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Posted by on Apr 20, 2007 in At TMV | 13 comments

Cho’s Family Speaks Out, Apologizes


BLACKSBURG, Va. – The family of Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui told the Associated Press on Friday that they feel “hopeless, helpless and lost,” and “never could have envisioned that he was capable of so much violence.”

“Our family is so very sorry for my brother’s unspeakable actions. It is a terrible tragedy for all of us,” the family said.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • Lynx

    What a sick situation they must be in. They have both the pain of losing a loved one (and regardless of what he turned out to be they must have loved him) but, unlike the families of the victims, are not given the luxury of righteous indignation, of community, of the knowledge of pure innocence. They may well be as much to blame as any of the victim’s families, but they will not be given that kind of support.

    No, they will have to carry the shame, the unspeakable act that was carried out by one of their own. People will look at them funny, and some will look with outright hostility, believing that there’s “no way” they couldn’t have known what he was like. If they are traditional Asians (gross generalization ahead, beware!) this leaves a stain on the family name that they have no way to live down, most especially if they are surrounded by an Asian subculture with the same values. Assuming they are entirely innocent, it’s all rather unfair. I admit that I don’t feel near as much sympathy for his family as for the families of his victims, but I think I probably should rethink that, at least a bit.

  • lisa

    I’m sorry for your loss and your struggle to grieve and forgive at this time! What a horrible thing. Our prayers are with you.

  • Daniel CAZ Greenberg

    I live in Centreville, VA, right in the heart of the concentrated Korean community here.

    The air’s had an awkward sort of feel to it the last couple days, no doubt.

  • AustinRoth

    Lynx –

    I fail to understand a couple of your quotes:

    unlike the families of the victims, (they) are not given the luxury of righteous indignation

    Why would they have a need for righteous indignation?

    They may well be as much to blame as any of the victim’s families

    OK, maybe it is just bad phrasing on your part, but you seem to be saying the victims have some of the blame on themselves, which I can’t believe is your intention.

  • This family has retained the counsel of Wade Smith who represented the Duke lacrosse team. This is not some poor family that needs pity. It didn’t take long for them to lawyer up. I wouldn’t bet against their own culpability.

  • White Agent

    Baltimoron- Uh… culpability? You mean like the family planed it anf the son carried it out? Come on, you really are a moron huh?!

  • Lynx

    Why would they have a need for righteous indignation?

    They don’t “need” it, but there is something to be said about being on the “side” of the victims vs. the “side” of the murderer. For instance it was different being an Afghanistani on 9/11 than being an American, even if the Afghanistani in no way wished for the attacks.

    OK, maybe it is just bad phrasing on your part, but you seem to be saying the victims have some of the blame on themselves, which I can’t believe is your intention.

    It was indeed, NOT my intention to place ANY blame on the victims. In fact my intention was exactly the opposite. Let me rephrase:
    They may well be as much to blame as any of the victim’s families, that is, NOT AT ALL.

    Better? Sorry if I was unclear.

  • Uncle Joe Mccarthy

    in this age of extreme litigeousness, it makes sense for the family to get an atty…and no, they are not wealthy

    kinda hard to become rich working at a dry cleaners

    this is a hard working immigrant family and i do feel for them

    the korean community in the united states has contributed much

  • White Agent:

    Typing in the dark, or just too excited to mock?

    If you’ve spent any time in Korea, or had a Korean family, you’d know clannishness was the least of sins. Ever covered up a family secret? What would you do to keep it hidden? And, what would a college president, a doctor, a judge, a probation officer, a sister, do to hide their shame? It’s not like being a son means anything anymore in a selfish American society.

    If there isn’t a negligent official around, or a dirty secret, I’ll burn my Eugene O’Neill’s, sing Yankee Doodle Dandy, and kiss my mother on her cheek! I “feel” for them; that’s why I don’t trust them! And, if you do, you’re a moron!

  • Lynx – how about, “They are as blameless as any of the victims’ families, but they will not be given that kind of support”?

    I write convoluted sentences myself enough that I know how hard it is to say something without equivocation, but what is holding you back from letting the killer’s family off the hook? Whatever Cho’s diagnosis, it wasn’t his family that created that. Should they have fixed him, poured antipsychotic medicine down his throat? Did someone tell them to do that, but they didn’t? Should they have guessed how much harm he could cause? Maybe some would hold that against them, as Baltimoron seems to, but the family has plenty of company if that’s the issue.

    Why is it so hard just to blame human nature, as expressed both in our biology and our culture? That doesn’t mean give up on being better than that, but all the, “This shouldn’t have happened, and it’s THEIR fault”s are something of a fantasy. It did happen, and no human being ever does anything in isolation. Good and evil are both cooperative efforts.

  • White Agent

    Baltimoron- What hidden shame? What context are you using the word culpability? What are you accusing these people of? Your vague comments makes me think that you are simply a racist.

    Confucius say, if your name is moron, don’t be surprised if others call you moron.

  • Rudi

    WA I’m on the Left side with you, but before you sling judgements go to Baltimorons site and clink on “about”. Many here don’t read the linked articles or the “about” link of their favorite or hated bloggs. Baltimore isn’t typing in his robe in this situation. Your “racist” comment is an embarrasment, are you related to the Bush clan. Is Neil and his spawn your blood curse? Is this your dark secret – ChipinChief blood ties? He claims to resdie in Korea and have a Korean wife, a Limosine Liberal or Conservative he is not.

  • From the link from which I originally posted on 4-21-07 at 6:18 am:

    Final thought: How do you honor the dead? By doing right by the living. We come from a determined people – it’s hard as all hell to come to a foreign country and make a decent living when you don’t speak the language (seriously, what morons invented English – it is the most illogical language in the world), and yet, most of our parents managed. Think about what we could accomplish if we set our minds to improving not just our financial pocketbooks, but our mental/emotional ones as well.

    Thanks, Rudi, for reading my links. I do type fast in a sort of shorthand. White Agent’s remarks are my problem, though. My father was a bigot and a racist disguised as a Christian. I’ll take his criticisms to atone for being his son.

    Firstly, I speak of negligence and culpability in a legal sense, not a moral one. I only had a year of law school, but that distinction is important and difficult for laypeople like us to remember. I’m arguing, that if the parents and other family members knew Cho Seung-hui was diagnosed with a psychiatric ailment (on another Korean expat blog, someone suggested Asberger’s Syndrome), but then failed to disclose this information to school authorities, then (I would ask legal experts to reply), I believe the family is culpable. If VT knew, but downplayed the fact, then I believe they are either culpable or negligent. There is also the matter of the school psychiatrist who prescribed medicine to Cho. If Cho had a pre-existing condition, did the clinic know? Was the diagnosis , or the prescription correct? Did they follow-up? A judge ruled him a danger to himself. What were the circumstances of his decision? Again, was the family involved? Is the judge in error. based on what he knew at that time? There is a probation officer. Why didn’t this official meet Cho for over two years? Again, was the family involved?

    I linked to Michael Hurt’s articles, and his writings are excellent. I recommend them. However, I don’t want to view this issue as a Korean-American problem. If Cho’s family knew something, covered-up, or influenced these relevant authorities , or failed to disclose information, then this case is no longer a Korean-American one. It’s a public policy issue. I am not racist, and it’s not because my wife of five years is a Korean national. It’s because as a liberal (in the old-fashioned sense), I value the individual for his/her contributions and intellect.

    Again, alluding to the link, I’m not Korean-American, and i won’t argue that I understand Korean culture, even as I type from my Korean parents-in-law’s house in Busan. I have experienced alone and with my wife (with whom I have talked voluminously this past week (as we do when these spectacular international events occur) about families and mentally-handicapped kids. We have both seen MH kids in Korea who abuse others and then are coddled and defended by mothers who have no other recourse but to fight for their kids blindly. There is very little help for parents of MH and physically-handicapped kids. There is more than before, but before kids were exposed to the elements or hidden in back rooms. Now, some MH and PH kids go to my classes, and other kids treat them reasonably well. But, in 1992, I would speculate that Cho’s parents were ashamed of their MH kid. And, now this family is still in Korean mode: defend this only son to the hilt NO MATTER WHAT! If he hits someone, it’s the other guy’s fault for not moving. Or, they are liars. I have witnessed this myself, because I was hit by my own MH student during a Parents’ Day. This kid abused others for two months, and I complained and I tried as nest I could to help and control this angry kid and 11 other kids. Parents were ashamed and angered, and apologized to me profusely. But, in the office, with all the parents complaining, his mother called all the parents liars and claimed her kid was fine. And, then, we, the teachers, found out that the kid had been expelled from every public and private school in the city before arriving at ours, because he was an MH kid. There was nothing for this mother to do, but treat her kid like other kids and hope he advanced. She paid and paid, and defended this kid everyday, and he just got worse. So, I know something about this. I “felt” for this kid, but I’m not a special skills teacher, and I can’t teach 12-15 kids, when one is throwing tantrums and abusing other kids. Parents of these children need help, but the first step is diagnosing and acknowledging it, so that resources can be allotted. If there are no resources, we as a community have failed.

    If all these speculations are true, then Cho is foreseeable product of the failure of two societies, not a freak of nature. I think that’s the greatest lie. Again, I believe the county and Virginia can always do better; we can do better. Now, 33 people are dead, and it’s a very human problem! Stop blaming God or Nature. it’s very arrogant to blame God, or even to invoke God or Nature to avoid searching within ourselves. It’s conceivable God is very ashamed of creation now, and we missed a chance to make good.

    I would allude to Eugene O’Neill. I was watching Long Day’s Journey into Night (1951) last night. I recalled mu own family’s problems. None of us are innocent in this world, and I doubt the Cho family is either.

    There is much I do not know, and I hope public officials try to find out. I hope the blogosphere directs its wrath in the right direction. If this was a public policy disaster, then I repeat: impeach Kaine and all other officials negligent or culpable.

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