I had a conversation today about the recent violence and how the perpetrator of these acts was said to have written disturbing fiction, with some in my group saying that these writings should have been a red flag to authorities. I took the opposite side of this, arguing basically that although now it does seem obvious that this person was deranged and it showed in his writing, it was hard to point to a person’s writing alone as a reason to, for instance, expel that person from school. My argument was that Stephen King writes some disturbing stuff, but no one would lock him up. Well, today on ew.com Mr. King addresses this very issue in a piece called Predicting Violence. Here is a direct quote from the article:
For most creative people, the imagination serves as an excretory channel for violence: We visualize what we will never actually do (James Patterson, for instance, a nice man who has all too often worked the street that my old friend George used to work). Cho doesn’t strike me as in the least creative, however. Dude was crazy. Dude was, in the memorable phrasing of Nikki Giovanni, ”just mean.” Essentially there’s no story here, except for a paranoid a–hole who went DEFCON-1. He may have been inspired by Columbine, but only because he was too dim to think up such a scenario on his own.
On the whole, I don’t think you can pick these guys out based on their work, unless you look for violence unenlivened by any real talent.
Again, what happened is horrible, but I don’t know if it could ever be predicted or unfortunately stopped. Of course, me heart goes out to the families of all those who have been lost in this senseless act of violence.