Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ismail Ax

Law enforcement sources said that Cho died with the words “Ismail Ax” in red ink on one of his arms, but they were not sure what the words meant.
- The Washington Post
April 17, 2007

Cho Seung Hui, a 23-year-old South Korean who lived in the United States since 1992, shot and killed 32 people and then himself on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va. On April 16 in what officials called the deadliest shooting in American history.
How does one make sense of something so horrible, so awful? How do you look at something like this and not realize there are monsters walking among us?
Cho was said to have psychological problems and was deemed a “loner.” Why do loners take their grisly fantasies out on everyone? Cho fit the classic profile: an outsider, an introvert, a fan of violent video games, prone to depression and dark thoughts. Who knows what inner demons brewed in his head over the years, the same ugliness that led him to buy a 9mm and .22 caliber handgun and treat Virginia Tech like his own shooting gallery?
Like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the shooters at the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, Cho killed himself, leaving a lot of questions unanswered.
Why did he do it? What were his motivations? Was he a psychotic? Authorities say he left a rambling message in his room, saying he was gunning for the rich kids, that they made him do what he did.
Cho, an English major, received psychological counseling after a teacher noticed his fucked up writing. He wrote a dark one-act play called “Richard McBeef” about a 13-year old boy who accuses his stepfather of pedophilia before the stepfather, enraged, murders him. You know, if a student brought this to me, the kid would be on an all Lithium diet and live in a rubber room. To think that a kid this fucked up, like a powder keg waiting to explode could not only get turned loose but could purchase weapons is beyond me.
The media, the proverbial douchebags that they are, over-analyze this. One British newspaper, The Daily Mail, had a sentence that began, “With America’s lax gun laws and propensity for casual everyday violence...”
Okay, hold on. People have been killed in the worst slaying in modern history and the reporter wants to debate culture and gun control? Need I remind the Daily Mail that Europe’s history is drenched in blood, or was World War I, World War II, the Crusades, the Napoleonic Wars and the Roman campaigns all for fun? England gave the world Jack the Ripper, the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, and various ingenious medieval torture devices. Violence is world wide, jackass. If you think only Americans like shooting up schools, have you forgotten the 1996 massacre in Dunblane, Scotland, where Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and one teacher before killing himself? These were not college students, they were children – five and six year olds. So can the “propensity for casual violence" crap, Nigel. England also has its fucked-up loners.
The Daily Mail’s website ran the Virginia Tech story with photos of Cho and a student named Emily Hilscher, whom he may have been infatuated with. However, the Mail claims another student, Ryan Clark “may have been involved” with Hilscher. The website ran a picture of Cho and Hilscher side by side and one large photo of Ryan Clark. By the way, Clark is black. What these sly Brits are saying is “Blimey! Clark is a colored bloke!”
Subtle racism? Who knows, but it just looked weird that the black guy’s headshot was billboard sized while the student who MURDERED OVER 30 PEOPLE gets a small photo.
The geniuses at the Daily Mail interpreted the words on Cho’s arm, “Ismail Ax” as meaning Cho “may have been a Muslim. In Islamic lore, Ismail is a reference to the ‘son of sacrifice.’”
A television repair shop owner in Texas registered the name Ismailax.com after hearing it today. He said he has offers from people to buy the domian name. Fuck them! Profiting from a phsycho's rampage. I'm sure there's going to be some alternative band with the name Ismail Ax in the future. Again, fuck them!

The Internet is abuzz with speculation over the name.

Here’s what KingOfTruth listed in a post on a Netscape blog:

"For those of you still searching for meaning in this phrase, written in ink on Cho Seung-Hui's arm and also how he signed his infamous note, it starts with the story of Ibrahim's Ax (Ibrahim = Abraham):
After making sure that nobody was left in town, Ibrahim went towards the temple armed with an ax. Statues of all shapes and sizes were sitting there adorned with decorations. Plates of food were offered to them, but the food was untouched. "Well, why don't you eat? The food is getting cold." He said to the statues, joking; then with his ax he destroyed all the statues except one, the biggest of them. He hung the ax around its neck and left.
--The Koran
Ismail was Ibrahim's son. It was Ismail that Ibrahim wanted to sacrifice for Yahweh (with an ax)."

Was Cho, a South Korean, a Muslim? Seems very unlikely. Wouldn’t you think that little detail would come out in the story? It is pretty significant that this dick thought he was on a holy mission to cleanse the world or some crap.

Got this from HotAir.com. This makes the most sense:

"You probably already know this, but in James Fennimore Cooper’s story “The Prairie,” the settler Ishmael Bush, who is attempting to escape from civilization, sets out across the prairie with two key tools, a gun and an axe. Each has a symbolic meaning. The axe — which can either kill or provide shelter — stands for both creation and destruction. Given that the VT killer was an English major, might this be the likely meaning of the words on his arm? Just my two cents."

There is also the book "Ishmael" an 1876 novel by American author Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth:

"As to what brought me back to the neighborhood, Hannah, it was to do some business for the judge, and to buy some stock for the farm. But there, my dear! that boy has slipped out, and is cutting the wood; I'll go and do it for him," said Reuben, as the sound of Ishmael's ax fell upon his ears.
Hannah arose and followed Gray to the door, and there before it stood Ishmael, chopping away at random, upon the pile of wood, his cheeks flushed with fever and his eyes wild with excitement.
"Hannah, he is ill; he is very ill; he doesn't well know what he is about," said Reuben, taking the ax from the boy's hand.
"Ishmael, Ishmael, my lad, come in; you are not well enough to work," said Hannah anxiously.
Ishmael yielded up the ax and suffered Reuben to draw him into the house.
"It is only that I am so hot and dizzy and weak, Mr. Middleton; but I am sure I shall be able to do it presently," said Ishmael apologetically, as he put his hand to his head and looked around himself in perplexity.
"I'll tell you what, the boy is out of his head, Hannah, and it's my belief as he's a going to have a bad illness," said Reuben, as he guided Ishmael to the bed and laid him on it."

Maybe it was a reference to the character Ishmael in Herman Melville's "Moby Dick".

So what the hell was Ismail Ax? Is there some deep meaning to it? Was it Cho's screenname in a chatroom or was he really a religious fanatic or was it a reference to a work of English literature? Might AX be the Alpha Chi Omega sorority? There was a chapter on the Virginia Tech campus.
Perhaps we'll never know.
All I know is Virginia Tech will never be the same. The students and community was scarred by the indelible mark of senseless violence. Those students, faculty and the town of Blacksburg will take a long time to heal. I wish them all well in their healing and recovery.
The Virginia Tech massacre hit home for me. Actually, one of my co-workers in from Virginia and has a sister that attends Virginia Tech. She was not one of the victims. She and her classmates are affected as well as my co-worker. She took the following photo on her cell phone on Tuesday, the day after the tragedy. It is Lane Stadium packed with students at a memorial ceremony.

1 comment:

boeddi said...

" ismail ax = ismailax = is mai lax = is my luck "