I'm still developing this idea, so tell me what you think. It seems to me that Cho Seung Hui's success as a killer at Virginia Tech is the direct result of our culture of "tolerance". Reading the WaPo profile reveals a whole host of sociopathic behaviors that everyone around him recognized but failed to act on because of our society's profound adoration of inclusion and tolerance. All the indicators below should have pushed Cho out of the embrace of society, but instead they were tolerated as "different" but equally valid.
"He never spoke a word," Kim said. "Even when the professor asked questions, he never spoke. He constantly looked physically and emotionally down, like he was depressed. I had a strong feeling to talk to him on the first day of class, but I didn't get to talk to him because he sat right beside the door, and as soon as class was over, he left."
For Kim, one detail stood out. The classroom was rectangular. The class was split in half, with one half facing the other. "I always sat directly across, looking directly at him," Kim said. "He never looked up." ...
Charlotte Peterson, a former Virginia Tech student, said she shared a British literature class with Cho in 2005. On the first day, when the instructor asked students to write their names on a sheet of paper and hand it up, Cho wrote a question mark.
"Even the teacher laughed at him," Peterson said. "Nobody understood him." ...
"He would keep his headphones on a lot," she said. "I remember one instance where the teacher had addressed a question to him and he really just stared off into space. He didn't even recall acknowledging that she was talking to him. We were like, 'What are you doing?' The teacher said, 'Will you please see me after class?' and he still didn't even acknowledge her. It was an awkward silence, and then she went back to lecturing." ...
One of Cho's suitemates in Harper Hall said the killer began the day looking like he had every other day since moving in. Karan Grewal said Cho's face was blank and expressionless. "He didn't have a look of disgust or anger," Grewal said. "He never did. There was always just one look on his face."
In August, when Grewal, Cho and four others moved in, Cho's suitemates tried to talk to him but never got a word in return.
"My impression was that he's shy," said Grewal, 21, a senior accounting major who lived in a room across the hall. "He never looked anyone in the eye. If you even say hi, he'd keep walking straight past you."
The six students lived two to a room in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom suite. The others never saw Cho with any women or friends. He would turn his head away to avoid conversation.
In any natural -- uncivilized -- setting, a group of animals with a member like this would quickly cast him out or kill him. Instead, because of our "over-civilization", most of the people who encountered Cho and got bad vibes just decided he was a little strange and that they should mind their own business. One professor tried to follow her instincts, but was shot down by the forces of civilization.
[Professor Lucinda] Roy said she warned school officials. "I was determined that people were going to take notice," Roy said. "I felt I'd said to so many people, 'Please, will you look at this young man?' "
Roy, now the alumni distinguished professor of English and co-director of the creative writing program, said university officials were responsive and sympathetic to her warnings but indicated that because Cho had made no direct threats, there was little they could do.
"I don't want to be accusatory or blaming other people," Roy said. "I do just want to say, though, it's such a shame if people don't listen very carefully and if the law constricts them so that they can't do what is best for the student."
Not only best for the student, but best for the civilization, too. I'm not sure what the solution is, but in this case all the warning signs were seen and ignored because our society so highly values inclusion and abhors "judgment". If we choose to continue in this manner, then occasional rampages by the psychopaths in our midst are the price we'll have to pay. Maybe that's better than the uncivilized alternative.
Clayton Cramer explains how our treatment of mentally ill people has changed over the past decades.
Cho Seung-Hui was evaluated by mental health professionals after female students complained to police about him and his parents became afraid he was suicidal.
Virginia Tech police chief Wendell Flincham confirmed moments ago that Cho Seung-Hui had targeted two female students in November and December of 2005.
He made contact with the first woman through phone calls and in person. Though she complained to police, she later declined to press charges, referring to Cho's attentions as "annoying".
The matter was then handled within the university, outside the scope of police. ...
Teachers and fellow students at Virginia Tech lived in fear of Cho Seung-Hui in the 18 months before he struck, it was revealed this afternoon.
A lecturer was so frightened by Cho's violent fantasies that she made up a secret codeword so that she could alert security without him knowing. ...
One teacher even suggested today he was given A grades because he was so "intimidating and staff wanted to keep him happy". ...
Further indications of the Virginia Tech gunman's weird behaviour and deep psychological problems emerged with the publication on the internet of plays written by Cho, 23, for his English literature class.
Murder and paedophilia featured so prominently in the writings that in October 2005 Professor Roy, the English department's head of creative writing, contacted campus police, counselling services, and other university officials. ...
Two of Cho's plays were posted on the internet by former classmate Ian MacFarlane, who said the contents had caused fellow students serious worries at the time.
"When we read Cho's plays, it was like something out of a nightmare," Mr MacFarlane, said in an internet blog.
He added: "The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldn't have even thought of ... we students were talking to each other with serious worry about whether he could be a school shooter."
Everyone knew this guy was a lunatic, but no one could do anything about it without violating the norms of our tolerant society. Is this a flaw with our society, or just the price of our freedom?