-hui, I am understandably concerned that I will be so singled out. I'm even more concerned on behalf of my Aspie step-son.
But let's call a spade a spade - seeing that is what I do - all this amounts to is a wish to be "kept safe" from people who may possibly react violently in response to bullying and harassment. So if you want YOUR child to be safe - you should ensure they are not a bully or abuser. And that, of course, requires a reality-check on your part, if for no other reason than this; if you live like that, it's sometimes true that you die like that. More likely, you live to regret that other people are harmed or die as a result of attitudes and behaviors you helped reinforce. Among adolescents with Autistic Spectrum issues, suicide is one of the leading causes of death.
Va. Tech shooter was laughed at - Yahoo! News
BLACKSBURG, Va. - In high school, Cho Seung-Hui almost never opened his mouth. When he finally did, his classmates laughed, pointed at him and said: "Go back to China."
As such details of the Virginia Tech shooter's life come out, and experts pore over his sick and twisted writings and his videotaped rant, it is becoming increasingly clear that Cho was almost a textbook case of a school shooter: a painfully awkward, picked-on young man who lashed out with methodical fury at a world he believed was out to get him.
Hm. Is it delusional to believe the world is out to get you when most or all personal interactions clearly demonstrate the truth of that belief?
There's increasing speculation that he may have been autistic to some degree, as descriptions of personal presentation and behavior emerge. (The first mention may have been here; julietpain.blogspot.com.)
Another possibility is that he was autistic to some degree, and unable to communicate or express himself appropriately; a constant theme amongst those who were acquainted with him is that if he replied at all, it was most usually with a single word, whilst the intensity of some of his attempts at communication were alarming enough to be regarded as stalking.Katherine Newman, a professor of sociology at Princeton University, said most school shooters are rarely loners, but rather failed joiners.
"People who continuously try to join social groups and are rebuffed," said Newman, the author of "Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings." "And their daily experience is one of rejection and friction." CBS
The room-mates interviewed so far have spoken of their attempts to be friendly towards him, and of how they soon gave up, as he didn't respond or didn't respond well. Initially, though, he had gone out to eat with them, and to parties; at one of these he had revealed the existence of his imaginary supermodel girlfriend, and 'their' nicknames for each other - Jelly and Spanky. That sounds a bit like the sort of thing a somewhat autistic kid says as the exact moment his new friends stop being his friends and start thinking he is weird, and saying, "Watch out, here comes Spanky..."
Not that his family was much help, even given early indications that autism might be a possiblity.
Ah, well, as to that, google "aspie rage." But it seems family concern was limited to being concerned - and prayer.
''From the beginning, he wouldn't answer me,'' Kim Yang-soon, Cho's great aunt, said in an interview with AP Television News on Thursday. ''(He) didn't talk. Normally sons and mothers talk. There was none of that for them. He was very cold,'' she added
''When they went to the United States, they told them it was autism,'' said Kim, 85, adding that the family had constant worries about Cho.
Neither school officials, who have Cho's educational records, nor police who have his medical records, have mentioned such a diagnosis this week. Autistic individuals often have difficulty communicating, but the diagnosis would not necessarily explain his violence.
Meanwhile, the young man, whatever his mental issues, was in a nutcracker, between religious and family pressures at home and reportedly constant bullying in school. Whether or not he had mental issues to begin with, bullying is one of the most common precursors of such events.
Va. Tech shooter was laughed at - Yahoo! News
A 2002 federal study on common characteristics of school shooters found that 71 percent of them "felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others prior to the attack."
The report said that "in some of these cases the experience of being bullied seemed to have a significant impact on the attacker and appeared to have been a factor in his decision to mount an attack at the school. In one case, most of the attacker's schoolmates described the attacker as the kid everyone teased."
So this is far from being a unique or unexpected incident. Frankly, those who persist in being surprised are those who do not wish to face the disease that these events symptomize. If you must have something to blame; a pointer toward doing something to truly address the situation, then let us see it for what it is; a reaction toward the casual, routine abuse of power.
Whether it is bullying in school, a toxic work environment or a government that cannot seem to formulate any policy that doesn't involve the use of force, we live in a culture that values having power and the presumption that those who have power deserve to be able to wield it against those they see as weak or "outside the group" with impunity.
But perhaps we need to remember an Old West aphorism - "Sam Colt made all men equal." And there's another very pragmatic observation made by Robert Heinlein: "Never frighten a little man - he'll kill you."
Ultimately - and in no small part due to the typical ending - I tend to view this as "death by natural causes," in a sense. That is to say, a dangerous situation was allowed to persist and fester, a situation that (like living in a trailer in the midwest without access to a storm cellar, or going into Grizzly terratory with neither gun nor bear-bells) can be statistically predicted to have a high potential of ending badly. Getting hung up on the moral or ethical culpability of such persons does nothing to prevent more such outbursts of deadly rage.
In this case, if one lesson is to be derived from it, I would say that it should be summarized as "don't poke the aspie." On rare but very dramatic occasions, you might find yourself pulling back a bloody stump.
Illustration : Don't Poke The Aspie! by webcarve
tag: Don't poke the aspie, aspergers, aspie, ethics, abuse of power, bullying, cultural warfare, bigotry, prejudice, xenophobia, abuse, VA Tech, Blacksburg, Cho Seung-hui