Experts Speak Out: Seung-Hui Cho's Video 'Manifesto'

To find out how psychological experts view television networks' decision to broadcast the video made by Virginia Tech shooter Seung-hui Cho, ABC News sent a general question out to the mental health community: Should the video have been shown to the public?

More than two dozen of the country's top mental health specialists -- including adolescent psychiatrists, forensic specialists, suicide prevention specialists and others -- responded.

Overwhelmingly, they said the video should not have been broadcast. Their reasons ranged from the threat of copycat violence to the possible stigmatization of those with mental health problems:

Dr. Jerald Kay

Chair of the American Psychiatric Association Committee on College Mental Health

Professor and Chair of Psychiatry, Wright State University

"The critical issue is balancing the public's need to know against the potential danger of provoking copycat behavior. The power of the Columbine tragedy was evident in Cho's writing.

"There appears to be more evidence of copycat behavior in incidents such as the one at Virginia Tech than that of suicide contagion, which refers to the potential influence of reporting suicide in evoking similar experiences in others.

"It would be wise, therefore, not to repeatedly air the video tapes that NBC received. The potential gains are clearly outweighed by the potential dangers."

Dr. Michael Welner

Chairman, The Forensic Panel

Associate Professor of Psychiatry

New York University School of Medicine

"This is a PR tape of him trying to turn himself into a Quentin Tarantino character. This is precisely why this should not be released.

"Parents, you should cut the pictures out of the newspaper. Do not let your children see it. Take them out of the room when these videos are shown, because he's paranoid, and his agenda of blaming the rest of the world is unedited.

"There's nothing to learn from this except giving it validation. If this rambling showed up in an emergency room, my colleagues and I would listen carefully and, when we reflected that it was delusional, would go see the next patient and start the medication."

Dr. Donald W. Black

Professor of Psychiatry

University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Author of "Bad Boys, Bad Men -- Confronting Antisocial Personality Disorder"

"I see no point in re-airing [the video], and it might spur some unstable person to copy Cho's actions who hadn't seen them the first time. And, like the videos of suicide bombers, they tend to glorify violence. Is that our aim?

"You could even compare them to videos of Osama bin Laden: they are certainly newsworthy, but is the world better off having them aired? I think not, and many would argue that airing his tapes is precisely what bin Laden wants. Do we want to contribute to that?"

Mark I. Singer

Professor of Family and Child Welfare

Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Case Western Reserve University

"Adolescents are very impressionable, and when presented with 'high profile' individuals who may be expressing thoughts and feeling similar to their own, and acting in ways that they themselves may have contemplated, these high profile individuals become role models. This relationship was directly expressed by the Virginia Tech shooter in his mention of the martyrdom of the Columbine killers.

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