I certainly agree with what everyone is saying here about the loner stereotype being associated with social deviance and tendency toward violence and such heinous crimes as the Virginia Tech massacre. I remember in the book some people have mentioned here, "Party of One", the author talked about this very inappropriate and unfair stigma. I have been concerned about how the media is portraying Cho as a loner, and therefore the "type" of person capable of such hate and terror. I've also felt concerned for the Korean and Korean-American community for the likelihood that they'll too be stereotyped as less trustworthy given Cho was Korean. Just like after 9/11, it wasn't uncommon for some Middle-Eastern or Middle-Eastern looking people to be discriminated against when they tried to board an airplane.
I was just trying to think of what a better headline would have been instead of the offensive "Gunman was a Loner" one. Perhaps the whole story that ran beneath it (I didn't see the particular one you referenced here) was a flawed idea given the likelihood that it focused on Cho's loner traits. If it had been something like "Gunman was Mentally Ill", I wouldn't have felt great about it either, as that would target mentally ill people as categorically destructive. I suspect journalism happens this way as people's attempts to understand how anyone could possibly commit such an atrocious act. I found someone's comment here, that perhaps a lot of journalists are extroverted, interesting. Perhaps that's true, and if it is, it's easier for those reporters to see introverts and "loners" as very different, separate and "other" than them; as a bizarre and mysterious minority whose minds can't seem to be uncoded.
We introverts are way too often misunderstood. And ironically that was Cho's complaint, that no one understood him. I agree with those who have written about how important it is to try and prevent these kinds of crimes by intervening sooner, and not just with ostracizing punishment but with quality professional help that better attempts TO understand. Perhaps Cho's complicated mental illness would have never been able to be deciphered, but at least he could have been getting psychiatric attention that may have helped, rather than continuing to act from the illness and plot and carry out his crime.
Anyway, this is an important topic of discussion and I'm glad so many of us feel so strongly about it.