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China Daily, China

Mass killer Cho Seung-hui: Does he reflect America society?



China Daily, China

A Nation Cannot Be Tarred by a Single Killer


Are some people wrongly scapegoating all of American society due to the deranged acts of single individual at Virginia Tech? According to this op-ed article from China's state-controlled China Daily, those who blame American society must realize that such a man could arise anywhere - including China.


By Raymond Zhou


April 19, 2007


China - China Daily - Original Article (English)

The shooting rampage at Virginia Tech shocked the world. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and the community that suffered this senseless tragedy, and anyone with even a modicum of human compassion would feel the same.


It's only natural for people to be curious about the identity of the gunman. But in the quest for truth, there is a disturbing sign that some are linking the acts of an individual with something greater.


As long as the killer didn't represent any group or harbor any political motive - as seems to have been the case - then any suggestion that his ethnicity was involved can add insult to injury and death. Initially, a rumor that the killer was Chinese is indicative of a troubling trend, both in the United States and China, that would have us somehow personify an entire community or even an entire nation - in one person, good or bad.


The ethnicity-based implications of some American media commentators were not only unprofessional, but insidious. If he were Chinese, did that mean that Chinese people are intrinsically hostile toward the United States? Or that an average Chinese would act in such a manner?


In a strange way, this reaction was mirrored here in China. When news came that the killer was not Chinese, people heaved a collective sigh of relief. If you analyze the underlying logic o this, it means that his being Chinese would have incriminated us all. Now that we know he wasn't, a few would say: "We Chinese would never do a crazy thing like that."


The truth is that a lone killer could be of any ethnicity. We have had our share of these loners, including Lu Gang, who gunned down several of his schoolmates and teachers on an American campus , and Ma Jiajue , who hacked several of his classmates to death with a machete.


No society, no matter how well-balanced and harmonious, can be totally free of such people. They can never represent the society that they live in or that nurtured. To equate them with society at large would be to impugn innocent people who happen to share traits with the killer, such as ethnicity or profession. This is guilt by association of the most untenable kind.


I understand why some resort to such simplistic reasoning. A tragedy like this is so enormous, that it's hard to reckon with the cause without embellishing it further. After all, how can one crazy person mow down so many others people he probably didn't even know?


While there is no way to totally rid the world of such elements, there are, I believe, ways to minimize the damage they cause.


One is to offer psychological care, especially for those shut away in a cocoon of their own making, have difficulty communicating with others and have no outlet for releasing negative energy. In the United States, postmen are said to be more vulnerable than those in other professions. In China, college students should receive more counseling. Sometimes, it's up to their peers to reach out.


Then there's the easy availability of guns in America. While I fully respect the constitutional right of U.S. citizens to own guns, we must recognize that in cases like the Virginia Tech incident, the use of guns was a crucial factor. If the killer didn't have guns, he would likely have killed far fewer people and could have more easily constrained by others. It's no exaggeration to say that this was the deadliest killing spree on an American campus chiefly because he had two legally purchased handguns.


We will never live in a world where everyone is happy, and where all are treated with due respect. That's a utopian ideal. But we can at least limit gun access so that one person won't be able to inflict such destruction on a massive scale.






































South Koreans are concerned that there will be an ant-Korean racial backlash, after the dicovery that the man who committed mass murder at Virginia Tech was Korean. Above, South Koreans pay silent tribute to the victims of the shootings near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, April 18.

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Before committing his desperate crime, mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui made a video as part of his 'Manifesto,' Apr. 19, 00:02:04RealVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWS PHOTOS: People in South Korea Grieve].

South Koreans hold a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre in front of Seoul City Hall, April 18.

Gang Lu, a Chinese graduate student who shot and killed five people at the University of Iowa on November 1, 1991 and then killed himself.

Police apprehend Chinese student-killer Ma Jiajue, who admitted to murdering four friends between February 13 and 15 1999 and hiding the bodies in the cupboards of his dormitory at Yunnan Univerity.

'A U.S. war correspondent, reporting from the scene at Virginia Tech, says, 'I am in Iraq.'

[JoongAnd Daily, South Korea].

'A rich man parks his Mercedes and uses a less-expensive car, after Cho Seung-hui, the gunman who killed 32 people in a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University, said, 'Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats,' in a recorded video he mailed to the American media.'

[JoongAnd Daily, South Korea]