In Cho's defence...
"this is a lesson for all o. i think those American parents should learn a lesson or 2 from this. with the way their kids tease other people of different nationalities. i went to school abroad as well, and i can tell you that most people, even the adult students have no regard for others. if you aint speaking the language like them, or don't look like them, its hard to mix. i'm not generalizing, but its a pattern ive noticed. hence it leaves people feeling isolated from others. i think people should be taught these subtle signs and not to ignore others. no be by force, but at least make an effort to make other people feel welcome. this matter was a big issue in the school i went to. if you aint white, forget it. no-one wants to have anything to do with you, no matter how extroverted or social you are." - Soulpatrol (Nairaland)
Being a foreigner myself set me thingking... what could have made a man shoot 31 innocent people before taking his own life?
It's easy to plant flowers at memorials, write words we don't mean on tombstones and whiteboards, talk about how good people were on facebook. . . if only we did this when we each could appreciate each other perhaps such episodes could be a thiing of the past. How could a fellow not have any friends for 4 years?? Everyone is talking about him being the weird kid who never talked, some are busy posting his plays on the internet, professors are describing a disturbed kid they think they did a huge favour by sending to see a psychiatrist. Where was everyone when a simple "how did your day go" would have averted this problem?
How many times was Cho abandoned in the back of the class with everyone sniggering at that "weird asian kid who never talked"? I find it so difficult to imagine me sharing a room with another individual and him having issues that warranted psychiatric evaluation and police questioning and yet doing absolutely nothing! Only to appear on CNN after the shootings to hug the limelights as the room mates of a weirdo!!!
His family never visited and no one cared to ask why. He never went on holidays and no one bothered to invite him home even when they lived just a stone's throw from the school. He wrote scary plays and his classmates prefered to turn them into discussion points rather than reach out to someone who was clearly troubled. How many times do we push people away because they don't look like us, talk like us or think like us? How many times have we been so ignorant and selfish forgetting to help those around us who need just one person to make them feel loved and accepted? It is easy to talk about healing, fly flags at halfmast, cancel school, while pretending to honor the memories of those that died when we are merely reaping the fruits of our selfishness, rejection of others and inability to stretch a hand of fellowship.
Of course this in no way attempts to justify Cho's act but it is a reminder to us that there are thousands of other Cho's around us. They may never pick up a gun and shoot their classmates but deep inside are living a life that is empty. Luxury can never take the place of love and acceptance, if one person cared for his neighbour perhaps much more than stricter gun laws, we may be able to save someone else from going the lonely road to perdition.
I wonder what would have happened to Cho had he not carried out his act. Many of us leave college with healthy memories that would linger forever. What would Cho have left with?