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April 19, 2007


Kevin from Ohio in Virginia

What else is there to say, really? The guy was nuts.


Sadly nothing shocks me anymore. OK, this shocked me a bit. I can't get the Jewish prof out of my mind. He, in case you haven't heard, tried to protect his students and was killed in the process. He, by the way, survived the holocaust. I pray God blesses this man as well as all the others, even the lunatic.


Ron, I can't get Prof. Librescu out of my mind either. But I would clarify that he DID protect his students and was killed in the process. The reports I've read say that all his students managed to get out.

In addition to surviving the Holocaust, it appears he also was fired from his academic post in Romania when he refused to swear allegiance to Ceaucescu. In addition to prayers for him, his family, all the victims and their families, and the shooter, I pray that his students live their lives in a manner that does credit to his sacrifice for them.

Dan Schaertel

Though I think all sin is irrational, this person might not be as "nuts" as people are readilyy willing to accept. If you listen closely he sounds a lot like an Islamic terrorist. Instead of using a bomb as a suicide bomber, he used a gun. Same results, same message. Note the return address on the package he sent to NBC.



I've been trying to avoid coverage of the package (for a variety of reasons). What was the return address?


Kasia, I didn't know all of his students lived. Thanks for sharing.


When people do these kinds of things, I really feel for the criminal. First, because of the victims he has left in his wake, but also because he was caught in some lie that made him believe he could or should kill others, and kill himself. I dread the judgement he will face.

May God have mercy on his soul, and comfort the families of his victims.


My friend Chris, the person who led me to Catholicism, e-mailed me the following the other day -- I think he was right on the money.

Today 33 people died at Virgina tech at the hands of a fellow student. I don't ever send e-mail forwards, but something has made me feel compelled to write one.

It amazed me today that a acquaintance of mine managed to so clearly
highlight the cause of this tragedy.

The discussion went something like this:

someone asked " why would someone do something like that"

I replied " It is perfectly consistent with the world view taught by
some people in the untied states today"

I was told by another person " no , you are wrong, people are nothing
more then biological systems and the brain is nothing more the
biochemical machine , which can be proved by the fact that medicine
can fix depression. The man was just sick and that is all"

That disturbed me and and after I thought about it for a while I came
a realization why.

You see, suppose for moment that the man was right?

Then what is the human person. They are precisely a combination of
two things and two things only.

1) the genetic accidents they inherit.

2) the inputs ( stimuli ) that the person encounters as they live their life.

A persons world view then is what?

It is the model of the world we used to base our decisions on and can
be said to be an objective measure of how the inputs / stimuli we have
received and our genetics have interacted. It is precisely the model
we use to base our decision on.

The actions this man took were not the actions of somebody who had
lost control. In fact they were exactly the actions of someone trying
to take control they felt they have lost. He murdered people in a
dormitory in could blood. His face was described as calm and
introspective while he brutally murdered others, by one an eye

He then traveled several blocks across a college campus, plenty of
time to calm down, plenty of time to run way. Instead he entered
another building , locked the doors to ensure no one could get in or
escape, and executed everyone in the building.

This was PREMEDITATED, it was a rational act, based on a conscious decision.

So what world view could a person have that would allow themselves to
take these kind of actions?

Only one really sufficiently explains it. He believed he and those
around him were worthless chemical reactions , that his self
gratification in taking revenge was not wrong , because there was no
difference between himself, his victims and the cow he ate for lunch.

If he had believed otherwise he might have had a reason to at least
attempt self control , he might have tried not to hate , he might even
have tried to forgive.

Instead he killed, because of exactly the same philosophy the person I
worked with had used to explain his actions.

It is our willingness to embrace this philosophy in our minds and our
hearts that leaves us crippled and without defense against the horrors
of this world. Perhaps some brains can function in this kind of moral
vacuum , but it is obvious from today that certainly some cannot. The
blood of 32 people spilled on the grounds of Virgina tech is evidence
of that.

I hope this little note will not go unheeded. Do something kind
today, show someone YOU believe they and you are something more then
only a chemical reaction.

Here is the forward part.
For those who died and for Love of one another, send this to everyone you know
I'd like to keep this going around for at least a year , by which time
much of the English speaking world should have read it if everyone who
reads it sends it on as I ask.

May the creator and designer of the human mind on which all value is
dependent be with you all.

May you never forget that those PEOPLE who died today were much more
then interesting chemical reactions.

Dan Hunter

God The Father.The Creator and Designer of the human mind Whom with which all goodness and virtue rests, be with you all.
This is what you meant to say.
God bless you.



I found this article on Foxnews.com annoying:

Did the Devil Make Him Do It?

So the only representatives of the Christian POV the writer could find were Robert Schuller and the son of Oral Roberts? Is Schuller's opinion really so "surprising"? Why no Catholic perspective? Orthodox? Do only televangelists speak for Christianity? What a half-hearted piece of journalism.

In Jesu et Maria,


Dan - just to clarify, the person who sent me the posted e-mail is a devout Catholic. However, he hopes his message is a starting point to a more involved discussion about the nature of man and the nature of God.


This evil pervaded my own idyllic life today when my son called me from his high school and said they were on lockdown and were evacuating because of a V-Tech threat. After my husband picked him up from school (an orthodox Catholic high school, mind you), we got the story as far as my son knew it. Someone had scrawled "Virginia Tech today" on a bathroom wall.

What strikes me isn't that the students and faculty at his school might have been subjected to an incident such as Monday's, but that some student deliberatly just destroyed his own future by writing what was no doubt a prank message on a bathroom wall.

He will be caught because they have surveillance tape of everyone entering the specific bathroom. I dread the moment I find out who it is, and I grieve for his parents and for him -- his future is forever altered by a moment's idiocy.

This is a small school and we consider each other family. I am heartsick.

David B.


I am amazed at how many people are so unsympathetic about this that they will even try to emulate The Madman With The Guns.


'Thann, similar threats were written on bathroom walls at my alma mater and our crosstown rival high school (public schools). Administrators opted to hold classes, but are searching students before they can enter the building.

I agree, it's sickening. It's very unfortunate that we've reached the point where kids are that oblivious to the consequences of their actions.

My prayers today will include you and those at your son's school.


There is such a thing as being mentally disturbed enough to commit an act like this and not truely be responsible for your actions. With a two hour rant against no one in particular this resembles a gory suicide. This does not, on the face of it, resemble an act of someone who knows truely what he is doing.

Tim J.

My prayers, too, 'thann.

I can't imagine something like that at the Catholic school my kids attended. Kids make boneheaded mistakes sometimes, not having any real clue about the consequences. I do hope people will keep that in mind, but at the same time... would I want my kid being lunch buddies with the student that scrawled that on the wall? Likely not.


I think that this is yet another example of a situation where a tragedy resulted merely because our world was not welcoming to an individual. He may have been the craziest fellow to ever walk the face of the earth, but he still deserved reaching out to. He still deserved compassion. He deserved to have someone show that they cared about him.

His actions were abominable, and perhaps he was crazy enough that he would have done it anyways. Perhaps he would have snapped for some other reason.

Unfortunately, we'll never know, because from what it seems (I may be much uninformed), nobody would give this fellow the time of day.

Once more we have a situation where if just somebody - anybody - could have been Christ to one person, dozens of people may likely be alive today.

I think our society is accepting of violence so much...

we accept violent remarks in our speech, many times under the cover of ''righteous anger",violence in our minds through t.v. and videogames, violence by knowing that people are in dangerous situations and not even taking the time to say prayer.

lets all make a commitment to avoid violence in our hearts, minds, speech, family and friendships.

Lets create a culture of gentleness and respect. Let us avoid violence in its smaller and subtler ways, cursing, irony, sarcasm, isolating people, lack of gentleness. They also kill people in a slower pace, the worst is that it kills their souls.

So let us, in the name of Christ be ''gentle and humble of Heart'' towards all to create a society of peace and forgiveness.

Tim J.

"...this is yet another example of a situation where a tragedy resulted merely because our world was not welcoming to an individual."

See, I just don't know that we can say that (or anything much) yet. He may have been in a state of mind to interpret people's normal behavior as some kind of personal snub. I have been aquainted with a schizophrenic (I'm not saying the V. Tech shooter was one, mind you), and there was nothing you could say to convince him that - just perhaps - the police car only drove by on its way somewhere... he KNEW that "they" were driving by to spy on him, the same way he KNEW they were messing with his cable television.

I know the "bully" defense has been in vogue for a while, but let's not jump to conclusions.


NBC's releasing of the gunman's multi-media presentation represents a new low for the media. I am weary of the media showing all the responsibility of Paris Hilton when it comes to tragedies like this. All I can think is, "great, now the next nut-case looking for his or her 15 miniutes of notiriety through violence is thinking..."hmmmm maybe they'll do that for me too!" Did not the families have to go through enough without watching the freakshow unfurled for them? Worse yet is there incessant need to play the blame game. Sometimes tragedy happens. Today I buried the 47 year old mother of 6 who died of a sudden heart attack. It doesn't make sense and makes us sad when we come face to face with it. We need to better spend our time praying for all the people involved, including the shooter's family. There is a whole lot of healing that needs to happen. So before the lawyers and media really get into turning this tragedy intoa boon for them, perhaps we need to step back, attend to the needs of the suffering, pray for healing, and never put off the thank-yous, I love yous, I'm sorrys, you're forgivens that need to be said today...we have no guarantee to tommorrow.


Amen, Father.

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord:
and may perpetual light shine upon them.

You are worthy of a hymn, O God, in Zion;
and to you may vows be paid in Jerusalem.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord:
and may perpetual light shine upon them.

You hear the voice of prayer,
to you all flesh shall turn because of iniquity.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord:
and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Should our impieties prevail over us,
you will forgive them.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord:
and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Blessed is he whom you have chosen and taken up,
he shall dwell in your courts.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord:
and may perpetual light shine upon them.

We shall be filled with good things in your house,
with the holiness of your temple.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord:
and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end. Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord:
and may perpetual light shine upon them.

"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."

Cho resented his abortion.


I'm at a conference in Hawaii. On the day of the shootings, the conference center's flags weren't lowered to half staff and it ticked me off. I surprised myself. Yesterday, I saw them being lowered.

There is a strange mix of common anger, sadness, unity and hope in a half-masted flag.

Dan Schaertel


The package had a return address with the name:
A. Ishmael.

Could be an innocent name of an accomplice, or it could be a tie to Islamic terrorism. It could be symbolic and not anybody's real name at all. But it certainly wasn't the gunman's name.

David B.

Yeah, he said that he was going to inspire the weak and defenseless, and then he went out and shot 32 of them.


Dr Phil put it well when he said that this is the price we pay for living in a free society. I tend to agree. We can't lock someone up because they're different or wierd.

I pray for the victims and their families, but also especially for the shooter. We just had Divine Mercy Sunday. And we pray in our rosaries, "for those in most need of thy mercy". Clearly here is a chance for us to believe in God's mercy.

Gene Branaman

He will be called a "monster".

Like Hitler, Pol Pot, Mussolini, Ceaucesc, Saddam, etc. Or, at the very least - as Tim J pointed out in his thread on this subject, Kleibold & Harris, McVeigh, Kaczynski, etc.

Yes, he knew he was going to get his 15 minutes of fame, as Tim J also points out, & it seems to be his purpose in committing this horrifying crime.

But is he a monster? His actions are most definitely monstrous. But so were David's, when he sent Uriah the Hittite to the front of the lines to be killed so he could have Bathsheba. So were Peter's when he denied our Lord 3 times. But we do things like that every day, we sinners. We deny Christ. Even in our every day, venial sins, we deny Christ, our Lord & Savior.

And . . . how do we deal with such tragic events? Well, if we're of the Mainstream Media, we milk it for the ratings. (Another monstrous & vile action.) But, as Christians, we should pray for Cho, his family, his victims (funny how they're thought of as "his victims" now, rather than human beings made in the image & likeness of God with lives & families, etc), the surviving V Tech students & staff - as others here have mentioned.

We should never allow ourselves to become insensate to such events. They must continue to shock us; we should be shocked into prayer, into study of Scripture, into fast & sacrifice, into being better Christians & being more docile to the will of God in our lives. Just as Christ's Passion should continue to shock us into the same actions.

Tragic events like these are all too frequent, it seems. But they are opportunities for us to re-convert to Christ, to put on the armor of God against our sins (especially our venial sins, which we can become desensitized to, & begin to rationalize even mortal sins), to more fully unite ourselves to our faith & to each other as a Christian community. Perhaps, with God's grace, our example as Christians fully living our faith will help souls like Cho's to come to Christ so these tragedies can be avoided in the future. I pray so.



The package had a return address with the name:
A. Ishmael.

The first thing that jumped to my mind was "Ahab Ishmael," two of the central characters in Melville's "Moby Dick."


The first thing that jumped to my mind was "Ahab Ishmael," two of the central characters in Melville's "Moby Dick."

And the first thing that jumped to my mind when I read JoAnna's association was Heathers - where the faked suicides are rationalized by a 'meaningfully marked-up' copy of Moby Dick.

Wonder if the shooter was a fan of the movie? I have to confess that I haven't read Moby Dick, so I can't speak to symbolism that might have originated in the book...


Actually, with all the comments made about Cho thinking that people (rich people, in particular) were all hypocritical and fake, "The Catcher and the Rye" was a book that came to my mind.


The shooter was found with the words "Ismail Axe" written in ink (presumably by himself) on one arm.

Karl Keating

Thomas Fleming has an interesting take on all this. In part, he says:

"These incidents are inevitably called tragedies, but that is precisely what they are not. In a tragedy like 'Oedipus' or 'Macbeth,' a basically great man, trusting in his own abilities, deludes himself into making self-destructive decisions. Flaws in his character lead him first to arrogance and then down the path of folly and ruin.

"Tragedies make sense of the human world, while these pointless murders seem to reveal a world that makes no sense. In calling them tragedies, we are essentially saying that human existence is pointless.

"This is not just a 'semantic point.' It is all too true that most Americans are like most people everywhere in all periods of history: They speak without thinking."

His entire essay is worth reading: http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/cgi-bin/hardright.cgi/2007/04/18/Sense_and_Sensibili


Earlier today I was listening to some media types
discussing whether it was right for NBC to release the
Cho manifesto and video. They agreed that releasing
the video might encourage other people to do copycat
killings, but said that there was an obligation to put
the story out, freedom of press, etc. & etc. Then, as
an aside, one of them mentioned that NBC probably
couldn't broadcast that much of the video anyway,
since it contained so much profanity.

So freedom of the press requires broadcasting a tape
even where it might get people killed, but
broadcasting the f-word, whoa, we can't have that.
What a strange world we live in.


As sad as I feel for the victims and their families, I can't stop thinking about Cho's parents. How they must have suffered for and with their son! I keep wondering how often they tried to help him, what they may have sacrificed for him, and how many times he has broken their hearts before this week. And now this. Not only have they lost their son, they have the pain of knowing the consequences of his madness. They bear the weight of their own loss along with assuming the grief of every other person who is in agony because of their boy. I imagine them re-living every odd behavior, every attempt to help him, and second guessing their actions every step of the way. How they must wonder if things would be different if only they had taken some other action than the ones they took. I mourn for them particularly, and pray for their consolation. No, we don't know anything about them. Maybe they are not good people at all. But, at this point, I'm inclined to imagine them as decent folks who may be living through unbearable pain.


I was sitting in my English class today and our professor started talking about Elizabethen society, because we are reading "The Tempist" and he talked about how the Elizabetheans viewed people as having a responsibility to protect society. He then got on the topic of the V-tec shootings and said that if a student had written a question mark on a sign in sheet as an introduction he would've asked the student to stop in after class. I don't know if he was playing the blame game or not but his points were very interesting to me. I agree too, with the above commenter who discussed the shooter's parents. I can't imagine what they're going through and like the other commenter, I am also inclined to believe that they are suffering a great deal right now. In any case, everybody involved in this sad event is in my prayers


The only thing I can think to add is how ironic it is-- those SOB "Baptists" (NOT associated with any valid Baptist church!) that protest soldiers' funerals because gays are dooming the country (/rude) are less Christian than the Israeli man who gave his life for his students.

I really hope that those vets with the bikes will be there for the students' funerals.

(Not positive that the Prof has Israeli citizenship, but his son does live there, and I think I read that he and his wife moved here in the 60s.)


That reminds me... You know the first thing I thought when I found out where the shooter was from? "Thank God they finished this year's training in Korea last week." Reading around, apparently this is making RoK not look so very good. I hope this murderer doesn't manage to hurt the world more than he already has.


Headnoises, the prof was an Israeli citizen. He and his wife moved there from Romania during Ceaucescu's reign. He came to the U.S. on sabbatical in the '80s and stayed to teach at Va. Tech. He is being buried in Israel.

Cho's family must be beside themselves.

I hadn't thought about the point re: definition of tragedy. It's an interesting one.

Mary Kay

Cho's parents were hospitalized with shock, which I read several places, the following was the most mainstream source:


(sorry, still haven't learned how to make it clickable)


Tragedies make sense of the human world, while these pointless murders seem to reveal a world that makes no sense.

I don't know they necessarily make sense of the world. What about "Medea" where the title character kills her two children after her husband leaves her to marry another woman.


I think it was from Faust; "when hunting monsters take care to not become one yourself." I cannot defend the shooter's actions, nor would I want to, but the incredible lack of sympathy for that poor tortured soul is very upsetting. I was a close friend of Kevin Underwood, the man who kidnapped and murdererd Jamie Bolen in Purcell OK; and people treated him in the same way. Leave the judgements to God, and the rumor spreading to FOX.


The really sad thing is that nothing shocks me anymore either - or any of us.. We have become THAT used to violence...
That's why making the world more Catholic is probably the number 1 priority...of all the works of charity you could think to pursue... People who have a healthy feear of God don't do these kinds of things... But there is no fear of God to speak of anymore...
Didn't it all begin with Martin Luther who said we are saved by faith alone???
False beliefs lead to false lives which lead to... things like the Virginia shooting... and wht Andrea Yates did ... she was someone who left the Catholic faith and got messed up in other, false religions... God help us...


It's called mental illness. Many practicing Catholics suffer from it too.


Didn't it all begin with Martin Luther who said we are saved by faith alone???

I thought it began more like, "That sure was a tasty apple... Oh No! I'm not wearing any pants!"

Or something like that. They didn't have the Media to broadcast everything back then.


Lets step off of our pedestals for a moment and remember that the crusades and the inquisition were the same kind of mass murder on an even grander scale. kaking the world more catholic is not the answer, making the world more christ like is. If those two things could always be synonymous then good, but don't think that if everyone were catholic these kinds of things wouldn't happen. Thats just silly.

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