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Cho Seung-Hui’s Multimedia Manifesto (Update: Ishmael Ax Mystery Solved?)

John on April 18, 2007 at 2:17 pm

Wed. 4:25PM: Here’s a link to MSNBC where 13 of the pictures inside Cho’s manifesto have been published. Also, segments of his video are available. Cho compares himself to Jesus, as someone suffering and also mentions martyrs like Dylan and Klebold.

Based on his dramatic writings plus these, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to believe that this kid had been abused by someone. It just fits his constant statements of pain, his written references to abuse and his desire for revenge. Why that revenge was directed at Norris Hall, I can’t imagine.

Update Wed. 3:40PM: A lot more info is trickling out:

Among the materials are 23 QuickTime video files showing Cho talking directly to the camera, Capus said. He does not name anyone specifically, but he mentions “sin” and “spilling” his blood and talks at length about his hatred of the wealthy.

The production of the videos is uneven, with Cho’s voice so soft that at times it is hard to understand him. But they indicate that Cho had worked on the package for some time, because he not only “took the time to record the videos, but he also broke them down into snippets” that were embedded paragraph by paragraph into the main document, Capus said.
The package also includes 29 photographs. He looks like a normal, smiling college student in only the first two. In the rest, he presents a stern face; in 11, he aims handguns at the camera that are “consistent with what we’ve heard about the guns in this incident,” Capus said.

Here’s a partial answer to the Ismael Ax mystery. Note the From address. It’s headed A. Ishmael:


Is this photo the connection to the sacrifice of Ishmael story people have speculated about? It may be:


Allah has the nightly news clip with video here. The announcer says he “railed against Christianity” but there’s not really much of that in the clips shown so far.

Wow, Allah notes a bit more of the video (which I haven’t seen yet) in which Cho specifically mentions the Columbine killers as “martyrs.” Also some reference to Jesus which sounds as vague and deranged as everything else is sounding so far.

I did an analysis of the Columbine killers writings here, which showed them to be disturbed but somewhat cogent in their reasoning. In that case, a particular type of arrogance infused atheism seems to have helped them justify their actions.

That said, I don’t think we should rush to assume atheism has much to do with this incident. Unlike Dylan Harris and Klebold, Cho does not appear to be making much sense. I do intend to scrutinize his manifesto once it is released to try and understand what, if anything, he was thinking.

[End update]

From MSNBC, with a tip to Drudge:

Sometime after he killed two people in a Virginia university dormitory but before he slaughtered 30 more in a classroom building Monday morning, Cho Seung-Hui sent NBC News a rambling communication and videos about his grievances, the network said Wednesday.


Network officials turned the material over to the FBI and said they would not immediately disclose its contents beyond characterizing the material as “disturbing.” It included a written communication, photographs and video.

Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” said in a posting on the program’s “Daily Nightly” blog that the communication was received earlier Wednesday. He described it as a very long “multimedia manifesto.”

The package, timestamped in the two-hour window between Monday’s shootings, was sent to NBC News head Steve Capus.Police said the development might be “a very new, critical component of this investigation.”"We’re in the process right now of attempting to analyze and evaluate its worth,” said Col. Steve Flaherty, superintendent of Virginia State Police.

This is in addition to the 8 page manifest found in his dorm room which reportedly was an anti-religious rant:

A law enforcement official who read Cho’s note described it as a typed, eight-page rant against women, rich kids and religion. “You caused me to do this,” the official quoted the note as saying.

The manifesto is also said to mention Christianity, but no one is saying in what context.

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