Guests: Caryn Stark
ANNOUNCER: This is a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY special report: “Massacre in Virginia Tech”. Here‘s Joe Scarborough.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Our coverage continues of the Virginia Tech massacre on this special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Tonight, the killer speaks from beyond the grave through a multimedia manifesto that he sent in between killing sprees to NBC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHO SEUNG-HUI, VIRGINIA TECH KILLER: I did it. I had to.
You had a hundred billion tricks and ways to avoid 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, NBC received these tapes. And as Brian Williams explained to me, he understands they are the words of a murderer. But Brian, NBC News, those of us at MSNBC, all believe that those words and disturbing images provide a window into the disturbed mind of a man responsible for the worst shooting in U.S. history.
Now immediately after receiving the killer‘s manifesto, NBC News sent the package straight to authorities, who are now poring over the material as we speak.
You know, this disturbing communication wasn‘t the only revelation that surfaced today about the gunman. Tonight, we learned that a Virginia court in 2005 found Cho Seung-Hui mentally ill and an imminent danger to others. And the judge in that case commanded that campus police take Cho to a mental facility and have him evaluated immediately.
And tonight we‘re also going to be bringing you the latest on the innocent lives whose lives ended so tragically Monday morning.
And more stories from those who knew this disturbed killer, a man that they considered withdrawn, disturbed, and a guy with mannerisms that should have been a warning sign to all.
Here now is NBC Pete Williams with the latest of the disturbing contents of that package—Pete.
PETE WILLIAMS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This material was sent to NBC. We don‘t know why. It doesn‘t appear we—have been sent to anyone else. The postal clerk who got it says that the clerk doesn‘t remember him bringing any other packages. So why it came to NBC, we don‘t know.
WILLIAMS: Just two 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.
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 like what his victims saw later on Monday.
In 11 of the pictures he aims hand guns 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 who he never says.
CHO: You had a hundred 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.
WILLIAMS: Much of it is incoherent, laced with profanity. He rails against hedonism and Christianity.
CHO: Jesus loved crucifying me. He loved inducing cancer in my head, terrorizing my heart and raping my soul all this time.
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 now I will no longer run. It‘s not for me or my children, for my brothers and sisters that you (expletive deleted). I did it for them.
WILLIAMS: We can‘t say for certain when this material was recorded. All we know is that he made the final preparations on his computer to send this material on Monday morning after the shooting at the dormitory and before the shooting in the classroom, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much, Pete Williams with NBC News.
And now, here to talk about why the killer sent NBC News the package and some of the other warning signs that he was showing, psychotherapist Dr. Caryn Stark, and also, former FBI profiler, and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt.
Clint, let‘s start with you. What do you make of this tape?
CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, Joe, I think this is his way to punish. I think this was a one-two punch.
You know, I keep thinking about the serial numbers, Joe, why he would file those down. And you know, perhaps one reason might have been he didn‘t want his identity known until he released it.
In essence, we wouldn‘t be able to trace the serial number, as he thought. Obviously, we did. But we wouldn‘t be able to trace him until his package arrived and then the surprise, his surprise on us would be his identity.
SCARBOROUGH: So do you think, Clint, that everything he did was to try to control the situation, file down the serial numbers on the guns, take his own life by disfiguring his face so much it took the police officers a while to figure out who it was. And again, deliver these tapes as you‘ve said before, deliver his tirade after he‘s dead so nobody can respond?
VAN ZANDT: Well, you know, when you try to figure out the unfigurable, Joe. That‘s what we‘re doing right now. I mean, this is speculation, because we‘re trying to look inside of the head of someone who just doesn‘t think like you and I do.
And that‘s—you know, that‘s my one challenge in this, that as a profiler, as someone who studies, you know, writings and linguistics, I would look forward to looking at his writings. But the challenge is, Joe, I would be looking for the why.
And I‘m just afraid when we look at everything‘s he‘s written, everything he‘s taken a picture of, we‘re going to say, well, that doesn‘t make sense. And we still don‘t understand the why.
And the reason is, he doesn‘t think like you and I do. But this guy, as far as he‘s concerned, he didn‘t look in the mirror, Joe, to see who was responsible for the problems in his life. He looked out the window. And when he did that, he looked at all of us.
SCARBOROUGH: And he found a lot of victims out there on that Monday morning.
Caryn Stark, break this tape down for us. What does it say to you?
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: What it says to me is we‘re talking about someone who not only is not like us, but also someone who‘s paranoid, who sees the world as being against him and in no rational way. I‘m surprised he wasn‘t talking about people from outer space.
What you also see is here was a child who was so silent, an adult who was so silent. And yet here‘s a tremendous bid for attention, where he‘s going out of his way to do this very elaborate plan and set it up. And we‘re going to pay a lot of attention now, which is what he wanted.
And again, although he‘s insane—and clearly, we know at this point that he was mentally ill—he was not someone who did not know what he was doing. He planned it too carefully, which fits the kind of profile for a mass murderer.
SCARBOROUGH: Is it good—I mean, again, Clint‘s talked about this, that there are so many people tonight that have already been suffering, just losses that can‘t be measured. And then they have to see this, these disturbing tapes.
Caryn, do you think it is good, though, for these tapes to get out, for us to look at it and try to figure out better what happened and why it happened?
STARK: Well, what we‘re hoping, really, Joe, is that the families don‘t pay attention and get retraumatized by this. But yes, how else will we learn about what goes on in the mind of this kind of person, if we don‘t have this kind of evidence? He left us a lot to look at, and we hope to learn from it.
SCARBOROUGH: Clint, I ask you the same thing, from the law enforcement side of the street, is it good that this tape gets out there?
VAN ZANDT: Well, I think it‘s good that the tape gets into the hands of law enforcement. And Joe, you know, I think it‘s a—closure is a dirty word. But I think the families want to know who killed their children, who killed the professors.
When they see these pictures, though, it‘s just going to turn their stomach. It‘s going to break their hearts. It gives them some understanding of who did it, but Joe, no one could ever explain why he did it.
SCARBOROUGH: No, they‘d just see that it was truly the face of evil.
Clint, thank you so much.
Caryn, greatly appreciate it.
And before we get reaction from the campus at Virginia Tech to this horrible manifesto that was sent to NBC News earlier tonight, let‘s hear more of the killer who‘s railing against the so-called rich kid society at Virginia Tech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: You sadistic snobs, I may be nothing but a piece of (expletive deleted). You have terrorized my heart, raped my soul, torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy‘s life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ to inspire generations of weak and defenseless people.
Do you know what it feels like to be spit on your face and to have trash shoved down your throat? Do you know what it feels like to dig your own grave? Do you know what it feels like to have your throat slashed from ear to ear? Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels to be humiliated and be impaled, impaled upon a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement?
You have never felt a single ounce of pain in your whole life. Yet you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can, just because you can.
You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn‘t enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren‘t enough, you snobs. Your trust fund wasn‘t enough. Your vodka and cognac weren‘t enough. Your debaucheries weren‘t enough. Those weren‘t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You‘ve had everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, it‘s so sad and pathetic. He talks about Mercedes. He talks about gold chains. He talks about trust funds. Boy, you read the life story of these people that this evil man gunned down, and you find that there are a lot of working class and middle class students that worked so hard to get ahead. Their parents worked so hard to get them ahead and send them to college.
I think seven of the victims came from other countries. These were not children of the privileged. So many of them, again, hard-working middle class students that were trying to make something of their lives. Their lives, again, cut short tragically on Monday morning.
Let‘s bring in right now NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski. She‘s live with student reaction from the Virginia Tech campus on the very disturbing contents of the package.
Now Michelle, tell us how this campus, this campus that has been through grieving already for several days, how are they reacting to this new stunning development.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It‘s like a punch in the stomach to them. We‘re walking around campus just after this aired. And so many of these students had already seen it.
And they described watching it, in many cases with a group of other students. And it‘s like an off campus restaurant or in a dorm common area.
And they say when this started, it was just like a silence came over everyone, a stunned silence. And people described it as a feeling of physical sickness, watching this person, seeing this person with those guns that brought so much death to this beautiful campus.
Here‘s more of what they told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can‘t really imagine what those individuals that died, that was probably the last thing that they saw. And to be a parent of someone and to have to see that picture, like, it probably, it‘s just—it‘s the worst feeling to those parents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just can‘t believe that he was a student on our campus. And I probably walked past him a couple times on the way to class or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: They described the scene of watching this and these pictures, hearing this person‘s voice, it‘s like twisting the knife or rubbing salt in a wound, like another blow to this campus that, of course, has already been suffering so much.
They never really thought that they would feel this much grief at one time. And for these young people at this age to see this video and have this compounding their grief. For many it was too much to bear. There were a lot of tears on campus after this aired.
Maybe most fascinatingly, Joe, when we were in our truck watching this video, we were with the roommate of Cho. He was talking about how it was - - it almost didn‘t look like him, because he said he never looked at them in the eye. He was always looking down or to the side. And they almost didn‘t recognize him. Because they said they had never really seen him head on and, in some cases, hadn‘t heard his voice for an entire year—
SCARBOROUGH: So disturbing. And you know, Michelle, obviously, right after the killings on Monday, so many students talked about how it seemed surreal. And then, of course, it became shock and then that sank in sadness over the past couple days.
But before these tapes came out, talk about the campus. Were spirits
not lifting, but were people starting to go back to classes, or starting to talk about the future again? Or coming to grips with it?
KOSINSKI: It‘s really interesting that you would say that, because spending two days here, I mean, really sort of seeing the stages that people are going through. And of course, for the people who loved the victims and knew them well, really, it hasn‘t sunk in.
But we were driving around campus a little bit today, and we were really interested to see a group of students on this gorgeous day by a lake playing Frisbee. And that really warmed our hearts to see that, to see someone, as we put it, doing something other than crying and crying and hugging and grieving. It made us feel good to see someone out in nature, doing something.
And then, you know, you really get a sense of that grief once again. I mean, just when people were maybe starting to go outside, ride their bikes, you know, talk about something other than this, they have to watch this and see it.
Of course, they don‘t have to, but the students said they really felt they needed to, if this information was out there. They wanted to gain some knowledge of what kind of person this was, what did he have to say. And they were really sickened, they say, to see him portray himself as some kind of a victim.
SCARBOROUGH: And unfortunately, they had more than they bargained for tonight. And I think you‘re right. I think this is a campus that is going to—it‘s like a punch in the stomach. And it‘s going to make it even harder to heal in the days and weeks to come.
Michelle Kosinski, live in Virginia Tech. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.
Still ahead we‘re going to be hearing from one of the gunman‘s former roommates.
And new questions about the school‘s response after it was revealed a lot of people on campus were very nervous about this guy. And they let officials know about it.
SCARBOROUGH: More of the Virginia Tech murderer‘s multimedia manifesto that was sent to NBC News earlier today. We‘ll be getting Brian Williams‘ response when we return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: Jesus loves to crucify me. You loved inducing cancer in my head, terrorizing my heart, and raping my soul all this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Just some of the shocking footage that the killer sent to NBC News. Now, earlier tonight I talked to one of Cho‘s former suite mates about his thoughts on these disturbing tapes.
ANDY, CHO‘S FORMER SUITE MATE: That‘s a completely different person that we lived with last year. He never talked that loud or was never that angry. If he said anything, it was soft and just a few words.
SCARBOROUGH: Did you ever—did you ever carry on a conversation with him? It seems that so many people that have been in his life over the past several years, whether at school or at home, just never were able to even get a sentence out of this guy. Did—were you able to communicate with him?
ANDY: Most of our time I communicated with him was over instant messenger. That was his preferred method. Hiding behind the computer was easier than talk than face to face for him.
SCARBOROUGH: Did—did you have any meaningful communications with him at all when you were IM-ing him?
ANDY: Nothing was ever serious with him.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. What about—what about this tape? What‘s your reaction to the tape? And does it—does it frightened you that you actually lived with this guy?
ANDY: When I first saw it tonight, I was pretty shook up. I was scared when I saw the pictures of him holding the guns and posing with them. That—seeing that now makes it more real than—last year I just never would have seen this coming.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re joined again, with Clint Van Zandt. That was, again, my conversation with one of Cho‘s former roommates.
Clint, it seems like this guy showed different sides of himself to different people.
VAN ZANDT: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: He obviously kept a facade up, a wall up between himself and his roommates, his suite mates. And yet there were other peoples that were so scared about him that they had to go to the police.
How—how could he hide this extreme anger and rage from the people that lived with him and were around him the most?
VAN ZANDT: Well, I think he developed a perfect way to do it, Joe. He just didn‘t communicate. If he didn‘t talk at all, then he didn‘t have to be engaged in any type of conversation where his opinion might come out, a different side might come out.
You know, somewhere along this continuum of this 23 years of this guy‘s life, I mean, he made—he made a bad turn someplace. You know, psychologically, whether, you know, as a teenager he started sliding, whether it‘s, you know, schizophrenia, what—paranoia, whatever we‘re looking at, whatever he was diagnosed, you know, he made a turn in his life.
And when he made that turn, he started rejecting people, Joe. And I think this guy got to the point where he‘d just kind of dug a cave in his own mind and crawled back into it. He was comfortable there. He wasn‘t comfortable dealing with anyone else.
And when he sends these pictures, that‘s the way he wants to be known, finally. That‘s his epitaph.
SCARBOROUGH: And of course, well, his suite mates didn‘t know anything about him. He had people in his class that were scared of him, had instructors that were concerned about him and school officials who were concerned about him.
We heard Dr. Drew speak earlier about how he thinks some of our laws need to be updated, take more aggressive care of these type of people. What do you think about that?
VAN ZANDT: Yes, real quick, Joe. What I think we ought to do, I think there ought to be a course for every freshman in the United States. I think it should address students at risk.
We ought to talk about the danger signs of depression, alcohol, drug abuse, anything where students are challenged like this. And then we ought to make these students aware that there are resources across campus.
And we need to make them aware that they, just like their instructors, if you see one of your fellow students at risk, you have a responsibility to try to help him, dial this 800 number, get him some help.
And then, Joe, once we get that evaluation, once we get that help, we need someone who can continue to take the pulse of that student, see how he‘s doing. You know, how are you doing this week? How are you doing next week?
You know, this guy, it‘s not that—it‘s not that we missed him on our radar scopes. He was there. They dealt with him, Joe. But then—then he got caught in this great unknown once he was released. There wasn‘t a follow-up. And as Drew said earlier—Dr. Drew said in one of your interviews, you can‘t force someone to take medication.
SCARBOROUGH: Right. You can‘t do it. Not in this country.
Clint, stick around. We‘ve got a lot more straight ahead.
But coming up next, how are police reacting to the troubling package that the gunman sent to NBC? We‘re going to be hearing from them next.
And later, what did the university police know about Cho? And when did they know it? We‘re going to be looking at all the missed warning signs ahead. And we‘re going to be talking to NBC News‘ Brian Williams about this explosive package we received just a few hours earlier this evening.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re back with more of our special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on the massacre at Virginia Tech.
You know, it was late this afternoon when the public began learning that the gunman sent a multimedia manifesto to NBC News. And that news came during a somewhat tense news conference on the Virginia Tech campus.
COL. STEVEN FLAHERTY, VIRGINIA STATE POLICE: Earlier today NBC News in New York received correspondence that we believe to have been from Cho Seung-Hui, the gunman who was responsible for the fatal shootings at Norris Hall. The correspondence included multiple photographs, video and writings.
Upon receipt of this correspondence, NBC News immediately notified authorities. And I certainly want to commend NBC News for what they‘ve done, the way that they‘ve secured this information, the way they‘ve handled it with dignity. We certainly appreciate that. And I publicly thank NBC News president Steve Capus that I‘ve personally spoken with, thank him for working with us.
The originals were turned over to the FBI, and we‘re in the process of transporting those back.
This may be a very new critical component of this investigation. We‘re in the process right now of attempting to analyze and evaluate its worth.
So thank you for your time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
LARRY HINCKER, VIRGINIA TECH SPOKESMAN: Writings and images. They are writings and images. I know. I know. I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our job is not to relay the chief‘s messages. Our job is to ask questions.
HINCKER: My job‘s to try to answer them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Virginia special justice has said that he ruled this man was mentally ill. And he declared that he was an imminent danger to others. Did you know that? And if you did know that, why was he allowed to stay on campus?
HINCKER: No, no. That‘s absolutely—that‘s total news to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Larry, shouldn‘t the university have known that, though? Why is that new? I mean...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We‘re not commenting on how—VT procedures at this point, all right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The news about him being flagged a danger.
Shouldn‘t the university have known that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could you not?
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, I don‘t know if it‘s a good thing that they‘re not answering questions at Virginia Tech.
Coming up, newly obtained court records show the gunman was considered an imminent danger to himself and others, so how did officials miss all those warning signs? That‘s coming up.
And later, new info about the victims of Monday‘s massacre. We‘re going to be putting names and faces together.
ANNOUNCER: This is a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY Special Report, Massacre at Virginia Tech. Here‘s Joe Scarborough.
SCARBOROUGH: So was the Virginia Tech shooter a ticking time bomb that was waiting to explode? And how did officials miss all the warning signs?
Well, according to court records obtained by NBC News today, in 2005, a Virginia judge found Cho to be, quote, “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization. He presents an imminent danger to himself or others as a result of mental illness.”
And, you know, that was just the tip of the iceberg.
NBC‘s senior investigative correspondent, Lisa Myers, takes us through all the warning signs that a lot of people missed that are just now coming to light.
LISA MYERS, NBC SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Virginia Tech police revealed today that Cho has been on their radar for years, after a series of complaints and warnings from four students, teachers, and acquaintances.
WENDELL FLINCHUM, VIRGINIA TECH POLICE CHIEF: We did have contact with Cho in the fall of 2005.
MYERS: The first warning, November 2005, a female classmate complains to police that Cho is stalking her, but won‘t press charges.
Fall 2005, creative writing professor Lucinda Roy says Cho‘s violent writing and bizarre behavior disturbed her so much, she called in campus police and counseling.
LUCINDA ROY, CREATIVE WRITING PROFESSOR, VIRGINIA TECH: I‘ve been teaching for 22 years, and I realized that this was a student—one of the most disturbed students I‘ve ever seen.
MYERS: December 2005, another female student tells police Cho is bugging her with instant messages. Police interview Cho. The next day, an acquaintance of Cho‘s tells police Cho may be suicidal.
FLINCHUM: Officers again met with Cho and talked with him at length.
Out of concern for Cho, officers asked him to speak to a counselor.
MYERS: The school then obtained this temporary detention order, which calls Cho “mentally ill” and “an imminent danger to self or others.” Cho was briefly hospitalized here, evaluated, then released.
CHRIS FLYNN, COOK COUNTY COUNSELING CENTER: Clearly, if anyone had any warning about a violent incident, people would have stepped in and acted.
MYERS: But law enforcement authorities say there were so many red flags that the school should have done more.
MIKE SHEEHAN, NBC NEWS SECURITY EXPERT: I think the university should have put their arms around him a lot more aggressively, a lot more proactively, than they did over the last 18 months.
MYERS: Today, a possible explanation for the critical two-hour delay in alerting students and state police about the first shooting. A search warrant indicates police immediately zeroed in on the wrong man, Karl Thornhill, a student at a nearby college, described as the boyfriend of Emily Hilscher, one of two killed in the dorm.
Police stopped Thornhill on Route 460, and were interrogating him on the side of the road, when reports came of the second shootings.
SCARBOROUGH: That was NBC‘s Lisa Myers reporting.
And still with us to talk about why the killer sent NBC News a package, and some of the other warning signs that he—the killer was showing, psychotherapist Caryn Stark and also former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt.
Caryn, you heard the package from Lisa Myers. Looks like this guy had a long trail of tears behind him where he had scared a lot of people. When do we have a warning sign that‘s sufficient enough to have authorities moving in quickly to try to prevent this type of killing spree from happening?
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, let‘s look at it, Joe. I mean, what are we going to do? The laws are very strict when it comes to individuals‘ rights, and psychological assessments are limited.
We can say that somebody appears to be this way, but in the end, they can get themselves out and released, because we have no way to prove that this will actually happen. Unless they make a direct threat, we‘re very limited.
SCARBOROUGH: And Clint, you talked about what we needed to do with freshmen that came into colleges, entering freshmen, and make sure that they didn‘t have mental problems. But what about people out there in society who may have these type of problems, may be addressed, and then they go in and get some treatment, and then they leave. How do we—I mean, you tell me, what do you think law enforcement officers need? What type of abilities do they need to track these kind of people down?
VAN ZANDT: Well, you know, times have really changed, Joe. It used to be, you could institutionalize someone. You could put them away. You could put them in a psychiatric facility for a, you know, limited period of time, an indefinite period of time.
But, you know, over the last 20, 30, 40 years, we‘ve closed so many facilities. By and large, the vast majority of people with mental illnesses wind up being treated in a regular hospital, and then we mainstream them. We give them a bottle of pills, and we tell them to be sure and medicate yourself, and we put them back in the general population again.
Well, if I don‘t think I‘m sick, Joe, or if I think you, my psychiatrist or psychotherapist, if I think you‘re part of the conspiracy, you know, then I‘m not going to follow your recommendations.
SCARBOROUGH: And isn‘t that the problem, Clint, that so many of these people may be paranoid, and they may think there is some great conspiracy, so they‘re not going to take their medication? So we‘re asking sick people to police themselves.
VAN ZANDT: We really are. You know, you can—it‘s the old, you can lead a horse to water. Well, you can lead someone who needs help because they‘re, you know, mentally challenged. You can lead them to a therapist or to a counselor or to a drugstore, but if they don‘t believe it, or even worse, if they think you‘re part of the conspiracy against them, they‘re not going to regulate and medicate. And they‘re going to probably get worse.
And then, you know, this is the very end of the spectrum, Joe, that very small percent that‘s going to act out like this. But this is the guy we‘re scared of. You know, I mean, some people, if they get depressed, they grab a six-pack and they curl up in bed, and you don‘t see them for two or three days. This guy, he just continued to build and build and build, and whatever that reason, whatever that straw that finally broke on him, he just—we saw this human tsunami that just spilled all over this campus and really all over this country.
SCARBOROUGH: And Caryn, how did—I asked this question after Columbine, I ask this question now. How do parents of these children miss these human tsunamis that are waiting to spill over and take the lives of so many of their peers?
STARK: Well, I think that a lot of parents really want to believe the best of their children, Joe, which we could understand. And I think, again, you‘re very limited in what you can do when a child becomes an adult and are—they‘re independent.
And so you could want to do something with them, but there are a lot of people who embrace their mental illness. They don‘t want to take drugs because it doesn‘t make them feel good. And they‘ve decided that they‘re fine. And no matter what you do, you really can‘t convince them to change.
So parents themselves are limited.
SCARBOROUGH: Unfortunately, I think you‘re right. Caryn, thank you so much. Clint, thank you.
STARK: You‘re welcome.
SCARBOROUGH: And right now, let‘s hear more from Cho‘s English teacher, who spoke out about the warning signs that she saw in his writing. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY: The writings seemed very angry, as I recall. I—when I actually taught him myself, I took him out of class and taught him myself, then I made it clear that that kind of writing wouldn‘t be acceptable, and he needed to learn to write in another voice and empathize.
The threats seemed to be underneath the surface. They were not explicit. And that was the difficulty that the police had. So I would go to the police and to counselors and to student affairs and everywhere else, and they would say, But there‘s nothing explicit here, he‘s not actually saying he‘s going to kill someone.
And my argument was, he seemed so disturbed anyway that we needed to do something about this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ll tell you what, TJ, let‘s bring Clint back in.
Clint, could you respond to that English teacher who obviously saw a lot of warning signs that other people didn‘t see?
VAN ZANDT: Yes, and, you know, and I think she‘s right. And this is
the challenge, Joe, especially with a guy like this. Everybody had a
little piece of the puzzle. The roommate saw some aspect, English teacher
saw something. But, you know, she saw papers that he wrote that were very
you know, that had murder and mayhem and sex and violence. The challenge is—and, of course, you know, this is her job, at least, to be looking at papers, but how do you discriminate? How do you tell the difference between a budding Stephen King and a budding mass murderer?
I think that‘s the challenge that the system has is, how do you tell the difference between somebody who‘s artistic and on the edge, and someone who is going to commit a horrific act like this guy did?
And again, it still takes all the way back around again. Once you identify him, you know, our job isn‘t just to throw him off campus and say, you know, You‘re too crazy to be on this campus. You know, the university has a responsibility too to try to help him. It‘s just, you know, the help they offered either wasn‘t enough, or he rejected it. And this is what we were left with.
SCARBOROUGH: Caryn, what is the dividing line between the guy who that‘s the next Stephen King and a guy who‘s a mass murderer? How do you, as an English teacher, or a psychotherapist, figure it out?
STARK: Well, Joe, you know, she really did figure it out. Let‘s give her credit. Her instincts were correct. And the problem is the law. The law says unless he‘s a danger to himself or someone else, he makes that threat, you can really prove that, there‘s nothing you can do. So her hands were tied.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s unfortunately the state of affairs in 2007 in the United States. It‘s a state of affairs that needs to be changed.
Caryn Stark, thank you. Clint Van Zandt, greatly appreciate you being with us, as always.
Still ahead here, we‘re going to be talking to NBC‘s Brian Williams. He‘s seen the contents of the killer‘s package. And he tells us more about what‘s inside when we return.
And later, we‘re learning a lot more about the lives that were lost in the massacre. We‘re going to have more on who these victims were, and the incredible lives that they lived.
SCARBOROUGH: NBC News‘s Brian Williams was one of the first people to see the contents of the multimedia manifesto that the 23-year-old gunman who was responsible for Monday‘s killings sent to NBC News today, including disturbing and shocking photographs, videos, and writings. You know, it was a package that NBC News immediately turned over to authorities.
And Brian Williams has the specifics on what it contained.
Brian, what do you got?
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Joe, I should start out by making a couple of points. And the first one should be obvious, and that is, no joy in this. This was a sick business, having to look through this, to read through it, to see the videos, the still pictures, and to realize what this meant.
We landed from Virginia Tech at 1:30 this afternoon. Our pagers were going off that this had arrived. And just because we can‘t repeat some of these details often enough, it‘s because the address and ZIP code were wrong. They had to be hand-corrected. That‘s how this lost a day as an overnight package sent on Monday for Tuesday arrival.
It‘s because of a sharp-eyed New York City postal worker, who saw the Blacksburg, Virginia, return address and this “A. Ismail” as the return name, who hand-delivered it to us, and thought it to be notable.
Then it was opened up. The first copy, the original, went right to the feds. We made a copy of the contents. After all, it was—arrived as our property. But we knew our responsibility in this.
And, of course, here we were, straddling the line between being almost duty-bound to broadcast the greatest single piece of advancement in the largest-ever piece of gun crime in the United States, and holding back on some of this, that may have, shall we say, negative social consequences, knowing that these broadcasts don‘t air in a vacuum.
The so-called multimedia manifesto, which was all I could think to call it when “NIGHTLY NEWS” went on the air tonight, just some of the pictures from it, the point of a knife, the gun being pointed at the camera, a picture of hollow-point bullets that‘s almost artistic in its composition.
And it goes on and on from here, all the way through more photos of him, emphasizing the vest, the weapons, another knife above his head. And then the page I picked out that talks about Eric and Dylan, the martyrs, we martyrs. He puts himself with the Columbine gunmen.
But then there are pages of densely packed print. I probably couldn‘t read more than two to three sentences, probably not even two sentences back to back, on a family broadcast because of the profanity. It‘s laced with comments about the rich. It is laced with a kind of narcissism that permeates all of this.
It is truly creepy, beyond sad, beyond troubling to look at. And we all understood here the fact that we are really completing his thesis by airing this at all. And that was, this was his statement from the grave, released perversely between shootings to a news organization.
We don‘t know why we were chosen. It was addressed to no one in particular. No one in particular is mentioned in this. This is his statement from the grave. He wanted to be heard. We‘re allowing him to be heard in a limited way because it advances, maybe, our understanding of why 32 people were killed along the way during one day, the last day of his life.
So this is our summation of what arrived here today at NBC. The feds will pore through this. We realize it is troubling material. We were most fearful that it would reach somehow families, those affected by the killings who didn‘t know to expect it.
But we pass along the salient portions tonight nonetheless, again, emphasizing there‘s no joy in this whatsoever, especially those of us with kids in college.
Joe, for now, back to you.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thank you so much, Brian Williams. And obviously, Brian and everybody at NBC News very concerned by the contents of this package, especially those of us, like Brian and myself, that have children in college ourselves. A very, very difficult decision, but one that needed to be made.
We‘ll be right back talking about those men and women who lost their lives on this past Monday morning. That‘s when this special SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: As we continue to learn more about Cho Seung-hui, we‘re also learning more about the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre.
NBC‘s Mike Taibbi gives us a look into the amazing lives that were tragically cut short Monday morning.
MIKE TAIBBI, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, the first funeral, for Romanian-born engineering professor and Holocaust survivor Liviu Librescu, whose students say he gave his life to save theirs.
Now, the details of all the victims‘ stories are emerging, providing a fuller picture of just how much was lost in those bursts of gunfire.
Julia Prvile of New Jersey, who was focusing on watershed management.
Juan Ramon Ortiz of Puerto Rico, who was pursuing a degree in engineering and had a young bride at home.
And Caitlin Hammaren of New York, who loved horses, tennis, and the violin, and whose friends say was beloved for her generosity.
KRISTEN WICKHAM, CAITLIN HAMMAREN‘S BEST FRIEND: Just always been here through everything that I‘ve been through.
TAIBBI: The victims represented such diversity, from at least 10 states and seven foreign countries, travelers between many cultures.
Nineteen-year-old Mary Karen Read was born to an Air Force father and a Korean mother and was ready, her friends said, to spread her wings.
German professor Jamie Bishop wanted his students to not just learn the language but to love it, as he did.
Canada‘s Jocelyn Couture-Nowak, a mother of two daughters, taught French.
And Daniel Perez Cueva of Peru, who studied French and whose mother is now in such grief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through interpreter): It‘s hard. It‘s hard to believe that my son is dead.
TAIBBI (on camera): There is a special agony being endured by the parents of the victims. Everyone here is in pain, of course, but those parents are hurting most of all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That‘s her favorite senior picture.
TAIBBI (voice-over): The parents of Austin Cloyd, who loved volleyball and basketball and rehabbing houses for a local charity, are devastated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You make the best memories that you can make with your kids, because someday that may be all you have left. That‘s what we have left now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we have lots of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we have lots of good ones.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lots of good ones.
TAIBBI: All over this vast campus, there were small gatherings of students and parents, sharing their thoughts and holding onto each other, waiting for time to start doing its healing work.
Mike Taibbi, NBC News, Blacksburg, Virginia.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, in the manifesto that was sent to NBC News earlier today, we had a deranged killer talking about rich, spoiled kids in their Mercedes, with their gold chains, with their trust funds.
Well, that‘s not who this animal gunned down on Monday morning. He gunned down sons, daughters, wives, husbands, a young mother of two girls. These weren‘t rich kids, these were Americans, these were people pursuing the American dream. There were seven people that weren‘t even from this country, whose families sent them here there so they could have a better life.
Those lives, again, ended tragically Monday morning.
That‘s all the time we have for tonight. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
But we leave you with some images from Virginia Tech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re all just pretty much sitting ducks. I mean, so, you know, got up and say, We need to barricade the door. I think it was a mixture between fear and adrenaline, and just the will to—and the will to survive.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Virginia Tech is a viable, strong community, and it‘s going to require this viable, strong community to help people recover.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let‘s go, Hokies! Let‘s go, Hokies! Let‘s go!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let‘s go, Hokies! Let‘s go, Hokies! Let‘s go!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let‘s go, Hokies! Let‘s go, Hokies! Let‘s go!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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