Wednesday, April 18, 2007
South Korean: 'I am ashamed'
Here in Seoul, the reaction among South Koreans is shock and shame that the Virginia Tech killer came from this country. Local news programs and papers are filled with news on the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.

One shipping company worker told us, "It's a tragic incident. But to find out that he is a Korean, I am ashamed and confused."

This South Korean added, "I keep asking myself what would have made him do such a thing. It's a very bad day."

A bank employee said she was surprised by the news and said it is the only thing people at her bank are talking about.

The story of the shootings is of great interest to South Koreans not just because of Cho's connection to the country, but also because of the number of Koreans that have ties to the United States, including a large number that are studying in the United States.

The U.S. embassy in Seoul told me that more than 90,000 student visas were issued for South Koreans to go study in the United States, more than any other country in the world.

There's concern among some here that there could be a backlash against Koreans in the United States. We took a call at the bureau here from a parent with a child studying in New York who was very concerned that all the coverage would affect things.

She told us she was home with her friends, who like her have kids studying in the United States, and they are watching the TV coverage. Their children are worried that American students are looking at them differently now and "seems like they are avoiding them." She said she and her friends are also worried the news makes all Koreans look bad.

A newspaper here also reflected that concern.

"Now we find out that the criminal behind the massacre is Korean. It is shocking," said an editorial in Seoul's Hankyoreh newspaper. "But we are also hoping that this incident does not create a reason to discriminate against Koreans or Asians."

-- By Adam Levine, CNN Producer
Posted By CNN: 9:05 AM ET
  9 Comments
It would really be scary to me if Americans took this out on any Koreans living here. What a pathetic scenario. It would simply be wrong and stupid. This man's culture and nationality had nothing to do with the fact that he was apparently insane. I think it's time to pull back on some of the publicity here-I heard on the radio this morning that there were 10 copy cat threats yesterday nationwide. It's really something to think about.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 9:33 AM ET
Whether the shooter was Korean, Asian, European, African or American doesn't matter. He was obviously a mentally ill person who was also lost as part of this tragedy. His pain and the unimaginable losses endured by those unwillingly included in it are human losses not owned by any nation or continent.
Posted By Anonymous Jon, Houston : 10:09 AM ET
Since my son practices Korean Tae Kwon Do, we are aquainted with many Koreans. I find them all to be non-aggressive, hardworking individuals who we have the utmost respect for. To judge the Korean people in general on one man's insane view on life would be a tragedy.
Posted By Anonymous V. Smith Greer SC : 12:22 PM ET
I find it morally reprehensible that anyone would blame innocent people for what happened at V-Tech. A persons actions should not represent an entire race of people. I would hope like the Amish (Lancaster tradgey) in time the victims will be able to forgive. I know South Koreans everywhere find this just as horrifying as all of us. Their culture from what I can tell is a very lovely one. One person should not be the measure of a group of people.
Posted By Anonymous susan Pottstown, Pa : 2:58 PM ET
My friend's friend has a son who is adopted from Korea. This week, when he asked his teacher at school for some white-out, the teacher replied that all the white-out in the world won't cover that brown skin. I have to wonder if her remark wasn't in some way motivated by anger about the murders at Virginia Tech. The child is also worried that the same thing could happen to him because he is from South Korea, just like the shooter. I wonder how many other Korean children are worried about the same thing. How terribly sad.
Posted By Anonymous M. Watchorn, Baltimore, MD : 3:21 PM ET
As a Korean-American person living in United States, this tragedy is
extremely painful. I've been in U.S. for more than 30 years and I love this country for our freedom and diversity of people.
Most Americans are logical and rational not to blame entire race
or ethnic group for this tragedy.
We have much more freedom than most
other countries. Unfortunately, sometimes it backfire on us. Especially after 9/11, our daily lives have changed. We simply can
not allow access to handguns like
we do now. There isn't enough police or manpower to stop all those guns out there.
I hope all the victim's family can
someday forgive and go on with their lives.
Including myself, we should do our
best to notice and take care of troubled people around us.
Posted By Anonymous Sam from Fullerton, California : 4:58 PM ET
Hi Adam,
To think that people are looking at Korean students with a suspicious eye is ridiculous and reactionary.
Insanity does not descriminate. I think it's time for everyone to stop and take a breath.
God's Peace~
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 8:40 PM ET
There is no reason why any Korean should be ashamed for the behavior of someone else just because he/she comes from their country. They're not at fault, their country is not at fault. It's just one of those unfortunate events that happened because of a mental illness that went out of control. It has nothing to do with one country's. Please do not feel guilty or ashamed!
Posted By Anonymous Carmela, New York City, U.S.A : 3:59 AM ET
I tried to post a comment last night (but failed) as soon as I had read that our Asian student community, more specifically our Korean students, may fear retaliation and/or shame. That saddens me as much as anything else. We are a university of many different peoples united as one. This horror was not perpetrated by a culture. It descended from an individual.

Cynthia from Blacksburg VA
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia S from Blacksburg VA : 12:50 PM ET
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