A Cleveland man named Biswanath Halder, who claims his Web site was destroyed by a hacker, took hostages at gunpoint on the campus of Case Western Reserve University on Friday. Tragically, the hacking victim killed a young postgraduate student at the university, Norman Wallace aged 30, and wounded two others when he fired indiscriminately in an apparent fit of rage.
Halder took over the campus business-school building and kept police at bay for seven hours until being wounded by gunfire and taken into custody.
Halder's anger centered on university employee Shawn Miller, a school computer-lab assistant Halder believed had hacked his site, thereby destroying his life. He pursued Miller, whom he described as an evil man, through the civil courts and in numerous complaints to the university president, the campus police, the Mayor of Cleveland, the FBI and even the US House and Senate Judiciary Committees, but his pleas for justice were ignored at each turn.
"The end result of all of these outright evil actions will be that society will end up paying a severe price," Halder had warned in one such communique.
Halder, like many misunderstood geniuses, was a loner and a constant victim of discrimination and malicious interference, yet he remained a tireless crusader for justice: he had been chronically unable to hold a job (his last known one was in the late 1980's) but routinely sued companies which refused to hire him. He believed he possessed the secrets to peace and prosperity for all mankind and graciously shared these nuggets of wisdom via his Web site -- until someone deleted its entire contents from his computer.
"I try to solve mankind's problems through the Internet," Halder explained in a court deposition against Miller. "In a few seconds, the evil man wiped out everything that it took my lifetime to create," he later whinged in an e-mail to school officials.
He had been living on a disability pension for some years; unfortunately, his income was inadequate to afford him psychiatric treatment. ®