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Cho Often Wrote About Death

Posted April. 19, 2007 03:58,   


The life of Cho Seung-hui, who gunned down 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech where he was majoring in English, was very gloomy.

His violence-drenched writing and his campus life totally isolated from the rest of the outside world were suggestive of his tragic end.

His professors and classmates remembered Cho as a frightening student. Cho, who didn’t even talk to his dormitory roommates, was a loner on the campus.

Disturbing thoughts reflected in his writings-

Several writings Cho wrote in his English classes were suggestive of his catastrophic end. Cho’s classmate Stephanie Derry (English major, senior), who took a creative writing class with Cho, was quoted as saying, “Cho’s writings were really twisted and bizarre” by the Washington Post.

In another writing class in the fall semester of 2005, Cho made many writings about death, which shocked his professor Nikki Giovanni.

Giovanni said, “Other students were afraid of Cho as he took photos of his classmates who were studying, and wrote about death.” At one point, only seven students turned up for a 70 student-limit class because many students were leery of Cho.

Lucinda Roy, a professor from the English department who taught Cho one-on-one, recommended Cho take a counseling session.

The Chicago Tribune reported that two sets of three-page notes found in his dormitory room after the rampage were dripping with anger, venomous remarks, and hatred against the rich and the privileged.

Escape from society-

Cho never made efforts to communicate with the outside world. Even while he was talking with a professor in a one-on-one setting, he always had a hat on and wore sunglasses.

Paul Kim, a senior majoring in English, noted, “Cho was never willing to speak, even not a single word.” Other classmates reported that Cho didn’t reply even when a professor asked something, and that Cho always sat by the door and left the classroom right away once the class is dismissed.

Cho looked always depressed both mentally and physically.

Another classmate, who took the same British literature class with Cho, said, “On the first day of class, Cho just wrote a question mark when a professor asked students to write their names on a class sign-in sheet and submitted that.”

Another classmate (English major, senior), who had three classes with Cho recalled him, saying, “Cho often wore headphones in classes. One day, when a professor asked him a question, he just stared up into the air.”

Cho was a total stranger at Virginia Tech.

Cho was always alone even when dining at the dormitory as well. Cho didn’t even make eye contact with a candidate running for the seat of students’ association when the candidate asked him for his support, giving Cho some candy, earlier this year.

Renouncing His Faith-

Included among the writings found by the police in Cho’s dormitory room were some remarks about Christianity. One of Cho’s writings, described by the U.S. media as a “rant against the world” is eight pages long.

The AP reported that Cho mostly wrote about negative views toward the world. It included some phrases such as “the end was near” and “there was a deed to be done.”

yhchoi65@donga.com srkim@donga.com