This article from the Sidney Morning Herald draws attention to something that also puzzles me. Granted that Cho trained at a firing range (and also possibly through video games, although this is controversial and possibly mistaken) and may have been at it for a long time for all we know, still, how could he have figured he was going to shoot 30 people and then actually go and kill 30 people (in the second killing)?
Did he practice some kind of autohypnosis, taking the photo and then dwelling on the image to “psych” himself into doing it? It’s possible. Certainly, visualization is a very important part of peak performance training in many areas for a good reason; it works.
But then, if he was really able to shoot that accurately (the reports say he was firing from close range and missing a lot, as well), why not be completely accurate; why not 32 bullets for his 32 victims?
Could this be interpreted to mean that he only focused on the second killing not the first? Or only committed the second?
Could there still be a chance that there was another killer involved, as well (- which the police themselves haven’t entirely ruled out)? Theories will abound. We still need a lot more.
Another point: I found this early report saying no suicide note had been left. This is two days after the killing. That’s clearly wrong, since the suicide note was reported quite early on, although its location has never been made clear. That might be understandable. There was a lot of confusion at the crime scene.
The suicide note was reported in one account to have been in the room. Now I hear it was found either in the back pack found in the hall of Norris Hall OR in the room.
“Along with 23 short videos of himself, Cho included a well-produced but rambling 1800-word manuscript, replete with 80 photographs, including some of him brandishing weapons and dressed as he was on Monday when he murdered 32 students before killing himself.”
Comment: So – the 43 photos mentioned in other reports must just be the photos that NBC has decided to release. That means they have more. Wonder why they have been withheld.
I would understand if they’re holding back to minimize copycat shootings or to protect the the victims, with which I would fully agree. But, of course, they were willing to release the other pictures, so I doubt that’s the reason. Maybe there is inflammatory material or things that need to be private so the investigation isn’t jeopardised.
Or – here’s a thought. Maybe, the photos (if they exist) are just more of the same; but withholding them allows them to create nebulous suspicions, on both sides of the political aisle.
Another quote from the same article:
“In it, Cho, 23, also makes a chilling reference to the “martyrs Eric and Dylan.”
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were responsible for the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, when 12 students and a teacher were killed before they turned the guns on themselves.”
Notice the jihadi-type of language – “martyrs.” Of course this language (what with all the Osama videos we’ve seen in the past few years) is part of the zeitgeist in which Cho grew up. This could be nothing more than that cultural baggage. To counterbalance that, here’s the actual language from this report:
He wrote (apologies for quoting offensive material): “Now that you have gone on a 9/11 on my life like (expletive deleted) Osama. Now that you have (expeletive deleted) your own people like (expletive deleted) Kim Jong-Il. Now that you have gone on a hummer safari on my life like (expeletive deleted) Bush? Are you happy now?”
Sounds more like a diatribe…he’s not exactly endorsing Osama or Kim Il Jong; he also identified himself with the crucified Christ, but that won’t stop the bloggers.
In one sense, it doesn’t really matter how you interpret the evidence. Just the fact of speculating and being anxious or uncertain creates a kind of trauma in the mind. That ‘s a technique that is extensively researched and used in specific acts of coercion and mental torture. And propaganda against foreign populations. What may be less understood is how it is used in propaganda against the domestic population.
Update: here’s a link to my post on the new, declassified IG’s report on the involvement of psychologists in framing torture techniques, and inferentially, torture policy.