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Killer Sent Package to NBC Between Shootings

from News Staff
April 18, 2007
updated 7:11 p.m.


7:11 p.m.: According to NBC Nightly News, the package contained an eight-page, single-spaced document with 23 embedded videos and 29 photos of himself, many with weapons including a hammer, knife and the guns believed to be used in the shootings. reports they have received a package from Cho Seung-Hui timestamped 9:01 a.m. on the morning of the shootings.

According to NBC, the package contained numerous photos, information, and over 20 videos.

In the documents, Cho is quoted as saying, “this didn‘t have to happen,” said NBC. No images of the first shooting were contained in the package.

Comments (30)

I wish the media wouldn't give that jerk all this attention. They are just glorifying him, which was his goal. Forget him and focus on how special the victims were.

Anon | April 18, 2007 6:55 PM

what an idiot

shihan | April 18, 2007 8:00 PM

How arrogant, narcissistic, self-absorbed and self-righetous this guy was. I wonder if his parents had any idea, or even tried to keep tabs on him.

That having said, I hope we don't go overboard in the other direction and start rounding up goths and punk rockers.

Steve (Tech '82) | April 18, 2007 8:22 PM

When high school youth choose death by suicide, schools wisely refuse to "honor" their deaths with official memorials, pictures, ceremonies on campus--for the one moment of fame after death should not be what we set as a role model for others to emulate. By plastering this young man's face all over every medium, by giving him quasi-stardom, and announcing that this is the "largest school related massacre," are we not immediately setting up the challenge for the next disturbed person to top it? The bar has been raised, and the next massacre is already being set in motion.
Mainstream and underground media alike should come to some realization that the publicity in death is exactly what the disturbed perpetrator lacked in life, craves, and wins with such attention.

His family will forever suffer regardess, as will the families of the victims, but he should be a nameless, faceless shadow--a ghost we should not honor with recognition.
We may pray for his soul without blazoning his act with instant stardom.
We are all Hokies--the flame will burn inside us forever.

Professor Carol Lee Saffioti, Ph.D. | April 18, 2007 10:13 PM

Dr Saffoti is absolutely correct. He was a loser in life; and is an even bigger loser in death. What we must learn from this painful experience is that the warning signs must never be ignored. The chain of events in this tragic case could have been broken at any number of junctures over the last few days, weeks, even months; but sadly this did not occur. We must ask ourselves, Why? Had a WASP 23 year old conducted himself in the exact manner as "he" did, would the response have been different? Did we allow this maniac more leeway because his heritage was different? Many many people knew this guy was a timebomb. Where would he explode? How? When? Do not leave for others the job that you know in your heart is yours to perform. Act on your instincts. Be not afraid to STAND UP! Better to be safe than sorry. As for flames burning Dr Saffioti---"his" is feeling the heat and flames as we speak..........

profiler1017 | April 18, 2007 11:25 PM

I agree, too, with Prof CLS. Feeling all powerless in life, this all was his one moment of power, and since he obvs planned ahead - he made the whole video and all just to add to it, probably envisioning what it'd be like after he was dead, being all over the news and all. I mean, the fact he mentions Eric and Dylan shows, the gears of this sort of thing were already turning - I almost consider this event a slight copycat in itself. I mean, yes, when someone is isolated and angry enough to hate all around him, or at least, enough that they have no motivation to stay connected to others or the world - why not go out in some sort of 'blaze of glory'?...especially aware of the whole Columbine precedent and the media attention for that. The instant I heard how he was against "rich kids" and "debauchery" or whatever, I immediately did begin thinking of Harris and Klebold and how they were just pretty vengeful, with their various gripes against the world and/or their peers, and their desire was just to create the most destruction possible as a result. And I thought "This Cho person MUST have read what they've said..." And sure enough, the next day - it's revealed in those tapes that he's mentioning Eric and Dylan, referring to them even as martyrs. Mmmhm.

So yes. Like was said. I was feeling my stomach turn at how much news shows were showing HIS images and videos. More than they did of Eric/Dyaln too (we never did see their video publically, did we?) They're making y stomach turn not so much in the sense of "omg what a monster" but - I can easily imagine fellow angry-powerless-disconnected-nothingtolivefor-loners out there watching it, and imagining what it would be like if it was THEM next time up there on the big screen. That whole thing. And would encourage them to do it. And, as was also mentioned - especially now trying to "break the record" of most shootings... I'm sure there are loads of these types of angry loners out there, and something like this is all they need to start visualizing themselves in place of Cho...etc...

I'm fearful of many copycats, and this kinda of crap attention from the media is NOT helping at all. Yes, we should all be informed. Naturally. But...come on. Wake up.

anonymous | April 19, 2007 3:38 AM

I've just picked up a morning paper here in Manchester, UK. All i can say is i'm astounded that this guy is plastered all over the papers. In a word, he's won. EVERYONE in the media should never show a picture of him againm we all now know what he was called, what he looked like and what his beef was but do we all need to see him daily? The papers today should have been in honour to the tragic victims of this moron, not the moron himself. Keep your chins up guys.

Martin | April 19, 2007 3:52 AM

Maybe the guy was a "loser". But what does his ethnicity have to do with this? Trust me, this kind of problem -- authorities not wanting to budge until there's a "direct threat" -- this happens more than you think.

As for Dr. Saffioti's comment about the "glorifying" of this guy, and whether he craved attention. No offense, Dr., but your PhD isn't in psychology...

This guy

-had trouble communicating
-talked about an imaginary girlfriend
-was withdrawn
-unable to relate socially
-unable to make eye contact
-stalked women
-wrote and said nonsense
-obsessed with getting revenge against imaginary people
-thought people were out to get him

That's not indicative of narcissism, but he almost surely had a schizoid disorder and brain damage. In the case of the University of Texas shooter, Whitman had a lesion on his brain.

It is truly sad and truly sick what he did. Please don't compound this by lumping him in with innocent people based on their race or their relative lack of success in life. This was not the act of a "misfit" but a deeply disturbed, brain damaged individual.

give me a break PhD | April 19, 2007 3:53 AM

totally agree with you martin.

amanda wirral | April 19, 2007 5:14 AM

Why didn't anyone intercede when the killer was troubled and sending out signals that he was capable of violence BEFORE he comitted this horrible crime? Also, this is indicative of a culture overrun with violence. I say outlaw guns altogether or at the very least, make stringent laws that make it extremely difficult to get guns. My former husband had a roomate who went in to a gun store to buy a gun. The ownerr asked him what he needed a gun for and his response was "To kill myself", which he promptly did...just outside the gun store where he had just purchased the gun. And that was some 30 years ago! WAKE UP AMERICA! Your guns are killing your young! Vote for legislation for heavy gun control! Aren't our children more of a priority than big business?

Parvati Devi | April 19, 2007 7:35 AM

I really don't know what to say except that I am truly sickened by what this boy did. He took incident lifes to replace all the wrongs that were in his life! However I do agree that he did send out some type of cry for help I gusses in his own way; but don't get me wrong I'm not trying to justify for whaat he did. And I hope that everyone at VT can someday move on and put their lifes back together. Remember to always put your trust in the Lord; for he is the one who can take your life and make it better; and although that may be hard to see now but it will happen; just pray and remember to put your faith in him.VT you will forever be in my heart and in my prayers! May God bless you and your families!With much Love!

Anoymous | April 19, 2007 9:56 AM

Observing this tragedy from the outside, the loss of life is depressing. I agree with Parvati Devi, America should outlaw guns. Sadly though, this will never happen. Depressing.

breslint | April 19, 2007 10:12 AM

NBC should never be forgiven for releasing the video and images from that package, which could only serve to hurt the families of the victims and encourage more killers hell bent on notoriety. The other networks and papers were wrong, too, but it would never have gotten out without NBC's approval. No more NBC on my TV!

Ahron | April 19, 2007 11:56 AM

Remember, people, everytime you make a negative comment about his ethnicity, you also take a swipe at one of the deceased. Mary Karen Read was also of Koren heritage.

I agree with Prof CLS. I also do not have a PhD in psychology, but that should not matter. The perp will never again have a face or name once maroon and orange day is over tomorrow.

Wear the colors with pride, VT.

sauerkraut | April 19, 2007 1:03 PM

I am appalled by the tragedy and would like to do anything I can to comfort those who have lost loved ones. The one best thing that can come of this for all of us, including bereaved families, is to prevent recurrences to the extent we can. Without understanding some of what was happening inside his mind we are at a loss to prevent it's recurrence. So my hope for all of us, and especially, for the families of the victims is that we take some comfort from the education that the media's brutality has achieved.

I am certainly loath to believe we would be better off by being ignorant. As a physician and ex-spouse of a schizophrenic I have some understanding of the difficulties of dealing with the "troubled". My heart goes out to all the families and friends, the students, faculty, and police who "knew" the problem and were powerless to do anything about it, and the parents of Cho.

Doc | April 19, 2007 2:15 PM

"NBC should never be forgiven for releasing the video and images from that package, which could only serve to hurt the families of the victims and encourage more killers hell bent on notoriety. The other networks and papers were wrong, too, but it would never have gotten out without NBC's approval. No more NBC on my TV!

Posted by Ahron | April 19, 2007 11:56 AM"

You've opened your eyes today, Ahron.

NBC should have NOT even opened this heinous material; it should have been immediately handed over to the authorities.

But they just couldn't help themselves, could they?

The drive by media is alive and well, most unfortunately for the grieving families and friends, and for the rest of us as well.

I would love to hear about the victims...their hopes, their aspirations, something personal about them, and the lives they lived.

The news media makes me ill.

Melinda | April 19, 2007 2:55 PM

the killer got what he wanted even after death he was put on a platform by the media enough every image of this killer should be taken off our tv and heart goes out to the victims families and friends

amanda. wirral england | April 19, 2007 6:05 PM

I agree with Melinda - the pursuit of the media's coverage is sad and ridiculous. I was appalled when I turned on CNN and saw footage of them speaking with the killer's family's mailman to try and get information on him. The commodification of this tragedy is disgusting.

I have many friends who attend VT, and my heart goes out to those on campus who have all felt the wake of this horrific event. If anything should be covered by the media, it isn't what this individual has done - it is where he failed. Let's hear about the heroism of the professors and the students. Let's hear about the lives of those who have passed, and let's lift those who survived up as a defeat to his intention.

Hannah, Des Moines, Iowa | April 19, 2007 6:16 PM

No, this didn't have to happen all right. The obviously priviledged students of Virginia Tech should tone down their Christian inspired neo-conservative homophobic banter and preoccupation with pedophilia and sodomy in their day-to-day social intercourse. Bashing homosexuals and lesbians, not to mention liberals, creates an atmosphere of intolerance and hatred, and often gives disturbed individuals the license to KILL others they deem subhuman or guilty according to the status quo. Perhaps the blood is on your hands afterall.

James | April 19, 2007 6:40 PM

Although i know yall are bashing the media and i completely understand but you must look at the fact if it wasn't for the media how would all of us around the world be able to witness the pain and horror yall have all gone through. It is through yalls strenth that we have all seen on the media that inspires us all to have such school spirit and hope for the future.

kristen,university of north texas | April 19, 2007 7:47 PM

Cho was a freaking weirdo. I mean major lunatic, I just dont see what could drive him to do such a horrible thing. NBC had no right to reveal the tapes, they should be Boycotted. The Media is messing up real bad, because they are glorifying him and maybe encouraging other shootings, there are many copycats out there who might watch the tapes and look at cho as a "hero" completely redicilous of NBC. BOYCOTT NBC!

Anoymous | April 19, 2007 9:17 PM

i'm really sorry for your loss, vt.

i'm very glad, too, that nbc aired cho's video. it gave us insight into how this heinous thing happened.

i read somewhere where a VT prof said it helped them cope with the tragedy. i think, as a bystander, it did for me. it didn't make him important - that's ludicrous.

no, i don't love repetitive, mind-sucking sensational coverage - and all news is guilty of that - but i think nbc was as surprised as anyone to have gotten that information.

it's newsworthy, and it's important to understand.

don't let feelings determine how we all receive information, please.

again, i am so sorry for your loss, and my thoughts are with you all.

anonymous | April 19, 2007 11:38 PM

JAMES- please simmer down, your rhetoric is a little chilly and not quite the right time. Do you really think Conservative Tech students are the reason this happened? The blood is on the hands of ALL OF US. We are all part of the problem! You sound so angry. You are naming the injustices you see around you but you have to work on building bridges toward a better world, not say "I told you so". It starts with sweetness.

subtle_force | April 20, 2007 1:35 AM

One needs to remember that TV networks play to the crowd. NBC has its all-time lowest ratings. If they thought for one minute that playing this stuff would cause people to boycott for real, there is no way they would have done so. This is the kind of stuff that sells, and if the American public at large were a little less voyueristic and a little more altruistic, we really WOULD boycott and this would just be a moot point. T

The other thing to consider is that people around this country (and probably around the world) are really freaked out about this and how it could happen. They are scared that it could happen to them, in their community, at their local schools, involving their own kids. They are scared that someone right under their own nose could be planning something like this right now. We need to cut folks a little slack. They want to see it in part to try and figure out what caused this guy to do it and how they could protect themselves in the future. Clearly you can't get that info from all his crazy talk - it makes no sense. But that is part of what people are looking for in watching it. It is human nature to look for answers. Too bad there really aren't any.
In the meantime, all the folks at KSU in Manhattan, Kansas are praying for VT.

KSUwyldkat | April 20, 2007 4:39 PM

I find it disgusting that the networks felt the compelling need to boost ratings by continually showing the video/pictures of Cho. It is evident that the public would be interested in knowing more about this killer; however the networks should recognize the pain these families and friends are enduring. They didn't need the contant reminder from a mass murderer that he enjoyed killing these innocents. God bless these families and friends.

CJ from NC | April 20, 2007 8:21 PM

Come on people. Don't blame NBC they are
news! Whatever Cho's motives were for sending it,he is the face of a killer it is news. Not ASIAN news! NEWS!People are interested in details for whatever reason

Maria | April 22, 2007 6:34 AM

I just wonder how many students and faculty the media monster tried to interview, at some point in the conversation, ask them "why are you guys (the media) even here?" Yes it was tragic and devastating. Yes it was something that we have never witnessed. But did Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper ever stop and think about the families? It's times like this when I feel that common sense should prevail and put a gag on the media. GOD BLESS VT!

Rick | April 22, 2007 11:12 PM

sorry vt for you all lost i feel like this should have not happend but you all are in my thoughts and may god bless you

anonymous | April 23, 2007 4:57 PM

to "give me a break PhD" lol...I'm just a little curious. Don't you think it could be a combination? I mean, I agree that there could be some of what psychologists deem "schizoid personality disorder" going on. For sure. But personality disorders are extreme gray area anyway, because you can probably name lots of people around you who exhibit at least SOME symptoms of any number of them.

As for the imaginary girlfriend and all. I don't think that's this huge mystery either. This guy was probably depressed, and clearly had some socialization issues. Yes... Perhaps in a biological way, if that is possible. Not to mention a lot of angry, for whatever reasons growing up. We can't pretend to know the lives of other people and put them all in a nice little cut and dry box just because the DSM-IV says we can. (So I know what I'm assessing here could be incorrect too). I'm just saying, it's not so cut and dry I don't think. He didn't seem outright delusional to me. If you're depressed, disconnected from peers, and have this unhealthy need to withdraw - of course you're going to start losing some touch with reality. Lack of healthy social interaction WILL do that, if there's enough of it. You may get into that weird bubble of your own head, of rage or anger or whatever the heck. Not sure how he could have been helped, but...yeah.

So, in other words, I think the other PhD talking about his narcissism had a point too. That revenge sort of stuff he was getting at in the tapes seems to mark that. Being so low and feeling screwed by the world and those around him that he needed to do some revenge, with nothing else to live for. And being a schizoid type that lacks a healthy, good social support system and connection with the rest of the world - certainly contributes. So, while I agree that there was clearly some unhealthy mental workings and horrid lack of social skills going on with him, I don't think it's just that he can be written off as some brain damaged crazy guy either. There's a multitude of things that go into the makeup of every single person, and his unfortunately ended up being a lethal combination.

anonymous | April 23, 2007 11:19 PM

This individual demonstrated many characteristics of several psychiatric disorders. Perhaps a psychiatrist would have been able to intervene in this individual's mental status and behavior in the years prior to April 16.

anonymous | May 6, 2007 5:14 PM