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Copycat Va. Tech Threat Closes S.F. Law School

Posted Apr 19, 2007 12:55 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Shocked by Virginia Tech's horrifying experience on Monday, other institutions of higher learning are now taking no chances about closing their campuses as soon as they hear of a possible security threat.

The University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco closed abruptly Wednesday because of an implicit threat in a Internet chat board post, the AP reports. Students were notified of the closing by e-mail, and told the law school would re-open today.

"Certainly at this point we want to be extra-cautious," says Dean Nell Jessup Newton, who declined to discuss "copycat-type threat" directed at the law school. It "could be read as a joke ... or something more serious," she said.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Monday's on-campus massacre of 32 at Virginia Tech by fellow student Cho Seung-Hui, people throughout the world struggled to understand what could possibly motivated his horrendous shooting sprees. Materials he sent to an American television network by overnight delivery during a break between the murders are chilling, and portray a psychotic mind unable to think rationally because of mental illness, some said.

Forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner said Cho fit the profile of a paranoid schizophrenic. "Paranoia, in my professional experience, is the most important element to understand in the possible motives of mass shootings," he said in an ABC News interview quoted by the New York Post. "Virtually all mass shooters are paranoid to some pathological degree."

But Time magazine portrayed Cho as essentially sane but lacking a conscience, a narcissistic personality falling within the general category of personality disorders once termed psychopathic or sociopathic.

For a discussion on legal restrictions on treating troubled students, see this earlier Daily News post.

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