m a r k a n d e y a

More on the VT shooting…

Posted by Brian on April 17, 2007

The Marmot has all the news and updates you want on the Korean VT shooter here.

There isn’t much for me to add, but I do want to comment on one remark from an AP article on South Korea’s reaction to the shooting:

Kim Min-kyung, a South Korean student at Virginia Tech reached by telephone from Seoul, said there were some 500 Koreans at the school, including Korean-Americans. She said she had never met the shooter Cho. Fearing retaliation, she said South Korean students were gathering in groups “as it could be dangerous.”

I’m sure some drunk jocks will make some anti-Korean slurs here and there, but I don’t imagine any sort of lynch mob forming as a result of this tragic event. I like to think that Americans are savvy enough to identify a lone nut as just that. Gathering in groups and boarding up windows and doors seem like quite an over-reaction.

UPDATE: Salon has an article on Korean VT students fleeing campus. It’s unfortunate that some of them are leaving rather than staying and participating in the vigils and memorials. I’m sure their presence would be welcome. The letters section is interesting because many readers share my sentiment that any sort “backlash” is mostly hype.

Take a look at this letter:

I think Koreans are responding to a non-existent “racist backlash” because if an American had done this in Korea, dozens of American businesses would by now be smoldering piles of ashes and Americans truly would be risking their safety if they appeared in public.

Recall, for instance, the response in Korea to the incident at the Olympics when a Candian judge disqualified a Korean speed skater, allowing the American Apollo Anto Ono to win the gold. It spark violent anti-American demonstrations in Korea that continue to erupt every time Ono enters the country for a sporting event. Even years later, Ono is surrounded by guards for protection every time he goes to Korea. And when an American military vehicle accidentally killed a girl, violent anti-American demonstrations lasted for months.

Koreans assume Americans will respond in the same way. They won’t. As one of the white VT students put it when asked about the possibility of a backlash on CNN today, “It hadn’t even crossed my mind.”

I think it’s obvious to everyone (except perhaps Koreans, who are, for historical reasons, among the most xenophobic people on earth) that this crime by a lone madman had nothing to do with race or ethnicity.

I think a lot of American expats in this country just might agree with this.

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One Response to “More on the VT shooting…”

  1. Riki said

    Very interesting Machiavelli quote.Rgds R

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