Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Always the quiet ones: Bracing for the media's "diagnosis"

I'm holding my breath. I'm hoping no one says it, but I just know they will. In the paper, on TV, on the web, I haven't seen it yet. But he was "quiet", "weird", "asocial" and a "loner". Didn't make eye contact. Didn't have friends. Barely spoke to anyone, spoke "in a whisper". Wore sunglasses indoors. Spent lots of time on the computer. There have been references to "obsessions". Now he is called a "mystery". Now his teacher says he would pause up to 20 seconds prior to responding to a question.

I have a really bad feeling about this. Defensive, too, like we're all about to get slammed. And nobody's even mentioned the word.


  1. You know what this post reminds me of? The days when lynch mobs ran rampant in the American South, about a century ago, and blacks got the blame for almost all unsolved crimes. Whenever a white woman was found raped and murdered, every black man in town would try to stay out of sight as best he could. Otherwise, a lynch mob might just grab him off the street, beat him until he "confessed," and then hang him.

    I hope the media's fickle attention moves on to some other news story soon...

  2. One of the things I have had to deal with from time to time, is people thinking my son was abused. So many of the symptoms of autism mirror those of chld abuse. My guess would be, that like most spree/serial/mass murderers, Cho must have suffered some kind of abuse, likely from his parents, and apparently from his peers. The kind of rage the fuels this kind of behavior goes far beyond a diagnosis of autism, and we would do well to rember that autistic people seldom commit this kind of violent crime.

  3. I have been losing my mind over the fact that Cho Seung-Hui should have been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. I feel the same way and I am frustrated and incredibly curious to learn more about his family and interactions in elementary and middle school. His "stalkings" do not sound harmful like people are making them out to be. The way he talks on the videos gave it away for me. I hope that I'm wrong...

  4. I posted earlier, and although I fear Asperger's may be present - this does not account for his actions. It may account for his struggles to form some relationships, but clearly through his writings and other images, Cho was subjected to multiple and severe types of abuse in his life that caused this type of outrage.

  5. I've been waiting for the same "media diagnsosis of autism or aspergers" and I got it. Saw a news clip of the grandmother from south korea saying Cho was diagnosed with autism as a child. And here's one autism group's statement on it:


    Yup. Just what the autism/asperger's community needs. Another tie to another school shooting.

  6. There is an article today that Cho was diagnosed with autism when he came to the US. He was at least 8 years old at the time. Where was the support and help with communication and socialization. The college didn't know. How can we expect someone to turn out when every day is a painful and embarrassing experience? He knew he was failing in life, had nothing to look forward to, but attributed his misery to innocents -people who could not possibly know what to do to help him. If this incident teaches us anything, it should be that this disorder be diagnosed early and the individual given the support they need/want to enjoy life.The link is:


  7. I think the media-jury is still out on this...CNN removed the autism reference from their site. Not that there hasn't been some damage either way.

    Deb, I did read the statement at autismlink, and I appreciate their advice to the public not to blame autism for the actions of one individual. But of course they had to follow that up with references to the alleged epidemic, how important it is to stop it, etc.
    This is exactly the sort of thing I fear seeing even more of as this thing unfolds.

  8. These are also symptoms of mental illness, and specifically paranoid schizophrenia. ANY diagnosis could be possible. The guy is dead, and apparently was unreachable long before that.

  9. Asperger's can't be determined from an autopsy so the world will never know. As a parent of an Aspie who is now being HAPPILY home schooled because she was constantly bullied and ridiculed in school, I wondered if he had Asperger's. I also wanted to let other children know that their taunting can help to create this type of horror. Would it really be so terrible for the world to know that even an Autistic person is capable of murder if their own life is made to be a living hell? Is it possible that the public reaction might be kindness instead of fear? Am I hoping for too much here?

    1. When people are constantly bullied and ridiculed, after a while it can take its toll. People may snap. And the snapping may not be a direct result if being on the spectrum as a meltdown, but rather an I direct consequence, as in: One is on the spectrum so one is more prone to being bullied, teased and abused over, over and over until... ...snap!

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