August 9th, 2010
08:34 AM ET

South Korean pastor is also a trained killer

Kim Shin Jo is a protestant minister - the gentle leader of his church. But the 69-year-old is best known by history as a trained killer.

Three decades ago, he and 30 others slipped from North Korea into Seoul to kill the South Korean president.

He was the face of evil and terror for a generation of Koreans - a North Korean commando fighter who came into Seoul to assassinate the South Korean president at the time, Park Jung Hee.

Kim recalls the chilling announcement he made to reporters more than 30 years ago:

"I came from North Korea to kill president Park Chung Hee. I came to cut the throat of Park Chung Hee," Kim said.

"We were taught that America had turned South Korea into a colony," he said, "and our mission was to remove the puppet government."

In January, 1968, 31 North Korean commandos managed to slip across the border, through the woods, and make it within a few hundred meters of the president's residence. But a South Korean police officer confronted them. A gunfight ensued.

In the end, more than 30 South Koreans were killed. All of the North Korean commandos were killed, except one who managed to make it back into North Korea and Kim Shin Jo, who was captured.

Kim underwent months of interrogation while captive behind bars. A South Korean army general befriended him - and broke through his hardened training.

"I tried to kill the president. I was the enemy," Kim said. "But the South Korean people showed me sympathy and forgiveness. I was touched and moved."

The government eventually released Kim, finding he never fired a shot from his gun and didn't hurt anyone during the assassination attempt.

Kim later worked for the South Korean military, became a citizen, married and had a family. Then he became a minister.

He is now the country's symbol of redemption.

Today, tensions on the divided peninsula are the highest in a decade - with few answers for workable, long-term solutions. But Kim is living proof that even the hardest of hearts in this conflict can change.

Kim reflected on footage of himself held captive in 1968.

"On that day, Kim Shin Jo died," Kim said. "I was reborn. I got my second life. And I'm thankful for that."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • South Korea • Violence

soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Xasthur

    He probably would have done South Korea a favor. These US backed dictators were brutal. South Korea finally got their first direct elections in 1987 because of the mass popular protest movements. Despite being undermined by Reagan who continued to support these thug presidents until the end, the South Koreans proved to America that people prefer freedom to brutal military dictatorships.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  2. Jeonstah Monstah

    what a story. Future movie?

    August 9, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  3. JesusLovesYou

    Jesus loves the little children – ALL the children of the world.

    August 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
    • PeterM

      When will he stop people from abusing children?

      August 10, 2010 at 12:25 am |
  4. Manny

    Ed, I'l buy the bridge and throw in a extramillion if you deliver it.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  5. jesusbabydinosaur

    More propaganda...why don't you all just save the rest of us the time and go for a War, replace the secular regime in the North with a Fanatic one like in Iraq or Afghanistan or something similar to the Ugandan Lord's Army...end of the story...I feel sorry for writing and wasting my time on this...it was a bad idea...never again

    August 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Alex

      I was borned in Dubai, my family left Dubai and went to Lebanon when I was 7. We lived in Lebanon until I was 18, then we moved to Egypt. We lived in Egypt until I was 25. Now I'm 60 living in America for the last 35 years. I've lived through the old Arabia. Now it's a lot better because of US intervention. To be honest but I'ld rather live and be a slave to a civilized nation, then to live and be considered free under an uncivlized nation like Taliban or any Muslim nations. There are not freedoms of any sort. The Koran was your freedom.

      That's why American need to intervene. Part of the interventions is due to our national interest, out pockets, but at the same time we introduce our great way of livings and thinkings. America is the best nation to live in, the best democracy in the world. If you don't believe that, then you need to pack up and leave. Go to North Korean go to Muslim nation Iran, etc... We did the right things, by invading Iraq. We are doing the right thing in Afganishstan. Just don't abadon them like VietNam. We did everything right except for VietNam. That's why everyone wants to come to US. It's not just opportunities, but some can be benifit from welfare and medicaid, which I think are wrong because people are lazy, and they will take advantage whenever possible.

      August 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  6. j4justice

    Goes to show that compassion, forgiveness, and serious intergroup dialogue is more effective than a troop surge

    August 9, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  7. Alex

    Anybody can change. It's the surrounding that influence our natures. If we live with good people, we will likely be influenced by them to turn out good. If we live with bad peole, then we will likely to bad.

    Taliban could change too. Their environment breeds hostilities, therefore, they're hostile. Just like Saudi Arabia, they're better than most muslims, because we influence them-with cars, shopping malls, accessories, etc.. We taught them the meaning of life and how to enjoy it. It's not just about the Koran... We seldom hear anything about Saudi Arabia, not that it doesn't happen, but it's less frequent. They're not extremists.

    Most Afghans don't agree to these laws, but they're not the ones holding the gun. So they can't really fight back. Just like the people living under communist regime or North K. regime. What can the people do? Gossip spreads quickly, if they speak up, then they're dead by next morning.

    So that's why we need need to intervene. Not because we are meddlers, but it's our responsibilities and our way of being civilize. Back in the old days we were considered imperialism, and look how civilized we've become. There's some bad eggs in the way, and I'm sorry those, but the majority of us live decently. We're sitting here and read and write each other blogs. So we must not be doing too bad.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
    • jesusbabydinosaur

      Have you been to Middle East (I don't mean Israel) you think you have a good influence on Saudis! have been to Dubai, Lebanon or Egypt...why you focus on Saudis only...as far as Taliban they are not less evil than the Ugandan Lord's Army!

      August 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • Chris W

      So...that's the solution? More shopping malls...nice cars...more stuff, and they won't hate us? Saudi Arabia is the cradle of fundamental Islam, home of the holy shrines at Mecca and Medina. As for intervening in other countries in the name of civilizing them...been there/done that. They used to call it "white man's burden" and colonized darn near all of Africa, Asia and Latin America

      August 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Alex

      Then what would you like us to do? Sit there wait until they develop a nuclear bomb, then fly it into us? Influence is education and containment. Intervening is to prevent them from developing a weapon that could end everyone of us. You have always lived in paradise where everything is available at your pleasure. You don't know what human are capable of. When we have one dollars, we want another dollar. When we have a house, we want a manson. We always want to expand and serve our interests. I'm sure if the Chinese were as strong as our military, they would attack us right a way. That's what they are doing is the Asia Pacific.

      August 9, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Alex

      "White Man burden" were not done under Americans. They were the Europeans. The American fought against those "White Man burden" who tried to colonize the it. The Europeans were not trying to civilize those they colonized. American civilized the Indians. How many Indians to you see wearing goin cloth and running around with bow and arrow? How many Guam Samos and Puerto Rican do you see running around crying injustice? Look at South Korea and Japan. How many Samurai weilding swords running around committing KamiKazi? None, none, none...because our democracy and our way of life will break the coldest heart.

      August 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • dave

      The 9-11 hijackers were saudis....... nice group of young men eh?

      August 9, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • John Toradze

      The real difficulty with the Taliban is that what they do is mostly exactly what Koran says they should do. That's why, even though most Afghans don't like them, they accept them. Until the fundamental creed is reformed, there will always be this problem with islam.

      August 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
    • John Toradze

      The difference between the Lord's Army in Uganda and the Taliban is how they came about. The Lord's Army is a response to decades (arguably centuries) of atrocities by muslim armies from Sudan and muslim militias from Sudan. Add to that the atrocities that Idi Amin's muslim rule worked on Uganda. What the Lord's Army did was bring together the sons and daughters of people slaughtered by muslims and decide to use their own methods against them. That is why the Lord's Army gives no quarter and their success is the reason that muslims in the region are so upset with them. It's worth paying attention to the history.

      August 9, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  8. Ed

    Oh why not. If all else fails become a god damn preacher. There he can brain wash people minds so he can do what he wants with them. I don't buy into this I see the light crap either. Talk about sheep being lead to slaughter. When will people wake up and realize religion is man made so he can control people and get easy money. It is a bunch of psycho babble. All religions were created by caveman long ago including Islam. People are stupid and like to be told what to do instead of thinking for themselves.

    August 9, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • EBinKC

      Such hostility! The man shows his life has changed for the better, but you seem to be in great need of that kind of change. Whatever your views on God or religion (and the two are quite different), please at least respect others and show some kindness.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
      • PeterM

        I believe this anonymous blog to be something like a wild, anything-goes food-fight in a cafeteria.
        You can have a shot at anything you like. There are no guarantees of any sort.
        You can be someone who calls for order and politeness, but this is a place where you are allowed to scream and shout as well.
        A place like this actually "enhances" your freedom of expression, allowing things that would be too difficult, embarassing, or what-have-you in a different type of forum.
        All you need to post? You've got it.
        What do you think about an artificial intelligence posting in here someday? What could we expect from a computer that humans created?

        August 10, 2010 at 12:45 am |
      • Harry

        you seek kindness.
        welcome to the human race.
        many seek as you do, few find what they seek.
        if you want fawning acceptance of your ideas, forget it.
        i am free to speak my mind as are you.
        this is a blog not the entryway to understanding.
        what you seek here is not here.
        what does your god tell you to do?
        can you hear him?
        a tiny voice
        smaller than small
        getting smaller
        oh wait that was my stomach rumbling

        August 10, 2010 at 5:16 am |
        • Harry

          a note to everyone else
          I have no belief in things that make no sense
          this existence is a hellish one
          I hate having a brain that doesn't work right
          a brain that cannot be trusted
          I feel we have all been cheated out of good brains
          this makes me angry and frustrated beyond belief
          not only for me but for all other peoples
          so I do not love your madnesses or mine
          yet I love all people just the same
          separate from their imperfect bodies and actions
          my anger seeks an outlet so I channel it away from others
          when I can
          I apologize to those I have hurt but I don't always know who or where
          so forgive me and everyone else
          we all have organic limitations
          hell is other people too often for me
          medication is kept from me
          madness surrounds me
          I do what I can to fight the good fight
          yet there are no guarantees I feel qualified to make
          this should not be a blog about belief
          it should be a humor blog
          a humor blog would be a million times better
          and more fun
          I wish everyone the best possible life
          but am too cynical to believe that would happen
          my heart goes out to those who have no hope
          to those tortured and imprisoned
          to those abused and defenseless
          to everyone everywhere past present and future
          may we all go to a better existence than this one
          your messed up brain should not limit or direct your next possible existence
          that would be insane
          on a lighter note, I hear birds chirping
          outside my window
          it is a nice day
          I think I will stop coming to this place
          and improve my life that much
          have fun everyone
          its a fun idea to have fun
          to get away
          to escape
          to be free of this crap
          party on
          have a kick-ass party

          August 10, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • HT

      God bless you Ed!

      August 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
    • Cocoloco

      Ed, hell will not be a nice place for you! You pompous person. Have some humility and accept the news for what it is: This man now thanks the South Koreans for their acceptance, and God gor His mercy, which you will not see unless you repent. Most people start to believe in God at the point of death. You will not be an exception. God bless you, heathen atheist and hater!

      August 9, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
      • Dave

        "Most people start to believe in God at the point of death".

        Can you support this assertion with any evidence whatsoever?
        If, by "most people" you mean most Americans, I'm sure you can point us in the direction of the study that led you to this conclusion. Or perhaps you undertook the research yourself?

        If, by "most people", you are referring to a majority of the human inhabitants of the world, might it not be the case that the god you claim these dying people begin to believe in is not in fact your Christian god at all?

        August 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • Brad S.

      Cocoloco calls someone else pompous while predicting their eternal damnation in hell. Is there any better reason people know that Christians are hypocrites. Be humble and accept my flawed thinking, or burn in hell!!!! It's laughable.

      August 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  9. Jordan

    Great story, my favorite part is how the south korean's showed him compassion and forgiveness and changed his mind and his heart. Bless it all

    August 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  10. Redeem This!

    Now he can brainwash others with stories about another great leader who is more than a man and can work miracles. Come to think of it, the minister is surely treated with great respect every second of his life and probably bosses people around minute by minute. Even though he was a savage killer, whereas most of us "wouldn't go there." Ain't xtianity grand? Sheeple and animals.

    August 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  11. Netninja

    Now this is the type of reporting I like to see. I like to see pure investigative reporting.

    August 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  12. cobra6

    That terrain they crossed – in secret, at night, in the winter – is absolutely punishing. Those North Korean commandos are some hard muldoons. Too bad for them when they captured some South Korean woodcutters, they spent a couple hours trying to indoctrinate them and then set them free. The woodcutters then duly notified the authorities, which is why the police were on the lookout for the commandos when they approached the Blue House in Seoul.

    August 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  13. leroy jacksn

    good story – a little positive amongst all negative

    August 9, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  14. POPevent

    No worries about those who believe in no gods... I think it is helpful for atheists, monotheists, and others to listen to how faith changes life. We need to know each other, not caricature anyone who opposes our beliefs.

    August 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • Hottest Karl

      faith sure does change lives. Just gives everyone justification to kill each other and some comfort when you have no other way to explain something. People can believe what they want but i find it funny that we live in such an educated country yet people really believe in things like story of Jesus. If people actually do some research you can find the same story was written by other religions way before Christ is said to have existed.

      August 9, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • Right

      because whoever writes it first must be the original source...

      August 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • TruthSeeker

      If you're talking about the Egyptian god, Horus, and are telling people that his story is the same as Jesus' then you must be a real bonehead. There aren't any similarities. Horus wasn't crucified, nor whipped 39 times. I find atheist comments quite laughable since they are quite close minded.

      August 9, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
    • Adirian

      Nor did horus die and isnt the son of God. And as for Jesus look uo pliny the younger and josepheus.

      August 9, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
    • Hottest Karl

      bonehead..haha I am not the one that believes in made up stories...

      August 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • HakunaMatata

      I appreciate that you seem to be one of the people who are willing to talk reasonably in this blogspot. I had to catch myself before I responded in a knee-jerk manner to your choice of words.
      Welcome to the free-for-all that anonymous blogs can sometimes be. Rest assured that your post will get whatever it gets.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:14 am |
    • Physicist

      Agree with Hottest Karl. The Bible is probably an amalgamation of already existing stories... A quick example could be Gilgamesh. But I know how "close-minded" people tend to be.

      August 10, 2010 at 4:52 am |
    • Harry

      you may as well say, 'it is helpful for everyone to listen to how child abuse changes life'.
      or murder. or torture. or any of the thihgs religion is known for.
      I disagree with you POPevent, and I think you're a bit of a prig. Kinda like me, but in a different way.

      August 10, 2010 at 5:04 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Truth Seeker

      Actually the "Sun Gods" probably had a huge impact on Christ and Christianity. Mithra, Horus, et al. Mithra offered his followers life after death. Didn't Jesus do that? The wine and bread thing was done by Mithra believers first. You fundies always get upset when this is pointed out. No one is saying Christianity was a ripoff of the older religions. Well, actually they are. LOL

      Everyone should Google "Mithra". Watch the YouTube video. Then decide who is more than likely right.

      Jesus is just as made up as any of the other gods and religions. Cheers!

      August 11, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  15. JC

    Well Hot, why did you even have to post that?

    August 9, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
    • Stu

      LOL, why would you even talk to someone with that screen name? I'm guessing you have no idea what a hot carl really is.

      August 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  16. hot carl

    i do not believe in any gods so this blog is not for me :...(

    August 9, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • Adrian

      Then why did you post?

      August 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • Ed

      God's mercy and grace had nothing to do with this man's turn from being a killer. It was science, technology and human goodness that pulled him out of that morass. For Sale: The Brooklyn Bridge, cheap, send me 25 million and its yours.

      August 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • TonyB

      Who is to say that science, technology and human goodness aren't produced by God's grace? God offers his grace freely, but we have to be willing to accept it. God's grace was offered through someone (in this case) and it was accepted.

      I've never met people as close-minded as atheists, not even willing to entertain a thought that there may be something more to the universe than what can be observed. The poster may not be an atheist, but he makes the same argument I've heard before. Here's a thought: the majority of the universe is made of "dark matter" than cannot be observed or measured, yet most scientists agree it exists because it fits their mathematical models even there is no actual proof. No atheists question that, because they haven't studied astrophysics. But they are quick to offer opinions on the notion of God without having studied theology. Both are complex, and theology may be even more complex.

      Maybe people should spend more time giving some actual thought to things than just spout an opinion. And I don't mean a knee-jerk reaction of "I do think, that's why I'm an athiest." How about some real, contemplative thinking that maybe there is more to life than what can be observed and measred.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • ywd

      TonyB, how about you respect other people's opinions and believes (or therefore lack of)?

      August 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • Adrian

      ywd- how is he being disrespectful?

      August 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • Joel

      You should believe in God because he believes in you.... So does the Devil

      August 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Elwood

      "I've never met people as close-minded as atheists, not even willing to entertain a thought that there may be something more to the universe..."

      Apparently, you haven't met very many Christians in the United States (or at least paid very close attention to their views)...many people would counter argue "I've never met people as close-minded as Christians, not even willing to entertain a thought that there may be something more to the universe..."

      I would have to agree that many atheists are very closed minded, but by not including Christians (in my experience, the vast majority of them) and other denominations in your response, you come off as typically holy-than-thou. Oh, and btw, I am a recovering Christian with advanced degrees in history, theology, comparative religion, linguistics, and multiple languages.

      In addition, the statement "I do think, that's why I'm an athiest." (sic), can (again, in my experience ) be far more honestly applied to the vast majority of Christians than atheists.

      Simply question your fellow Christians about their beliefs and 99% of the time, they will say, "Because the Bible says so..." yet when questioned further, it becomes painfully (and embarrassingly) clear that they have never actually read the entire Bible. Or, the current trend in Christianity, they conveniently ignore all the parts of the Bible that contradict their beliefs, including the majority of the Old Testament. Yet, pick apart the Qur'an and other religious tomes as it suits their very obvious agendas.

      I would agree that people should spend more time thinking rather than spouting opinions, but that goes for all sides of an argument, not just those with whom I may disagree.

      August 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • hmm

      @ elwood.

      Some parts of the old testament does contradict with the new testament, but you have to take into consideration that the old testament had a different covenant from God, compared to the New Testament. I mean, you studied theology, therefore, one would assume that you already knew those "contradictions" are not contradictions at all, but misplaced context.

      August 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • Elwood


      That assumes two things: The first is that one actually believes the Bible is the word of God, not man, and therefore represents a change in covenant from God, instead of a change of ideology/agenda by man (read: The Church). I subscribe to the later school. The second is the "misplaced context" argument which is one of the most feeble, in my opinion, and is the one most often argued by adherents (of any dogma: religious, political, etc.) to those who "don't understand." There are massive contradictions between what is taught by the two testaments: between the expectations of man by God, not to mention the example set by God... inter-testament context is an irrelevant red herring, but I suspect you already knew that by the way you decided on replying.

      Additionally, it should be fairly obvious that I was talking about the overall differences in the two books where the God of the Old testament was wrath filled, vengeful, etc., then the PR firm came in and made Him into the loving, caring God that today's Christians like to cite, while ignoring or dismissing the mean old God because it is more convenient for them.

      Nice effort at a red herring though, as is the not so subtle attempt at disrespect by dropping the capital letter from my name, but that has become fairly typical of online discourse... particularly when someone disagrees with another's viewpoint.

      August 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
    • John Toradze

      Yes, Elwood, as a guy with a degree in theology, you come across weirdly unaware that the Old Testament is superseded by the New Testament. The message of the New Testament is one of the truly remarkable documents of the world, as is the Buddhist Triple Gem. And if you had studied Christian theology thoroughly and also muslim theology, you would know that the koran supersedes the New Testament for them. Within the koran, there is the doctrine of abrogation. But there is darn little abrogation of earlier verses by later verses.

      So I am left wondering about you.

      August 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Physicist

      Just to pose a question. Einstein himself was an atheist. He said that he did not believe in the religious god, and the christian community basically threatened him. And he damn well knew quantum physics. Calling atheists close-minded is calling a majority part of the scientist community close-minded. Well... we may be close-minded, but who's to decide that except yourself.

      I recommend the book 'God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins. I've recommended this book to many of those in the christian community. REJECTED. close-minded? or just following God's Will?

      August 10, 2010 at 4:48 am |
    • David Johnson


      If you haven't read Dawkin's latest book, "The Greatest Show On Earth", you owe it to yourself to do so. I would love to see it, a required reading, in every High School in the country. Cheers!

      August 11, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  17. bobbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

    it would be nice if N korea and S korea could just stop all the hostilities and just be one. doesnt seem like such a lofty goal when one thinks about it.

    August 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • Adrian

      have you seen the economic diffrences between the North and the Sout? It would be uniting a modern day economic powerhouse with a starving feudel society. The cost of North Korean modernization would be enormous. Then there's the difference in Govts and the decades of hostilities between the two. Believe me it wont be as easy as west and east Germany.

      August 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • wzrd1

      They've been trying to unify for thousands of years. Occasionally they unify, then break up again within a few generations. Only to repeat the cycle.
      Try learning history.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • ywd

      It's not that easy. North and South Korea will fight like crazy to take control of the new single government. Besides, there are American military bases all over South Korea, and North Korea serves as a buffer to China. There's no way that China will just stand there and watch.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Elwood

      "They've been trying to unify for thousands of years. Occasionally they unify, then break up again within a few generations. Only to repeat the cycle."

      Pretty neat trick since the two Koreas have only been separated since 1945 at the end of WW II. When the United States and the Soviet Union couldn't agree on a single form a government. The current division has nothing to do with the historical "North-South States" nor the "Three Kingdoms" states. Korea has been a unified state (more or less) since the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392).

      "Try learning history."

      Excellent advice, too bad that so many of you that love to spout this trite phrase fail to follow your own advice.

      August 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • Gina B.


      Thank god you clarified that.

      "Excellent advice, too bad that so many of you that love to spout this trite phrase fail to follow your own advice."

      I concur.

      August 9, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  18. Randy

    He didn't fire a shot because he was a knife fighter. "I came to slit (his) throat."

    August 9, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • nl

      wzrd you tell someone to learn their history, but you're the one saying they've been trying to unify for thousands of years. The coutnries were "one nation until the end of the Korean Empire in 1910, when Korea was annexed by Japan. After liberation and occupation by Soviet and U.S. forces at the end of World War II, the nation was divided into North and South Korea. The latter was established in 1948 as a democracy." .....you should read up first before spitting your pseudo knowledge

      August 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  19. Chris

    "The government eventually released Kim, finding he never fired a shot from his gun and didn't hurt anyone during the assassination attempt."

    I wonder why he never fired a shot. Either he had deep seeded convictions which would make him unfit for military service or some really shoddy equipment.

    August 9, 2010 at 11:52 am |
    • Boodyism

      He never fired a shot because his captors made him a deal: divulge any actionable intelligence you can about N. Korean vulnerabilities and if you're story is legit, you'll serve a time to keep the papers happy, but we'll say you never fired a shot and you can live the rest of your life in peace (under S. Korean surveillance, of course).

      August 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • wzrd1

      Interesting. Most people have deep SEATED convictions. Though farmers can have deep SEEDED crops.
      OR he had second thoughts on, essentially murdering someone for no good reason, unlike line duty in a TRUE time of war.
      Either way, I personally know "trained killers" who are now ministers. Soldiers, by nature of their duties, trained killers.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Michael Morris

      The army once did a study that found that in actual close combat only 1 in 10 soldiers fire to kill. The rest fire in the general direction of the enemy but to miss; still others do not fire at all.

      August 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • brent

      Chris: apparently only 20% of the army population is capable of killing another person, it has to do the phsycology of killing, its an un natural act only a few can really do...ergo firing squads consist of more than one shooter. True story.

      August 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • GettingOlder

      Michael Morris – I understood the study you referred to was regarding WWII combatants. One of the training changes was the use of "pop up" targets in boot camp. The effect was to make firing a weapon an automatic reaction.

      August 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
    • Greg Lippert

      I did a long time in the Army and served in Korea. I also was in the first gulf war and was required to do my job. I did not fire to miss nor did I fire high or to the left.
      The training I received in basic and AIT plus further training at regular duty assignments did not allow for this. The reason is simple your marksmanship score is part of you getting promoted. The better you shoot the higher your score to be added to your promotion packet the more money you get once promoted.
      I will say that maybe one guy in my unit fired to miss all the rest were hunters!!

      August 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  20. Ken Jennings

    This is a great story.I first came to Korea in 1968 shortly after this incident occurred and have spent a total of 17 years living and working in Korea at different times. I am pleased that CNN has seen to take 10 years off my age, but I suspect that 1968 was four decades ago . . . not three. I hope and pray for a peaceful reunification.

    August 9, 2010 at 9:27 am |
    • John Toradze

      I also pray for it. The ideology of North Korea is strong but the two nations share a common culture on a foundation of Buddhism and Christianity primarily. Those values allow breakthroughs like this to happen. I think most of North Korea would change overnight.

      August 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.