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American Martyr

It’s not clear what set him off, except a ferocious rage at being mocked and excluded. We all have this feeling at one time or another, don’t we? Only we don’t channel it into the killing of 32 people. Nihilistic mass murderers no longer surprise me in America, because they are a cultural phenomenon that surfaces every now and then. No one can deny we have a culture of violence, with blood on our hands from the Pilgrims to Fallujah. Like our troops who are fighting terror “there” so it won’t come “here,” even our misfits feel a need to prove themselves in this genre.

One reason I like Sanjaya is that he’s the anti–Cho Seung-Hui. Say what you like about Sanjaya, you know he won’t blow your head off in a shopping mall. Booed by millions, he flashes a smile and keeps on singing, which is his form of revenge. Here is some of Cho’s writing that was made public by an ex-classmate. I laughed out loud at his bizarre nonsequiturs and surreal leaps of logic. The kid had a kind of malformed talent. I wish he hadn’t killed all those people, that he was still with us. Maybe he could have learned to channel his anger in some creative way. Poetry and rage are forms of rebellion against numbness. It’s just a question of the circuitry through which it flows.

The quotes below are taken from MSNBC.

    I didn’t have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled. But no, I will no longer run. It’s not for me…for my brothers and sisters that you fucked, I did it for them. When the time came, I did it. I had to.
    You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today. But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.
    You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy’s life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.
    Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled upon on a cross? And left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life. Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can…?
    You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn’t enough…. Your trust fund wasn’t enough. Your vodka and Cognac weren’t enough. All your debaucheries weren’t enough. Those weren’t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.

In case it needs to be said, I’m in no way condoning this violence. All violence is a tragedy, no matter what its source, whether it comes from an American Army helicopter, a police torturer, a car bomb on the streets of Baghdad, or a deranged student. Blogger BO18 has pointed out that some people are trying to exploit this tragedy to point the finger at Muslims once again, however farfetched that may seem. In fact, one of Cho’s victims was a young woman from Lebanon named Reema Samaha. The day before her murder she danced at the university’s International Fair. A Lebanese flag can be seen waving in the audience….


Comment from Reda
Time: April 19, 2007, 22:53

yep they call it the mystery of :’Ismail Ax’.
Pitoyable !!

Comment from Yahia
Time: April 21, 2007, 14:44

I wonder why it wasn’t speculated that this guy is from the Qaeda?
It was an excellent opportunity! and they missed it.

Comment from eatbees
Time: April 21, 2007, 17:28

@Yahia — As BO18 mentioned on his blog (and Reda refers to it here) parts of the American media did speculate that there was some kind of Muslim connection here. Maybe they didn’t go quite so far as to link it to Al Qaeda (a few of the more extreme bloggers did) but that’s only because nothing in the evidence let them draw that conclusion. I’m sure tried as hard as they could, but law enforcement was telling them this was just a lonely, messed-up kid acting alone.

Comment from sanaa
Time: April 22, 2007, 17:21

I have been living in the US for many years; I know, as you said, that these killings are a part of life here, but I still can’t see any sort of explanation that would make a little bit of sense to me. Is not that what should be rightly called nihilism?

Comment from sanaa
Time: April 22, 2007, 17:37

Concerning the Islamic angle, some people jumped on the Ismail Ax tatoo, but nobody to my knowledge did anything with the fact that Cho compares himself with Jesus (not that one should, of course).

Comment from eatbees
Time: April 24, 2007, 00:52

@sanaa — I think you are absolutely right; it is nihilism. Although I think it’s fair to say that Cho was mentally ill, apparently going back into childhood. (He never showed emotion, even as a small child.) Which means he never should have been sold a gun.

Regarding the Jesus comparison, that is a great catch. The quote is right there in my post, but I didn’t “see” it! When I typed it, it struck me as weird, out of place—I thought about not quoting it for that reason, but it was part of the record so I left it in. It never occurred to me to “make an issue” about it or ask why….

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