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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Massacre at Virginia Tech; Deadliest Shooting
Aired April 20, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They will also be looking specifically at whether or not he sent any e-mail to Emily Hilscher. She was the first to die early Monday morning in a dormitory. She was the first of two to die.
At this point there is no way that police say they have been able to connect Cho to those two murders. Though they have through ballistics connected his handgun. They don't know what sort of contact he might have had with those victims prior to that particular killings.
Also, earlier in the week police did go to his dorm room. We had some video that we saw yesterday of Cho's dorm room. Fairly common accommodations for here on campus.
When they went in, police found two computers. They confiscated those computers. They also took books, notebooks, a digital camera and a combination lock and chain.
"ABC News" tonight also reporting that police have obtained Cho's medical and counseling file from the student health center here on campus.
Previously, university officials have said that they were not able to confirm publicly that Cho had any contact with their counselors. But police now have that file. It is not known what they have found.
But clearly, Anderson, this investigation going on, trying to find out if Cho may have had any contact with anyone in the days leading up to his rampage.
COOPER: David, appreciate the late developments. Thanks very much.
With us now and here to take your calls later as well are Doctors Park Dietz and Gail Saltz, both of them renowned psychiatrists who specialize in troubled minds.
She is author of "Anatomy of a Secret Life."
Appreciate both of you staying with us in this hour.
Dr. Dietz, what are some of the signs that a person can become violent?
DR. PARK DIETZ, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Well, there's a difference between a person becoming violent and a person doing mass murder. This is the most extreme and unusual kind of violence. So which question do you want me to answer?
COOPER: Well, let's stick with mass murder. And do you think of this as a mass murder or was this a suicide and shooting other people along the way?
DIETZ: Mass murder is always suicide. And this is a mass murder as well as a suicide. And the principle warnings of this -- not this case, but this phenomenon -- are depression with suicidal thoughts, paranoia, over concern about weapons and power, a history of having conducted surveillance or gathered intelligence about people or stalked people, having a fantasy life that is very much about violence and its utility for making one feel more powerful. And just a handful of other things.
One of which is inappropriate communications to people. There has never been a case where someone didn't have inappropriate communications that other people could have spotted. However, we can't expect other people to understand what those communications mean.
And every successful prevention program has had in place a means of making sure those communications got filtered through to the right people who had special training to analyze them.
COOPER: Dr. Saltz, we know so far -- and there's a lot we don't know about the mental history Mr. Cho -- but we know that a judge ruled him at one point a danger to himself, not an imminent danger to other people. As a doctor, as a therapist, seeing people, how can you tell if you're a danger to yourself? Aren't you -- and you're psychotic, isn't it a very thin line between hurting yourself and hurting other people?
DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, certainly you would question about that. Certainly, when someone is psychotic or even in any sort of serious distress, you ask questions about suicide quite directly. You ask questions about homicide quite directly. But, no, someone can absolutely be suicidal and not be homicidal, have no interest in hurting someone else, but be very interested in ending their own life because of their suffering.
And I think one thing that's important in this case is that, you know, while obviously what went on was horrific, it's pretty clear that this man was suffering along the way.
Paranoid delusions are terrifying. To feel that you're constantly under attack and being persecuted is terrifying. And clearly, he's been thinking for quite some time about taking his own life.
COOPER: We're going to talk again throughout this our with Dr. Saltz and Dr. Dietz. We're also going to be taking your calls.
Appreciate both of you being with us and sticking around. A lot more to talk about. If you got questions for our guests, you can call us -- 877-648-3639. We'll be taking your calls shortly in this hour. Again, the number, 877-648-3639 or e-mail us your questions, CNN.com/360. Click on the instant feedback link.
A lot unfolding today. Here is a quick rundown of the other major developments.
Cho's sister issued a statement on behalf of the family. He's made the world weep, she writes. We are living a nightmare. Our family is so very sorry.
Also today, new details about the shooting itself. A law enforcement source telling CNN that Cho fired as many as 225 shots, hitting most of the victims three times or more. All 33 bodies have now been released to their families.
And on the drill field outside Norris Hall, a sea of hokie orange and maroon, as students and staff gathered for a moment of silence. A chance to remember, but also to begin slowly, every so slowly moving on.
More now on the Cho family statement again tonight.
With that, CNN's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The statement comes just days after Seung-Hui Cho's senseless slaying of his classmates and his own death.
An apology stained with shame.
"We are so deeply sorry for the devastation my brother has caused. No words can express our sadness. We are heartbroken. We grieve alongside the families, the Virginia Tech community, our state of Virginia, and the rest of the nation and the world."
It was released by Cho's sister, Seung-Keong Cho (ph). Of the victims, she writes, "Each of these people had so much love, talent and gifts to offer, and their lies were cut short."
It is clear from her words, Cho's family is struggling too. "We are humbled by this darkness. We feel hopeless, helpless and lost. He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare."
Seung-Hui Cho lived here until he was 8, an apartment in a poor neighborhood of Seoul. Then the family moved to the U.S.
That's when his mother began to worry about Cho's odd behavior. He was quiet and withdrawn.
KIM YANG-SOON, SEUNG-HUI CHO'S GREAT AUNT (through translator): Every time I called and asked how he was, she would say she was worried about him. She said she couldn't die with him. She didn't know what to do. Cho's father and grandfather worried about that. Who would have known he would cause such trouble? The idiot.
KAYE: Cho's sister acknowledges her brother struggled to fit in.
REGAN WILDER, CLASSMATE: He was just known as that kid that didn't speak. He just never spoke. And that's how everyone remembered him.
KAYE (on camera): Cho's parents left South Korea in hopes of a better life. They worked as dry cleaners. His sister, for a state department contractor. They had hope for Cho, too.
But now, living in seclusion, buried in grief, Cho's family members have become his victims, too.
(voice-over): "This is someone that I grew up with and loved. Now I feel like I didn't know this person. There is much justified anger and disbelief at what my brother did, and a lot of questions are left unanswered."
Questions, whose answers may never come.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Much more ahead tonight, including students speaking out on their loss, the media coverage and their future.
Plus, Cho's roommates, what they saw and what they heard that worried them long before the shootings and now haunts them to this day.
You're watching 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM KAINE, VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: If you've had a chance to read the biographies, the short stories of those who were killed, you just uncover marvelous stories of joy and learning, of friendships, of hobbies and the thrill of teaching and educating generations of students. Each of the stories offer these wonderful portraits of what human life can be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That, of course, was Virginia Governor Kaine at a prayer service today in Richmond.
All across the state and country and especially on campus, a day of remembrance, but also a reminder that no matter what happened on Monday, the men and women of Virginia Tech still have a proud history and a bright future.
CNN's David Mattingly sat down today with several students today. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MATTINGLY (on camera): No one could expect something like this to happen. No one could expect something like this to happen at their school. How do you think this has changed you?
COREY HANIFEN, VIRGINIA TECH SOPHOMORE: Well, first of all, I mean, I think I've had more -- with all the support and everything around here, I'm more -- I believe this is more my campus now than it ever has been.
MATTINGLY: Did any of you go to the candlelight vigil?
KATELYNN REILLY, VIRGINIA TECH SOPHOMORE: Yes. That was great. I mean, it never made me -- I was so proud. Like, I just wanted that to be shown on the media and just let everyone know that we are Virginia Tech. Every time we do that chant, it just gets me because that's what we are. We're a strong school. I mean, we were strong to begin with, but now we're stronger than ever.
MATTINGLY: That was a powerful moment when everyone started that chant.
REILLY: It was great. It's been happening at a lot of different -- even smaller candle events and things like that, and it's just been great.
MATTINGLY: This is something that normally comes up at a sporting event. How has it changed? What does it mean to you now?
REILLY: It means that we're a family. We're together. We're not going anywhere. That's -- I think is part of the reason we stayed on campus is to show that you're not going to scare us away from our campus. We belong here and we love it here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to stick together. And we're going to -- everyone's going to just get together, be strong, and get over this.
MATTINGLY: A beautiful day like today. Typically, if we looked out behind us here, how many people would be out there? Hundreds?
REILLY: Tons. I mean, it's a Friday. So everyone usually ends class early and goes out and just hangs out, sunbathes, play frisbee.
MATTINGLY: Just looking around, how is today different?
DREW KINNEY, VIRGINIA TECH SENIOR: It's a lot quieter. I noticed that when I came on campus today. It's not the typical Friday feel that you would have on a beautiful day. It's quiet.
MATTINGLY: Does everyone seem different to you?
KINNEY: Yes. Just everyone -- it's not quite as joyous as it once was. But I think over time we'll gain that back. It's just that it's still pretty recent and fresh on everybody's minds. I know for me, the past week has been tough because you kind of -- there's no classes. There's nothing going on. And so you're really just searching for anything to get your mind off of what's happening.
MATTINGLY: You've got the option of ending your classes now, taking the grades that you have in a lot of your classes. Are you going back to class on Monday?
TRICIA SANGALANG, VIRGINIA TECH SOPHOMORE: Yes. Absolutely.
SANGALANG: I think we all need a sense of normalcy, of routine back into it. I think it's important that we show everyone that, you know, this isn't going to bring us down. It's not going to stop us from continuing on. And this is a first step to moving forward as a community, as students.
MATTINGLY: What you have learned about life from this experience?
HANIFEN: Things are a lot more precious than you would ever think they would be. All the things you took for granted, they aren't for granted. I mean, I take my -- I mean, I'm a lot more close -- I've been hanging out with my friends a lot more because who knows, I mean there's been a lot more bomb threats. There is a lot more other things happening now, that you never know when they're going to be gone. So you just kind of have to -- everything is a lot more precious.
MATTINGLY: When you're privately with your friends, are there still tears when you talk about this?
REILLY: Absolutely. Many times.
HANIFEN: It comes up from time to time. It does. It kind of hurts.
MATTINGLY: Is there anger?
HANIFEN: Yes. Yes. And it's also kind of -- I kind of feel unlucky not to have known the victims. It's just -- maybe it's just me, but it is kind of -- I just feel kind of unlucky not to know them.
MATTINGLY: Was it hard to see the killer and to hear his voice on television?
HANIFEN: Yes. That's when I got angry.
REILLY: That is the worst moment, I think.
HANIFEN: That was. I mean, the mug shots kind of got me angry, too. But definitely when they had the picture of him with the guns pointed at the screen. That -- that made me really quite angry.
REILLY: I've been getting my information from different Web sites, just different news sites. And to log on and see the killer's face with a gun at my screen just, I couldn't handle it. I just stopped watching the media after that.
MATTINGLY: On that day, even though no one might have been shooting at you, did you all feel like you were targets at one time that day?
REILLY: I do.
HANIFEN: I felt it could have easily been any of us. Because since it was an elementary German class or he just chose the building, you know -- especially foreign languages, they don't have a set building. So it could have very well been in the building where I had class. And it could have very well been in any other student's classes. It was really quite wrong place at the wrong time.
MATTINGLY: What's next for all of you?
HANIFEN: Get books going. Try to go back to school on Monday. I mean, accept that this happens. Accept that, you know, we are closer now than we've ever been. And just try to move forward. Just try to move forward.
MATTINGLY: Does that go for all of you?
KINNEY: Definitely. Just ready to get back to class and try to make things back to the way they used to be as best as it can possibly be.
MATTINGLY: Well thank you so much, all of you, for doing this. And we really mean this. Best of luck to all of you.
REILLY: Thank you.
COOPER: David, we know that the governor is now -- has appointed a panel, is taking over this sort of after action report. But the actual investigation, who's it being run by and where does it stand now?
MATTINGLY (on camera): The criminal investigation -- this is the first time -- the first day we have not had a press briefing by authorities. They took all those big steps that they could right away in the investigation. Right now, based on what we're hearing, the "ABC News" report, that they are looking to answer some of the most basic questions right now. The questions about did Cho talk to anyone before he went on his rampage? If so, what did he say? Some very basic questions still out there and a long way to go.
COOPER: And there's a -- there's some evidence, according to "ABC News" in an affidavit they are actually -- they're looking at cell phone records, obviously his computer records and in particular, zeroing in to see if he in any way reached out to Emily Hilscher, who is believed to be his first victim.
MATTINGLY: One of the great mysteries in this rampage. She was the first two of students there in that dormitory to die early Monday morning. What connection did he have to her? That's something they had not answered yet. Those subpoenas, those search warrants that they're asking for, they hope might -- might shed some light on that. But again, a lot of questions still to be answered here.
COOPER: It is a puzzle.
David, thanks. We're going to continue to follow the breaking developments throughout this hour. We'd like to hear your thoughts and questions about the week as well. Give us a call. Toll-free number 877-648-3639 or e-mail us your questions CNN.com/360. Click on the instant feedback link. You can ask your questions to Dr. Park Dietz, a renowned psychiatrist; as well as Dr. Gail Saltz as well.
First though, they lived with the killer. They say he was far from ordinary. Our interview with Cho's roommates, when 360 continues and then your calls.
COOPER: A sign of healing after a moment of silence. The Virginia Tech baseball team returned to its home field in a game against the University of Miami earlier today.
In a statement the family of the gunman said that they felt like they never knew him.
Two of his former roommates told us the exact same thing and much more. In an exclusive interview, they painted for us perhaps the most detailed picture of a very disturbed young man.
CNN's Gary Tuchman has more.
JOHN, FORMER ROOMMATE OF CHO SEUNG-HUI: He wasn't friendly by any means. He was just quiet.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Was he mean?
He -- sometimes, I guess you would say, rude, the way you would try to carry a conversation with him and couldn't get any feedback from him, like talking to a brick wall.
TUCHMAN: And did you think that was strange initially?
JOHN: Yes, I did. But I used to be pretty shy, too, when I came to Tech. And I thought maybe something has happened in his life. I don't know. Just turned to be so quiet and not want to talk to people. TUCHMAN: And, Andy, did you feel the same way when you first met him. He's just a real quiet guy? You thought -- do you think he was kind of weird when you first met him?
ANDY, FORMER ROOMMATE OF CHO SEUNG-HUI: I thought he was just really quiet and shy. I didn't think he was weird initially. Just, some people are shier than others.
So, when did you start noticing, Andy, that perhaps it was a little more than being a shy, nice guy?
ANDY: We tried to hang out with him at first, took him and introduced him to our friends and stuff. And weeks of this, and he never opened up. Just never talked to us, and went about his day by himself. Never saw anyone come visit him.
TUCHMAN: I mean, did you ever have -- sit down and have a conversation with him?
ANDY: Never more than a couple words, other than the one time when we went out to a party and he opened up and said he had an imaginary girlfriend.
TUCHMAN: He told you he had an imaginary girlfriend?
TUCHMAN: And what prompted him to say that?
ANDY: We had been drinking, so I guess he had just decided to open up.
TUCHMAN: So, he had a few beers, and he opened up?
TUCHMAN: And what did he say about an imaginary girlfriend?
ANDY: He called her -- was it...
JOHN: I think Jelly.
ANDY: Jelly. And she called him Spanky.
TUCHMAN: Spanky and Jelly?
ANDY: Yes. And that was that.
TUCHMAN: And what did he say about this imaginary girlfriend?
ANDY: She was a supermodel, I think.
TUCHMAN: And were you guys amused by this or -- or weirded out by it?
ANDY: More amused. You know, you think this guy is pretty crazy.
JOHN: Yes, strange, strange guy.
TUCHMAN: But then something happened that -- you say he started harassing women at school here, right?
TUCHMAN: Tell me about that, John.
JOHN: He -- I walked back to my room one night, and there was a policeman in there.
And, apparently, what had happened was, he had gone up -- or he had started talking to her online first. He found where she lived, started talking to her on AIM. Then he went over there. He was using the name Question Mark, said, hey, I'm Question Mark. And that really freaked the girl out.
TUCHMAN: So, he was stalking her?
JOHN: Yes. He found out everything about her first.
TUCHMAN: And, like, he told this girl all the things he learned about her?
JOHN: I don't know if he told her that. But he thought they were playing some kind of game or something.
TUCHMAN: And did you know the girl?
JOHN: No. I...
TUCHMAN: I mean, was she freaked out about it? Did you hear later?
JOHN: The -- freaked out enough about it to call the police.
TUCHMAN: Did this happen with any other girls, Andy?
ANDY: There were two other instances that we know of. One was one of our friends, he started following -- bothering her. And another was down the hall.
TUCHMAN: And what happened in those cases?
ANDY: The one down the hall, I got the girl's screen name, and kind of told her -- I I.M.ed her and told her, this guy, you know, he is messing around with you. Here's his name. And you should kind of ignore him and just stay away from him. Then, the other time, the cops responded again. And Seung became upset about that. And he told me that he might as well kill himself. And, so, I told the cops that. And they took him away to the counseling center for a night or two.
TUCHMAN: And, when he told you that he might kill himself, did you think he might be serious?
ANDY: It's -- it was more out of I could kind of see him doing it. It was about -- it was before a break, is what I remember. So -- and he never went home. So, he would have been there over break by himself, if he was serious about it.
COOPER: We're going to spend some time taking your calls, reading some of your e-mails. The toll-free number is 877-648-3639 or e-mail us your questions. Go to CNN.com/360. Click on the instant feedback link.
Joining us to answer some of your questions, Dr. Park Dietz and Dr. Gail Saltz, author of "Anatomy of a Secret life."
Appreciate both of you sticking around late this evening.
We have our first call from Kasey in Texas.
Good evening, Kasey.
KASEY, TEXAS (on the phone): Hello. Yes. We're just hearing now that Cho was psychotic or schizophrenic. I don't recall what the diagnosis was of the Columbine killers, but is it not just sometimes just bad people making bad or immoral decisions? Is there always a mental health reason for their violent attacks on others? These diagnoses seem to leave us with a call for sympathy for the wrong party.
COOPER: That's a good question.
Dr. Dietz, you interviewed a lot of killers.
DIETZ: Well, certainly most crimes are not by people who were seriously mentally ill or psychotic. Most mass murderers do have some pretty profound problems. But that doesn't excuse their behavior.
COOPER: Dr. Saltz, do you think you're trying to excuse the behavior?
SALTZ: No, not at all. But I think it's important that people be able to understand when mental illness is happening because then the possibility of stopping something may exist.
COOPER: All right. Good question, though. Appreciate it.
We have another one from Maggie in Idaho.
Maggie, good evening.
MAGGIE, IDAHO (on the phone): Good evening. My question is, how was Cho able to maintain scholastically at the university if his mind was so confused?
COOPER: That's an excellent question.
SALTZ: It is an excellent question. And we're beginning to understand better and better that psychosis can affect part of the mind and not necessarily all of it. In fact, it's interesting, there are artists who become very psychotic, but still are able to maintain their technical abilities.
And there are people who can do incredible studies, incredible work. I referred earlier in the show to John Nash, who won a Nobel prize and was becoming ill during the time when he did a lot of his greatest work. So, it is possible, especially if you're very intelligent, to be able to get through your schoolwork and stay organized enough to do that and at the same time be having paranoid delusions and be spiraling downward.
COOPER: And when you're in -- I mean, do people who are spiraling downward and have paranoid delusions, do they know it?
SALTZ: They often in the beginning start to have some insight into it, which is why they stay guarded and don't reveal what is going on. As the disease progresses and the paranoia becomes worse, then they may have no insight whatsoever and not know what's going on.
COOPER: And Dr. Dietz, do most of these people who you talk to -- the ones who are, say, paranoid and psychotic, do they feel bad about what they have done? I mean, is it -- or is it like a sociopath where there is no feelings of remorse?
DIETZ: Well, they vary. But I'd have to say that of the mass murderers who've survived for an interview, most of them have no remorse about it and feel completely justified in what they did.
DIETZ: In fact -- oh, yeah. And in fact, the more people they made to suffer, the better they feel about it.
Mike in South Carolina is on the phone.
Mike, what's your question? Hey, Mike, good evening. Can you hear me?
MIKE, SOUTH CAROLINA (on the phone): Yes, I can.
COOPER: Hey, good evening. Thanks for calling. What is your question? MIKE: What are the incidents of this type of mass murder in other countries? And do they occur? And if so, why do we not report them? And if they do not occur, what is it about our culture that causes them?
COOPER: Dr. Dietz, do you know?
DIETZ: Well, I do. And it's a big question. They do occur in other cultures. There have been cases like this around the world. It seems that their frequency is lower in other cultures. There is a lot of speculation about why that is. And I think the fact that we don't report them widely is an important part of the perception that the rest of the world has that this is an American problem. And while we may have more of it, it's not exclusively American.
COOPER: It was also interesting, Dr. Saltz, yesterday I talked to a psychiatrist, a Korean-American psychiatrist, who talked about sort of the differences in the Asian-American communities on how mental illness is looked at and the willingness to come forward about it.
SALTZ: Yes. And, in fact, I mean, it's still a big problem in 2007 in this country in terms of the stigma and shame that still surrounds mental illness and why therefore we're not more educated and more able to recognize and more comfortable reporting when something is going on.
But in other cultures and definitely in South Korea, I would say that there is even more stigma and shame attached to mental illness.
COOPER: But Dr. Dietz, there are -- I mean, I remember reading cases about -- in fact I think the worst serial killer ever or one of the worst serial killers was from Columbia. And I mean there are -- and there was a famous case in the former Soviet Union as well. So I mean there are plenty of cases of people overseas doing this kind of stuff, correct?
DIETZ: Well, you just switch the topic from mass murderer to serial. But both are true. Both kinds of crimes happen around the world.
COOPER: We have got more calls coming up next. We're going to take a short break. Doctors Gail Saltz and Park Dietz, we'll take more of your calls and e-mails after the break.
Again, the toll-free number, 877-648-3639, or cnn.com/360. Click on the "instant feedback" link. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Taking your calls tonight on the Virginia Tech tragedy. The toll free number, 877-648-3639. E-mail us questions at cnn.com/360, click on the "instant feedback" link.
Joining me again, Dr. Park Dietz and Dr. Gail Saltz, author of "Anatomy of a Secret Life." Benay in New York is on the line with a call. Benay, what is your question?
CALLER: Yes. I would like to ask that isn't all of this discussion on warning signs and red flags possibly averting a tragedy like this really a moot point because as the law stands, law enforcement can only step in if a person threatens to harm himself or herself or others?
COOPER: And she raises a good point, which we talked about a lot. Dr. Saltz said it's hard to get treated, to get treatment for a loved one unless they...
SALTZ: Agree to treatment.
COOPER: Or make a life -- unless they threaten your life.
SALTZ: Exactly. You know, that is true on the one hand. On other hand, I think that if we did recognize the warning signs earlier, before someone was deeper into the process, you might be able to convince them of treatment, first of all, if you could say, look, I see that you're depressed, I see that you're suffering, before they become so paranoid, that's one point.
The other point is that if a community like a school that is an independent institution, if they had somebody in the classroom that was having epileptic seizures, and we recognized that and they weren't receiving treatment, we would say, you know, I'm sorry, you're disrupting the entire classroom and it's dangerous and we're liable. So we can't take that responsibility. We insist you get treatment or you leave our community.
And we don't do that about mental health. If people did understand the warning signs and they saw that a process was going on that was disruptive to the rest of the community as well as a risk to that person, a private institution would could say, if you want to be here as part of this community, we insist you get treatment or you can't be part of this community.
COOPER: We have an e-mail from Kristen from Oregon. She says: "I'm so sick of hearing about how he was picked on as a child and he was a loner. Who cares? Is that supposed to make people feel sorry for him and excuse his behavior? I was picked on mercilessly as a child as were a lot of people, and most of us never killed anyone to get even.
DIETZ: Yes. This is not just about what happens in childhood. And the former question I would like to address as well.
DIETZ: The prevention of this is not on the -- exclusively for law enforcement. It takes an entire community to prevent these events. And for the last 20 years, my company has been preventing these events in institutions that take the necessary steps to do that. It's not that difficult to prevent these.
Now universities and colleges have greater difficulty preventing it than do other kinds of employers because they have an open campus. They have a certain liberal attitude toward things and they tend to think that they have internal expertise even where they might not.
So it is more of a challenge there. But these are preventable events, particularly in an organization that has the ability to sever the relationship with someone who is not accepting their rules.
COOPER: Do you think, Dr. Dietz, that the pendulum has swung too much with the fear of lawsuits and protecting the potential patient and not thinking about the people that person may be living with or the greater community at large?
DIETZ: Well, I think there is a lot of difficulty in trying to use the tools government and the law provide to try to prevent this. Civil commitment of the mentally ill and involuntary treatment are very weak tools. Law enforcement has very little ability to prevent this because the underlying crimes that foreshadow this are typically misdemeanors like invasion of privacy, trespass, harassment, terroristic threats.
And so even if law enforcement makes an arrest, it's not going to really solve the problem. Unless those things are strengthened, we have to rely on much more difficult procedures that involve noticing behavior and managing it at the earliest stage. This never happens suddenly. Typically it is years in development with many people seeing things that are unusual.
SALTZ: I would just like to add to the last question. And that is I think many people are concerned that mental health professionals are saying, hey, we should excuse this and feel sorry, now he's the victim.
COOPER: Right, he was a loner in school, he was picked on.
SALTZ: You know, and he was bullied. And that's not at all what we're saying. I think we're really saying obviously it was a heinous crime. The other people are victims. But that it's useful to understand the difference between, you know, I'm a bully and I've been picked on and I'm unhappy and serious psychiatric illness because it is potentially treatable and because you might be able to intervene to prevent something like this from happening.
COOPER: Susan in Toronto has a call. Susan, good evening.
CALLER: Good evening, Anderson. thank you for taking my call. Anderson, my question is how do I as a parent of two boys that go to the University of Toronto reinsure them to go on?
COOPER: Dr. Saltz?
SALTZ: Well, that's a very good question, because there are a lot of very frightened parents out there and kids who are anxious. And it is a time of separation anxiety that those late teens is as a right time for that. And, of course, it can be a first time away from home.
And then when something like this goes on, everybody is uptight. I think the best thing to do is to reassure them about the numbers. The truth of the matter is, you know, deaths at college for murder are actually down. And this is a really -- a very rare event. You really need to remind them of the numbers, how vanishingly rare this.
And, you know, you need to let them talk a little bit if they're anxious. Find community, find friends. Tell them not to watch too much coverage. Because watching it over and over again will increase their anxiety. And that really goes for you as well.
COOPER: It is a very rare event. We're going to have more with both our guests. More of your calls and e-mails after the break. And later, we remember the lives of those who were lost on Monday. The stories of teachers and families ands friends. Remembering how they lived, not how they died when 360 continues.
COOPER: We're back taking your calls on the Virginia Tech shooting, also your e-mails. Joining me again, Dr. Park Dietz in Southern California, and with me here, Dr. Gail Saltz. Megan in Toronto is on the phone. Megan, good evening, thanks for calling.
CALLER: Thanks, Anderson. Thank you very much for taking my call. My question for the panel is what suggestions or tips you would give to the viewers who may now be or in the future come into contact with a person who displays characteristics or attitudes that are similar to those that Cho Seung-Hui exhibited?
COOPER: Dr. Dietz?
DIETZ: Well, I think it's very important if you're part of an organization, a workplace, a school, a university, even a charitable group, and you learn that someone's behavior is making you uncomfortable or making someone else uncomfortable that you convey this to the highest levels of management in the organization.
That's the first step toward putting information in the hands of someone who may or may not know what to do about it. What they should do about it is to begin a very discreet, gentle un-invasive investigation to make sure that they collect information from multiple sources.
Now if there is someone in your own family or in your home who is displaying unusual behavior, the most important thing you can do is get them in the hands of a competent mental health professional.
COOPER: It's hard though, Dr. Dietz, I mean, during the break I was just talking with Dr. Saltz, you know, we have all -- everyone in television -- you know, I've had situations with stalkers in the past. It's easy to just kind of make a joke about it and not, you know, kind of take it all that seriously.
DIETZ: Well, that happens far too often and, in fact, you know, as you know very well, Anderson, everybody whose on the air and popular gets lots of threats, lots of stalkers. And eventually people tend to get sort of immune to the emotional upset of it.
That doesn't cure the problem. And that's why there have to be other people who know what they're doing who assemble that information, keep track of those who are writing letters and e-mails and calling and do that investigation. We don't expect the victims to handle it themselves.
COOPER: Dr. Saltz, any other thoughts for people?
SALTZ: Yes. I would agree with that because basically, you don't know when someone who is feeling that they're fond of you and sort of stalking can suddenly, you know, take a complete turn and be very angry with you. And I think you know that is the point that you bring up.
When you're -- somebody is showing bizarre behavior, it may start as something mild as it did in 2005 for Cho and evolve into something he else. And that's why it is so important to catch it early and try get them to...
COOPER: And Megan had such a good point that you call and ask about, because had -- and not to, you know, put pressure on these two young women, but had those two young women actually gone forward and filed a charge against him and not just kind of laughed it off and not just said, look, I don't want to press charges, the police would have had more ammunition down the road to do something with. It's a great question though. Appreciate it, Megan. Joshua in Oklahoma has a call. Joshua, good evening.
CALLER: Good evening, Anderson. My question is, the image that you see a lot of the gunman was the arms outstretched, gun in each hand. It's really reminiscent of a lot of the video game covers, video games "Tomb Raider," instance.
Do you think this is kind on that slope of a desensitizing of this generation that is going on where they don't realize that anything is wrong with it, they're just doing something that they kind of do day to day in a game but it becomes a reality?
COOPER: Dr. Saltz?
SALTZ: Well, I don't think that's the reason that this particular man did this. But I would tell you that you bring up a very important point. There are numerous studies that show that young men who play a lot of violent video games go on to display more aggressive behavior later.
And, in fact, you know, between the video game, the movies, the media, society is becoming quite desensitized to violence in general. And certainly the video games in particular because you're playing the first person. And you're actually enacting violent crimes. It's very desensitizing, very stimulating and in fact has a direct correlation with later aggressive behavior.
COOPER: Dr. Dietz, want to weigh in?
DIETZ: Well, I think this is complicated. But it seems to me that when we look at something that is a contributing cause, as media violence may be, that we really need to think about who should have access to weapons? Who should have access to violent video games? Who should have access to a campus? Those are really the questions. Some people are immune against any negative influence from this. Other people are not.
COOPER: Fascinating calls and e-mails. And we appreciate all our viewers who called in. We're out of time on the call segment. I want to thank Dr. Park Dietz and Dr. Gail Saltz as well for being with us and sticking around these two hours.
Still ahead, tonight, words written down on a simple memorial, honoring those who were lost. We'll remember their lives coming up next.
COOPER: I feel like we've come to know the faces, those young men and women, 32 men and women, young and old, 32 stories. Today, the professor and Holocaust survivor who tried to save his students was buried in Israel, the first of what will be many such services. Tonight we remember them the best way we can by celebrating their lives.
COOPER (voice-over): Liviu Librescu was a survivor of the Holocaust, well respected in his field, loved by those he taught. He was remembered yesterday by his wife.
MARLENA LIBRESCU, WIFE OF LIVIU LIBRESCU: He was a very good man. I don't know if it is heroism, but it's his life was always his family and his students.
COOPER: Librescu was the oldest who died on Monday. Reema Samaha was among the youngest, she was just 18 and loved to dance. "I'm glad I hugged you at our last practice," one student wrote on a campus memorial. "Save me a dance up there," wrote another.
Lauren McCain was 20. She was an international studies major and her great-grandmother finds it hard to believe that Lauren is gone.
FERN MARTIN, VICTIM'S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER: They told me. They said, Lauren's not us with anymore. I said, why? I said, is she on her way here? And they said, no, they had a shooting over there.
COOPER: Emily Hilscher friends say she loved animals. That's why she was majoring in animal and poultry sciences. "You'll never be forgotten, Emily, we love you." A note at the memorial reads.
MARK DEMETRIOU, STUDENT: She was just a really kind person. Always really friendly to me and everyone else. And it was just really hard to hear that she passed away and that somebody could just take a life like that, an innocent life.
COOPER: Emily lived on the same floor as Ryan Clark. His friends called him "Stack" and there are many messages left for him. "Stack," one friend wrote, "you were the light in the lives of so many people, I can understand why God will want to you have in heaven with him." Ryan was a resident assistant and planned to pursue a doctorate in psychology.
JACOB LUNDEEN, FRIEND OF RYAN CLARK: He worked so hard. Like I said, he was a triple major. But he always had fun. He was always having fun, laughing, and that's one of the things that I learned from him is that no matter how bad things get, you have got to think positive. And you need to look on the brighter side of life.
COOPER: Jeremy Herbstritt's family is also trying to look on the bright side. He wanted to be a civil engineer.
MIKE HERBSTRITT, FATHER OF JEREMY HERBSTRITT: The rest of our life going to be celebrate his life, to say what he did good, you know, and to say that Jeremy was a good boy, a good man. And we're going to love him forever.
COOPER: Every day here tears are shed, fond memories recounted. Matthew La Porte, a member of the Corps of Cadets, is remembered for always making his friends laugh.
MELISSA FARKAS, FRIEND OF MATTHEW LA PORTE: He was wearing these Joe Cool sunglasses at night. And because he wore them all the time, we loved them. And she asked him, why you are wearing sunglasses at night. And he was like, because the sun never sets on a bad ass. And he just had a very unique and very fun personality and sense of humor.
COOPER: Mike Pohle was funny as well. A lacrosse player, he was about to get a degree in biological sciences.
LAUREN MOONEY, FRIEND OF MIKE POHLE: He was goofy, just had a real love for life. He was just a beautiful person. He touched a lot of people without even knowing that he was so important to them.
COOPER: There are so many others, lives cut short but lives well-lived. Daniel O'Neil was a grad student in engineering. He loved to play the guitar and recorded this song, posting it online. His voice will live on. So will the memories of all those who died.
COOPER: Let's get a quick update from the day's headlines with Erica Hill.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, a gunman killed a hostage and then himself at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Police say a second hostage, a woman, was bound to a chair with duct tape nearly -- during the nearly standoff. But she was not hurt. That gunman was a NASA contract worker. Police do not yet know of the motive.
In Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying today he respectfully disagrees with Democratic Senator Harry Reid that the war is lost. Gates' response coming after Reid spoke on the Senate floor yesterday, saying the Defense Secretary knows, quote, "this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything."
On Wall Street, the Dow hitting a new high for the third day in a row, ending at 12,961. It was a gain of 153 points on the session. Strong earnings reports helped to fuel the increase. The Nasdaq and the S&P also posting strong gains for Friday.
And Chicago's skyline could be changing for the record books. The city's planning board gave approval today for a twisting lake- front tower that would become the nation's tallest building. The 2,000-foot-tall Chicago Spire would feature 1,200 residences. The plan still must get approval though from the zoning board and the city council -- Anderson.
COOPER: Erica, thanks. Looks like a drill there, kind of. Anyway, don't miss the day's headlines. Just grab the 360 daily podcast, you don't need an iPod to watch. Simply log on to cnn.com/ac360podcast. Or you can download it from the iTunes store where it is the number one news and information podcast. How about that?
Be sure to catch "CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" this weekend, it is going to go inside the massacre at Virginia Tech, Saturday and Sunday night. That is at 8:00 p.m. Thanks for watching us. It has been tough week. I hope you have a good weekend. Larry King is coming up next. And we leave you with some of the young men and women and some of the professors and teachers who lost their lives this week.
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