Those familiar with the educational philosophyadvanced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau or those who are ambivalent about the variety of "theories" advanced by experts as to why Cho Seung-Hui went postal at Virginia Tech, may be interested in re-visting the Wayne Lo incident.
Classical violinst Lo, born in Taiwan and raised in Montana, attended Simon's Rock College of Bard, in western Massachusetts, on a minority scholarship. In December of 1992, Lo went on a school shooting rampage that injured five people and left two - a student and a professor - dead. The "why he did it" explanation that was widely advanced by the media at the time, was that the progressive values of the college for high school students (most enter Simon's Rock after finishing grade 10 or 11) caused the more conservative Lo to lose it. To boot, he was famously photographed wearing a "Sick of It All" sweatshirt. At his trial, Lo's lawyers argued that he was mentally ill, since Lo said he received a "divine message" to commit his crimes. A jury disagreed with the insanity plea, found him guilty of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to prison for life.
Lo, who is currently housed in a medium-security facility near Boston, now says, "I am responsible because I was an immature coward who couldn't deal with my own problems. I had to take it out on other innocent bystanders. There are no excuses whatsoever. I alone am to blame."*
One reporter, who has covered the case, accepted Lo's remorse and self-awareness as genuine.
In a way, Lo's admission gives weight to the argument that one's environment can alter one's value system. In his case, time in prison has caused him to think deep and hard about his actions. One has to wonder, though, if the teen-aged Lo had been in a different environment and better chaperoned (school officials had hints about his tendencies), before the shootings, if his choices would have been different and lives would have been spared.
(Note: The Boston Herald ran a story on Lo and noted his website where that comment appeared, so I'm assuming it's legit.)