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Do you think it was appropriate for NBC to broadcast the Virginia Tech gunman’s video?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on April 20, 2007

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Photo of Miranda Smith

“No. They shouldn’t have shown it out of respect for the families who are in mourning. They should have censored it. I wouldn’t want to see that on TV if I knew someone who was involved.”

Photo of Gary Lange

“No. I think it should have been discussed with the families first. It would have been better if they had held it until they had gotten hold of them.”

Photo of Joanie Urban

“No. I hate that he has gotten any notoriety for what he did. I think it encourages people like him to become recognized for that kind of behavior.”

Photo of Dallas Barge

“No. I don’t think it was. It was too soon. They should have waited. The police receive the same type of evidence in high-profile cases and they will usually withhold it from the public.”


jonas 11 years ago

NEED to know? Hmmm. . . . how so?

I don't care if they put it up or not. I'm certainly not going to watch it.

busymom 11 years ago

I am sure that NBC diliberated about the ethical conflictions surrounding the video before airing it. I believe they made the right decision, news is news and alot of people need to know the why when it comes to senseless acts such as this although the why is most often unsatisfying.

I also believe the mere fact that it was a video of the shooter was a warning of its content.

Chicago_JHawk 11 years ago

The outcry over this is more disturbing than the video itself. Perhaps all controversial news should be censored? I could understand issuing a warning to viewers before showing it so people that don't want to see it can avoid it.

The argument that showing the video causes notoriety is laughable. Like it or not, this murderer IS notorious for what he did and not showing a video won't change that.

Stephen Prue 11 years ago

people are not required to watch tv or read newspaper or the internet. we watch because we want to, humans are curious and some of us are sick, very very sick. nbc did what a news organization does, report news, its that simple.

Adrienne Sanders 11 years ago

jonas- you have the right idea, You don't have to watch it! No one does. But let it be put out there for the sake of freedom of speech.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

Unfortunately, I think it sets a "you, too, shall get your 5 minutes of fame and be remembered" precidence. I watched the video. I learned nothing from it (that I didn't already know) that will help me in the future. I think it's sad that this kid was granted his dying wish when he denied so many others of their's. I think it was probably unwise. I think "Freedom of Speech" can be abused.

paladin 11 years ago

TV has never been appropriate. This sounds like a case for the Great Decider. Who is that masked man? YOU.

trinity 11 years ago

i think most all media is pretty scummy anyway. and i really have my doubts that NBC "deliberated", as someone said, about whether or not to air this video. any deliberation was probably centered around "how fast can we get that thing on????" and "whose a@@ can we whip in ratings with it????"

people we gots to learn discernment&judgement, and to think for ourselves&not be sheeple that just buy whatever the "major" media doles out to us! i'm with jonas&dulcinea...

jonas 11 years ago

"As far as you NOT watching the videos, you are perfectly free to keep your head in the sand and remain ignorant of the knowledge which you can acquire through seeing them."

Or, perhaps I'm experienced enough in the observation of people who are mentally unstable and the way they act out, and this serves no purpose to me. Perhaps it doesn't serve any informational purpose to you either, except as entertainment, because it only offers a glimpse into the performance (note: NOT MIND!) of one guy with serious issues, and would thus give you little reference by which to recognize unhinged people in the future. Perhaps, thus, the only real result is that a bunch of people who can't think critically are again going to think that they can learn something from this one guy's performance, and are then going to lash out at people who act a little strange, or, more likely, who are South Korean.

Flap Doodle 11 years ago

On next year's schedule, "Home Decorating the Ed Gein Way".

jonas 11 years ago

"Many Americans do not understand what creates these people nor how to spot them and possible avert another tragedy like this one."

Which they are not going to learn from this video, or probably the news media at all.

"Perhaps the showing of this bats+++ crazy's videos of himself may cause someone in need of help get it or even cause a loon like this guy, Cho, to be locked up BEFORE he flips out and kills a bunch of people."

Or cause many people who would not flip out and kill people to get targeted or locked up, because they wear black, listen to heavy metal, like firearms, etc.

Flap Doodle 11 years ago

What our neighbors to the North decided to do: "...At the CBC, we debated the issue throughout the evening and made the decision that we would not broadcast any video or audio of this bizarre collection. On CBC Television, Radio and, we would report the essence of what the killer was saying, but not do what he so clearly hoped all media would do. To decide otherwise - in our view -would be to risk copycat killings. Speaking personally, I have long admired NBC News and I am sure my admiration of their journalists will endure. But I think their handling of these tapes was a mistake. As I watched them last night, sickened as I'm sure most viewers were, I imagined what kind of impact this broadcast would have on similarly deranged people. In horrific but real ways, this is their 15 seconds of fame. I had this awful and sad feeling that there were parents watching these excerpts on NBC who were unaware they they will lose their children in some future copycat killing triggered by these broadcasts."

beatrice 11 years ago

The top show on tv is CSI, a show so disturbing in its desire to wallow in death and gore that I refuse to watch. Who needs that as entertainment? To ask if this one thing is appropriate or not is silly, since television past the line of appropriateness so long ago they probably can't even see it in their rear view mirror. And if they had video of the shootings taking place, they would have shown that too.

Donny_Burgess 11 years ago

Deal with it. It's out there. It won't make the outcome of the crime any different.

What about footage of iraq? Should familes of loved ones who perished not be subjected to that news footage?

Im sure the network deliberated over this for about 2 nano-seconds before deciding to air the footage. What a HARD DECISION FOR NBC TO MAKE! Ya -I'l bet it was really tough.

Bone777 11 years ago

I feel terrible for the victims, their friends, and their families, but I wanted to watch the video the killer had sent.
I have always been interested to read the letters, see the pictures, and in these days of greater technology, see the videos. Curiosity is human nature. It's what keeps us safe, in hopes of helping us identify danger in the future.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

Whether or not a "dead" person is aware is a religious debate I'm not getting into. I would argue that giving someone "what he clearly wanted" is granting a wish. What is to be learned from watching the video? I thought, "Maybe I'll learn something..." Nope, just saw a sick person ranting. (Guess I gave him what he wanted.) Even if we know our neighbor is crazy, that's not good enough reason to lock him up. Would-be mass murderers have rights, too. Copycats? I'm sure the bomb threats in Lawrence yesterday were just odd timing. Nothing at all to do with unrelated past events. 15 seconds of fame...who cares? Well, It would seem that some sick individuals would kill for it.

OnlyTheOne 11 years ago

Definitely! Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In a terrible way it shows exactly what happens to a mistreated mind.

mick 11 years ago

Thanks in part to NBC I have come to a very clear ubderstanding of why this happened and what needs to be done to prevent it in the future. Unfortunately, we will turn to the pseudoscientific, quack psychologists and education "professionals" for answers. They are part of the problem and not the solution so this is going to happen again and again.

50YearResident 11 years ago

"Perhaps the showing of this bats+++ crazy's videos of himself may cause someone in need of help get it or even cause a loon like this guy, Cho, to be locked up BEFORE he flips out and kills a bunch of people."

More likely this will influence a copy cat shooting. If you think this type of video is a good education for the average person to see then make it a real lesson and show Cho laying on the floor with his brains splattered all over himself as the final film sequence.

kujays4 11 years ago

mentally ill, emotionally ill, physically ill individuals are all capable of making decisions that are not always in their best interest. this young man was part of a group of unfortunate individuals that can't, won't keep the evil, harmful, aggressive, dillusional thoughts from overtaking them. It is a sad and horrible act but can you imagine what it would be like to have his mind? however painful, sick and twisted it may seem, the chemical imbalance in some people can only be repaired by a higher power, no chemicals, therapy or psychology. I feel bad for all who suffered, but feel the same for Cho. Could it be, Satan?

Jace 11 years ago

I don't know....maybe it's just me.....but I've noticed over the years that whenever there is a tragedy the networks (and local stations) show lots and lots of pictures and film footage for the first few days....and then one by one they all pull back and say that the images are "too disturbing" and that they have decided that in the "best interest of the viewing public" they are not going to show any more pictures/footage!

It's laughable, really.

They all want the ratings (for a few days).....and then, and only then, do they decide to take the "high road".

ms_canada 11 years ago

R_I said that more info is a good thing. Well, I don't know about that. There has been so much info out there about the horrible things that happen when mentally ill people can get all the guns they want. What kind of society allows sick people to have access to weapons like that? What kind of society allows sick people to go untreated to the point of murder? We are obssessed with the right to bear arms.
Well then, we will just have to put up with the consequences, won't we. And many people, innocent people will grieve and grieve and grieve. The NRA people will have their way, won't they. We are all sick.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

"Would be mass murderers do have rights, but those rights should be limited if they represent a threat. For instance, drunk people have rights, but have much more limited rights when they get into a car and become a public danger." -Das

Das, I totally agree. Now, what are we going to do about it? Put breathalyzers on all car doors? This country is way more into protecting rights than protecting lives. I certainly don't have the answers. As far as the bomb threats "technically" not being copycat, well, that's splitting hairs with an axe head.

RI, Crazy neighbor? Did I say that??? er...I meant crazy uncle.

Ya'll have a nice day. I'm off to Cabela's (I have a $30 off coupon) and then to the school to monitor the door. ;) BTW, Ms_C,..."We are all sick," I couldn't agree more!

Mike Blur 11 years ago

Imagine for a second, if the reverse was true, and NBC decided not to reveal the contents of the package it received.

"Dear viewer, two days after the shooting, we received a package from the murderer, with twenty-seven video clips, forty-three still pictures, one audio clip, and a 18-page typewritten manifesto. However, in the interest of sensitivity, we have decided not to broadcast these items."

There would be a huge outcry over the censorship tactics of NBC news. They did the right thing. As several comments on this forum have indicated, Americans have the option not to watch.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

In all fairness, I saw the first NBC news broadcast after they received the videos, pics, and written "manifesto" in the mail.

For those of you saying that NBC shouldn't have shown the video...they DIDN'T. They showed a couple of the pics. They showed a couple brief snips of the videos. They discussed what was in the writings, but did not specify, saying it was too disturbing and graphic.

They did have the whole content available online, for those who CHOSE to view it.

In other words, they didn't show much of anything on TV. But they made it available for anyone who CHOSE to see it. They didn't force-feed it to anyone.

And I have seen a couple of the pics and a couple snips of the videos on EVERY news organization's broadcasts the last couple of days. So exactly WHO took the moral high ground?

Not to mention that, even if they only showed a pic, and not much of the video, EVERY news organization has also managed to describe, verbally, the content of everything that was received, in sometimes graphic detail. Which is worse? Seeing the videos, or reading about them in graphic detail?

As for copycats...just reporting about the event on Mon. was enough to guarantee THAT. There have been numerous copycat threats reported, all across the country, all week...some of them before it was even known that the stuff was sent to NBC.

It doesn't take videos to spur copycat crimes. Such things existed long before there was even TV, radio, or film, and things were only reported in the newspapers.

NBC had the right to show this stuff if they wanted...though those of you who are moaning about it obviously didn't watch it, as it was severely edited.

You had the right not to watch, if that was your choice.

sgtwolverine 11 years ago

I don't think "news media" and "appropriate" really go together anyway. Their existence is not noble; it is a pursuit of ratings or circulation. So I don't think NBC cares so much whether or not it was appropriate; I think they care whether or not it was profitable.

Here's the ever-tactful Detroit News' treatment of the subject:

Oh, and mike_blur, I don't think it's an issue of either airing the video or not releasing any information whatsoever. I think it's an issue of airing the video or passing along some content without airing the video itself.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

As for the fifteen minutes of fame thing...wasn't he getting that already, even without the videos? His picture, and details about what happened, have been plastered all over TV all week.

Haven't all the new organizations (including CBS, by the way) been camped out on the VT campus all week, making live reports from there, stopping and interviewing anyone who would speak to them, including grieving family members?

Don't try to say CBS hasn't done this, too...moral high ground my a**. I saw interviews on CBS with roommates of the victims...also with friends, brothers, sisters...even the parents.

Mike Blur 11 years ago

Interesting take from a lead story on right now:

LITTLETON, Colorado (AP) -- As they mark the eighth anniversary Friday of the Columbine school shooting and mourn the victims at Virginia Tech, many Littleton families are also questioning a judge's decision to seal information about the killers.

Columbine High School was closed Friday, as it had been every April 20 since the 1999 attack in which two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves.

But federal Judge Lewis Babcock's decision this month to seal for 20 years the testimony of Harris' and Klebold's parents about the boys' home lives has infuriated some survivors and victims' relatives, who feel the information could help prevent future school rampages.

"I don't think you can stop every crazy person. But some of the things Babcock locked up show what these crazy kids did," said Don Fleming, whose 16-year-old daughter, Kelly, was killed in the attack. "It's no use to anybody if it is locked up.

"If society knew, it could possibly prevent future shootings," Fleming said. "We're finding out that everything that the latest killer did is similar to what Klebold and Harris did."

beatrice 11 years ago

Why not? We allow right_thinker to vent his bizarre views around here on a regular basis.

ms_canada 11 years ago

R_I - I do not agree that more info is better. We are human and we do not learn from our mistakes. It is a sad fact. I don't mean as individuals, I mean collectively as humans. What has war ever accomplished? I ask. Do we see the uselessness of it? No, it goes on and on. We have to face it. Humans are stupid and won't learn. I could say that perhaps the info out there about these sad, sick people who commit these crimes, has caused some mentally ill people to be recognized and helped, but in a society so very large as North America, there are just too many who fall through the cracks in the system.
This young man was recognized by his peers and teachers, but there was no recourse for them to compel him to receive treatment or help. It's the way we are and I am sad to think that it will never change because too many of us are so apathetic. We just don't care enough. The ones who do care and get on a pedestal or campaign for gun control are just ridiculed and shouted down. We in Canada made an attempt at gun control with our legislated gun registry law, but what good will that actually do. The nutty and the criminals will always get their weapons somehow or other. I see no hope, absolutely no hope in the future. These insane rappages will continue in your country and mine. Sad, I am.

Flap Doodle 11 years ago

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm thinking that broadcast stations should not be competing with rotten dot com.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

It's not so much that we're apathetic, ms_canada.

It is damned difficult anymore, if not impossible, for someone to be committed to a mental hospital against their will.

This is, in part, due to how things USED to be in this country. The past is littered with horrible stories of many, many people who were committed to hospitals, some for the rest of their lives, just because there was a benefit in it for someone else. Sometimes for money, sometimes because a spouse wanted someone else...the reasons were numerous.

So now, to make sure that these horror stories no longer happen, the law has made it much more difficult to get someone committed involuntarily. Sometimes, in the quest to be fair and make sure it's not just being done for someone else's gain, judges tend to lean too far the other way, and not commit someone who IS a danger.

After all, we've all read about court cases where both sides will dig up doctors and mental health professionals who supposedly prove their point of view. What is a judge supposed to do? They have no degree in psychology. They have to rely on what the "experts" say.

And, unfortunately, even if you do manage to get someone committed, this is still no guarantee that they will be "cured".

Even if the problems with this boy had been recognized a long, long time ago, and he had spent time in a hospital, it doesn't mean that the shootings still wouldn't have happened.

There's really no way to know.

Ceallach 11 years ago

Some excellent points have been made in these "to air or not to air" posts. But when it is all said and done, I do not want ANY broadcast network deciding which news they think is appropriate for the American people to view. That seems like a very steep slippery slope to me. I would rather err on the side of a free press and leave any censoring to the watchers/hearers.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

True, Ceallach...

I don't want anyone else making the decision for me as to what I can and cannot watch.

It's just like the videos of the one man who was beheaded in Iraq...not that they showed the whole video on TV, but they showed it right up to the point of the execution.

I prefered not to watch even that much, and turned the channel every time they had it on.

The entire video was available online, for those who wished to see it, including the beheading. Not my cup of tea, and I never watched it, but millions of people did.

preebo 11 years ago

I am in agreement...

If it is too much for you, do not watch it. If it offends you then call NBC and let them know. Instead of waiting for the nation to dictate what you see, maybe you should decide for yourself. If there is freedom of speech in the country then there should be freedom to ignore that speech.

If the public deems what NBC did was distasteful, then perhaps enough pressure will be brought to bear, much like in the Imus situation. Freedom of speech comes with a responsibility and ownership.

beatrice 11 years ago

"If ever I were not sane, I'd be the LAST person who should have the right to determine that I didn't need serious intervention."

We couldn't agree more, Pywacket. Now, please, don't make a fuss, there won't me much pain, just a little prick. There, there -- Now don't you feel better already, Py? Be careful of bumping your head as we get into the van, okay?

ms_canada 11 years ago

PY - Yes, what you say makes great sense and I realize that there most likely are many, many persons who are receiving help and their possibley harmful behavior is diverted. I guess what I am saying is that in a society of such huge propertions as N America, we will always have Columbines, Montreals and Virginias. We will never be able to say, OK, this is the last time this will happen. At the same time, those helped is not quantifiable, as you say. The is all so huge and overwhelming. But I did not answer the question. No, I don't think that NBC should have aired that video. Do we really need to see it? I seems too much like voyeurism to me.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

People always want more info because they are trying to understand, this is impossible, the mind of the killer. They want to know if sneaky uncle did something mom beat him or he was abused at school, anything that could in our, normal, minds explain why.

Jamesaust 11 years ago


Except a small sample - 30-60 seconds - enough to give a general impression of the substance (or lack thereof) of his explanation, followed by a general summary (something along the lines of 'and many more minutes of profanity-laced raving about persecution by the world'). That should be, in a word, sufficient.

The rest is explained by "ratings." There's no "news" to be found there.

Ceallach 11 years ago

We should not let ourselves forget that all of the news we receive carries some degree of the provider's agenda. I prefer to watch more than one network's coverage of any news that I consider important to my realm of existence. I do not expect that to change. Let's face it folks, we do not live in paradise. Whether you count our planet's age in thousands or millions of years, you surely must agree that in all that time we have not eliminated one negative aspect of our humanity. All of mankind's faults/sins (take your pick) are still with us. We have more "stuff" but that's about it. Personally I'm looking forward to paradise restored :)

Jace 11 years ago

Well said, Ceallach! Well said! Bravo!

Ceallach 11 years ago

ms_c: As an added plus . . . May 5 is Saturday!! RI, we always celebrated May 1st as May Day, guess I'll celebrate both days!!!

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

RI, you romantic fool! You got some Mickey D's lined up for dinner?

Ceallach 11 years ago

No one can say you don't know how to have a good time, RI :)

Ceallach 11 years ago

Off to the Royals, all y'all have a good night!!

ms_canada 11 years ago

R?_I - careful on the range. I do agree with you and ceall, that to get all your info from one source is just plain foolish. If you knew me better you would know that I usually delve into all sides of an issue. When I became interested in what makes the mind of a Muslim tick, I researched, read 7 books by people on both sides of the subject. When studying history, I do the same. I have different sources from which to glean information on any subject. I just have a curious mind and like to know all the facts, but, I like some commenting today, would not watch the video of this very ill young man. I don't need that haunting my thoughts. I was a psych nurse and I have heard enough gruesome tales of what the human mind is capable.

Richard Heckler 11 years ago

More of concern was the fact that VT staff had concerns long before this took place and school leadership ignored the teaching staff and some students. Leadership who were advised and did nothing should resign...or heads should roll. This young man obviously was in need so it turns out. So if no one else would step forward then the state should.

Virginia Tech Gunman Managed to Buy Guns Despite Mental Illness

This news on the Virginia Tech massacre: The Associated Press is reporting the gunman, Cho Seung-Hui, should not have been able to purchase the guns he used in the massacre. Federal regulations bar the sale of guns to individuals who have been "adjudicated mentally defective." In 2005, a judge ruled Cho "presents an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness." The ruling came after two female students accused Cho of stalking them. But it appears the judge's ruling was never conveyed to federal authorities. This allowed Cho to pass the instant background check needed to buy the weapons. Virginia State Police maintains the sale was legal under state law.

Virginia Governor Form Panel to Review All Aspects of Shooting On Thursday Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine formed an independent panel to review all aspects of the school shooting. Kaine said today would be a day of mourning for the victims of the massacre. Meanwhile the New York Times is reporting as many as eight teachers in the English Department at Virginia Tech formed an ad hoc task force 18 months ago to discuss how to handle Cho because he was scaring his classmates and teachers. School administrators took no action in response to their concerns.

Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

This different from the the 911 calls made by the people trapped in the Twin Towers on 9/11. Those should not have been released to the public and broadcast all over the airwaves. If family members wanted to hear them, they should have been allowed to but just playing them for the public was gratuitous. This tape was of the criminal confessing and while I haven't seen it, I imagine that it went at least a little way to explaining his actions. When things like this happen, we're all left wondering "why" so that maybe in the future, something like this can be prevented.

blaytonjones 11 years ago

NBC made that poor, sick kid's dreams come true, and likely inspired the next one. They should not have been forced not to show any of it, NBC should have chosen not to show any of it, ever. Their fearless leader's comments show the focus of his concern, "It's not every day we get a story like this," Mr. Capus said. [NYTimes].

It's all about the Benjamins?

james bush 11 years ago

NBC was wrong and it seems to me that B Williams wishes he was Walter Cronkite.

Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

Perhaps it should have been edited, but I imagine many of you who are saying it shouldn't have been shown would be saying the opposite if it had been withheld. How many of you who think it shouldn't have been shown turned the tv off or changed channels when it was shown?

Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

Also, as far as the police withholding information in other cases, they do that when they don't have a suspect to help identify the real culprit from the crazies who confess. The identity of the killer in this case was never in question.

Bill Chapman 11 years ago

My only concern is that some other borderline nutjob out there will see all the coverage Cho got and decide its' time for HIS 8 hours of fame on CNN. I watched about 20 minutes of the coverage from the very first airing on CNN, I then turned off the T.V. and turned on the radio(music station - NOT news). About every hours or so I checked CNN just to see if they were still covering it - after 3 hours of this, I got curious and turned the T.V. back on for to CNN for the next 5 to 6 hours. The coverage by CNN was very interesting - almost 30 - 40 minutes of every hour was dedicated to the VT shootings. Everything from "The Experts" opinion / comments to onsite video to the manifesto / video by Cho was shown nearly ALL DAY, 30-40 minutes per hour, with various arrangements of the same information.

The media (specifically television) is getting to be more for "entertainment" than news. Vocal inflection by the host / anchor is being used to increase the viewers' interest, along with the way video clips are broken up (to give the impression of "in depth" coverage). The news media no longer states "just the facts" they give opinion about the event even without the "opinion" part of the news. All this is done to increase ratings and that's' the ONLY reason it is done. I have given up on television news media being "factual and dispassionate" about any sort of news. The print media is slipping down that slope as well - but television is ,by far, the worst.

Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

About the only way not to give these school massacre killers their 15 minutes/hours of fame is to barely mention the story at all. "In national news today, a lone gunman shot and killed 33 people and injured multiple others before turning the gun on himself on the campus of Virginia Tech. On to the next story." Maybe I missed it, but I don't believe the shooters at Columbine sent out video to the media and yet whenever anything like this happens, they get mentioned. They're still getting their 15 minutes of fame and always will whenever something violent and tragic happens at a school. Even Cho mentioned them. The man is dead. He's not alive and locked up or loose on the streets, gleefully gloating whenever his video comes on tv. We're not rewarding him his misbehavior by showing the video. I don't believe, and maybe I'm wrong, but showing the video isn't going to make or break another sociopath's decision to go on a killing spree. It might inspire them to mail in a confession tape, in which they might explain their reasoning behind their crime, which can only help to understand the reason behind the crime and help prevent others like it.

denak 11 years ago

My personal feeling is that showing the videos has less to do with them having any legitimate news value and everything to do with the shock value and ratings that they would garner.

I haven't watched the videos for the same reason I don't watch the videos on the internet of groups beheading people.

The video adds nothing. We know these people are brutal. We know Cho's acts were brutal.

Psychiatrists know why people kill. They don't need a video to tell them why.

The investigators on the case already said that the video adds nothing significant to the case.

The only reason the media showed it was to get ratings. For me, that isn't a good enough reason.

I would have kept the video off and only allowed Cho's parents and the families of the victims to view it if they wanted to.


Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

denak - Cho's shootings or video were never aimed at one particular person. They were aimed at society as a whole. Only allowing his parents and the parents of his victms is more pointless than airing it on tv. He didn't have a specific list of intended victims; he just went around spraying bullets. It's a national tragedy and most of us are left wondering why he did it. What was it that set him off? Who, if anyone, could have done something or anything to prevent it? I think many Americans are frustrated and untrusting right now knowing that the Federal goverment has with held information from us. It feels like someone had a plate of cookies and put them out for public consuption and now, after eating the cookies the public is moaning and groaning that it was wrong to set the plate out. If you watched the tape, then you really don't have any room to say it shouldn't have been shown. You could have changed the channel or turned the tv off.

denak 11 years ago

Jersey Girl,

Nonesense. The average American person does not have a vested interest in these tapes. The average person, including you, I bet, did not lose anyone in this attack.

The average person has no legitimate reason to view these tapes. There only reason for wanting to is to satisfy their morbid curiosity.

Two months from now you aren't going to care. Two years from now, you aren't going to remember Cho's name.

The families, however, will and they are the ones who deserve all the answers.

The American public does not "deserve" to know anything.

Only the families and relevent individuals (ie school officials, investigators, and those itimately involved)


Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

Really, denak? Did you watch the tape? The legitimate reason to view the tape was to try and answer the question "why". The average American does have a vested interest in this story and the tape because they have a brother, sister, cousin, mom, dad or maybe even themselves going to school. It could and it did happen on other school campuses. We all have something vested in this tragedy. Lawrence is a very elitist town and this kind of shooting could very easily happen here.

And, dude, you so do not know me. In two months I will still care. I'll probably cry. You are right that in two years I probably won't remember Cho's name; I don't remember the names of the boys from Columbine, but I will never forget either incident.

denak 11 years ago

It won't happen in Lawrence. And it won't happen to the overwhelming majority of schools and universities in this country. Most people are safe when they go to school.

Yes, these incidents are tragic but there is no reason to revel in this misery and that is what NBC is doing.

It serves no purpose to show this video other than to garner ratiings.

The average person in this country does not care why these things happen. If they did, they would be studying criminal justice or psychology or working in the mental health or criminal justice field.

Most of us will go ahead with out lives. Most of us will not be effected by this tragedy. You may cry about the senseless deaths but more than likely your life has not be altered by this tragedy.

Who did you lose? More than likely no one. The majority of people reading this, did not lose anyone.

We may be horrified and ask "why" but that is not a legitimate reason.

The only people who have a legitimate right to all the evidence, to everything the investigators can uncover are the parents of the killer, the victims that lived and the family of the victims who died.

NBC is only concerned with ratings. Not with anything else.

And the motive for most people watching all this coverage is morbid curiosity. The same reason people slow down at a car wreck. We feel bad for the victims but really, we are more interested in the possible sighting of blood and guts.

That may sound cynical but it is true.


Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

I truly hope that it never happens in Lawrence. I don't see how you can be so absolutely positive it won't, but I hope you're right. No, I didn't know anyone killed, but I'm not so cold-blooded that it hasn't affected me. And yes, we will all go on with our lives. That's what we do. Most of the victims' families' lives will go on. And it is extremely sad that you believe that most people in this country don't care what happened.

denak 11 years ago

No, they care but they care on the same level as they care when they see a car wreck or hear about something train wreck or anything else like that.

It doesn't touch them personally. It horrifies us. It makes us sad but we aren't forever altered by it.

The families and victims are. Their grief, their anguish, their questions are the only questions that need to be answered.

Your questions, your sadness over this event does not and will never be on the same scale as theirs so to try to make a case for being allowed to know everything and to try to justify your morbid curiosity by claiming that the "goverment" is covering up something is arrogant and disrespectful to the families.

What NBC did by broadcasting this video was also arrogant and disrespectful.

They did it for ratings. That is all.

They did not stop and think about the families.


Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

You are seriously jaded. Maybe for some people it is just the "car wreck" curiosity. For others of us who have lost a family through an accident or violent crime, it brings the pain back. No parent should EVER have to bury a child. And all parents with a school-age child have the same questions. I still don't know how you can possibly be so arrogant to believe it never could happen here.

denak 11 years ago

I'm not seriously jaded nor am I in anyway trying to diminish the pain some people have felt through losing a child or a family member through a violent crime.

But that is somewhat my point. These people have lost a child through a violent crime. A good majority of us have not. This violence does not touch us the same way it touches the people living through it now. We are too far removed from the actual event to be touched in the same way from it.

And although I am not trying to be uncaring towards people who have, in the past, lost family members to violence, the fact is that it is not happening to them now.

Seeing the tapes is not going to do what therapy and support groups do. Seeing the tapes is not going to provide some kind of cathartic relief for them. People who have lost family members to violence need to seek out help to deal with their grief. They are not going to find it on the news.

And NBC did not think about them prior to broadcasting Cho's video. They thought of ratings and perhaps the dubious claim of "journalistic value."

And lastly, no most parents aren't worrying about a nutcase blowing up their school. Prior to this incident, if you would have asked them what they are afraid of, they would mention bullies, or sexual predators, or drugs or catching lice or chicken pox or their child failing a grade.

The statistical chances of this happening here in Lawrence is slim. I have a school age child. When something like this happens, sure it crosses my mind. But I know the liklihood of it happening, is pretty slim. He probably has more of a chance of being hit by a car, or breaking his arm, or getting bit by a dog or even hit by lightening then he does dying from a school shooting.

Should the school district have a plan in place? Sure. They should be prepared for anything but if we were to realistically rank what our children will die from, school shooting wouldn't be in the top 5. Disease, fire, tornados all those very realistic things is what will kill our children not some nutcase with a gun.


Linda Endicott 11 years ago

Do you all really think that if there's a wacko kid out there somewhere wanting to gun down people that not broadcasting the videos would really stop that?

There were horrendous murders and copycat killings in the time of Jack the Ripper. And they never got to see videos of the Ripper case on TV.

Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

Statically, the chances were slim at Columbine. Statistically, chances are slim that two brothers would lose their eldest sons in accidents but my father and his brother did. Kids are under a lot more pressure and stress than we were. Lawrence seems and idyllic place to raise kids. When I went to LHS, it was really cliquish. Looking at my yearbooks nearly gives me anxiety attacks. And we all think the worst possible only happens to other people, until it happens to us. You are lucky that you still have the innocence to believe that the worst that will happen to your child is a bully picking on him or drugs or lice.

The tape was not of Cho's killing spree. It was him ranting and raving. Sure, NBC played it for ratings; any other channel that received the tape would have done the same. It's called freedom of the press. It's one of the many great freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. If the tape had been held back, the American people would have called that censorship. NBC had a right to show the video and they did. We had a right to watch the video or turn it off. There's plenty on tv these days that is offensive. I can choose to watch it or I can choose to come here and argue my right to watch it. The New York Times and The Washington Post both published the Unibomber's Manifesto under the recommendation of the US Justice Department.

denak 11 years ago

How can I be jaded and innocent at the same time?????

That's not possible but I'll let it pass.

You are missing the point.

1) I don't agree with NBC's decision to air the video. Of course, it is their "right" to air it. However, I do not believe for a moment that thier intentions were guided by any real interest in journalistic value.
My arguement has NEVER been about whether or not they had a right or about censorship or anything other than whether or not I thought it was appropriate for NBC to broadcast it. My answer was then and remains, no. I do not believe it was appropriate. That is not the same as advocating censorship or anything else along that lines.

2) "Your" pain or the supposed "pain of the country" is not equal to or in any way comprable to the anguish that the parents and the victims are going through. It is unfortunate that you lost people in your life. However, that is not equal this time.... to what the people at Virginia Tech are going though. I am not saying that your pain isn't real. What I am saying is that the pain and the confusion and the questions that the victims have are of greater importance then any questions the general public has at this time.

Because they were directly affected by this tragedy, their feelings and their pain should have been first and foremost a concern of NBC's and I do not believe that it was. I do not, no matter how much you try to argue it, believe that your questions matter more than theirs. They are the only ones who deserve all the answers and all the evidence.

You do not. I do not. No one else does.

Only them.


Sigmund 11 years ago

Dena is exactly correct. Saying other networks would have done the same does not make the action proper. And as it becomes more and more clear, that at its heart, these killings were sparked by a hatred of women and then later disguised by killing both men and women, I become less comfortable with the decision.

The first victim was a women, he stalked at least two women who complained, he was caught trying to take low angled "candid" photos of womens legs, virtually every women in one class refused to attend their classes when he attended and were eventually allowed to complete their courses online, and let's not forget his complaints of immorality and "debauchery" of the popular kids. Now we find out he hired and "escort" just prior to the massacre and his inability to perform with her.

So if I am correct and this wasn't so much about rage against students (ie. Columbine) and was more about violence against women, I wonder if Jersey_Grl will reconsider the propriety of broadcasting his insanity to every hyper-religious sexual frustrated impotent hormonal twenty something male with access to Glock 19 and multiple capacity clips. Because I bet there was more than one of them in NBC's audience that night.

And don't try telling NBC's advertising department that air time doesn't influence people cause they sell it by the second to the highest bidder.

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