On April 16, 2007 one of the most devastating mass murders in U.S history occurred at a Virginia college. Seung-Hui Cho a 23 year old South Korean alone executed the killing of 33 people by securing colleges doors to prevent escape of any students. Events such as these are truly tragic and devastating to all involved. By gathering background information about Seung-Hui Cho, we can effectively examine social development theories as they relate to Cho and review my analysis that this particular occurrence was preventable.
Born in South Korea, Seung-Hui Cho immigrated to America when he was 8 years old. Although Cho was a quiet well behave child he was awkwardly withdrawn and angry (cite book). Throughout school Cho was teased and bullied which could have been the cause of his average grades throughout school. Cho’s sister Sun-kyung was often in the school newspaper and was selected to attend the most elite Ivy League Universities (Schmalleger, 2009). Cho went on to attend Virginia tech where he was recognize once again for being extremely violent and was even removed from class. Cho was referred to multiple counselors and officials where he denied all thoughts of suicide and homicide. Although Cho denied these having these thoughts students that attend Virginia Tech could see the imminent risk rising with Cho.
There are many social development theories that can be applied to Seung-Hui Cho but I feel that the Life Course Perspective accurately represents Cho most effectively. With the social development perspective, human development occurs on many levels simotaneously, including psychological, biological, familial, interpersonal, cultural, social, and ecological (Schmalleger, 2009). Social development d\theories focus on delinquencies over an extended period of time as well as transitions people go through within their life span. As the Life course perspective suggests Cho exhibited
showed a distinct pattern of anti-social behavior throughout his childhood and had never committed any crimes. Cho had a hard childhood and was in the shadows of his very successful sister. Even in college Cho had no friends and began to look up to other school shooters as martyrs. Although these individuals were not his friends at all in his situation they were the closest thing to having friends. In college Cho was accused of stalking women on two different occasions, was caught taking photos of the legs of female students in class and was separated out of classes. I believe that Cho’s antisocial lifestyle along with the transition any from home eventually lead him to commit the mass murder. Cho’s anti-social lifestyle seemed to escalate to criminal behaviors from the time he went off to college until the time of the Virginia Tech shooting.
I believe that this tragedy could have been prevented if the proper preventative measures and treatment techniques were taken. As a boy Cho should have been taken in for a mental evaluation but I believe the integration of his family into the American society prevented that. In high school Cho being bullied and teased could have been put to a stop by teachers and surrounding students. Also when Cho started writing gruesome poems short stories and plays he should have been recommended to a counselor. Any counselor that Cho had encounters with could have been a lot more persistent in getting to the bottom of Cho’s situations. A teacher college teacher doesn’t just separate a student from her class. Finally the two females who Cho supposedly stalked could have reported Cho and pressed charges, preventing him from escalating in criminal nature.
Seung-Hui Cho may have lived a particularly difficult life but with appropriate preventative and treatment measures the Virginia Tech shooting could have been prevented. One way this could have been prevented is with the support of his family. Cho’s family should have played a larger role in providing guidance and discipline and instilling sound values in Cho. Also social institutions failed him. He was bullied in teased in schools and church which could have been the reason for him being anti-social throughout his lifespan (Seung-Hui, 2013). Finally individuals in Cho’s life should have intervened immediately and constructively when delinquent behavior
first occurred. After closely reviewing Cho’s background information and examining social development theories as they relate to Cho my analysis is that the Virginia Tech shooting was preventable.
Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminology today: An integrative introduction. (5th; ed., pp. 297-341). Columbus, OH: Pearson Prentice Hal. Retrieved from http://devry.vitalsource.com/ Seung-Hui Cho. (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 06:22, Jul 28, 2013, from http://www.biography.com/people/seung-hui-cho-235991.