[Outlook]No compromise with evilOn September 19, 1995, the New York Times and the Washington Post ran a statement consisting of 35,000 words with 232 theses and 36 footnotes (equivalent to 800 pages of manuscript paper). It was the so-called “Unabomber Manifesto.”
A self-styled “intellectual terrorist” the Unabomber demanded that the newspapers run his lengthy article as a condition for the cessation of his bombing campaign. And, after consultations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the two newspaper companies decided that complying with his request was the only means they had to stop him.
Some saw their actions as a positive move, in that it was designed to prevent further casualties.
However, others were critical and condemned the papers for giving the Unabomber space in which to justify himself. They said they felt exploited by the terrorist’s conditions and saw the decision as nothing but a compromise with evil.
Cho Seung-hui, the perpetrator of the massacre at Virginia Tech University, sent a parcel containing his written statement to NBC television in New York, shortly after his first two murders. NBC broadcast elements of this parcel, dubbing it a “Multimedia Manifesto.” It contained 1,800 words, 43 photos and 24 minutes of video.
Although there were some differences in reporting techniques, the Korean media also disseminated the killer’s package. It appears that the world’s media was bewitched by this lunatic’s deft and deceiving self-rationalizations and expansive delusions. The “Unabomber Manifesto” was full of prejudice, distortions and exaggerations, but in part, it accurately described the ills that have arisen in the modern technological era. However, Cho’s material was far inferior to this. It was puerile and coarse. It was nothing more than foul and evil excrement. The ramblings of a madman should not occupy anybody’s time, unless they are a mental health professional.
In the end, we fell down on our knees twice to Cho’s evil spirits. First, we knelt to his indiscriminate shootings and second, to his evil manifesto in which he wears a sardonic smile to deceive us. His satanic materials went to the public largely unfiltered by newspapers, broadcasters or the Internet. The media claimed his materials were offered to the public so they could understand the killer, but the media’s actions made it look more like they had caved in to Cho’s bizarre ravings and egregious deceptions.
Just as Cho’s malicious and unjustifiable attack killed 32 innocent people, so his satanic materials, unfiltered and indiscriminately spread though the media (especially broadcasters), threw evil bombshells into the everyday lives of other innocent people.
NBC television, which involuntarily got a scoop with the materials sent to them, said that it reviewed the contents thoughtfully before broadcasting them.
But we cannot help asking NBC if distributing these meaningless evil ramblings in the name of a “Multimedia Manifesto” is really a valuable thing for the press to do.
Amid such a fuss, the debate over the U.S. policy of allowing individuals to own firearms, even if they have psychological problems that have already caused alarm, has been overshadowed.
This is not right. This is not the way it should go.
We should take a calm approach to the Virginia tragedy. We should not be distracted by this villain’s grotesque evil.
We should not provide a breeding ground for such devils to proliferate. There is no point trying to understand such vulgar and evil spirits. We should not compromise with evil beings.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo
by Chung Jin-hong