Phi Beta Cons

Cho: Campus Bumbling on Suspect Behavior?

Case in point:

AP reports the creative writing of Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman suspected of carrying out the Virginia Tech massacre, seemed so troubled that he was referred to the school’s counseling service. Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university’s English department, said she spoke with creative writing professor Lucinda Roy, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as “troubled.” 
Rude asserted that professors are “alert to not ignore things like this” and that Cho was referred to the campus’ counseling service. However, she did not specify when he was referred or what the outcome was.
Was he referred once? Repeatedly? Long ago, or perhaps not in time to determine the true depths of his apparent derangement? And what, pray, was in fact the outcome of this referral and therapeutic counseling – if indeed it took place?
Rude, Roy and the campus president should clarify these matters.
AOL News has obtained plays by Cho from a classmate, Ian MacFarlane, who writes:

When I first heard about the multiple shootings … my second thought was “I bet it was Seung Cho.”
Cho … kept to himself. Looking back, he fit the exact stereotype of what one would typically think of as a “school shooter” – a loner, obsessed with violence … A major part of the playwriting class [in which the two participated] was peer reviews … When we read Cho’s plays, it was like something out of a nightmare. The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldn’t have even thought of. Before Cho got to class [on the day his plays were reviewed], we students were talking to each other with serious worry about whether he could be a school shooter. I was even thinking of scenarios of what I would do in case he did come in with a gun, I was that freaked out about him. When the students gave reviews of his play in class, we were very careful with our words in case he decided to snap. Even the professor didn’t pressure him to give closing comments.
After hearing about the mass shootings, I sent one of my friends a Facebook message asking him if he knew anything about Seung Cho and if he could have been involved. He replied: “dude that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking! No, I haven’t heard anything, but seriously, that was the first thing I thought when I heard he was Asian.”
As far as notifying authorities, there isn’t (to my knowledge) any system set up that lets people say “Hey! This guy has some issues! Maybe you should look into this guy!” If there were, I definitely would have tried to get the kid some help. I think that could have had a good chance of averting yesterday’s tragedy more than anything.
I hope this [testimony] might help … if this was some kind of cry for attention, then he should have gotten it a long time ago. [boldings mine]

Essential query:
Why were these red, red flags not acted upon? Are there offical campus processes in place – nationwide – that would effectively allow for the discovery of violence-prone individuals? Are campus denizons psychologically disposed to report on such individuals? Why or why not?
Self-preservation – if not higher motives – dictates the institution of stronger campus security.


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