≡ Menu

Oakland university shooting suspect a Korean?

The Chosun Ilbo, quoting some local (i.e., American) press, is reporting that the suspect in the Oikos University shooting in Oakland is presumed to be a Korean. Or a Korean-American.

The shooting left seven dead and several wounded. I’m guessing, judging from the description of the university (see website here), that many of the victims may be Korean, too (something the Korean consulate in San Francisco is trying to ascertain):

According to its website, Oikos offers classes in religious studies, music and vocational nursing, and caters particularly to students of Korean descent.

Before I blog any further on this, I wish to express my condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

UPDATE: According to the Dong-A Ilbo, neither the school nor the Korean consulate believe many Korean-Koreans were hurt, as the nursing school where this happened is attended only by permanent residents and US citizens.

The Dong-A also noted that some of the students questioned by police said the alleged shooter, identified as a Goh Won-il (or, as he Romanizes it, One L. Goh), did not get along with other students when he studied at the college, leading to spectulation that friction between him and the students or school might have been the motive. I assume we’ll get the motive soon enough.

UPDATE 2: From Oakland mayor Jean Quan:

Calling it “a terrible tragedy” for the city and, in particular, its Korean community, Mayor Jean Quan said the shooting “will leave the [Korean] community asking questions for a long time.…I hope we will put our arms around this group of people and these families and try to bring peace back to this city.”

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • dogbertt

    Given the hideousness of this tragedy, I won’t request a “hat tip” this time.

    I hope Seo Ban-seok will weigh in on this as he may have some local knowledge of this institution.

  • http://www.busanhaps.com Bobby McGill

    A tragedy in an already troubled corner of America. All the best to the families of those lost.

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Some friends of mine were talking about this. Probably another cause of ajusshi rage… :\

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Case, not cause.

  • CactusMcHarris

    My condolences to the family and friends of the murdered / injured.

  • numberoneoppa

    Ridiculous.

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com The Sanity Inspector

    This is already horrible; if the shooter is Korea then it’s no end of awful.

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    I hope Seo Ban-seok will weigh in on this as he may have some local knowledge of this institution.

    It’s a private Christian college, with many Korean students. Many of the students are studying for Christian leadership (lay & clerical)…

    It says a lot.

  • dogbertt

    Mr. Seo, who is a frequent commenter here, resides in the East Bay and is a journalist for a local Korean-language newspaper.

    As for your comment, I don’t really see the connection of a possibly mentally ill mass murderer with Christianity, so you’ll have to draw me a picture.

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    well, its been in the news a lot lately.

    Korean christian ministers starving beating their children to death.

    Korean Christian ministers in Canada raping and raping female church members.

    etc

    etc

    So, it’s kind off becoming expected now, for these types of people to be getting up to this type of behavior.

  • http://blog.oranckay.net oranckay

    Hi Mr. Dogbertt,

    There really isn’t much to say, but I’ll try.

    I quit my newspaper recently, but they found out from me, and I found out from the mayor of Oakland; she and her aides called asking, “What’s Oikos University???” Situation was still ongoing and they were looking for someone who knew anything about a “university” city leaders hadn’t even heard about. Which says a lot.

    Even calling it a “private university” would be much; it’s much like a roadside revival tent kind of a Bible college, owned and dominated by one man as his own personal fiefdom. The school as a whole isn’t accredited but it has a nursing program that has some sort of recognition from some sort of nurses aide association or sumsuch. One of the reason there are barely-accredited schools around the US running programs like that is because students care more about passing tests and gaining licenses, than pursuing academic careers. If you’re going to get your masters in oriental medicine and go on to Stanford Medical School, you’ve got a problems. But if you’re going to get that “degree” as test prep for the Calif oriental medicine doctor (or whatever it’s called), then nothing’s lost. If you’re going to get an “M.A.” in theology there and lead Bible studies at your church, then fine, unless you ever want to pursue a doctorate at a widely recognized seminary.

    It’s in an ugly office park near a major freeway artery, which means all its students are commuters. (The LA region has a lot of schools like Oikos. Sometimes you only know of their existence because their names are on neon signs on the sides of buildings next to 10 lane interstates.)

    Korean churches in the East Bay area of the SF Bay Area are going to have some sort of memorial event Tuesday afternoon, so expect to see that on the news.

    The shooter is 고원일, 43, of nearby Alameda, or at least he was arrested in or just outside a Safeway store in Alameda, in something of a daze. People say he was a student there as recently as three months ago, that he always seemed a bit off, and that the class he shot up is part of the nursing program. The first few victims were said to have been deliberate or targeted, and after that he went postal.

    The consulate is indeed involved on some level (one consul visited the site, and the mayor and the consul general have talked on the phone), but as is always the case it takes a while to figure out which deceased is the citizen of what. I don’t think any of the victims names have been released.

  • jkitchstk

    CNN has reported the suspect is a Korean national probably using an automatic at close range.

  • silver surfer

    BBC website reports he is a “Korean man” and “Oakland resident” – what his nationality or visa status is, is not clear.

    His name is “One Goh”. Two-syllable name or incomplete name? The BBC seems to have trouble getting Asian names right sometimes.

  • YangachiBastardo

    What a useless senseless tragedy, condolences to the families….what these psychotic shooters want to ahieve will always elude me

  • Yu Bum Suk

    It’s rare for the shooter to get captured alive after cases like this. I wonder if he’ll be able to plead insanity or if he’ll be headed to the injection chamber.

  • Iang nio

    It’s distressing to see Koreans make ‘names for themselves’ (in the US, it seems more than anywhere else, alas) as always going off on a shooting spree. One of the most horrid incidents of a similar nature is the Virginia Tech shooting a few years ago.

    It’s sad and disturbing for everyone concerned and involved, whether directly or indirectly.

  • cm

    Out of all the Asian groups, why are the Koreans only ones that seems to go postal all the time? It’s damn embarrassing sometimes.

  • jk6411

    Out of all the Asian groups, why are the Koreans only ones that seems to go postal all the time? It’s damn embarrassing sometimes.

    Well, it’s not just the Koreans..
    Recent mass-shootings by Asian-Americans:
    Chai Vang, in 2004. (Wisconsin)
    Seung-Hee Cho, in 2007. (Virginia Tech)
    Jiverly Wong, in 2009. (Binghamton, NY)
    Goh (Won-Il), in 2012. (Oakland, CA)

    Korean media focuses on Koreans, so you may get the impression that it’s just Koreans, but it’s not..
    But regardless, I’m embarrassed.
    A terrible, needless tragedy.

  • jkitchstk

    # 15, “It’s rare for the shooter to get captured alive after cases like this.”
    Should he have shot himself, maybe? If he had it would’ve been the honorable thing to do according to some back home(assuming he’s a Korean national as CNN has said). Out of sight, out of mind.

  • http://www.busanhaps.com Bobby McGill

    I am very curious as to the tone of the Korean language media coverage on this — for those keeping an eye on it please add to the thread.

    My friend was informed today by his ajuma student that Goh did it because he is ‘half American” and not “full Korean.”

  • Pingback: 【米国】大学で銃乱射、7人死亡…韓国籍の男を逮捕★5 « 69channel

  • jk6411

    My friend was informed today by his ajuma student that Goh did it because he is ‘half American” and not “full Korean.”

    Well, we don’t have the full story yet.
    But here are some possible factors that could have played a part:
    Goh had been kicked out of the school. He had a grudge against school administration and fellow students. He had mental problems. He was heavily in debt. He had two deaths in his immediate family last year.

    I don’t think it had anything to do with him being Korean or American.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/tharp42 tharp42

    I’m glad as hell that guns are pretty much unavailable here in Korea. I shutter to think just how many similiar incidents there may be if it were otherwise.

  • Creo69

    This article says he was “disrespected” by other students and states it as a possible motive.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/03/students-hid-as-gunman-opened-fire-small-christian-school-in-california-7-dead/?test=latestnews

  • Lliane

    @20 Well it’s easy to ditch this using the Woo Bum-kon case

  • chrisinsouthkorea

    Props to oranckay for some facts to the story.

    Having seen enough arguments between folk here, I’m with Tharp – guns here, combined with volatile mental states and potentially undiagnosed mental / emotional disorders, would lead to a lot of ambulances in the Jongno area alone…

    Watching the locals to dismiss this American as ‘not Korean’ while what’s-his-name starts working at the World Bank with the same amount of Korean in him in 3… 2… 1…

  • dogbertt

    So YOTD, are you saying something like this was inevitable because he was Christian, Korean, or both? I still don’t see either causation, connection, or inevitability.

  • http://www.busanhaps.com Bobby McGill

    I only ask because there is an entire section on Wikipedia about the Cho Virginia Tech Massacre dedicated to the “South Korean Response.”

    “When the citizenship of the shooter became known, South Koreans expressed shock and a sense of public shame, while the Government of South Korea convened an emergency meeting to consider possible ramifications. A candlelight vigil was held outside the Embassy of the United States in Seoul. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun expressed his deepest condolences. Although Cho came to the US as a third grader and was a permanent resident of the US, many South Koreans felt guilt and mourned because they considered him a South Korean by blood.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Tech_massacre#South_Korean_response

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    I like the fact that (some) Koreans felt guilty over Cho. I don’t think it was necessary to do so, but it was still a nice showing of collective self-awareness that somewhere along the line, something about Korean cultures and values may have influenced this mass murder at a level greater than zero.

    By the way BMC, the “because they considered him a South Korean by blood” part needs a big [citation needed] sign. The cited article for that proposition in Wikipedia speaks nothing of blood relations.

  • BusanAjossi

    I’m glad that guns aren’t available in Korea because the great majority of people have no legitimate use for a gun, and having them around only increases the potential for trouble. My own sense of the issue is that Koreans aren’t any more likely than Americans to kill someone, but someone holding an automatic weapon is a lot more likely to kill someone than someone who isn’t.

  • Q

    @YotD (#10),

    Let’s see bigger pictures:

    http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0312.pdf

    And the criminal’s Korean “blood” matters so much to you, I hope this can satisfy your racial interest:

    UCR, Murder Offenders by Age, Sex, and Race, 2009: http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_03.html

  • cm

    “My friend was informed today by his ajuma student that Goh did it because he is ‘half American” and not “full Korean.””

    I’m not sure where the ajuma student is coming from, when all the media I’ve read clearly states his ethnicity as Korean, with no mention of him being a mixed race. Which rocks do these cretins come crawling out of, every time something like this happens?

    The Donga-Ilbo prints his identity as ‘한국계 시민권자’ . “Ethnic Korean with an American citizenship” (or Korean American).

    The Hani reports him as “한국계 40대”. “Ethnic Korean in his 40′s”.

    The Korea Times reports him as “한국계 미국인”, “Ethnic Korean American”.

    They all report the killer felt he was looked down upon because he couldn’t speak English. He was also expelled from the school.

    The collective guilt and collective pride in Korean society, it’s been much discussed before.

  • keith

    A horrendous tragedy, partially helped along by the insane US gun laws. US gun laws + Koreans tendency to deny the reality of some people’s ill mental health is a recipe for disaster. I’m not an anti-gun nut, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to arm nuts.

    @21 Perhaps he didn’t kill himself because he was going to use the ‘I’ve had a hard life’ or ‘I was drunk’ defence that some miscreant Koreans use when they get up to unspeakable mischief? According to the BBC he was an ‘American man of Korean origin’, so probably ethnically Korean but with an American citizenship. The same demographic as Cho (VT murderer). Possibly Ko also had undiagnosed mental problems? Maybe the US should stop letting mentally ill people have access to firearms? Maybe Koreans should start letting doctors into their family lives when it comes to mental issues? Many Koreans will go to a doctor if they have a mild cold, but a relative gets a mental condition and they just ignore it. That’s not healthy for anyone. I’ve had several Korean students in the past who obviously have serious mental issues and little seems to be done about it, many Koreans seem to be in denial about those kinds of things.

    ^ I had the same thought tharp42. Koreans might not go on a homicidal mass killing spree often, but when they do they go utterly bonkers. The world record for a ‘spree killing’ was still held by a south Korean individual until very recently. Woo Bum-Kon (disgruntled police officer) killed 57 and wounded 35 in his rampage in south Korea with grenades and rifles in ’82, and was only recently ‘out done’ by Anders Behring Breivik of Norway who killed 77 last year. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 (wounded 25) at the Virginia Tech Massacre and now this guy Ko Won-il who killed 7 and injured 3 on his bout of mayhem.

    The US should stop allowing crazy people to own weapons, it’s a good job that S Korea stops pretty much anyone owning them. There is a lot of untreated mental illness here, and a lot of pent up emotional stress-anger.

    I’ve met people who have asked me if I’m worried about north Korea kicking off. Honestly I’m not really that worried, I’d be more worried if south Koreans had access to firearms given their track record with the things.

    After Hungerford and Dunblane the UK sensibly made owning these dangerous weapons a lot more difficult, and all of the most dangerous ones are now illegal. As a result there is far less gun crime, and no more major mass killings by crazy people there. Most of the gun crime in the UK is gangsters shooting each other, I don’t really have a big problem with that as long as the civilians are left alone, after all vermin should be controlled and keeping pest species levels down has traditionally been a job for firearms in the UK.

    Not many mentally ill people are dangerous, usually they just act a bit strange and make weird noises, but psychopaths and sociopaths can be very dangerous and certainly shouldn’t be allowed lethal weapons.

    psychopath (ˈsaɪkəʊˌpæθ)
    — n
    Also called: sociopath a person afflicted with a personality disorder characterized by a tendency to commit antisocial and sometimes violent acts and a failure to feel guilt for such acts

    From that definition I’d say there are a worrying amount of psychopaths and sociopaths not getting the treatment they need in both the expat Korean community and in Korea itself. Just reading the definition above about what a psychopath or sociopath’ symptoms are and reflecting upon the ‘anti-social’ and thoughtless behaviour you can observe on the subway here everyday should be cause for concern.

    Korean society has an unacknowledged mental health crisis on its hands.

  • PineForest

    Quite the irony, isn’t it, that this event followed in the footsteps of the story in the Chosun Ilbo or whichever Korean rag that’s unworthy of being used as toilet paper… that PTSD U.S. Soldiers are a huge risk in Tongduchon?? Freakin racists…

  • Iang nio

    #32 “Korean society has an unacknowledged mental health crisis on its hands.”

    Unfortunately, IMHO this has a lot to do with the total lack of genuine and open encouragement to address sensitive issues – it’s part of a deeply ingrained Confucian ‘way of conduct’ that does everything to maintain ‘face’ (keeping with the Jones’) and not reveal what one really thinks or feels – it’s a taboo.

    The stilted manner of communication discourages any true, meaningful and honest exchange because it “just isn’t done” (i.e., it ‘violates’ community etiquette’ right to the very private sphere of the family’s home) and is considered shameful. And therein lies the root cause of this pent-up emotional energy that, if not dealt with head-on – a BIG ‘no-no’ in a such deeply Confucian impregnated society – manifests itself in distorted and convoluted behavioural patterns and mental problems which are really deep emotional wounded soul-level issues.

  • keith

    Very good points.

    @33 – It is racist to a certain extent, but troops suffering from PTSD should not be serving anyway. They are a liability to themselves, the mission, the community they work in, and the country they serve. They’re sick and have no place in the military if they’re mentally unfit for service.

    @34 – I concur completely, and the sooner this changes the better. I’m in no position to help the change, but the change needs to happen. One of my wife’s relatives fought in Vietnam, he suffered mental problems after that, he died a few years ago. Fortunately, after Vietnam he never held a lethal weapon again, I think the family only half-trusted him with a vegetable peeler in the kitchen! A nice guy, but definitely ‘damaged goods’.

    I worked with a guy in the UK whose brain was messed up from what he saw in the Bosnian conflict. Some people can handle that kind of mental pressure-stress, but many people can’t handle it. Mental illness is often far worse than physical disability, and less understood.

  • loosense

    Wasn’t there a shooting spree by a Korean recently in Atlanta? I remember a few dead in the rampage.

  • Iang nio

    #35 “Mental illness is often far worse than physical disability, and less understood.”

    The ROOT cause though is a soul that’s been ripped to shreds. It ‘manifests’ (externalises) itself as a ‘mental’ health issue but on the spiritual plane, it’s the soul that has ‘lost’ itself or has been “cut off” from itself…

    Most people in the mechanical (Descartes) way of ‘analysing’ psychological and mental (i.e., cerebral) health issues dismiss the very core concept of the spiritual (not religious) aspect of the Self having been split off – as happens during a traumatising experience, be that witnessing murder, rape, violence first hand or being subjected to it, or forced to – as mercenaries are trained to kill and become killing machines.

    In order for them to even be able to ‘pull the trigger without flinching’ they are completely and abhorringly traumatised – often a generational thing in military personnel where ‘obey’ & “following orders” are part of the training at the expense of the individual’s deeper personal convictions, violating his own code of ethics and morale. The way this is all too often ‘achieved’ is by brutalising them to become completely insensitive to any normal human ‘RE’-action (no more emotional response) by way of sexual trauma at an early age, beatings, having to witness violence or being forced to do it themselves (as is the ‘norm’ in N Korea’s prisons and labour working camps).

    The ‘de’-humanisation (one becomes a robotic, ‘functioning’ part of society at the expense of one’s self identity and self-worth) is part of what makes Korea a ‘success’ on the outside, but a humongous deficiency in nurturing the softer, gentler and more humane side of dealing with itself, its weaknesses, flaws and the frailty of life and inevitably, its own people.

    About a week or so ago, I read an extremely disturbing article on the origins of plastic surgery here in Korea (http://thegrandnarrative.com/2010/03/18/korea-cosmetic-surgery-caucasian/ – the interesting ‘disturbing’ part starts with “Now starting from Japanese colonization…). It was so upsetting that I took it off my FB page I share with my adoptee friends (all Korean, bien sûr!). Part of that is the trauma that has been left undealt with from the Korean war, and on and on…

    When one has an inkling of Korea’s history, the ferociously hierarchical ‘order’ that was kept at all costs, suppressing the individual human spirit, it doesn’t surprise me, that Korea is unable to address these problems because the root cause lies so deep that has been buried in the annals of a nation’s collective history’…the collective unconscious and subconscious poisoning even today’s “relations” with each other but specifically with themselves as ‘individuals’ – i.e. they are cut off from themselves.

    The system ‘invites’, ‘furthers’ and ‘sponsors’ it but it comes at a terrible price – it turns humans into good little drones (‘soldiers’) that will therefore never think twice about the consequences and secondary effects this has on the singular existence. One is damned to ‘suffer in silence’ and “put up or shut up”.

    I do think that a lot of Korean Americans (more so than in other countries) have brought that unresolved deep spiritual wound over with them when they immigrated, never looking back at how that (must) have felt when they left – there was no ‘joy’, or ‘excitement’ in having to leave Korea behind. It was more a ‘forced’ decision/choice by way of economic necessity, a “better future” for one’s offspring but with a heavy heart and sorrow, too. There’s always a price to pay, as they say…

    This pain of having to leave one’s beloved homeland behind (…) is passed on from generation to generation on an unconscious level and often, because of the ‘denial culture’ that is so much part of Korean mentality, it gets buried into the depths of the soul and heart but can erupt – if in a bad (crisis-like) situation – to explode seemingly from completely out of nowhere.

    These traumas that Korea has still not dealt with from way back are still part of today’s “culture” and it seems to show more and more as ‘boundaries’ of what is considered acceptable, begin to become more fluid, open and less rigidly defined. The healing from all these years of suppression by the Japanese and then the split and trauma of the Korean war has never properly been dealt with but it’s today’s generation that still suffers from these ‘unspoken’ ills – whether they are aware of it or not.

    And, not to make amends for what this man in Oakland did, but I am absolutely sure that this wasn’t something that just made him ‘snap’ from one week to the next. This has been brewing away under the surface for a long, long time even before those close to him died.

    I do believe there are ways to edge an opening (sideways, so-to-speak) to bring this about but it is a very delicate and tricky process. I honestly think and feel that Korea needs to begin to look at this without going into ‘shame’ and ‘embarrassment’ mode. As painful and difficult as that may be, there is no way around it if it so heal from its troubled past.

    Korea has to ALLOW itself to be ‘weak’ and vulnerable. There is no opening for healing if it always carries the image of the “stiff upper lip” – as the Brits used to ( so similar to Koreans, really…).

  • raketbaler
  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    One L Goh, 43, a nursing student expelled from a small Christian university and upset about being teased over his poor English skills opened fire at the school

    Let that be a lesson: don’t tease [or annoy] people….

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    The college offered classes in Korean and English and was founded to help Korean immigrants adjust to a new country.

    He failed.

  • cm

    #39,”Let that be a lesson: don’t tease [or annoy] people….”

    Are you serious? That’s what the killer allegedly happens in his warped victim complex mind. He’s a 43 year old grown man attending a school for adults. He’s not in high school anymore. Some of the victims were Nepalese and Filipino, maybe not all of them were Koreans … does that change anything to you?

  • Granfalloon

    The KT article I read this morning says that Goh was both “a Korean national” and “a U.S. citizen.” Assuming he’s not a dual citizen, is this possible? Or is this just a semantic mix-up?

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    That’s what the killer allegedly happens in his warped victim complex mind. does that change anything to you?

    No.. I can’t understand (are you saying the killer was a victim?)

  • cm

    #43 – No I’m not saying he’s a victim. On the contrary. But you wrote:

    “Let that be a lesson: don’t tease [or annoy] people….”

    Aren’t you saying Goh is a victim of teasing, and that those people who got murdered, deserved it?

  • Benjamin Wagner

    I like the fact that (some) Koreans felt guilty over Cho. I don’t think it was necessary to do so, but it was still a nice showing of collective self-awareness that somewhere along the line, something about Korean cultures and values may have influenced this mass murder at a level greater than zero.

    I agree with your take. But recall that a lot of interest in the issue was also because of fears of “racial backlash” against Koreans. The Roh administration, for whatever reason, seemed to be very familiar with the concept.

    “Koreans Fearful of Racial Backlash”

    Quoting President Roh ‘s Moo-hyun’s aide: “We hope that the tragedy would not stir up any racial prejudice or retaliatory acts against our people . . . We would take extra precautions to calm down the Korean-American community in confusion and shock and prevent possible damage to other Koreans.’’
    http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2012/01/116_1179.html

    “South Korea Fears Racial Backlash After Shooting”

    “We are working closely with our diplomatic missions and local Korean residents’ associations in anticipation of any situation that may arise,” a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said by telephone.”
    http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/7-4-17/54220.html

    “South Koreans React to Shooting in Virginia”

    Policymakers expressed concern about the potential impact of the killings on South Korea’s relations with the United States — and, more immediately, on the Seoul government’s effort to win Congressional support for allowing the tens of thousands of South Koreans who travel to the United States each year to do so without having to obtain a visa.

    They also feared that the shootings might touch off racial prejudice or violence against Koreans in the United States.

    “I almost panicked when I called my daughter studying in New York, as soon as I heard the killer was a Korean, and I couldn’t immediately reach her,” said Kim Jin Gil, 51. “I told her not to go out on the streets for the time being, and not to tell people that she is a Korean. She laughed at me, though.”

    “I don’t think this sad incident will affect the government-to-government relations or the chances of ratifying the F.T.A.,” said Song Dae Sung, who studies Korean-American relations at the Sejong Institute. “What we worry about is the possibility of a racial backlash being released against Korean expats, some of whom are seen by other Americans as too selfish, too self-centered and too competitive.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/18/world/asia/18cnd-korea.html?hp

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    Nope, I am saying if Goh hadn’t been teased or annoyed, he probably wouldn’t have shot people.

    so, think twice before teasing or annoying people – you might just get shot.

  • BusanAjossi

    @45 – From what I saw of the Korean reaction to the Cho killings, it seemed to have at least as much to do with a sense of self-interest as it did a sense of collective guilt. Set against the background of the nationalistic frenzies that are ignited by opportunistic politicians whenever some American commits a horrible crime in Korea, the Cho killing naturally sparked a lot of hand-wringing and worries about what it would mean for Korea-US relations and how it would affect the attitudes of Americans toward Koreans. The question that seemed to be more often asked by Koreans in the English-language media was not “How could an ethnic Korean do something like this?” but “What happens next and what will be the fallout for us?” When America answered that question by collectively shrugging its shoulders regarding Cho’s ethnic background, the “collective guilt” soon disappeared.

    I can’t say whether there was a lot of soul-searching in the Korea media at that time about collective responsibility for those aspects of Cho’s Koreanness that may have contributed to his act (No Korean I spoke to at the time had any doubt that Cho was mentally ill). Anyone get a sense of that was discussed in the Korean media? I’d be curious to know how, whether, or to what degree it differed from the essentially defensive and self-interested reaction I heard at the time in the domestic English-language press.

  • chanceencounter

    Two contrasting reactions to a school shooting:

    Re: Chardon High School in Ohio in February 2012:

    “…Frank Hall, the assistant football coach at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, charged down the shooter as a gun was pointed at him. His students say the ‘tremendous’ father-of-four monitors study halls and ‘would take a bullet for us’ and do ‘anything to save his students’.”

    Re: Oikos University, Oakland California

    Pastor Jong Kim, who founded the school about 10 years ago, told the Tribune that he did not know if the shooter was expelled or dropped out. Kim said he heard about 30 rapid-fire gunshots in the building.

    “I stayed in my office,” he said.

    WWJD?

  • Pingback: 【米国】「1列に並べ!皆殺しだ!」 大学で銃乱射、7人死亡…韓国籍の男を逮捕★8 « rakutenmikidani