That’s the description a creative writing professor gave Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old Virginia Tech senior authorities believe killed more than 30 people on the campus before ending his own life.

In the Kitsap Sun’s newsroom, it’s hard to ignore such a horrible tragedy as we continue to write news for our readers locally. There have been many discussions, but we’re still trying to put together the pieces — just as you are — of how and why this detestable act took place.

I’d like to invite anyone to share their thoughts about this incident — the worst mass shooting in US history.

18 thoughts on “‘Troubled’

  1. I have instead of thoughts a small piece of advice for readers who want to learn more about this tragedy.

    Already I am hearing disputing facts. One source (NPR) reported the killer being twenty-three years old. Another source (AP) reported that he is nineteen. Read from NUMEROUS sources, but take them ALL with a grain of salt. It will take time for all of the facts surrounding this incident to line up.

  2. Incident? Mass murder…not incident.

    It will take awhile to unravel the hows and whys…in the meantime, time wasting speculation and opinions will flourish.
    Sharon O’Hara.

  3. Are you saying a mass murder isn’t an incident, Sharon? You certainly didn’t nitpick my usage of the word tragedy, so why incident? Potato, poTAto, it can be described by a wealth of different terms. Put your claws away until someone calls it a picnic.

    After mulling over the issue (is it okay if I call it that, Sharon?) and reading up on it some more throughout the day, I wanted to pose a question to other readers: Am I the only one that’s bothered by how hard Washington state media outlets are trying to compare it to what happened recently at UW? A murder/suicide and a full-scale slaughter are two completely different things. Both are tragedies, but they are on completely different scales. One was fairly easy to figure out, the other will leave us with questions for weeks to come.

  4. The use of “incident” is apropos as the synonym would be either milestone, happening or occurence. It was an incident, a tragic, horrific occurence that should not have happened.

  5. No, it shouldn’t have happened, and it should never happen again…but it will. We’re hearing reports regarding some of the “warning signs” – he was withdrawn, angry, and was referred to counseling based on some of his writing. However, he certainly wasn’t the first, last, or only person to appear troubled, and clearly the vast majority of unhappy people don’t commit these kinds of crimes.

    To treat each and every person viewed as deviant based on their attitude as a potential murderer, in my opinion, would only make things worse. Post-Columbine, I was still in high school. I was a fairly withdrawn person myself at that age; I had no interest in the high school ‘scene,’ I didn’t interact with my classmates, and I was pretty content with being ignored.

    After that tragedy, do you know what happened? All of a sudden, the popular kids who ignored me as faithfully as I them started greeting me at every opportunity. I felt like they were saying, “Woah, you’re not one of us, like, don’t shoot me if you get mad.” It felt insulting. It was only in THAT moment that I kind of understood the hatred and anger the people who commit these crimes feel. That said, did I ever bring a weapon to school, plan to, or even desire to? No. But that was me. How many people who feel like they’re put under a microscope by these events are more angry and more determined to take that anger out on others? I certainly hope we’ll never find out.

    To sum up my point, we can’t put everyone under a microscope. There will be people we don’t help in time, or can’t help because they refuse aid. It’s a horrible reality to face, but there we have it. It’s hard to treat the disease once it has infected someone. All we can do is reach out to children and make them feel loved, important, and included BEFORE they become the next walking nightmare.

  6. Yes, Miriam… I AM saying that a mass murder is not an “incident”.

    “The noun mass murder has one meaning:

    Meaning #1: the savage and excessive killing of many people
    Synonyms: slaughter, massacre, carnage, butchery”

    Incident: “A usually minor event or condition that is subordinate to another”

    1. A definite and separate occurrence; an event. See synonyms at occurrence.
    2. A usually minor event or condition that is subordinate to another.
    3. Something contingent on or related to something else.
    4. An occurrence or event that interrupts normal procedure or precipitates a crisis: an international incident.

    I’m sorry, Josh…I would not normally ‘nit pick’ a choice of words… but the word, “incident” in light of the murder of 32 innocent people seems to trivialize the tragedy.
    Sharon O’Hara

  7. I don’t trivialize this matter, nor have I, nor will I. YOU are trivializing things by playing Princess Dictionary. You are going about eighty-five percent off topic, either because you don’t like me or my choice of words or both, I’m still not quite sure. I would be somewhat insulted if I hadn’t already seen enough of your other postings to not care what you think. However, that does not give you the right to attack me over word usage. I called it an incident, not a soire or a party. Get over it.

    And IN the interest of not being completely off topic, does anyone have an opinion regarding the school’s unwillingness to release the writings of Cho Seung-Hui? By his writings, I mean specifically the ones that brought him to his English teacher’s attention. I suspect they will eventually bend under the pressure of a curious nation. I want them to, but I haven’t really been able to figure out exactly what my justification would be. Would it just be catering to voyeurism, or do we have a right to access those writings?

  8. Miriam,
    Well said!
    I was the kid that everyone made fun of. I learned something from it. NEVER to take crap from anyone who is willing to dish it out. Would I kill anyone, NO!
    I get my revenge by being a strong, successful, and outgoing person.

  9. Miriam,
    Personally, and this is just me, I hope they never show us, the public, his writings. I’m angry enough that this happened, but reading his writings might upset me more as to why there weren’t more red flags. We will always question the, “…would of, could of , should of(s)…”. What good would come out of it by making his writings public? The Korean-American students are already nervous because of this and now adding fuel to this horrific incident could cause mayhem.

  10. CMC Spouse –

    Yesterday it turns out some of his plays have been found. I only read the first page or two of one of them, and the red flag it brought up for ME wasn’t that he might kill people – it was that he might have chosen the wrong major. His writing has absolutely no interest and no value from what I’ve seen. I was writing at that level in about first grade, though not about his chosen subject matter.

    As for why there weren’t more red flags, his writing isn’t even something we necessarily need to see them. He’s been in trouble for stalking, kicked out of classes, and had a history of mental health issues. He was deemed a threat to himself and others. His writings notwithstanding, there definitely should have been more action taken to protect society – and yes, the shooter – from himself. The problem is that it’s hard to force someone to get help if they don’t want it or think they don’t need it.

    I know what you mean about not wanting to read his writings. However, I think of it kind of like…let’s use the beheading video for example. It has been all over the internet just a couple keystrokes away for ages. I’ve never seen it. I have no interest in seeing it. I will probably never see it. I’ve read a little about it and that was plenty for me. If the writings are made public in the future, I don’t know even then if I’d read them. I’ve already stated just how much of his (truly awful) plays I’ve read. It’s harder sometimes to avoid news that you really don’t want any exposure to, but I’ve somehow found a way. Hopefully if they release his writings, others will respect your desire to take no part in reading them.

  11. Miriam,
    There WERE plenty of red flags. When he was put into a mental institution for a brief period, the psychologist documented that he was an IMMINENT THREAT to himself and others. They even reported it to the police and the campus security force. They also ignored the complaints of stocking against him. I believe one of the english professors reported on his writings and how disturbing they were. Nothing was done to protect the students.

    It’s sad, but there it is.

  12. Miriam, as important as you seem to think you are… my comment was to Josh, not you.

    “…I’d like to invite anyone to share their thoughts about this incident — the worst mass shooting in US history.”
    Sharon O’Hara

  13. How sad. Lives were lost. At the hands of a cold blooded Killer.Grow up you guys and quit fighting. Say a prayer for lives lost and their family’s.

  14. Thank you Shari, This is a tradegy which no one could hurt more than the families that have lost a loved one. This includes the shooters family,I would imagine their hurt exceeds anyone involved. My Prayers are with these many grieving families

  15. To CMC Spouse,
    Just who do you think you are Hmmmm.You have no right to criticize.Too bad too. Seems someone else needs to Grow up.
    Anyway, My thoughts are with them and now too in my daily prayers.

  16. Shari,
    I thought you said to stop arguing and grow up…seems to me you were looking for a fight when you wrote those words.
    Stop criticizing people on a blog that asked for opinion and go pray and stay out of the conversation if you hate it so much.

  17. Sorry to disappoint you, I was neither fighting or arguing with anybody. I got attacked and I defended myself. End of story. Wasn’t your problem anyway.

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