Friday, April 20, 2007


The Shrink Rappers have been quiet for a few days. It's hard to know what to say. I've called Clink, told her she has to post, I'm sure she'll have some thoughts soon. My oldest is thinking about colleges, here stands a reminder that safety, both ours and our children's, is a just an illusion. For everyone, my heart wraps around the unthinkable grief and sadness-- mostly it's too painful to even watch for more than a few minutes.

The New York Times ran a piece today about mass murders and mental illness, it didn't say much of substance. Cho was angry, maybe he had a personality disorder-- they speculate on which one, avoidant, paranoid, perhaps he was depressed or psychotic. Certainly, he was angry, and the article starts by saying he had a hole in his soul. I don't know what that means, but it sounds like as good a way to explain the inexplicable as any.

Sometimes, people tell us things about their mental life that suggests a diagnosis, at least an explanation. The depressed person who commits suicide out of guilt, pain, and hopelessness. The person who kills someone because voices tell them the victim is going to kill them, as distorted as it is, we get that in this person's mind, it is self-defense.

I watched a few minutes of the video. Cho Seung-Hui was filled with rage, he felt victimized, in the little I've seen, he didn't say why. Somehow, he believed his actions made him a martyr and he deemed this an act done for his children (---?). Somehow, in his mind, it made sense. He'd been hospitalized once briefly a few years ago, perhaps he had a diagnosis, as somehow we'd all like something-- an explanation, someway of grabbing on to this and believing we might catch and prevent acts that linger between severe untreated mental illness and pure evil.

Whatever it means, Cho Seung-Hui most certainly had a hole in his soul.