Seung-Hui Cho’s ‘Ismail Ax’ googled and then some

Chicago Tribune

April 19, 2007 – The Scrooge Report Post

All at once, the world went searching for the meaning of “Ismail Ax.”

Those two words, written in red ink on one arm of Seung-Hui Cho, the 23-year-old Virginia Tech student suspected of the campus shooting spree, set off a massive Internet hunt by the public Tuesday for clues to what might have motivated the nation’s worst mass killings.

Almost as soon as the Chicago Tribune’s Web site reported that detail, which then was picked up by news organizations around the world, the blogosphere filled with theories about the possible meaning of “Ismail Ax.” Hundreds of bloggers speculated on a link to Islam or to literature; thousands offered their opinions and millions read the commentaries, according to, a Web site that tracks the blogosphere, said that by late afternoon Tuesday, there were nearly 300 blog posts regarding Ismail Ax. There were other reactions. A TV repair-shop owner in Corpus Christi, Texas, registered the domain name Tuesday morning.

“When I hear a name, I register it. I have about 200 names right now,” said Raymond Patterson, who registered the site five minutes after he heard the phrase “Ismail Ax” mentioned on a Fox News broadcast. He said he had no intention of making “blood money” from the site.

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