Virginia Tech from a Distance

So, another rampage in the US by a heavily armed nerd. Like Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris before him, Cho Seung-hui has been described as an outcast, someone who apparently held a significant grudge against the upper caste of his social environment. The pundits, like the rest of us, are trying to figure out what causes this sort of thing, what are the warning signs, how can we prevent this in the future? Is there a causal connection between the video games and the music and the movies and this aberrant behavior?

I think the truth is, you never really know. You can look at a guy’s life and point to particulars and try to connect the dots and run the numbers, but lots of equations start with nerd + violent games + heavy metal, and thus far only a handful have equaled multiple homicide. From my group of friends, that equation has equaled doctor, lawyer, and cheese specialist/film editor (or whatever the hell Flounder is up to these days).

You can look for outward signs, but our interior lives are our private universes and most people probably have things they’ll never tell another living soul, ever. Even blogs only hint at people’s secrets. If you happened upon a typically nerdy blog entry like this, you’d never guess the author was a confessed rapist, murderer and would-be cannibal.

We’re just going to have to deal with the fact that sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Sometimes there are no signs. Sometimes people just crack.