Two days after a gunman killed 32 people before taking his own life on the campus of Virginia Tech, we learned that the murderer had sent a video and photos in the mail over to the NBC News studios in New York. A few hours later, the gunman’s thoughts were aired on NBC’s Nightly News and then distributed them to the other national news stations.
NBC News President Steve Capus said the package arrived in New York late Tuesday night and was delivered to NBC headquarters about 11 a.m. Wednesday. The letter carrier noticed that it bore a return address from Blacksburg and alerted NBC security officers.
Cho?s name was not on the package; instead, the return address said it came from ?A Ishmael.? Investigators said Cho?s body was found Monday with the words ?Ismael Ax? scrawled on his arm.
There was no indication why Cho chose NBC News to receive the package, which was immediately turned over to FBI agents in New York. Capus said NBC News was cooperating with Virginia State Police and the FBI, which is assisting the state police.
The package included an 1,800-word manifesto-like statement in which Cho expresses rage, resentment and a desire to get even. The material is ?hard to follow … disturbing, very disturbing,? Capus said in an interview late Wednesday afternoon.
The material does not include any images of the shootings Monday, but it does contain vague references. And it mentions ?martyrs like Eric and Dylan? ? apparently a reference to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the teenagers who killed 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., eight years ago this coming Friday.
The material is deeply angry, crying out against unspecified wrongs done to Cho in a diatribe laced with profanity.
NBC has just fulfilled the last wishes of a mass-murderer. Cho obviously wanted this exposure on national television and the only way to do this was to make a “manifesto” before taking dozens of lives. He sent the tape knowing full well that NBC would air it just hours after they received it.
The video and materials were just the ramblings of a madman and there was nothing actually newsworthy in them. There was absolutely no reason to show the tape except for the sake of ratings. This exposure will just glorify the gunman and give encouragement for other sick individuals to follow in the gunman’s footsteps. It has also poured salt into the wounds of the 32 victims’ families and friends.
It appears that once again when it comes to tragedy in national news, the victims’ friends and families take second place to ratings. Yet, when this type of tragedy happens again, the news media will be the first one to ponder what could motivated someone to do this.