Since the VT shooting happened on April 16, the foremost inquiry is regarding the nationality and the citizenship status of the shooter. Particularly, after several witnesses released the information that he is an Asian male, the whole Chinese community (probably the Asian community) was disturbed.
At the same night, Michael Sneed (1), a reporter who works for Chicago Sun-Times, made the first announcement about the nationality of the shooter. She reported that the shooter was a Chinese national who arrived in the United States last year on an F-1 visa issued in Shanghai, China in 2005. Her report, published before authorities had made any announcement about the shooter’s identity, was widely cited by mass media across the globe, including FOX News, MSNBC, ABC News, sina.com and sohu.com (the last two are most popular Chinese news websites). Many American readers soon generated racist comments and attributed the tragedy to Chinese Community regime (2)
Right after this news was reported by these major media, Chinese students in the United States started a fierce cyber discussion (3). Some students said, “sorry for these families (who lost their beloved), but from some perspectives, it is good since it tells Americans that we are not docile. If you piss me off, I can do something really bad.” Another group seriously doubted the reliability of this news released by Chicago Sun. They didn’t believe that a Chinese nerdy graduate student can become such an “efficient” killer in such a short time, since the armory is banned in China. What the last group concerned about is that the U.S. government may lift the bar for student visa application and change the immigration policies.
When the nationality of the shooter was finally identified by the police, the Chinese cyber community was suddenly relieved and turned to discuss how to differentiate “We” from Koreans. Their major statement is that, Chinese haters wound not kill innocent people. As one of the students said, “This Korean psychic put us in a very difficult position. We can’t even be nerds any more! We are ALL freaks in Americans’ eyes. But I still want to be a nerd, if I have to choose one out of the two.” In the meantime, another group of Chinese students started a campaign to sue Chicago Sun for the irresponsible and misleading news. In addition, many Chinese students claim that the most urgent thing to do is to join the American community and send spiritual or monetary supports (if possible) to the victims’ families.
From April 18, more and more details about the shooter are released to the public. Cho’s pictures in which he is holding weapon with violent expression occupy the headline of newspapers and websites. His body is placed at a secondary position compared with his weapon. It seems indicating a weaponized body, knowing nothing but killing. When his Islamic tattoo is decoded by various experts, the media seems to imply that there is a connection between the violent Korean alien resident to the terrorists in the Middle East. I believe, sooner or later, Cho’s image will be related to the unpredictable regime of North Korea. His Americanness, however, will never be addressed.
What’s the next step? The president of the University has send out e-mails, urging to review the security procedure. The risk prevention project will be extended to the very molecular level. Psychological counseling is opening to minority students who have abnormal words and behaviors. Minority students, especially the Asian loners, will be encouraged to go to counseling voluntarily. Their teachers and advisors also have the responsibilities to suggest them to take the service. In addition, teachers have the responsibilities to cooperate with the police department to prevent alike tragedy from happening. I bet this is the reason that Chinese students want to draw the line between the shooter and them. However, what they don’t see or refuse to see is that, “we” are all in the same boat.
After experiencing the madness, no matter you show your sympathy or not, we have to embrace a new civilization.
1) For more information about Michael Sneed, please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Sneed
2) For detailed information, please see: http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1818566/posts?q=1&;page=56#56
3) The discussion happened in www.mitbbs.com. Mitbbs is the biggest Chinese on-line community in the United States with more than 100, 000 registered users. Its founder was a Ph.D. student at the MIT who experienced the 1989 Tiananmen upheaval. When founded, the forum was expected to be a space for exchanging democratic thoughts. The original domain is bbs.mit.edu. When the founder graduated from the MIT in 2001, he couldn’t keep the domain name and provide technical support for it. In the same year, the forum was commercialized and changed its domain name to the current name. It currently is a place to exchange living tips and academic ideas.