4/16: A product of psychology or gun control?


4/16: A product of psychology or gun control?


By:Adam Rizzieri
Posted: 4/20/07

It is no mystery that the tragedy of April 16 at Virginia Tech stands out as the deadliest student-perpetrated school shooting in the history of the United States. It goes without saying that an immediate sense of shock spread across the nation as we learned of the tragedy unfolding from networks like CNN and Fox News. Among the 32 innocent lives that perished on a day that will be forever engraved into the memory of our nation was a Holocaust survivor, a few well-established professors and several bright minds who had a beautiful future stolen from them.

With this tragedy, the debates about gun control and explicit video games and music are likely to re-emerge, just as they did after the events at Columbine and other instances where schools have fallen victim to this societal plague. Are guns too easy to obtain, and do violent music and video games truly desensitize people to the point where it's easy to take a human life? These are questions that have emerged in the past; however, in this case I feel that they are not what need to be asked.

The shooter at Virginia Tech, Cho Seung-Hiu, was a 23-year-old who had a history of violence and irrational behavior. Before his murderous rampage, it should be noted that he was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital, was the subject of two police reports in 2005 for stalking, and was known among the Virginia Tech faculty as "intimidating." In fact, the chairman of the English Department, Dr. Lucinda Roy, took his dark poetry to campus police after his professor, Nikki Giovanni, expressed her intentions to quit if he wasn't removed from her class. Cho wasn't your typical student, and though I'm not a psychiatrist, I think it's safe to say that he didn't kill his peers because of music from Marilyn Manson or "shoot 'em up" video games.

This kid was a product of psychology and his interpretation of personal grievances. It is very likely, and almost obvious, that he suffered from some type of antisocial personality disorder. If any of you have seen the video he mailed to NBC in between his first and second round of attacks, his rambling of anger toward rich kids and hedonism serves as a tool for analysis on his psychological state. Phrases like "you decided to spill my blood" and "you forced me into a corner" show that Cho likely felt powerless and believed murder was the solution to his grievances. After a collegiate history of dark poetry and disturbing writings, he likely began to fixate on murder as a solution to regaining control of his problems.

Despite the possibility that he felt powerless or whatever else his grievances might have been, this guy is not the victim he thought he was. Metaphorically speaking, Cho was a "cry baby" that threw the worst temper tantrum imaginable. The accessibility to guns and violence that exists in some video games is not what took the lives of the 32 innocent people. It's not guns that kill people; rather, it's people who kill people with guns (and knives, ropes and bats).

Cho had no felony convictions, and thus was allowed to legally purchase a 9 mm Glock five weeks before these terrible killings. The reason I say gun control is not an issue in this case is simple. A person who is determined to shoot someone will find a way to obtain a weapon legally or illegally. The law doesn't stop law-breakers from breaking the law; it simply affects those who abide it. That is, a criminal will continue to break the law while a law-abiding citizen will adhere to the constraint of law. Therefore, any change in gun control is irrelevant to criminals both present and future.

So when left with this situation, what questions should be asked? Was this the result of a failure in parenting? Perhaps people ignored an obviously disturbed individual who could have been treated by a psychiatric professional. There is no justification for the taking of innocent lives, but perhaps as a community of scholars we should ask ourselves, do we ignore the weird, quiet kid in class?


Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.smudailycampus.com/media/storage/paper949/news/2007/04/20/Opinion/416-A.Product.Of.Psychology.Or.Gun.Control-2870609.shtml>SMU Daily Campus - April 20, 2007</a>


Adam Rizzieri




Sara Hood


"Norris, Mark William" <mnorris@mail.smu.edu>




Adam Rizzieri, “4/16: A product of psychology or gun control?,” The April 16 Archive, accessed October 20, 2019, http://april16archive.org/items/show/1216.