The Washington Post quoted law enforcement sources as saying Cho died with the words "Ismail Ax'' in red ink on one of his arms, but they were not sure what that meant.
I bet they're not. This was nicely placed in between talk about the weapons used and talk of bomb threats against the University, and because of its bizarreness, is totally overlooked.
However, apparently, "Ismail Ax" is an Islamic phrase. Naturally, this has created a wave of speculation on the blogs. I'm not sure what to make of it....yet. The reference is clear enough, its an Islamic phrase dealing with the history of Abraham, as they see it. "The Muslims believe that the [Old Testament] is wrong in saying that Abraham was supposed to kill Isaac with a knife, rather they believe he was supposed to kill Ishmael (Ismail) with an Axe. They also believe that Abraham was supposed to go out and attack idols with an axe....."
OK, they guy seemed to have been mentally unstable and disturbed in the first place. But he wasn't a particularly good or gifted writer, so I very much doubt he came across this phrase as research for some writing. I've never come across the phrase before, and while my knowledge of mainstream Islam is not as strong as Christianity, its hardly lacking. Its possible that he did find it, I suppose, but it doesn't seem likely.
Especially not when you consider South Korea has a 0.2% Muslim population. He may have converted, it is possible, but given the nature of his writings, it doesn't seem likely. Sexually explicit, aggressive and some would say sadistic, it doesn't sound like the sort of things a religious lunatic dwells on. These guys bottle it up, cloak it in righteous language and history. He didn't.
This case warrants keeping an eye on. My advice would be to keep an eye on the local papers for the area, especially once the mainstream media get bored. The big guys have a tendency to ignore what they cannot understand or are too lazy to investigate, whereas local reporters often show much more initiative and have greater leeway. Something is certainly amiss here, but what is still unknown.