Killer felt he was persecuted and was out to get even
A MACABRE message from the grave from the gunman responsible for the Virginia Tech University killings surfaced on Wednesday.
In it, South Korean gunman Cho Seung Hui, who shot 32 people dead before turning the gun on himself, painted himself as a pistol-wielding moralist out to get even – though he does not say with whom.
The package, which contained videos, still photographs and a lengthy diatribe, was mailed to the offices of broadcaster NBC.
A time and date on the package showed it was mailed from a post office near the campus between the time Cho murdered his first two victims in a dormitory and the bloodbath in a classroom hall about two hours later.
The material in the package brimmed with recriminations – the 23-year-old decried his unnamed antagonists’ “hedonistic” tastes for vodka and cognac, for example, and revealed his sense of persecution.
Some of the photos showed him wielding the handguns used in the killings. The package reached the New York offices of NBC in Tuesday afternoon’s mail, but was not opened until Wednesday morning. It apparently had the wrong postal code.
After turning it over to law enforcement officials, NBC and other American television stations broadcast some of Cho’s rambling videos and frightening photos – a move that spawned criticism.
Some family members of the victims cancelled interviews with NBC yesterday. Others said the station had given the killer exactly what he wanted – a platform to turn himself into an icon – and feared the move would inspire copycat killers.
NBC acknowledged that its news division was split over whether to air the material.
The package’s contents fit an already disturbing portrait from roommates and teachers.
His grandfather told Reuters Television that Cho had speech difficulties as a child even before he migrated to the United States from South Korea with his parents at the age of eight.
“He was a good-looking boy but he wouldn’t talk,” Mr Kim Yang Soon, 84, said. “If I nudged him and tried to talk with him, he wouldn’t answer.”
Mr Kim said he remembered the boy as smart, but his “silences during his childhood worried his parents” – a fact corroborated by an uncle who wanted to be known only as Kim.
“We were concerned about him being too quiet and encouraged him to talk more,” he said. “He was very quiet, but he didn’t display any peculiarities to suggest he may have problems.”
His parents appeared to be unaware of Cho’s dark side. Reports suggested that both his father and mother were taken to hospital in shock.
Warning signs of Cho’s deranged state of mind had become clear in 2005.
He was accused of stalking two women and taken to a mental facility for treatment. Although a judge declared Cho a danger to himself and others, he was simply told to seek treatment and was given medication for depression.
He was then released to return to the campus.
As if referring to the missed warning signs, Cho said in one of the videos: “You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today but you decided to spill my blood.
“You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.”
VIRGINIA TECH GUNMAN’S ANGRY RANT ON VIDEO
“You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today but you decided to spill my blood…Now you have bloodon your hands that will never wash off.”
CHO SEUNG HUI, in his final video message