Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist and ABC consultant, says it is a "social catastrophe" to air the videos of Seung-Hui Cho. Though I haven't seen them myself, I could not agree more wholeheartedly. What is this morbid obsession we have in this country (and elsewhere, perhaps) with graphic focus on aberrant, violent behavior and its grisly aftermath? Click here to continue reading.
Welner says Cho's photos, video clips and letters are in no way instructive and serve only to "offer validation of delusional behavior." No kidding. The media is fueling voyeurism at the expense of the victims and their families, and in so doing, are making some kind of bizarre anti-hero out of this desperately deranged young killer. But it goes beyond that.
Welner also said that he believed showing the video just gave fodder to people who were already isolated and disaffected.
"I promise you the disaffected will watch him the way they watched 'Natural Born Killers.' I know. I examine these people," he said. "I've examined mass shooters who have told me they've watched it 20 times. You cannot saturate the American public with this kind of message."
Welner maintained, however, that he was not blaming the media for airing the footage.
"It's not an issue of blame. It's an appeal. Please stop now. That's all," he said. "If you can take [talk show host Don] Imus off the air, you can certainly keep [Cho] from having his own morning show."
"They turn themselves into icons. They get articles written about themselves in The New York Times. This is perversion. We have to send a message to alienated people, you know what? You hate everybody around you? You're paranoid. You're sad. You're depressed. But these people are perverts," Welner said.
"They're ' not powerful. He's a weak link. He needs to create and produce his own picture in order to give himself a sense of power. Nobody saw him that way. He didn't see himself that way and that's why he set this up and he did this to achieve immortality. We have to stop giving him that and we can do it now."
I think the Imus parallel is brilliant. The MSM are making/have already made Cho into a media star.
Meanwhile, Iraqis continue to die in droves with little notice. Same old, same old.
Is this indecent? You tell me.