Sunday, April 22, 2007

Virginia Tech again

I was fascinated by this article in the Sunday Times today and by the ongoing and fairly balanced debate on the website.

What is worrying is that in this article, and elsewhere in the media, Cho has been described as having had autism, apparently based solely on an interview with an elderly relative in South Korea. Perhaps time will tell if that is correct, but what is clearer is that Cho Seung-hui had mental illness. Autism is a developmental disability, not a mental illness, though it can co-exist with mental health problems just as mental illness can co-exist with any other condition. It would be very sad if autism were to be prematurely blamed for this tragedy. Read the view of the National Autistic Society here.

Jackie also pointed out in my comments that Lionel Shriver's 'We need to talk about Kevin' is another book about a high school massacre. I have the book but because I know a little about the theme I haven't dared to read it yet.


Yvonne said...

Hi Cathy, I really enjoyed Lionel Shriver's book, but I did feel very drained afterwards.

Unknown said...

Hi Cathy - returning the compliment. I see that you did A215 last year and survived amidst adverse circumstances - well done you! I'm doing it this year to finish a Lit degree. Hope to drop by more often and read your considered posts! Take care :)

Anonymous said...

I couldn't put Lionel Shriver's book down - despite labouring under the delusion that it was written by a particularly empathetic man, I mean, who calls their daughter Lionel?
It made me question my relationship with my son, and left me with a faint feeling of something awful having happened recently, but something I couldn't quite remember.
And I finished it, with pleasure. Now that I feel no guilt about abandoning a book after three chapters if it doesn't grab me, that's quite a feat.

Jan said...

"Kevin" was one of the most memorable books I've ever read.
Beautifully written, terrifying, shocking in the extreme.
A shshshudderingly good read...(sorry very corny, that)

Jackie Luben said...

I read 'Kevin' on holiday last year which meant I didn't have to have breaks to do other things. I thought it was wonderfully written; Lionel Shriver had such a light touch and, despite everything, the book had humour and wit.
I knew she was a woman, and I think she chose her name herself, for some eccentric reason. She doesn't have any children herself.

Cathy said...

OK , you've all convinced me I must read 'Kevin' soon...

Cailleach...what a lovely way to finish a Lit degree! I really enjoyed A215 and am now torn between whether to wait for the level 3 course or apply for a creative writing MA elsewhere once things have settled at home.