Virginia Tech Shooting Followup

As the chronology of yesterday's unbelievable horror at Virginia Tech becomes clearer, the media is zeroing in the response of administrators to the first shooting incident of the day's spree. From the SF Chron's account:

A single question stands out from the massacre at Virginia Tech: Would more students be alive if the university in Blacksburg, Va., had not allowed them to go to class after a shooting had occurred in a campus dorm?

The nation's deadliest campus shooting rampage began at 7:15 a.m. in West Ambler Johnston, a coed dormitory, where police found two people fatally shot. But the first e-mail message to students from the Virginia Tech administration did not go out until more than two hours later, at 9:26 a.m., stating that a shooting had occurred but with no mention of staying indoors or staying off-campus or canceling classes.

Sometime after 9:30 a.m., a second round of shooting began in Norris Hall, an engineering building on the other end of the sprawling 2,600-acre campus. Police said the gunman killed 30 people at Norris and wounded 15 before killing himself.

"I think the university has blood on their hands because of their lack of action after the first incident," said Billy Bason, 18, who lives in the dorm....

The university president and campus police chief said they decided not to cancel classes after the first shooting because the initial indication at the dorm, based on interviews with witnesses, was that the attack might have been a domestic dispute and that the shooter probably had fled the campus.

More here.

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  • ||

    There's a huge push to assess blame. First it was the guns, then the gun banners, then men with control issues, then Asian men from sexist societies, then administrators, then policies, and now policework combined with policy. Can't people understand that this is the kind of thing that can happen any day some nut goes nutso?

    The blame goes to the jackass who shot all those people. If someone was armed in one of those classes and could have stopped the murderer after, for instance, "only" ten or twelve deaths, some gun-minded folk would be considering this a great victory to their cause. And if the Dalai Lama was there and talked the shooter out of killing more after ten or twelve, some people would consider that to be some sort of moral victory, too. But listen people, what happened happened because some nut, armed, decided to kill a whole lot of people for some reason. I don't think the 2008 election early polling, Ayn Rand, Columbine, Kim DuToit, Michael Moore, or even Alberto Gonzales' uncoming testimony had anything to do with his actions.

    We have loads of guns in this country, and we have loads of nuts. Luckily, most of our gun owners aren't nuts and most of our nuts, even the ones with guns, aren't that nuts. And if that isn't reassuring enough for you, you can go surf porn sites and forget the whole thing happened for a couple hours.

  • Marc||

    Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it: some nut went nutso. :)

  • Monsters||

    That pretty much sums it up, Jon. There's a ton of post-Oprah hand-wringing that goes on in immediately after any such incident. But ultimately, it was the violent act of one person that was responsible, and we can't exactly interview him about his motives.

    Similarly, it's too easy to play the game of, "Well, if I'd been there, I would have..." Armchair generals aren't generals at all. People make the best decisions they can about situations at that moment, and I'm sure the school administrators did the best they could.

  • ||

    The second huge push, naturally, will be to do something in the wake of this atrocious act.

    Not something effective, mind you, just something to keep them from feeling as helpless as they are to prevent situations like this.

  • edna||

    the "something" will absolutely involve transferring millions of dollars into some plaintiff attorneys' pockets. the positioning for civil suits has already begun.

  • ||

    To some extent, I can see their reasoning in believing the first shooting was an isolated incident. However, given the history of school shootings, it couldn't have hurt to step up security around the campus for the remainder of the day. Better to err on the precautionary side.

  • thoreau||

    Don't most murderers flee the scene of the crime and start disposing of evidence, rather than going on a spree?

    If so, then I can't really blame the police for assuming that the killer was on the run rather than preparing to take out a bunch more people.

    Sure, you can say that they should always err on the side of caution, but how much caution? What if the response to a murder was to automatically shut down normal activities in the surrounding area for at least a day? That might not be so disruptive to life on a college campus, but what about in the heart of large city?

  • Fluffy||

    Doesn't VT have something like 25,000 students?

    Cancelling classes and instructing everyone to remain in their rooms would, in scale, be something like ordering every school, business and office in a small city to close, and every resident to remain in their homes, every time there was a violent crime where the perpetrator wasn't immediately caught.

  • ||

    It's always a good idea to avoid using the actions of random lunatics as a basis for public policy. That said, I'm pretty much with the side that says the administration should have cancelled classes until they were certain the armed perp was incapacitated. If for no other reason that by telling the students to stay away, the cops were reducing the number of suspects they would have to question. Then again, at this point we just don't know enough. Until more facts are apparent, the best thing to do is to mourn the victims and sympathize with the families.

  • ||

    If they shut down school for every time there was a violent crime somewhere around Georgia Tech campus, the school would be closed 1/3 of the year. The fact is this is a tragic incident. Leave it at that.

  • ||

    T, Fluffy -

    I didn't say they should lock down the school, which would seem excessive. I simply think they should have beefed up security. A couple of extra patrols around campus is not excessive.

  • ||

    Everyone tries to make sense of it all when something like this takes place. The "experts" will appear and tell us all what went wrong and how we can prevent it the next time.
    Who knows why he did it. Anger? drugs? mental illness?

    The fact is, we have 300 million people in this country and a handful of them do horrific things.

  • Fluffy||

    Jimmy -

    I know what you mean. A college campus isn't exactly like a small city, despite my analogy. Maybe there could have been a better announcement?

  • ||

    Jimmy-
    i think its pretty safe to assume a couple extra patrols were out on campus looking for the killer from the first incident.

  • Sean||

    An interesting fact about Virgina is that it's an open carry state. That is you can be armed in most places without a permit. I don't believe this has been a problem - walking around in public openly armed does still draw attention- not something someone bent on ill intenions would want. Guns require a moral responsibility, tragicly there are alot of sick immoral people in the world. My heart goes out to those touched by this tragic event.

  • Rhywun||

    Given the well-publicized history of these things, I think it's unconscionable they didn't close down the school. They had "reason to believe the shooter left campus"? What reason is that? They couldn't find him?

    A campus is a very different place than the heart of a city; you can't compare the two. It's usually somewhat isolated and self-contained - it's not unreasonable to expect it to be shut down after a murder. Which they did at the same campus a few weeks earlier, didn't they?

    Anyway, the inevitable debate over guns is going to be a total waste of time as always. A more useful debate would ask why the US seems to have a high enough concentration of these nuts that a bloodbath every couple years doesn't even come as a surprise any more.

  • SugarFree||

    Fluffy,

    I'm really, truly not trying to be a prick, but what kind of announcement? I work on a campus of roughly the same size. How do you get information out to that many people, when most of them are not in front of a TV? Would you try and use some sort of public announcement system? Huge speakers blaring out that there was a murder somewhere on campus and to be careful for a killer on the loose? Mass panic. By the time they knew what was going on and that it wasn't a murder/suicide there was very little they could do.

    The MSM insistence that there be someone living they can blame is childish and ghoulish in the face of this event. If I was the VT president, I'd have given a long pause considering if I should ram Matt Lauer's lapel mike straight up his ass.

  • ||

    The killer was apparently a Chinese national. It has been reported that none of his victims were Chinese. So there is an ethnic/nationalist element to this horror which is probably more significant to the story than gun laws or campus security.

  • ||

    Given the well-publicized history of these things, I think it's unconscionable they didn't close down the school. They had "reason to believe the shooter left campus"? What reason is that? They couldn't find him?

    I'm not sure that anyone could realize that they dealing with a massacre until it's too late. The natural assumption is that when a shooting occurs, it's either a personal grudge or an argument that got out of hand. I also makes sense that a person who just fired shots would be fleeing the scene.

    Because the actions of the shooter in this case and other cases like it don't make any sense to people, it's impossible to predict what might happen.

  • ||

    The suggestion that cancelling classes would have mitigated this tragedy is silly.

    So everyone goes back to their dorms, and the shooter goes dorm to dorm!

  • ||

    Some interesting numbers to be found at:
    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

    Basically, all violent crime has steadily decreased since highs in the 80s and early 90s.

    Murder is way down, from bouncing around 8 to 10 people per 100,000 down to 5.5 to 5.7 per 100,000 since 1999.

    But the Virginia police chief is on the telly telling the world, "Times have changed and we need to be vigilant."

    But we won't be. Because most of us will go through most of our day NOT being confronted by violent crime.

    And we will be even less vigilant as police and local governments use this as an excuse to beef up crime spending and police forces and using SWAT teams to do everything from serviing warrants to directing traffic.

  • ||

    The killer was apparently a Chinese national. It has been reported that none of his victims were Chinese. So there is an ethnic/nationalist element to this horror which is probably more significant to the story than gun laws or campus security.

    All complete speculation.

  • ||

    I used to live in Blacksburg, and only someone who has not lived there would say that "if they closed the campus down everytime there was a violent crime it would be closed down 1/3 of the time." In fact, in the entire town of Blacksburg and the campus there were NO murders in the last year for which data are available: http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads/Crime_in_Virginia_2005.pdf.
    So when someone comes into a dorm room and shoots two people dead that is a major event warranting an immediate shutdown. Sheesh people, try looking something up and getting an INFORMED opinion before spouting off!

  • ||

    Ken,

    I went to Georgia Tech. In the middle of Atlanta. Sort of off topic. Sorry for the confusion.

  • thoreau||

    Ken-

    Maybe you could close down Blacksburg every time there's a shooting. The point, however, is that every day in this country there will be murders, and if for every murder you lock down at least 25,000 people, well, that seems unrealistic, disruptive, of only minimal benefit, and potentially dangerous from a civil liberties standpoint.

  • ||

    As John D. points out... spead the word and everybody goes back to their dorm. So they die in their dorm instead of in the classroom. Who benefits?

    CB

  • ||

    ok, how many rounds do a 9mm and 22 caliber hold? How many time would he have to reload to kill 31 people?

  • ||

    Ken,

    I walked my final walk across the Drill Field not 5 years ago. It's a relatively quiet, chill town/campus, despite a student population of 25k+. The worst thing the cops deal with down there are crazy drunk tailgaters. But that doesn't mean that the reaction to a homicide should be inversely proportionate to the likelihood of a homicide occurring. Whether a double murder happens in Blacksburg or Compton, there's nobody in their right mind (before yesterday) that would say, "hey, we better respond to this as if it were a terrorist attack and shut everything down within a 5 mile radius, because the killer just might go on a rampage..." Domestic disputes that end in violence, whether or not they're rare for the area, don't usually morph into massacres like this.

  • The Mud Shark||

    muzzy headed race baiting aside

    closing classes over on-campus violence would get old quick

    but the school should have got the word out faster

    any number of things could have played out differently if the students had access to the warning e-mail in a timely manner

    if the students knew about the first shootings someone may well have spotted the perp on his way in, people would have had the chance to do an internal reckoning on what they'd do if faced by a gun toting madman, they might have stayed home, or (heaven forbid) brought their own gun to school (imagine how this would have played out if but one student in one of the mowed down classrooms had a sidearm in their bookbag...)

    by being tardy in spreading the news, the VT braintrust didn't do anyone any favors

  • ||

    Lock down!?!? Now that's a scary thought. They could cancel classes, but I don't see how you could "lock down" 20,000 students you've just given a (fine spring) day off. Even if you could, I certainly don't want to live in a country where they do.

  • ||

    L_I_T,

    From what I heard, he had magazines with extra capacity. I heard 15 round clips or something like that...with 2 pistols, he might not have had to reload too many times. Then again, who knows...

  • ed||

    Random act of violence.
    Move along now.
    Nothing to be learned here.

  • ||

    A campus is a very different place than the heart of a city; you can't compare the two. It's usually somewhat isolated and self-contained - it's not unreasonable to expect it to be shut down after a murder. Which they did at the same campus a few weeks earlier, didn't they?
    Quoting someone (several said something like this..)
    But our campus is in the heart of a city, and something like this did happen about ten years ago (before I came to Wayne State)--there's a memorial in front of the Engineering building where it happened...
    Wayne State (like other large universities) is looking into emergency notification systems that would call cellphones and pagers, precisely for this reason, but such systems are expensive and complex (how often do students change their contact information, for example, and how do we get them to keep it up to date? What about professors and other staff?...)
    These are all difficult questions, and there are no clear answers, although ultimately someone's head will undoubtedly roll, deserved or not.

  • Diana Shington||

    This is from the NOKR website:

    NOKR Urges Registration on Registry in Wake of National Tragedy

    NOKR Communications Resource is Vital in Assisting the Injured, Connecting Loved Ones

    Washington D.C., April 17, 2006 - The Next of Kin Registry (NOKR), a national system designed to assist local and state agencies to access victims' emergency contacts in devastating tragedies, is urgently reminding the general public to register themselves and their loved ones on the free site. NOKR is working diligently with the Virginia Tech Police Department to provide emergency personnel with access to registrants' emergency contact information, during the aftermath of this tragic massacre.

    Giving officials and medical personnel a resource with which to contact family, friends and relatives in the aftermath of a emergency such as the massacre is vital to assisting the injured and assisting those in search of their loved ones' whereabouts.

    By giving emergency personnel fast and efficient access to an individual's emergency contacts, rescue personnel can rapidly obtain medical histories critical to saving lives. For families whose loved ones tragically died, not knowing compounds the catastrophe.

    "Our nation is devastated, our families are devastated. We send our prayers out to the families struck by this horrible and violent act and hope that our resources can assist the Virginia Tech Police Department in their communication efforts, " says Mark Cerney, NOKR President and Founder. "We urge Americans nationwide to register themselves and their loved ones."

    The Next of Kin Registry, the only registry of its kind worldwide and has served as a critical resource during hurricane, tornado and tsunami recovery efforts. NOKR continues its mission to better safeguard Americans via its secure database. With more than seven million registrants, NOKR secures its information via secure socket layer (SSL) to the NOKR registry at a separate secure location within the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC). This secured location is user name and password protected, made accessible only to approved law enforcement and emergency personnel.

    About NOKR
    The National Next Of Kin Registry (NOKR) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to bridging rapid emergency contact information. NOKR was established in January 2004, for daily emergency situations. NOKR is now listed on more than 88% of all State websites as a resource for the public and emergency agencies, including tips for flu pandemic preparedness. For more information please contact Harrison Heublein, Chief Operations Officer, at 1-800-915-5413.

    http://nokr.org

  • ||

    ok, how many rounds do a 9mm and 22 caliber hold? How many time would he have to reload to kill 31 people?


    Apparently, according to one witness the shooter appeared to be wearing a vest with multiple magazines of ammunition on it.

    One question is why someone that heavily armed was able to move around on campus without attracting some attention.

  • ||

    Things in Atlanta may be different Lost, I agree, and sorry for the quick snap. But I must say that for those who have interacted in VA Tech, while it is true that it has a lot of students it is very much still a "small town college town" type of place and when someone comes into a dorm blasting away and kills several people it is extraordinary in every sense. The administration is in my opinion almost grossly negligent here.
    I'm hoping everybody here knows enough about dorms to know that they are not barracks with hundreds of people just sitting in one room. They are like little apartment buildings. It would be much harder for a murderer to get as many people so quickly there as in one of those big, moviehouse style lecture auditoriums that dot Norris Hall. Also, from a criminal Justice perspective, having people locked down makes it much easier for the police to manage things and locate the problem. I'm not saying this solves all the problems, but I think any criminal justice expert would agree that this is a basic step you take...
    Thoreau, imagine its not a university, but a company, a alrge plant or company building with thousands of people working in it, or better yet an industrial complex with several businesses in one rather contained area. A person comes into the building, blasts away and several people are dead and several wounded. The perp is part of the community (a co-worker) and is unaccounted for. Surely you close down immediately, for both safety reasons and because, well, there has been a serious disruption of the community there (many people will know the victims for petes sake, I realize libertarians often believe that nothing is more sacred than working for the man to increase the worlds productivity {after a fair contracting process for sure} but come on!).

  • ||

    One question is why someone that heavily armed was able to move around on campus without attracting some attention.


    Actually I guess I can answer my own question, on second thought.

    It was cold an snowy wasn't it?

    Wouldn't have been to hard to conceal under a coat.

  • ||

    ok, how many rounds do a 9mm and 22 caliber hold?

    Depends. Typically a 9mm fullsize can hold in a flush magazine 15 rounds. However, I can put a 33 round mag into my glocks. Admittedly I can't shoot worth crap with that much weight, but I can do it. The stock mags for my CZ SP01 are 18 round.

    For the 22, it depends again. I'm not familiar with Ruger off the top of my head, but my Walther P22 holds 10 rounds. I'm assuming he used one of these types, and not a mouse pocket gun.

    How many time would he have to reload to kill 31 people?

    Depends on how many rounds it takes to kill the people. He killed 33 (incl himself) and I think somewhere around 30(?) are injured. This means at least, say, 65 rounds. Given that he put some into a door, and probably a 22 won't drop someone with one shot, say 100 to 150 rounds. This is 10 mags of a full size 9mm. I'm a pretty active shooter, I could probably scrounge up 8-10 magazines for one of my pistols if I tried hard enough (digging through my range bags, etc). With two pistols, its not near as hard, as my typical carry rig has one mag in the firearm, two at the hip, so I'm already at 45 for the 9mm just for starters.

    You didn't ask this, but yes, you can reload in under 2 sec especially if you're not concerned with mag retention. The 22 might be more difficult, as these typically aren't put together for rapid reloads. Sig P-230/232's and similar "Eurpoean Mag" type pistols are a bit slower also, due to the nature of how they function.

    The bottom line is that yes, one can shoot a lot of rounds quickly, though not as quickly as people make it sound if you haven't had training (at least not accurately). One can also kill a lot by driving down a crowded sidewalk. One can kill a number by an IED.

    CNN is blatently lying, btw. This is the THIRD worst massacre, not the biggest. The first was the arson in NY a few years ago, the second was the Bath School disaster, the third used to be the one in TX, but was usurped by this. I digress.

    A couple notes for the control freaks: IF the guy was a Chinese national, as is rumored, him owning a gun was illegal. The Brady Bunch won't tell you that, btw, that if this is true he ignored laws already in place. Further, the "lax guns laws" of Virginia which are being pasted all over are not so lax, and the permit laws require one to be at least 21, and the long gun procedure is exactly the same as MD (Merry Land), which is supposedly "tougher". It's a shame that people try to use a tradegy for political agendas, and a further tragedy that the same assholes who were responsible for making sure that there were no law abiding people inside who could make an attempt to return fire are the ones who now want to "do" something.

    It's a sad thing, especially for the parents who lost children. As a father of three, I don't really want to contemplate that reality. From a societal standpoint, the real tragedy is that people are going to hound the school, when what they should be doing is teaching their kids that there is no way the govt can protect them. This shooter killed 32 innocent people. While we don't know much about him, other than he is believed to be a student, let's assume that he'd had minimal training if any.

    I'm a reasonably good shot, handgun instructor, and have a background similar to what I read Mediageek posting last night. I can tell you that if I were faced with 15 people charging me from, say, 40 ft away, and I had two handguns, I don't believe I would win that. Sure, I'd take a few with me, but I don't believe I'd win that. Even with a shotgun and a handgun, I don't believe I'd win, and I'd have to be on the defensive to even have a chance. My instructor, I've seen him drop 8 metal plates in under 3 seconds from a holster, he might be able to do it, but that's a world class shooter with many years of experience. My point is that if even half the kids had reacted in an agressively defensive manner, this probably would not have been such a tragedy. Unfortunately, we are taught to let others do it, don't take care of yourself, etc.

    Hijacking got a lot more dangerous as an occupation post Sept 11, because people realized that being sheep didn't work. I would hope that this would trigger a similar reaction.

    Overseas reactions talk about our "gun culture", neglecting their own knife culture. It's about violence, not about tools. We should be focusing on what caused this young man's mind to misfire so badly that he considered this an acceptable solution to whatever problem he faced.

  • ||

    I'm a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I was raised around them, hunting and target shooting. I got a Savage Stevens 12 gauge pump shotgun for my 18th birthday. But there is an 800 pound gorilla hanging out here. People on this list are saying "well, these things just happen, you have 300 million people here and some are bound to be evil and every know and then..." But is that right? I mean, there are evil people in Paris and Rome but I rarely hear about such mass shootings there. It strikes me that in places where guns are scarce and hard to get that it is harder for a maniac to get one and go on a rampage (and where more lethal ones are scarce, then the rampages are not as deadly). To pretend otherwise seems dense to me. I've always held that more guns here certainly does mean that more people are hurt than would be if there were much fewer ones. I've always just thought that this mere fact does not mean that the 95% plus gun owners who own and use them in reponsible ways should not have something they enjoy and love taken away because of the abuse of a small minority. But this "well the availibilty of guns (or certain types) is in no way implicated here" seems hard to swallow to me...
    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html
    I don't pretend this to be scientific, it was one of the first that popped up on google. Perhaps we do not have the market on such lethal mass shootings, I'd be happy to be proven wrong here.

  • ||

    SHOOTER IDENTIFIED

    The individual has been identified as Cho Seung-Hui, 23. Cho was enrolled as an undergraduate student in his senior year as an English major at Virginia Tech. Cho, a South Korean native, was in the U.S. as a resident alien with a residence established in Centerville, Va. Cho was living on campus in Harper Residence Hall.

    http://www.vt.edu/tragedy/

  • ||

    It was cold an snowy wasn't it?

    If he was wearing a multipocket vest, he'd have to hide, say, 10 mags plus whatever was in the pistols to begin with. If it was half/half .22 and 9mm, that wouldn't be so hard. I could hide that many in cargo pants and have room to spare.

  • Tym||

    My condolences to all the family members of victims.

  • ||

    "It's a shame that people try to use a tradegy for political agendas"

    Yes, it is. Hearing people brag about how they would have saved everyone if they'd been there with their gun, and how the university and legislature are responsible for the deaths, has been sickeningly common in the aftermath of this tragedy.

  • Jennifer||

    Hearing people brag about how they would have saved everyone if they'd been there with their gun, and how the university and legislature are responsible for the deaths, has been sickeningly common in the aftermath of this tragedy.

    I'll go out on a limb and speculate that hearing people insist the tragedy could have been avoided if only Virginia had stiffer anti-gun laws will be pretty common, too.

    The shooter wouldn't have done this had he known he'd get in big trouble for carrying a gun to school, no doubt.

  • ||

    There is a policy of gun prohibition on all US campuses. Everyone that was on VA Tech, and everyone that is on the grounds of every college in the US is putting their self defense in the unable hands of the government.

    If just one of the students had taken his personal defense into his own hands. If one of the students were carrying a firearm, that would mean that he had made the conscious decision that he was responsible for his own life.

    If one of the students had decided that day to carry a firearm he probably would have understood that his life is in his hands as much or more than it is in the hands of any law enforcement official.

    If one of the students had done that, this tragedy might have been averted.

    There is no task of a police officer that is not the duty of every law abiding citizen. For it to be otherwise would mean we are subjects, not citizens.

  • ||

    "I'll go out on a limb and speculate that hearing people insist the tragedy could have been avoided if only Virginia had stiffer anti-gun laws will be pretty common, too."

    Ya THINK?!?

    Not much a limb there, Jennifer.

  • ||

    Ken | April 17, 2007, 9:32am

    Australia, Britain and Canada, all with extremely tough handgun possession laws going back to the 20s and 30s, have all have shootings on this scale before. So has Switzerland with its "lax" gun laws.

    They have responded by tightening the laws and assert that this will take care of things. I'm not sure that considering the rarity of these events that it is not just too soon to tell.

    Italy which has strict gun laws has at different times had a terrible problem with armed robberies. The Lexan shields to separate bank tellers from customers that appeared here after 9/11 were commonplace there in the early 90s as were machine gun toting guards on the mail carts in railroad stations.

  • Ramsey||

    Judging by his facebook page this man was a shining beacon of religious intolerance and an all around s**t head to boot.

    Wikipedia had a screen shot of his page, but I can't find it now. He is in a picture holding 8 or so SKSs (Chinese assault rifles) and hif favorite quote saw "but they can't marry, THEIR FAGGOTS"

    Looks like a real winner who would have been at home in any crackpot organization in the world.

  • Jennifer||

    Ya THINK?!? Not much a limb there, Jennifer.

    Yet stiffer than the one on which you perch, I daresay.

  • Ramsey||

    Wow, sorry about the typos up there. Tried to save a minute and lost my credibility.

  • Archie Bunker||

    If guns were illegal he just would have pushed 30 people out of windows.

  • ||

    Jennifer,

    Do I actually have to explain what the term "going out on a limb" means to a former English teacher?

    Saying "that's not much of a limb" means that your statement isn't much of a stretch.

    Which limb am I perched on, in your mind, again?

  • ||

    You know, I have to admit to being a tad surprised at all the finger-pointing at the cops and VT bureaucracy.

    The authorities absolutely cannot protect you.

    Nor are they legally obligated to do so.

    In an event like this YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.

  • ||

    The guy was an English major, attacking an engineering department. Besides the fact that he was clinically psycho, do engineers have more to fear now?

  • ||

    mediageek,

    The SWAT could have saved them. Too bad they were busting down a pothead's door at the time.

  • ||

    "It's a shame that people try to use a tradegy for political agendas"

    Yes, it is. Hearing people brag about how they would have saved everyone if they'd been there with their gun, and how the university and legislature are responsible for the deaths, has been sickeningly common in the aftermath of this tragedy.


    Hate to say it, but the political response from the pro-rights camp is one that's been forced on us. I would really prefer not to have this debate at all, but quite frankly, every time one of these tragedies occur, the anti-gun side do nothing but bleat and scream about how these sorts of tragedies are my fault.

    As a responsible gun-owner, I hope you might understand how I'd feel compelled to respond to such bigotry.

  • ||

    Wah wah wah.

    You are never "forced" to exploit people's deaths. You choose to.

    All you've done, mediageek, is lay out your motive.

  • English Major||

    Be afraid.

  • ||

    @monsters:
    Armchair generals aren't generals at all

    Are they armchairs?

  • Other Matt||

    Yes, it is. Hearing people brag about how they would have saved everyone if they'd been there with their gun, and how the university and legislature are responsible for the deaths, has been sickeningly common in the aftermath of this tragedy.

    I didn't do that, Joe. I said that had the crowd rushed him, I don't believe he would have won. Had someone been armed, there is the possibility they would have acted. The school admin made sure that wouldn't be the case, though, unfortunately.

  • ||

    Joe, how am I exploiting anyone's death?

  • ||

    Wah wah wah.

    You are never "forced" to exploit people's deaths. You choose to.


    Joe-what he's saying is that we get the inevitable hand wringing about stiffer gun laws. The latest I read said this guy has a reciept in his backpack for a March purpose. So, ignoring he committed about 32 capital offenses for the moment, he:

    1) Purchased a firearm legally in accordance with current laws. If via a licensed dealer, which I would say is probable given the recipt, then he has passed a background check. VA does require them, in spite of "lax" laws. Although there is no waiting period in VA, if it was March it was at least two weeks ago, longer than most waiting periods.
    2) Brought it on campus, a violation of other rules.
    3) Filed off serial numbers, further against the law.
    4) Carried it, which may or may not be against the law if he had a permit. If not, and it was presumably concealed, this was a violation.

    So, given that he completely ignored what we have already, in addition to the murders, it would make little sense to believe that another gun prohibition law would change things.

    Yet, we hear it. We hear it in spades, with distortions of the truth like CNN broadcasting that Virginia allows out of state purchasers to buy long guns same day. They don't mention that MD, WV, PA, and I believe NC all do the same. It's a function of being adjacent states and the same background checks. This is why we get upset.

  • Jennifer||

    Joe, before lecturing me on the meaning of metaphor, dig out your old English notebook and look up the lessons on "irony" and "sarcasm." My, my, aren't you shocked to discover that gun-rights people are getting upset over the Tech incident? It's almost like we view it as a failure of the safety benefits of gun control or something.

    Joe, how am I exploiting anyone's death?

    Mediageek, you're pointing out, or at least implying, an example of how anti-gun laws shockingly fail to preserve the lives of the people they presumably protect. That is very exploitative. Remember how Joe used to exploit the lack of WMDs in Iraq to suggest that the whole war was bullshit? Same thing.

  • sweatband man||

    We need to take time to love on those that are not at the top of the social chain. We may never truly know the motive behind such horrific actions that the killer uses to justify his or her means. However when the downtrodden and socially uncool are are excepted I believe a major motive is removed.
    http://www.hollywoodsquared.com/

  • ||

    "This is the THIRD worst massacre, not the biggest. The first was the arson in NY a few years ago, the second was the Bath School disaster, the third used to be the one in TX, but was usurped by this. I digress."

    If you are going to be pedantic, be accurate.

    Bath was a bombing. And the 45 dead does not surpass Oklahoma City at 168 deaths. I am sure there have been many arsons that have killed more than 32.

    When the news reports this as the single worst GUN massacre they are right.... 23 at a Luby's in 1991 was the old record.

  • ||

    We need to take time to love on those that are not at the top of the social chain.

    This is undoubtedly true, but how will bukkake help reduce gun violence?

  • ||

    Just a couple of thoughts:

    As a university administrator, this is my absolute worst nightmare. The reason is that there's just no way you can prepare for it and no assurance that any action you take is the right one. I can completely understand why the VT admin didn't cancel class after the shooting. That's a logistical nightmare and they made the judgment that immediate threat was over. Yes, they were wrong, but no one could imagine what happened next.

    Alerting 26,000 students to a class cancellation is hugely challenging. As the president said, they didn't even want to send an email until they had as much accurate info as possible. We face that dilemma all the time in much less serious situations: we're damned if we wait too long and damned if we react quickly with bad information and/or overly scary info. Finessing those waters is always a challenge.

    I AM sympathetic to the arguments that one armed person anywhere in the vicinity might have reduced the carnage. Of course as several folks have noted, US college campuses are gun-free zones. Is that a good idea? In the long run, maybe, maybe not. Do we prevent more problems with such a rule than we cause? Maybe. I know I'd be concerned knowing that lots of drunk college students had access to firearms. But the cost is the inability to stop what happened yesterday.

    Finally, the great beauty of college campuses is that they are open, accessible places. I frankly don't think there's ANY way you can stop a madman with a gun short of turning colleges into prison camps, which would destroy them. Part of living in a free and open society is that we accept the risk of the madman acting.

    Personally, I prefer to live in that free and open society and tolerate the risk of events like yesterday than to live under constant surveillance. The price of total security is giving up way too much liberty.

  • LarryA||

    CNN is blatantly lying, btw. This is the THIRD worst massacre, not the biggest. The first was the arson in NY a few years ago, the second was the Bath School disaster, the third used to be the one in TX, but was usurped by this. I digress.

    The reporter that does the research reports that this is the worst shooting. The one who picks up the story assumes the worst shooting must be the worst massacre.

    Australia, Britain and Canada, all with extremely tough handgun possession laws going back to the 20s and 30s, have all have shootings on this scale before. So has Switzerland with its "lax" gun laws.

    Plus, Germany had two in 2002 and one in 2006. The Netherlands had one in 1999 and one in 2004. The Russian school shooting in 2004 left 330, mostly children, dead.

    The three worst public shootings in the Western world during the past year (2002) all occurred in Europe, whose gun laws are exactly what gun-control advocates want the U.S. to adopt. Indeed, all three occurred in gun-free "safe zones."
    (http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=105002026)



    Israel used to have school shootings, until they armed teachers.

  • ||

    Other Matt,

    I didn't say you did. I was thinking more the conservative talk shows and blogs I've seen. I don't deny that the gun control side has been doing it as well, just pointing out that such exploitation of the tragedy isn't exclusive to the side you happen to oppose.

    mediageek,

    You're waiving their bloody shirts to argue for your preferred political position on gun control.

  • ||

    Joe, my response is purely reactionary to the cries for more gun control that occur in the wake of every tragedy like this.

    I'm not the one blaming a US subculture for the carnage. (Not that you necessarily are, but the anti-gun movement is all over this already.)

    Also, you'll note that nowhere have I stated absolutely that liberal concealed carry would have prevented this, but there is evidence both statistical and anecdotal that certainly points in that direction.

    But then maybe I'm just blinded or something.

  • ||

    mediageek,

    "Joe, my response is purely reactionary to the cries for more gun control that occur in the wake of every tragedy like this."

    I can find pleny of gun-control-supporting bloggers who are using the same argument - every time one of these things happens, the gun nuts start talking about arming everyone, so I'm forced to respond.

    "I'm not the one blaming a US subculture for the carnage." I'm not sure if supporters of gun control count as a "sub-culture," but they have certainly been blamed for this. If I've read such blame into your comments about concealed carry, I hope you can understand why.

    As for being "blinded," there is evidence pointing in both directions. It isn't blind to notice that there is evidence to support one of them, only to fail to notice that the evidence is weak and conflicting.

  • ||

    I should have been more clear. By subculture I meant gun culture. After one of these events, the anti-gun movement always always blame the gun culture.

    As I said before, I'm tired of being the political whipping boy for the actions of others.

  • Dave W.||

    As I said before, I'm tired of being the political whipping boy for the actions of others.

    Don't become a lawyer then.

  • ||

    "As for being "blinded," there is evidence pointing in both directions. It isn't blind to notice that there is evidence to support one of them, only to fail to notice that the evidence is weak and conflicting."

    Joe, nowhere have I stated that liberalized concealed carry would have prevented this tragedy. But even the slim chance that someone would have been legally carrying on that day, in that location is still better than no chance at all.

    That's a far cry from the claims of gun control organizations who claim that this tragedy wouldn't have occurred if only their prohibitionist policies were in place.

  • ||

    I can find pleny of gun-control-supporting bloggers who are using the same argument - every time one of these things happens, the gun nuts start talking about arming everyone, so I'm forced to respond.

    Umm, nobody's talking about arming everyone. Just about giving people the freedom to decide whether to arm themselves.

  • Asharak||

    I think jon nailed it.

  • ||

    Shooter home address
    Cho, Sung T more info
    14713 Truitt Farm Dr
    Centreville, VA 20120-5411
    (703) 815-8215

    Neighbourhood
    Shash, Abudulrhman 703.803-8332
    Map 14715 Truitt Farm Dr
    Centreville, VA 20120
    Abudulrhman Shash
    14715 Truitt Farm Dr
    Centreville, VA 20120-5411
    703-803-8332


    Marshall A & Doris Main
    14708 Truitt Farm Dr
    Centreville, VA 20120-5407
    (703) 266-8564
    Main, Marshall L. 703.266-8564
    Map 14708 Truitt Farm Dr
    Centreville, VA 20120

  • ||

    he was a vicious little gook, wasnt he?

  • Guy Montag||

    mediageek,

    It does not even have to be an event like this. Remember OKC? All sorts of cries about it being why we need more gun control.

    No I never figured out those flakes. the closest to anything lucid was "those people (like Tim Mcveigh) like guns".

    Cue the flakes who think Cho needed a hug and then he would not have "expressed himself" with a gun.

  • ||

    Hey! Clean-up in comment 119683.html#682092 !

  • ||

    Aw geez, mediageek, you sure picked a tewwibly insensitive time to respond to attacks on your rights. Tsk tsk tsk tsk.

    I can find pleny of gun-control-supporting bloggers who are using the same argument - every time one of these things happens, the gun nuts start talking about arming everyone, so I'm forced to respond.

    The gun-controllers are forced to defend their right ... not to be armed?

  • X: THC||

    Question Marks...

    "This didn't have to happen", Cho Seung-Hui said, after brutally murdering thirty-two people at Virginia Tech University.

    And this terrible tragedy of sons, daughters, mothers and fathers didn't have to happen, if we'd only listened.

    But we never listen.

    We never listen to those that are different from us- the outcasts, the lonely, the homeless, the ones that are unspoken for. We don't try to understand. We shun them and put them out of our minds because of our fear that we will become like them.

    And these people become more and more lonely and alienated in their isolation.

    Words like "creep", "deranged misfit" and "psycho" devalue this killer's humanity so we don't have to face how similar he is to us. Cries of "how could he have been stopped" are uttered by media quick to sensationalize and gain market share, when the words "how could he have been listened to" are never considered.

    Because we don't want to listen.

    We don't want to hear about loneliness and alienation when we're all so busy with our lives, making money and making friends. And the unpopular, the ones that don't fit in, the lonely ones are ignored or made fun of because we don't care to understand anything about them.

    As a boy, Cho Seung-Hui "was picked on, pushed around and laughed at over his shyness" (Associated Press). When he started college, according to the Guardian, "his mother took his dormitory mates to one side to explain about her son's unusual character and implored them to help."

    And he clearly needed help, devaluing himself so much that he called himself "Question Mark".

    There are more "Question Marks" out there. There are millions of them. And if we don't listen to them, they will follow the same path again and again, because people are not connecting. We are becoming more and more disconnected from each other, creating more and more "Question Marks" every day.

    Most "Question Marks" don't become murderers. Some just kill themselves. Most harm no one and live just as we do, needing antidepressants to appear what we call "normal". They may be someone you know, someone you love.

    This "Question Mark" was once a little boy, who cried, and smiled and loved, He wanted to fit in just like you and I. But that desire to fit in transformed itself into anger towards a society that shunned and ignored him.

    How many more times will we shun and ignore the one that doesn't fit in, the one in the corner, the one that's different? When all we have to do is listen, before it's too late.

    But we won't.

    Thirty-two human beings who did not know Cho Seung-Hui were murdered.
    They were sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, with dreams of futures that will never come and children that will never be born. The thirty-two leave behind people that love them. People that are now scarred for life by this horrible day of death.

    To most of us that have not been directly involved, this tragedy will become a memory and fade like all the others that came before.

    And the "Question Marks" will appear with more frequency, again and again, because we don't listen.

    We never do.


    ---------------


    http://www.x-thc.com

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