The killer:

  • [Seung-Hui] Cho had shown recent signs of violent, aberrant behavior, according to an investigative source, including setting a fire in a dorm room and allegedly stalking some women. A note believed to have been written by Cho was found in his dorm room that railed against “rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on campus. — Chicago Tribune
  • Lucinda Roy, a co-director of the creative writing program at Virginia Tech, taught Cho in a poetry class in fall of 2005 … [she says] that there was nothing explicit in Cho’s writings, but that threats were there under the surface. Roy told ABC News that Cho seemed “extraordinarily lonely — the loneliest person I have ever met in my life.” She said he wore sunglasses indoors, with a cap pulled low over his eyes. He whispered, took 20 seconds to answer questions, and took cellphone pictures of her in class. — ABC News
  • “He was a loner, and we’re having difficulty finding information about him,” school spokesman Larry Hincker said. A student who attended Virginia Tech last fall provided obscenity — and violence-laced screenplays that he said Cho wrote as part of a playwriting class they both took. One was about a fight between a stepson and his stepfather, and involved throwing of hammers and attacks with a chainsaw. Another was about students fantasizing about stalking and killing a teacher who s-xually molested them. — AP/Huffington Post

The gun control issue:

  • Apparently, it’s “creepy” to call attention to legislative efforts that prevented VTech students from arming themselves in self-defense on campus, but there’s nothing “creepy” about The Times jumping the gun on gun control. Creepy indeed. — Michelle Malkin
  • Why the Gun Lobby usually wins. The National Rifle Association has money, motivated members and powerful allies in Congress. But what puts the NRA in a separate class among interest groups is its track record of defeating incumbents. In Washington, that is real power. — Jeanne Cummings, The Politico

  • The massacre at Virginia Tech cranks up the debate over whether U.S. gun ownership laws are too lax. The two sides couldn’t be further apart. Wall Street Journal

  • Just another American massacre. And no, there isn’t even the slightest chance that this will lead to a serious discussion of whether guns are too easy to get in this country, or in some parts of this country. — No More Mister Nice Blog

  • And How Would Being Armed Help? I’m amazed by these people who think that students and/or professors at Virginia Tech being armed would have helped save more student lives. If other people had been armed, it would likely had made little difference, and in fact made the situation worse. — Daily Kos

The side stories:

  • After the jump, Radar scours the Web to bring you the most ill-conceived responses to mass murder since Gilbert Gottfried’s post-9/11 airplane crash joke at the Friar’s Club. — Radar
  • Now Do You Understand? Okay. Big deep breath. This is horrible and this is tragic and this gives us an idea of what it is like to live just one day in Iraq. Consider the following… — No Quarter
  • The Asian American Journalist Association is calling on news outlets “to avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane reason” when identifying the Virginia Tech suspect. Says the Association: “There is no evidence at this early point that the race or ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident, and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire people. The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful. It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color and heritage.” — CBS News
  • What do the Virginia Tech slayings say about South Koreans? What do we make of the revelation that the man responsible for the largest mass gun rampage in U.S. history was a 23-year-old student from South Korea named Cho Seung-Hui? — Foreign Policy
  • University officials are starting to ask tough questions about what they can learn from the worst shooting in United States history. Many colleges adopted new security plans and procedures in the wake of the 1999 Columbine high school and other mass shootings. But preventing – and reacting to – such attacks poses a daunting challenge to campuses that treasure open environments and often bucolic settings that encompass hundreds of buildings. — Christian Science Monitor
  • Virginia Tech is running a list of confirmed deceased.
  • The New York Times recreates the story via campus graphics.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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