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Some Analysis of the Killings at Virginia Tech

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As a part of my Homicide Investigation class at George Washington University, my instructor has asked us to write a brief analysis of the killings that occurred at Virginia Tech on Monday. Even though I am only a student and haven’t had the experience, statistically speaking, there are many things that are common when this type of crime occurs. I am in no way stating that any of the following is fact, it is just my interpretation of the events as based on my knowledge gained in my Homicide Investigation course.

* * *

It appears that the offender’s motivation for the first shooting is domestic. There have been much speculation as to the offender’s relationship with the female victim. Some feel that they may have been in a relationship or that Cho had feelings for the female victim. It is possible that his motivation to kill her was caused by Cho’s apparent hatred for “spoiled, rich kids.” Is it possible that Cho had feelings for the female and was rejected? Thus taking his hatred out on her? Based on the fact that Cho walked across campus (at least half a mile) to Norris Hall to commit his crimes shows he had been planning this. The killings at Norris were not spontaneous at all.

Cho wanted to destroy what symbolized the high class that he felt such disdain for. Since he associated many, if not all, students at Virginia Tech as being in this class, he felt that everyone encountered could potentially be his victims.

This murder seems most likely to be an authority murder. The perceived authority being the higher class. If Cho grew up in a middle or lower income family, then this could explain his problem with the higher class. Northern Virginia can have very large gaps in the income levels among families. Cho probably felt this gap during his time in school in Northern Virginia and this is what probably helped escalate his hatred.

But the question remains of who was his primary target? Was it the first two victims? Or was his primary target someone in Norris Hall? Usually in an authority killing, the killing ends once the primary target is killed. Did Cho find his primary target in Norris Hall, then end his life?

Weapon stockpiling and verbalization of hatred towards a particular authority is also common in this type of murder. It seems that Cho did both of these things by purchasing two semiautomatic handguns and writing disturbing poetry and plays in his creative writing classes.

Cho probably had a history of mental illness, including isolation, paranoid behavior, etc. Cho’s post offensive behavior did not seem to change at all. Especially since he shot two people, and calmly went back to his own dorm, then walked across campus to execute another batch of killings. Cho’s history of being isolated and calm continues to his post-offensive behavior. This is probably why nothing was suspected of his behavior in between the two shooting incidents.

Written by Eric Spiegel

April 17, 2007 at 9:47 pm

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