I've been working on some other stuff lately.
I was looking into some fascinating brain research studying the basis of morality and psychopathic behavior. Because of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, I published an article on Technology Review's Web site.
Brain imaging scans called functional MRI can track activity in the brain in real time. Researchers have been studying the brains of people as they ponder moral issues, including the brains of psychopaths.
They find that the brains of psychopaths don't show any activity in empathy centers, while the brains of normal people do. Psychopaths have no empathy, remorse or fear, showing the same concern for people as hunters show toward deer.
From the researchers I talked to, it does not appear that Cho was a psychopath.
The most likely profile is that he was severely depressed. In extremely rare cases, a trauma, even an imagined one, can turn really dysfunctional depressives into a "Rampage killer."
One psychiatrist I talked to thinks this was the case at Virginia Tech as well as Columbine. These people were isolated, lonely, convinced the world was out to get them. Then they just snap. Says UCSF's Dr. Thomas Lewis, "It's kind of like throwing a temper tantrum--only with automatic weapons."
It's fascinating stuff. The research is still new, but maybe research is on the path of finding that a dysfunctional brain is really the root of all evil.