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Cho Seung-Hui Was No Suicide Bomber – Broadcast And Be Damned

by | 20th, April 2007

WAS NBC right to broadcast the video to Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung-Hui ranting and brandishing weapons?

Was the broadcast not giving the deranged killer what he wanted – to be noticed and feared. Of course, he was already dead when the videos aired. But will others – copycats- be inspired by his message?

Is mental illness and the desire to commit mass murder contagious?

The Times’ Bronwen Maddox says NBC was right to show the tapes.

She asks if NBC resist the scoop “beyond its dreams”? And this is the footage that offers an explanation as to why Cho did it.

Says Maddox:
“Yet NBC, which says it broadcast only after fierce internal debate, and tightly limited the choice and repetition of the material, was surely right to go ahead. People’s shock this week is understandable. But that has brought a tendency to exaggerate the distress or danger of the broadcast, and to dismiss the useful conclusions from seeing it — and even the reassurance it gives.

“Cho was clearly mentally ill, not simply a troubled student in a bad patch, or someone who snapped under sudden strain; on its own, that is reassuring. Nothing was impulsive, from the purchase of the two guns in two months, to the obsessive assembly of pictures and speeches-to-camera in a digital collage. The paranoia, the sexual and religious metaphors, the flailing accusations at rich classmates and Jesus, the conviction that he had a cancer of the mind — these tell us that the quest to “understand what made him do it” is not going to take us far. ”

And what of that religious element?

Maddox says:
“He was not even much like Islamic suicide bombers, although his recording resembles their final messages, with the black terrorist garb and the weapons. But they spell out their jihadist cause with faux-military succinctness; his had the coherence of a bedroom stack of horror comics, ripped and pasted together.”

It is all the rantings of a murderous loon – who was only really noticed when it was too late… 



Posted: 20th, April 2007 | In: Reviews Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink