Back in May of 2003 Indian American Biswanath Halder went on a shooting spree on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. CBS news reported at the time:
The 62-year-old man accused of a shooting spree at a prestigious Cleveland university had military training with the Indian army and a grudge against an employee, authorities said Saturday.
Biswanath Halder, armed with two handguns, allegedly killed one person, wounded two others and held police at bay for seven hours Friday in a shiny, swirling building filled with twisting corridors that complicated his capture.
Halder wore a bulletproof vest and a wig glued on “a kind of World War II Army helmet” as he walked the halls of Case Western Reserve University’s Peter B. Lewis Building and fired hundreds of rounds, police Chief Edward Lohn said.
“There’s a trail of blood throughout,” Lohn said. “It was a cat-and-mouse game.”
p>Now, nearly three years later, Halder’s trial has begun (thanks for the tip Joyce J.):
“This case is about two things, arrogance and selfishness,” assistant county prosecutor Rick Bell told the jury in the Cuyahoga County common pleas court yesterday.
Halder, accused of killing student Norman Wallace and injuring two other persons during the siege on may 9, 2003, has repeatedly said information he considered vital to his own life’s work was destroyed.
The defence position is that Halder was trying to protect “mankind” from a cyber criminal. [Link]
p>But why? Why did this old man do such a thing? What made him snap? Let’s see if any of this sounds familiar:
Biswanath Halder’s Web site was his life. Working at least eight hours a day year-round in the Case Western Reserve University computer lab, he painstakingly compiled the digital equivalent of a bulging file cabinet and hope chest, stuffed with business plans and pleas for social justice.
Then, three years ago, a prankster hacked into his computer and erased it all. “Everything I had was destroyed,” he said. Halder’s outrage turned into a blizzard of complaints, from the courts to the FBI and Capitol Hill. He blamed the university and a computer lab assistant named Shawn Miller – “the evil man,” as Halder called him.
Halder sued Miller, but a judge dismissed the case. Two weeks ago, an appeals court refused to review it. On Friday [May of 2003], police say, the 62-year-old Calcutta, India, native stalked through Miller’s workplace at the CWRU business school, firing a pistol and a machine gun in a seven-hour standoff that ended with one dead and three people, including Halder, wounded.
p>That hits too close to home. Now let me be clear. I DO NOT advocate murderous rampages. However, if I was an old man and slightly mad, and someone destroyed say…my blog, someone gonna’ get hurt…real bad.
Court records, interviews and Halder’s writings show that the bachelor led a life of awkward isolation while creating an Internet persona of a budding millionaire and social activist, even a savior of the world. There were plenty of contradictions.
I need to go out for a stiff drink. Right now. No, like right now.