- (Photo: ReutersStephen Lam)
As more details emerge about One Goh, the suspected shooter who killed seven and injured three others at Oikos University in Oakland, Calif., it has become clear that the former student's unresolved anger had a stake in the tragedy Monday.
While the small Christian school and the city's Korean-American community are struggling with the grief of its members, counseling experts say anger was more than likely the primary motivation for the shootings by the 43-year-old.
Goh's hard times included the death of a brother, trouble with creditors, and being expelled from Oikos last January. His brother, a staff sergeant in the Army, died in a car accident last year while training with the Special Forces, according to CNN affiliate KGO.
Goh, who was born in South Korea, has told police that he felt disrespected and was teased about his poor English skills at the school. The college was founded as a place where Korean immigrant students could feel safe, adjust to a new country and build new careers, according to news reports.
"He felt picked on," Christian counseling expert and Hope For The Heart Founder June Hunt told The Christian Post from what she understood about Goh from first reports. "The truth is that it's never justified, but you can make some sense of it when you realize that the bottom line is that it's anger unleashed. It's volatile anger. What that means is that there is unresolved anger from the past.
"Violence is rooted in pain from the past that wasn't processed in a healthy way," she said.
Hunt said that it is important for people to understand that the relatives and friends of those that died will suffer emotional pain most likely for the rest of their lives.
"Tragedies like these are a dark cloud over the entire community, especially the Korean community, as well as it impacts our country," she said. "It sickens our hearts and brings out huge compassion towards those who are in pain.
"Schools are thought to be places of sanctuary from outside intrusion, yet increasingly it seems like headlines are waiting to happen and we read about this in newspapers and magazines, and the media attention is high, but it will die down. But the pain in the hearts of surviving loved ones will go on and on," she explained.
Hunt said that at a time such as during this tragedy the focus is on the victims as it should be, and although it is difficult to feel any compassion towards the shooter, he is a victim as well.
"I understand (from the reports) that there isn't remorse in the heart of the shooter, but many times, that changes later. So, it's a tragedy for every single person involved," she said.
In talking about Goh's perceived inability to cope with anger, Hunt explained that the emotion is a secondary response to one of four causes.
"It's hurt, injustice, fear, and frustration," she said. "When we experience any of these four or a combination of the four, especially if it's a combination, if we don't know how to respond or act, and instead we react, that's when a person can act dangerously.
"For one that has unresolved issues of hurt and injustice, or at least perceived injustice (it doesn't have to be actual injustice), and a combination of all four, it's like a time bomb waiting to explode.
"Clearly this man is severely broken," she said. "If we are trying to make sense of it, we also have to realize we are dealing with this broken person that was the perpetrator. It's not to blame the people that may have said insensitive things to him, but whole people don't do this."
Goh allegedly walked into Oikos University's single-story building Monday at roughly 10:40 a.m. and took a receptionist hostage. According to CNN, Goh took his hostage into a classroom in search of a specific female administrator. Upon realizing the administrator was not there, he allegedly shot the receptionist and ordered the students in the classroom to line up against the wall, telling them, "I'm going to kill you all."
When some students refused to cooperate, police say that is when Goh started shooting.
Oakland city Police Chief Howard Jordan revealed at a news conference Tuesday that Goh "then went through the entire building systematically and randomly shooting victims."
Goh reportedly ended the rampage by driving off in one of the victim's cars. He was apprehended at a nearby supermarket, about three miles away from the university.
According to The Huffington Post, Goh was allegedly planning the attack for weeks. He told authorities that he had been made fun of at the school.
Hunt said that while the details of Goh's motivation will eventually come out, meanwhile, the students at the college need short and long term care.
"The students and the Korean community need our deep and tender compassion, but not just now," she said. "Compassionate people will reach out right now, but it is usually six months after the tragedy occurs that it becomes the hardest. People are not reaching out anymore and start thinking everything is back to normal.
"For those that experience the death of a loved one it will never be back to normal. The most loving thing anyone can do is to continue to reach out periodically, especially when it comes to six months later," she said.