The Mental Mindset of the Virginia Tech Shooter

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Karli Stroman
Dr. Carson
Abnormal Psych.
20, November 2009
Seung-Hui Cho
When trying to determine the mind state of a person involved in a catastrophic event such as the Virginia Tech shooting it is difficult. Adding onto that difficulty is that the person that we are interested in, Seung-Hui Cho, committed suicide. Therefore we have to look at everything from that date backwards. We must dig deep into his family past to see if there is any history of depression, anxiety, or any other mental disorder.

Not looking far back there are records that show that Seung-Hui Cho received therapy in middle school for Selective Mutism. “More than four months after the attack, the Wall Street Journal reported on August 20, 2007 that Cho had been diagnosed with selective mutism. The Virginia Tech Review Panel report, also released in August 2007, placed this diagnosis in the spring of Cho's eighth grade year, and his parents sought treatment for him through medication and therapy. In high school, Cho was placed in special education under the 'emotional disturbance' classification. He was excused from oral presentations and participation in class conversation and received 50 minutes a month of speech therapy. He continued receiving mental health therapy as well until his junior year, when Cho rejected further therapy (Golden).” This shows that he had a mental disorder that influenced his social life. There are several accounts of people picking on him for his speech impediment, which was not helping his feeling of anxiousness and loneliness towards others.

His mental state at this point can best be pointed out by his suicidal thoughts and actions. “On December 13, 2005, Cho was found ‘mentally ill and in need of hospitalization’ by New River Valley Community Services Board. The physician who examined Cho noted that he had a flat affect and depressed mood, even though Cho ‘denied suicidal thoughts and did not acknowledge symptoms of a thought disorder.’ Based on this...
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