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A profile of the Virginia Tech Killer

By Dr. Bill Knaus

Editor's note: Dr. William Knaus who is a professor, volunteer advocate and author of 12 books, submitted the following piece. Due to space, the article will not run in its entirety, but the complete version can be found at Click on Special Features.

Since Cho Seung-Hui massacred 32 people at the University of Virginia, the greater US college community has responded by efforts to support its fallen fellow students, and the friends and the families of the students. Many parents of college students from Maine to Hawaii have especially felt unsettled by this event. Those who mourn continue to mourn because the lives of those who were lost in this massacre were meaningful. For them, there is no future.

This paper is intended to explore psychological factors that contributed to Cho's murderous rampage and to explore what can be done for the future to prevent more of the same. Let's start with putting the April 16 shootings that took place on the Virginia Tech campus into context. The mass murderer, Cho Seung-Hui, was a highly disturbed, destructive individual who acted in an evil way by deliberately ending the lives of 32 others. Cho chose suicide following his rampage. His endgame was destruction. When he destroyed all that he was able, he took his own life.

The vast majority of people who suffer from mental disturbances are substantially more of a problem to themselves and to those closest to them who may feel stressed by their disability. It is statistically rare for any mentally distressed individual to go on a killing spree. This is important to keep in mind.

Cho's mass destructive conduct is very rare. How is this to be explained?

Cho Seung-Hui may have suffered from a rare mental disorder called paranoid schizophrenia which is characterized by distrust, suspiciousness and delusions of persecution. Cho thought that others thought they were better than he. He may even have seen that others intended to harm him.

To read the rest of Knaus' analysis visit www.theremindercom and click on Special Features.