IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for April 18, 7 p.m. ET

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Steve Capus, Pat Wingert, Karan Grewal, Bernadine Healy, Saira Haider

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST:  The Virginia Tech killer says, “I didn‘t have to do this.”  Let‘s play HARDBALL.

Good evening.  I‘m Chris Matthews.  Welcome to HARDBALL.  Tonight, we see for the first time not a calm yearbook photo, but instead the face of a killer, one looking to leave a legacy.  It‘s an image that grab and haunts us like the murders at Columbine high school eight years ago, or even the suicide bombers over in the Middle East. 

On a day that Cho Seung-Hui murdered 32 people at Virginia Tech, he mailed a package to NBC in New York between the first and second shootings that day, and it arrived today.  NBC immediately turned the package over to authorities.  The package includes images and a disturbing, rambling, multipage statement. 


CHO SEUNG-HUI:  ... avoided today, but you decided to spill my blood. 

You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option.  The decision was yours.  Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off. 


MATTHEWS:  We also learned today that Cho had a history of scaring his fellow students and law enforcement, and university employees knew it.  He even spent time in a mental health facility.  So the questions continue to grow.  Why was Cho not given the medical attention he clearly needed?  Why was he living in a university dorm with other students, one of whom told us he didn‘t know anything about Cho‘s troubled past?  Why didn‘t his sick writings bring more attention from university officials themselves? 

We begin with this report from NBC‘s Pete Williams. 


PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Just minutes after firing two fatal shots at the Virginia Tech dormitory on Monday, Cho Seung-Hui returned to his own dorm room and made the final preparations to mail what appears to be a video confession. 

CHO:  When the time came, I did it.  I had to. 

P. WILLIAMS:  In a separate written document, he includes 29 photos he apparently took of himself.  He looks like a normal, smiling college student in only the first two.  In the rest, he presents the stern face and strikes the pose that was very likely what his victims saw later on Monday. 

In 11 of the pictures, he aims handguns at the camera, likely the very ones he bought in the past two months. 

In his 1,800-word diatribe, he expresses rage, resentment and a desire to get even.  With exactly whom, he never says. 

CHO:  You had 100 billion chances and ways to have avoided today but you decided to spill my blood.  You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option.  The decision was yours.  Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off. 

P. WILLIAMS:  Much of it is incoherent, laced with profanity.  He rails against hedonism and Christianity. 

CHO:  You just loved crucifying me.  You loved inducing cancer in my head, terrorizing my heart and ripping my soul all this time. 

P. WILLIAMS:  Though he tried to cover his tracks by filing down the serial numbers on his guns, he obviously wanted the world to know who was responsible for the worst mass shooting in America.  He began working on these materials at least six days beforehand. 

CHO:  I didn‘t have to do this.  I could have left, I could have fled.  But no, I will no longer run.  If not for me, for my children, for my brothers and sisters, that you (EXPLETIVE DELETED), I did it for them. 


MATTHEWS:  That‘s NBC News‘ Pete William reporting.  We‘re joined right now by Jonathan Dienst of NBC station WNBC up in New York—that‘s our flagship in New York—who has been covering this story. 

Jonathan, you were on earlier.  What is in this manifesto, do we know, the written document? 

JONATHAN DIENST, WNBC-TV:  Well, it appears that much of what is in the written document is what is in the videotape.  And as Pete Williams has had the opportunity to go through a lot of those pages and through the videotape, reported that there is lots of rambling, lots of incoherent statements. 

But there is also a lot of anger by the suspect, Cho, talking about the rich brats, those who drive around in their Mercedes.  He rails against those who are drinkers and alcohol users, and it just seems to be an anti-rich diatribe, and that he is going on and on about what it is like to be humiliated by others.  And he seems to ask the question over and over again, do you know what it‘s like?  Do you know how it feels? 

And as you said, Chris, he also makes reference to the Columbine disaster and the suspects in that case—deeply troubling, deeply haunting videotape.  Deeply troubling and haunting manuscript. 

MATTHEWS:  Jonathan Dienst, stay with us right now.  We have joining us on the telephone, NBC News President Steve Capus. 

Steve, give us a sense, give us the report on how you learned about this package coming to 30 Rockefeller and how you dealt with it. 

STEVE CAPUS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENT:  The package, when it arrived at NBC headquarters was originally flagged by the letter carrier.  Who pointed out to NBC security that it had a return address from Blacksburg, and so it was immediately brought to the attention of security, even before anybody opened it. 

MATTHEWS:  Did it have a return address?  Did it have the name Cho on it in any way? 

CAPUS:  It had a different name on it.  Not Cho. 

MATTHEWS:  Ishmael?

CAPUS:  That‘s correct. 

MATTHEWS:  Is that from “Moby Dick,” do you think? 

CAPUS:  Honestly, I don‘t know.  But the key is when it came in here, NBC security opened it and handled it appropriately and everybody who touched it wore gloves to keep everything intact.  And we immediately contacted authorities and that set forward the chain of events.  And we worked with the authorities this afternoon to make sure that they knew everything that we did.  And they requested that we not release some of the information until they had a chance to take a look at it.  And we honored that request.  And that was the right thing to do. 

MATTHEWS:  How long did you hold it? 

CAPUS:  For a matter of hours.  I saw a copy around 12:00 noon.  And I guess by the first word that went out was at the same time that the Virginia authorities had the news briefing this afternoon at 4:30. 

MATTHEWS:  What were the items in the package? 

CAPUS:  There were two things.  One was a printout of a PDF type of document.  Multipaged, 23 pages, I believe, of a combination of text and photographs combined in the documents.  With the photos embedded in the document.  There would be a few lines of text.  This kind of rambling manifesto type of statement.  And then there would be a series of photographs.  And then the other thing that was in the package was a DVD, a   video that was carved into snippets of videotape in quick time files. 

MATTHEWS:  And so that was the more recent production, apparently. 

CAPUS:  It is hard to tell, Chris.  I don‘t really know what the timeline is on when those things were prepared or when they were done.  Because the investigators are going to have to make a determination of what it, what each of these words means.  And I know, you‘ve been in touch with Virginia State Police.  I know that they‘ve looked at the writings, the videotape we‘ve sent some chunks of the video to them and I know that the FBI is in turn, getting them the full videotape. 

MATTHEWS:  How much more is there of the videotape than what you put on nightly tonight? 

CAPUS:  I would say there is roughly 10 minutes or so, in total.  But that‘s the guess, Chris.  I haven‘t added it all up. 

MATTHEWS:  Is it all consistent message of sadness and anger and all the other emotions that were in that short byte? 

CAPUS:  Very angry.  Very, at certain points, agitated.  The one thing that becomes clear, because some people were saying, who shot the videotape?  As the picture that you‘re showing right now, it is typical.  It is him talking to camera.  And somebody might say, who shot the videotape?  On the videotape itself, you can see him lean forward and shut the camera off between the segments. 

MATTHEWS:  And also, a very steady camera.  It looks like he placed on it a shelf or something. 

CAPUS:  And the still picks, Chris, that are within the PDF file all appear to be grabbed from the videotape. 

MATTHEWS:  When you look at the picture we‘re looking at, and I believe you can see the TV picture as well.  You see the guy with the outfit he has on.  Let me just ask you, when you look at that outfit with the ammo vest and the ammo belt and the fingers exposed with the gloves, the black shirt, the black head ban, all that getup.  It does suggest some planning went into this horror. 

CAPUS:  I‘ll tell you, Chris, it gives you chills to look at these photographs.  There is a photograph where he has a gun pointed at his own head.  He has a knife at his own neck.  He has photographs of hollow tipped bullets lined up on a table or something like that.  It is horrifying and chilling. 

MATTHEWS:  What is impressive to us here after interviewing his suite mate who said that he never spoke a word, really, in the months since August when they were all put together in the same suite.  They even thought he couldn‘t speak English very well.  And then to hear his very articulate voice in this horrible tape, to hear him use a rich language.  Clearly, he knew how the speak with great fluency.  For him to not speak at all in those months before, and now to give this legacy to NBC.  It is a stark departure. 

CAPUS:  You know, I think this is inside the mind of a murderer.  And I don‘t know, that‘s the way I would characterize it.  The authorities need to look at this and really dissect it and pick it apart.  You look at the some of the writings and these are just long, ramblings.  That honestly, are very hard to follow, Chris. 

And there is an extreme amount of anger.  It is laced with profanity all the way through it.  And I, it is very hard to follow.  It really is. 

MATTHEWS:  His suite-mates said his roommate, a fellow name Joseph said when they would look at his room, at his screen and watch him work, perhaps, they would see him relentlessly, not playing video games but writing text.  English text.  Lengthy narratives of some kind.  And maybe they were watching him maybe begin to develop this self-biography, this autobiography.  This horror here.  Did you wait, reporting facts here.  Did you await the authorities before opening the package? 

CAPUS:  No.  The package was opened by NBC security.  And as I say, they handled it in the appropriate manner.  And all the people who work at NBC security are former law enforcement.  And we took frankly, their guidance on how this should be handled and we were in touch with law enforcement immediately. 

MATTHEWS:  It was a box.  It wasn‘t an envelope.  Is that right? 

CAPUS:  It was a large oversized envelope.  I have not seen the original of the documents and thing like that.  Everything I‘ve seen is copies that were made.  So they didn‘t, it is not as though they were pushing around the originals around here.  We saw some, the documents.  And I asked for the originals to be turned over to the authorities as quickly as we could. 

MATTHEWS:  We‘re talking now with the President of NBC News, Steve Capus who received this frightening package today.  Was there any concern by the security people at NBC that it might be a dangerous package? 

CAPUS:  I don‘t know, Chris.  They didn‘t tell me that.  And I know ever since the anthrax incident, everything of a larger size gets checked when it comes into the building.  And as I said, the letter carrier who brought it into the building, flagged us to the return address.  And so they were already on heightened alert because of the return address. 

MATTHEWS:  Last question, in terms of the context, the fact that the killer here, we can call him that, referenced Eric and Dylan, the killers of Columbine.  Does that lead us in the direction this story will take?  That this is, if not a copycat case, certainly a related case to the horror that happened in Oklahoma? 

CAPUS:  I‘m not in any position to make that determination.  He does in this note, make reference to Eric and Dylan, but I don‘t know beyond that how to interpret this.  I‘ll leave it to the investigators and I have to say, the Virginia State Police, which is taking the lead on this, has done an outstanding job with us today.  And we very much appreciate their efforts.  And we wanted to work with them every step of the way. 

MATTHEWS:  And no understanding yet, except perhaps, its prominence, why he would choose NBC. 

CAPUS:  No indication in the letter, Chris, of why NBC. 

MATTHEWS:  Thank you very much.  Steve Capus, President of the News Division here at NBC News.  He is the President of NBC News.  Coming up, much more on Cho‘s manifesto.  That‘s what we‘re calling it.  It is in the package.  It was sent to NBC.  We got it today up in New York. 

We‘re going to get reaction from the campus at Virginia Tech.  This story keeps exploding with more bizarre horror.

And later, my interview with Cho‘s former suite mate.  You‘ve got to hear this.  It‘s so conflicting with what we‘ve seen in the public light.  You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:  Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Pat Wingert has been covering this shooting massacre at Virginia Beach—actually, Virginia Tech, I should say—for “Newsweek” magazine.  And WNBC‘s Jonathan Dienst is still with us—Dienst—is still with us.

Let me go to Pat.  Pat, this story, is this now going to become the storyline?  That this very angry student, fourth-year student at Virginia Tech, had in his mind Eric and Dylan from Columbine? 

PAT WINGERT, NEWSWEEK:  Well, you know, there is a long history of these kinds of copycat incidents.  You remember after Columbine, there was a whole bunch of different incidents at high schools around the country. 

My fear is that we‘re going to see this in a number of schools, high schools or maybe colleges in the next couple of weeks. 

So you know, we know that there is a copycat aspect to this.  It is kind of amazing that it took this long, though.  Columbine was quite a long time ago. 



MATTHEWS:  ... let‘s distinguish, those kids at Columbine, those very disturbed angry killers they became, were angry about social shunning, about being bullied, all the stories we heard about the way in which they were treated objectively.  This young man, Cho, seemed to be, according to our discussion with his suite mate—and we‘ll show that in its entirety later in the program—seemed to be a quiet kid, not an angry kid.  At least by his own suite mate‘s testimony here, that he was just someone who didn‘t choose to be social.  It wasn‘t like people shunned him or bullied him.  He didn‘t choose to be one of the boys, one of the girls, whatever. 

WINGERT:  I talked to one of the kids that was in his playwriting class the other day, and she said that he was a very—he did pull himself away.  They sat in a U-shaped configuration in that classroom, and she said he sat as far away from the professor as he could.  He never looked anybody in the eye.  In the class, they were supposed to take their writing and exchange it and get reaction to it.  He refused to talk to anybody with that kind of, you know, constructive criticism.  He would only write down things. 

So in places where he was supposed to be social and where people were really trying to engage him, he refused to engage.  And this woman said, you know, she actually read some of his plays—because they were doing this exchanging—and she said the writing was grotesque, the images that he was depicting were grotesque.  The humor was disgusting. 

And so it wasn‘t—you know, you see that same kind of alienation, that same kind of a very strange behavior that should have gotten somebody‘s attention, and clearly did get some people‘s attention here at Virginia Tech. 

MATTHEWS:  Hold on.  This is Pat Wingert of “Newsweek” magazine.  Stay with us, Pat. 

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams has seen Cho‘s manifesto himself, and he joins us now from New York.  Brian, what was it like?  What does it have in it?  The manifesto in print, in text form?

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR:  Well, a couple things to make clear.  Chris, we can‘t repeat enough, this was addressed to no one in particular at this network, held up for a day because the address was Rockefeller Avenue and not Plaza, and there were three erroneous attempts at a zip code until the correct one was filled in.

And we are carefully editing what we say in this.  I think talks continue with law enforcement and our standards people.  The entire senior staff of this company has been involved in this. 

I‘m holding it in my hand.  This is—and it arrived, again, on “Nightly News” I called it a multimedia manifesto, because I can‘t think of anything that more accurately describes it.  Page upon page of photos.  Mostly of him, the kind of narcissism that profilers say is so prevalent in this mind-set.  A solo picture of a knife.  There are several of those in here.  One of the brand knife is Smith & Wesson.  There is the barrel of a gun.  And this was the page I just read on “Nightly News.” 

“Generation after generation, we martyrs like Eric and Dylan.”  That‘s the reference to the Klebolds—to the Columbine shooters.  It goes on and on. 

And then there is these pages of dense, thick type.  Can we zoom in on that without showing any words?  It‘s—because there are so many profanities.  I‘m just going to leave it up for that long, actually, because it‘s—there is profanities every two or three sentences. 

And, Chris, it just—it keeps saying, you could have prevented today, but you‘ve poured gasoline on the situation.  That kind of thing.  On and on about the rich, fur coats, Mercedes.  No two or three sentences really make sense when viewed together. 

And one more point: As to not make any more heroes or martyrs, as he calls the gunmen in Columbine, we realize this has to be treated with a preponderance of caution. 

This also, however, is the going evidence we have to examine inside the mind of this crazed, narcissistic killer.  A mass murderer who is responsible for the largest act of gun violence in American history. 

MATTHEWS:  The word narcissism, or solipsism, it might be, but narcissism, let‘s go with that, because I cannot ignore when he said “you will have blood on your hands,” as if this indictment will go down in history like the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  I mean, the notion that he holds in his hands such a powerful weapon of words.  It is narcissistic.  I mean, what did you make—I guess that‘s what you made of it, that this kid thought that the word was listening.  Well, they will be for a couple of days, that‘s for sure.

WILLIAMS:  Yes, that‘s right.  And I get that by airing it, we‘re completing that equation.  And I understand the argument that by not throwing a blanket over this, and by airing at least the spirit of it—and there is a whole lot of the video that is so profanity-laced that we‘re not going near it, we‘re not putting it near the airwaves.  The pictures are mostly clean in here.  Some of it seems to have happened in the back of a very tiny compact car. 

And what was interesting, as I just talked with Pete Williams, in part of a video, he talks about past tense.  About you forced me to do what happened today.  Now you‘ve seen what humans are capable of doing.

And that led us to think, is this perverse enough, could he have possibly, in addition to going to the post office between these shootings, could he have taped chapters of this—because he looks physically different to some people—in-between these shootings.  The ultimate perverse melding of kind of high-tech and this uniquely sick mind. 

MATTHEWS:  Were you struck by the picture you saw today, where you saw him with the two guns out there, waving them in a terror fashion, with the fingers exposed from the gloves to make his finger—trigger finger more nimble?  The gun belt.  I mean, it looks like ammunition on his belt.  It looks like an ammunition vest.  The black shirt, the black headband.  All the accouterment, you would think, of the person he intended to become. 

WILLIAMS:  Yes, I‘m more than struck by it.  I just landed from

Virginia Tech at 1:30 this afternoon.  We‘re all still sunburned from

having to be out reporting on the quad there yesterday during an otherwise

beautiful, sunny, windy day.  And to come back, having had this vision in

my mind‘s eye after interviewing students, who talked about how creepy and

methodically he was when he changed clips—dropping the clip out of the -

just the way we see the cop shows on television. 

You and I, without gun training, wouldn‘t come to it so naturally. 

The way he hung the clips on that vest.  And now finally, seeing the picture they were trying to paint with words to all of us journalists assembled there—it is beyond spooky. 

I showed it to a couple of cops today who work—of counsel on our security staff, trying to match the weapons.  And they said, yes, that that looked like the Glock .9 millimeter; the other look like the .22. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that gets to the question that you raised with the president and the first lady last night.  And that was the question about gun control.  And I‘m sure this will be a topic for both political parties as we go along in this campaign, but it seems to me that if you look at the planning, just the way you do as a reporter, the planning of the type of weaponry, the semi-automatic pistols, having two of them; the fact that he did go for the clips with 15 rounds in them; the fact that he did do training, suggested—well, it didn‘t suggest, it indicated that he was looking for a way to fire a lot of rounds.  As Clint Van Zandt, the expert, said, 75 rounds, apparently, in a matter of a very few moments.  That he needed that ammo clip, that repetity (ph) of shooting, he needed that advantage to accomplish the mass terror that he wanted to complete. 

WILLIAMS:  A couple of points here, briefly.  Yes, the president was having none of it yesterday when I raised the question in that context.  No. 2, you left out one category, which was that he adhered to Virginia law and he waited out the 30-day waiting period between handguns.  And when 30 days had expired, he went and bought the .22. 

And third, as you know, Chris, I got a daughter in college.  And over the past 48 hours, I‘ve had two conversations with her about what I think one of the take-away messages of this is as a parent.  We‘ve all had, I think we‘ve all had conversations in the workplace, perhaps even in school.  Someday, that guy, that woman is going to come back and kill us all.  You‘ll hear employees almost half-joking about that when someone doesn‘t seem right. 

And I think the lesson, the enduring sick lesson on college campuses is going to be, getting people who don‘t seem right and leave these calling cards across campuses, with professors and roommates and all their acquaintances, maybe getting them to consider some help or getting people‘s attention about them. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, maybe it is time for all these university campuses to review the files and take a look at all the concerns. 

WILLIAMS:  This was a sick business tonight, I admit, going on the air with this stuff.  We felt compelled as journalists.  But I‘ll tell you, we showed restraint, because all of us are also humans, parents and spouses. 

MATTHEWS:  Well, this will go down as a major chapter at NBC News, to be this part of a horrible story, and have it brought right to you in the mail room.  Talk about telegraphing a story. 

Thank you very much, Brian Williams. 

Still ahead on HARDBALL, my interview with one of the suite mates  of the Virginia Tech gunman.  What a story this is.  You ought to hear the firsthand account—you‘re going to in a moment—of someone who roommated with him, suite mated with him for all these months since last August.  And did he send off any warning signs?  This is the troubling thing—I‘m not sure you‘re going to hear any troubling signs when you listen to this young man describe what it was like to share a suite with the killer.  You‘re watching HARDBALL on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.  Who exactly was Cho Seung-Hui?  What drove him to commit such a horrible massacre? How did he spend his time in college and were there any telltale signs that he was a killer in the making.  For insight into who this student was, here‘s my interview with his suitemate at Virginia Tech.

Karan, what was it like room-mating with Cho Seung-Hui?

KARAN GREWAL, CHO SEUNG-HUI‘S SUITEMATE: He was really quiet every time, so most of the times I just left him alone.  Let him be, let me do his work. 

MATTHEWS:  Did you ever ask to be transferred? Did you ever ask for a new roommate?

GREWAL:  I was not in the same room as him.  But did I share a common area and a bathroom with him with six other people. 

MATTHEWS:   So you were—how was it arranged? Was he in his own room to sleep in?

GREWAL:  Pretty much.  There‘s three rooms in the suite where we all share a common area and a bathroom.  The roommates are randomly assigned.  There‘s two per room.  I was right next door to him, about 12 feet from his door. 

MATTHEWS:    Did he seem dangerous to you?

GREWAL:  Not at all.  All the time, I just thought he was really shy and reserved.  I left him alone after the first week.  I tried talking to him when we first moved in in August.  But most of the time when I said hi, he just looked down or look away or pretend that he didn‘t hear me.  After the first few weeks, I just let him be. 

MATTHEWS:    I never heard of a kid like that, did you?  Have you ever heard of a person like that that wouldn‘t communicate in college? In college, you try to get along with people.  It is part of the experience to be social to some extent.  Have you ever heard of a kid who wouldn‘t talk to you?

GREWAL:  I found it pretty weird in the first month or so that he wouldn‘t talk to any of us or he never had any visitors or I never saw him talking on the phone, even with his parents or even talking on IM with somebody on his computer.  I thought it was pretty weird.  But in our dorm room, we were all upper classmen and there‘s very few freshmen.  So at first, I just assumed he had another group of friends that he hung out with and I never saw them. 

MATTHEWS:    Did he keep regular hours?

GREWAL:  Pretty much.  He got up pretty early in the morning and late at night, I would either see him typing on his computer or watching TV in the lounge. 

MATTHEWS:   How long were you in the same suite with Cho Seung-Hui?

GREWAL:  We all moved into the suite in August.  None of us lived in the same suite before.  The suite was new to all of us. 

MATTHEWS:    So if you had been interviewed the day before the horror, say a couple of days ago and the police had come to you or some psychiatrist had come to you and said, do we have any reason to fear any violence from your suite mate, you would have said what?

GREWAL:  I would have said no.  He did not seem aggressive or the kind of a person who would pick a fight with anybody.  He was not bait (ph) in any way or aggressive in nature or angry.  Most of the time, he had no expression on his face.  He never smiled, frowned, an angry expression, never.  He just had one look all the time.  If you‘ve seen his picture, that‘s how he looked every day.

MATTHEWS:   I have to tell you Karan, I‘ve never heard of anybody like this in my life.  You mean, he walked around without aspect, like a zombie, and you guys didn‘t talk about him.  You never told anybody about him.  You never thought this was really weird.  You said weird.  I think really weird.  You never thought it was really weird that a guy who was completely incommunicado with his own suite mates?

GREWAL:  Like I said in the beginning, we talked about - I talked about him with my roommate because my roommate tried to communicate with him also, but we were never informed about his past problems, seeing the counselor or having suicide thoughts.  If I was told about this, I probably would be more cautious or try a little harder to be his friend.  But I had no information about his past. 

MATTHEWS:    So the school administration never told you or your other suite mates that your suite mate was having psychological problems, that he was stalking a couple of fellow students, that he had these problems that at one point, required that he be brought in for a while.  We don‘t know for how long, but you didn‘t know about any of this. 

GREWAL:  No, not at all.  The university officials never told us ever.  And he pretty much never conversed with any one of us.  I pretty much did not know what his major was until yesterday.  I was talking to his roommate before that.  That I thought he was a business major but I found out yesterday that he was an English major which is pretty weird because when he didn‘t talk, one of the things I assumed was that maybe he doesn‘t know how to converse in English too much. 

MATTHEWS:    I thought that might explain to you fellows why he didn‘t talk.  But you did believe he spoke English well enough to communicate.  You believed that.

GREWAL:  In the beginning.  In the beginning, I believed that he did not know English too well. 

MATTHEWS:    So that‘s how you explained to yourself that he wasn‘t talking to anybody. 

GREWAL:  That was one of the ways, yes. 

MATTHEWS:    And then you found out the other day that he is an English major. 

GREWAL:  Yeah.  And it was really surprising that he wrote all those plays and was pretty fluent.  I was surprised to find out that he moved to the United States in ‘92.  I was assuming that he maybe came in the year that he moved into our suite last August. 

MATTHEWS:    Unbelievable.  Let me ask you just about the usual things that college kids talk to each other about.  Did he ever have girl troubles? Did he ever come back looking especially miserable because he had been shot down by a girl or anything like that occur to you?

GREWAL:  No.  Most of the times, he stayed in.  Like I said, I either saw him sitting down, working on his laptop writing something, or sitting down watching TV in the lounge, if I came in late at night.  He would be sitting down, next to the entrance just watching TV. 

MATTHEWS:    What did he watch?

GREWAL:  On Friday nights, he used to watch wrestling pretty regularly.  And other times, I saw him watch Spike TV, game shows. 

MATTHEWS:    Let‘s ask about, let me get into this video game thing. 

Do you know anything about counter strike?  It‘s a video game?

GREWAL:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:    Was he into it?

GREWAL:  I never saw him play any video game on his computer.  Most of the time like I said, he just wrote on his computer.  He had a word document open and he just kept on typing away for sometime, I would see him typing at 10:00 in the morning.  And I would come back at 12:00 and he would still be there. 

MATTHEWS:   And he was writing in English. 

GREWAL:  Yes. 

MATTHEWS:    So he did, you did believe he was conversant in English, he just wasn‘t a good speaker of English, you thought. 

GREWAL:  Well, once I saw him typing in English, you know, I thought maybe he just doesn‘t want to talk to any of us because he never showed, when I would say hi to him, he never showed that he did not want to talk to me or disgust on his face or you know, anger, he just did not have any expression.  He looked away.  So that just showed me that he was really shy, not dangerous in any way at all. 

MATTHEWS:   You‘re a very tolerant young man you know.  I would have said that if I had a roommate or a suite mate in college who was that weird, as you put it, who never communicated, you would say let‘s go out for dinner tonight or let‘s go to a movie or let‘s go to this social thing or let‘s go to a club, you guys were never inclined to say that to him because you assumed he would always say nothing.  Right?

GREWAL:   We just knew he would say nothing since he never even told us his name, really.  The only way I knew his name was, his name was posted on his door by the RA. 

MATTHEWS:    Do you guy have any choice in your roommates at Virginia Tech? It seems like he would be the last guy drawn on the list. 

GREWAL:  Well, we can choose our roommates who live in the room with us but if you don‘t choose one, it is random assignment.  You cannot pick your suite mates.  So most us in the suite, we were there by random choice.  We didn‘t pick our roommates. 

MATTHEWS:    Did you ever wonder why you got him?

GREWAL:  As a suite mate, not really.  I just thought, in a suite you have much more privacy than regular dormitories where you just have one hall way with doors.  That kind of explained to me why he might choose a suite, rather than a regular dormitory. 

MATTHEWS:    You know, I have to tell you, as much as I believe that a person could be a roommate, you guys are very tolerant.  I don‘t know whether it is diversity or something.  But today in school, you‘re much nicer to classmates and roommates than we ever were.  If we had a roommate that never talked at all to any of us, I think we would be asking for changes of roommates.  I must say, it also seems so similar to what you hear about these killers, mass killer included, that they‘re so quiet and they‘re so hard to find and hard to notice.  What you have been through does sound like what happens so often, the quiet guy who never hurt a flea, all of a sudden goes on a rampage and you don‘t know what is coming and God, I feel for you, buddy.  And thank you very much for giving us this insight into this part that nobody else can give us except a suite mate.  And I really appreciate you coming on the program tonight. 

GREWAL:  You‘re welcome. 

MATTHEWS:    Thank you very much.

Wasn‘t that something? When we return, how officials missed the warning signs.  They missed it.  We‘ll talk to Dr. Bernadine Healy.  This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:   Welcome back to HARDBALL. It‘s not about politics tonight.  We‘re continuing our discussion of the package that Virginia Tech gunman, the killer, Cho Seung-Hui sent to NBC and it arrived today.  And joining us right now is a physician, Dr. Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health. People are going to be figuring out this case like Jeffrey Dahmer and all them - Hannibal Lecter and all the - Ted Bundy. This guy wanted to get on the list and he‘s on the list, and especially on the list with Eric and Dylan from the Columbine (INAUDIBLE) there.  Is this copycat?

DR. BERNADINE HEALY, FMR. NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH DIR: No, I think this is serious mental illness. 

MATTHEWS:   But is part of it imitating?

HEALY: No.  I think it was probably some stressor that might have precipitated this.  This is the nature of a severely deranged psychopathic killer. This is a psychotic young man who has been chronically and seems to be progressively psychotic.  And Chris, I think the thing that has been missed in a lot of the dialogue over the past few days is this is just not a depressed kid. 

MATTHEWS:    Who is he talking to here? Who is he talking to in these videotapes that we got at NBC?

HEALY: He is delusional here. 

MATTHEWS:   Who does he think he‘s talking to?

HEALY: He thinks he is talking to someone who is persecuting him. 

He‘s talking about.

MATTHEWS:   So the girl on campus who wouldn‘t give him the time of day.  It‘s the guys that had more money than him. 

HEALY: He is paranoid.  He also talks about being crucified like Christ.  He is deranged.  This is disorganized thinking.  He is not in touch with reality. 

MATTHEWS:    He never told his suite mates according to the one who just had one that he was angry at anybody.  He didn‘t show anger.  He showed nothing. 

HEALY: And this often happens in the severely mentally ill people. 

They totally withdraw.  They become complete loners. 

MATTHEWS:   In psychological term, is it—what is the term psychopath?

HEALY: He has already shown himself to be a psychopathic killer.  This is a psychotic behavior. 

MATTHEWS:    Does that mean no feeling of sympathy toward the victim?  Does that mean I don‘t identify with these people.  They‘re just targets on the screen. 

HEALY: Right.  No empathy.  But also, absolutely no rational thought. 

MATTHEWS:  (INAUDIBLE) the victims as fellow human beings.  Who does he think he is talking to in these videotapes, his fellow human being?

HEALY: He is talking to something imaginary, perhaps the kind of nonsense that was or that was disturbed behavior was talked about in his creative writing. 

MATTHEWS:   He says you‘re going to have blood on your hands. You had your chance.  I had to do this.  It didn‘t have to be.  I could have left.  I could have fled.  There is where I saw his richness of English.  Fled is not a normal verb form for most people and that‘s what‘s just so interesting.  This guy was able to communicate and his only mean of communication was to kill 32 people and to put out a videotape. 

HEALY: People who are psychotic and chronically psychotic, perhaps he‘s a paranoid schizophrenic, that doesn‘t mean they don‘t have a high IQ.  That doesn‘t mean that they can‘t function. 

MATTHEWS:   Let‘s talk about stability. Here is a guy that gets involve in an exchange. He kills two people in the morning, Monday morning, this week, hard to believe, this week, a couple days ago.  And then he goes back to his dorm room, apparently gets his video, his video camera, whatever, his hand held camera or his telephone camera, puts it in his car apparently.  He starts videotaping himself saying this didn‘t have to happen.  Then he goes at 9:01 apparently when the post office opened.  He goes down to the post office. He‘s the first customer.  He puts in a package, a big envelope with this CD rom in it with these pictures.  He has already done the mock-up, the desk top printing.  He put together this whole narrative with pictures and text as Brian Williams said, this rambling indictment of society.  He does all this with cold calculation.  And then kill 32 people with 75 rounds of bullet. 

HEALY: This is a pattern.  I mean think of the Unabomber.  Think of theB2K killer.  They have very similar patterns and they also want to go public.  They want to be, there is a narcissistic quality. They want to say, look at how powerful I am and I‘m being persecuted and I‘m doing this for a reason.  I have good cause to do it.  But it is disordered thinking.  It is severe mental illness.  And I think that we have radically, in a manner of just a short period of time, suddenly realized this isn‘t the depressed kid on the campus who might have suicidal thoughts.  This is a psychopathic killer.  And I think eventually because he has left all this material, because he was seen a few years ago in a mental institution, he was hospitalized.  They said he was dangerous to himself and to others. 

MATTHEWS:   I keeping thinking of the guy that shot at Reagan, shot Reagan so he could impress a movie star.  This is something like that.  We‘ll find out more in the day.  Thank you Dr, Bernadine Healy.  Up next, reaction from campus.  We‘re going to talk to one of the editors of the Virginia Tech student newspaper, “The Collegiate Times,” I believe it‘s called. You‘re watching HARDBALL only on MSNBC.


MATTHEWS:   Here‘s Saira Haider. She‘s the senior news editor of the Virginia Tech student newspaper, “The Collegiate Times.” Saira, what‘s your reaction to seeing those amazing pictures tonight that NBC got a hold of?

SAIRA HAIDER, VIRGINIA TECH COLLEGIATE TIMES: I think most of the student reactions were shocked, but not surprised.  Some of the students were saying that they were surprised that he was able to take some of these photos. Maybe with other people around, they don‘t know what his RA was doing or what other  people were saying maybe around the building or out in the car and it was also shocking for them to see that he filmed this in the dorm room.  It kind of brings a little reality to today‘s events. 

MATTHEWS:   That‘s a lot of anger. There‘s a lot of anger, according to Brian Williams, in the text.  What do you make of that?

HAIDER: I guess we‘re all a little bit surprised.  Anger would probably be sort of an appropriate reaction.  A lot of the students are angry that he would do something like this.  They‘re shocked.  They‘re not surprised—

MATTHEWS:   No I meant his anger, his anger towards society in general, the society on campus.  He seemed to be mad at everybody. 

HAIDER: Oh, OK.  I don‘t know if that‘s really a good reaction.  I guess the students are trying to deal with it the best that they can. 

MATTHEWS:   No I mean, when you look at these pictures we‘ve been watching  for the last hour or so of this young guy dressed up in a killer outfit, you know, with the gloves, the ammo vest, the ammo belt, the guns, the two guns, angry as hell, what do you think that‘s about? Why is he so angry at the campus?

HAIDER: I guess everyone‘s been talking about the mental insanity that the police have reported. 

MATTHEWS:   OK. Well, thank you for coming on tonight.   Good luck with the school paper. It‘s a great thing to be working on.

HAIDER:  Thank you.

MATTHEWS:  Even in horrible times like this.  Thank you, Saira Haider. 

“COUNTDOWN” starts right now.



Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. ( ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.


Watch Hardball each weeknight