What does it mean? "Ismael Ax." Sources close to the investigation say those words were written on Cho's arm as he went on his murderous rampage. "A. Ishmael" also appears to be the name on the return address of that package sent to NBC.
Ishmael is, of course, a major character in Christianity, Judaism, and a founding figure in Islam. In his rambling videotape to NBC, Cho mentions religion and Jesus time and again, seeming to somehow blame his state in life, at least partially on religion.
As an English major he could have picked the name up elsewhere. In Moby Dick, that great tale of obsession, the narrator is Ishmael. A popular series of inspirational books feature a wise gorilla by that name.
What some criminologists say really matters is not what the name means but that Cho appears to have created some sort of alter-ego for himself. Like the fictional Travis Bickle in the movie "Taxi Driver," they say, mass killers often take grand steps to change themselves before they strike.
Roommates say Cho was lifting weights and got a very short haircut in the weeks just before the shootings. It now appears he may have been developing a new name as well. This metamorphosis, psychologists say, can be essential: the killer has to break utterly free of the real world, and his own, natural identity before he can act.
-- By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent