Crime

A Blacksburg Thought

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Or two.

To check my perfect 20/20 hindsight on the matter of a more pro-active response to the morning's first double murder, I tried to think of what the response would be to such an event at a large shopping mall or a theme park.

And I really couldn't convince myself that officials in charge in either of those two examples would not immediately move to lock down the area to the greatest extent possible.

Going forward, I would also like to know how and when the university's police special response team responded. Also, did depending on the campus wifi laptop grid to communicate events to students downplay the danger?

Many questions to be answered and, yes—like some horrific sitcom—lessons to be learned.

NEXT: Jeff Flake: Communist

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  1. Should 20,000 or more people stop what they’re doing and go behind closed doors every time there’s a murder?

    If so, then life will grind to a halt in some urban areas.

    It may very well be that a mall would respond that way, but these responses aren’t done because they’re likely to have an effect. They’re done to show that “somebody is doing something”, even though the cases where it will actually do some good are exceedingly rare.

    Besides, don’t most killers flee the scene of the crime and dispose of evidence rather than going on a subsequent spree?

  2. What thoreau said. The morning murders looked to be domestic violence. The comparison to mall and theme park is unapt.

  3. Jeff –

    Stop. Breathe. Think.

    What do you mean by “immediately lock down the area”? I am not the shooter. You mean I can’t move myself to someplace I might consider safer? Nobody moves anywhere?

    Don’t fall into the “SOMEBODY MUST DO SOMETHING” mindset or you become another part of the problem.

    CB

  4. A site that routinely pooh-poohs and mocks Homeland Security’s anti-terrorism efforts can hardly fault VA Tech’s security apparatus. We’re not a police state. Remember?

  5. I’m not sure college = mall or theme park. Those are sealed-off areas anyway. Maybe it’s just my personal experience at an urban school, but locking down a college would seem to be comparable to locking down a few dozen blocks in a city, which does not happen in response to a shooting.

  6. We need more data.

  7. So the official assumptions made by officials that morning — including entertaining the radical assumption that the double murder was a murder-SUICIDE — are meaningless?

    Are our standards and expectations of government officials so low that we do not even expect them to think?

  8. Theme parks and malls have well-defined entrances and exits that can be easily closed. Virginia Tech is a sprawling, open campus much bigger than all but the biggest theme parks.

    I’m very reluctant to second guess it–there was a shooting around the corner from my apartment with no shooter apprehended and I was able to freely go in and out of my apartment.

    Do you assume every murder is going to be a mass killing until proven otherwise, or do you go with the most likely possibility until proven otherwise? I certainly don’t live the rest of my life like that.

  9. The morning murders looked to be domestic violence. The comparison to mall and theme park is unapt.

    I think it’s a fair analogy. Domestic violence frequently occurs in public places. People who kill their spouse/significant other, often kill themselves. And most people that plan on dying have no qualms about killing innocent bystanders.

  10. thoreau,

    Me too.

    Same with some of the other comments.

    I could understand evacuating a portion of a building after 2 murders (if needed) so that the investigation can begin, but the whole campus? How about the whole town or county?

    A couple of years ago there was a murder of a man in his car on US Rt. 1 in Arlington, VA. One victim, blood trail towards a hotel, one bloody car with DC tags. Of course the shooter was “still on the loose” but any effort to evacuate Crystal City or the surrounding buildings would have been an overreaction.

    Too bad the Commonwealth rejected a bill to allow some concealed carry permit holders to carry on campuses. IIRC, there was an incident at another VA school not that long ago where the shooter was stopped after someone got his pistol from the car and confronted the man, but I don’t remember enough about it to give many details (if what I already wrote is even correct).

  11. Joe,

    “locking down” the VT campus would take more than most people realize…and it certainly would not have been possible in the 2 hours in between incidents. Unlike a fucking theme park or mall, the 2500+ acre campus isn’t surrounded by a big fence or wall. One side is bounded by a large park/wooded area with a golf course next to that, which eventually unfolds into corn fields. The other end of the campus directly abuts the town of Blacksburg, between which there is no clear barrier. Another side unfolds into residential neighborhoods, while yet another keeps going to an airport, then, again, into homes and fields.

    People have no concept of “locking down” this campus. Comparing it to a goddamned MALL shows Jeff’s ignorance.

  12. A mall and a theme park are also enclosed areas, which a large college campus decidedly isn’t.

  13. Give Jeff a break here. It’s a perfectly valid question to ask, and reason through.

  14. Comparing Tech’s campus to a mall isn’t reasoned through, because it’s obvious that Jeff hasn’t even bothered to do a little looking into how big the campus is, and the conditions surrounding it.

  15. Discussion of the university’s response has already been fouled up by the media’s (not meaning to single out Jeff here) creation of a false dilemma: do nothing vs. “lock down.” Obviously you can’t really lock down a university. Universities don’t have perimeter fences, security checkpoints, limited entrances, etc. To speak of a lock down in such a setting is vague at best.

    IMHO, based on what little I know so far, the university administration should have made an announcement (via email and whatever other means they had available), as soon as it became evident that the first shooting was not definitely a murder-suicide, that a shooting had occurred on campus and that the shooter was believed to be still at large. And maybe include that classes are canceled for the day.

    That approach would at least have let students know that the situation was not normal. They could then decide on their own how best to handle themselves.

    Disclaimer: I don’t mean to say that the university should be liable for damages. It’s too soon to reach an opinion on that. It just seems that the administration’s response could have been improved upon.

  16. I don’t blame the cops for not shutting down the campus. What did they know at the time? They had what appeared to be a horrible domestic love triangle murder in the dorm. There was no reason to believe that the murderer was going to go bizerk and kill 30 more people. As Evan points out above VT is a huge campus with probably hundreds of entrances and exits and the cops didn’t even know if the guy was on campus. Moreover, who is to say that a lock down might have created more danger for the campus by preventing the murderer from leaving the campus and creating a confrontation on campus where there might not otherwise have been one? The fact is the police had no idea where the guy was or what he was going to do. Even if you could have stopped people from coming to campus, hell the guy might have gone crazy in an off campus apartment building shooting people who would have otherwise been safe had they gone to class as usual. You just don’t know.

  17. And most people that plan on dying have no qualms about killing innocent bystanders.

    are you sure about that?

    I don’t see it

    a psycho’s willingness to die (because some bitch done him wrong) doesn’t often segue into a willingness to go on an indiscriminate fish-in-a-barrel shooting spree of innocent bystanders

    thank goodness

  18. “Also, did depending on the campus wifi laptop grid to communicate events to students downplay the danger?”

    Perhaps…but if there’s a better way to disseminate a common message to 35,000 people as quickly as was necessary, I’d love to hear it.

    Also, from what Steger says, they also broadcast the message on the emergency weather band.

  19. Cereal. Jeff’s suggestion struck me as moonbat crazy at first. But the more I think about it the more WTF!? it becomes. How does anybody think that sort of WAY WAY over the top (not to mention, completely impossible) response is appropriate?

    Let’s confine the trolls to the comments section please.

  20. At the very least, VT could have made sure the locks on classroom doors were actually functioning…

  21. What do you mean by “immediately lock down the area”? I am not the shooter. You mean I can’t move myself to someplace I might consider safer? Nobody moves anywhere?

    Good point.

    Let’s say that, from now on, every murder is followed by a general disruption of activity in the general vicinity, in response to an announcement that “Authorities do not know at this time whether the killer is on a spree, and urge everybody in the area to stay in a secure location and avoid going outside.” At first everybody will comply. But over time the warnings will lose their sting. People will get on with life.

    Which is fine, except for the next part:

    Some day, the authorities will learn of a shooting where they really do have good reason to believe that the killer is on a spree. That information will be ignored.

    There are circumstances where a general disruption of activity is the best course of action. But if that course of action is always urged, regardless of the information (or lack thereof) then when that information is available it will be ignored.

  22. Give Jeff a break here. It’s a perfectly valid question to ask, and reason through.

    No, it’s Tuesday-morning quarterbacking. And it proves once again why sometimes old (print) media get the story right while blogs get it wrong but fast.

  23. This is, of course, the Reason doctrine of hindsight-based security.

    1. If some poorly paid security official overreacts to a perceived threat, you mock the actions of such silly government goons.

    2. On the few occasions where such overreactions may have actually been beneficial but didn’t occur, you wonder why the hell the silly government goons didn’t overreact.

    I guess all we’re asking of police and others is to act perfectly with imperfect information. What’s so hard about that?

  24. Let’s say that, from now on, every murder is followed by a general disruption of activity in the general vicinity, in response to an announcement that “Authorities do not know at this time whether the killer is on a spree, and urge everybody in the area to stay in a secure location and avoid going outside.” At first everybody will comply. But over time the warnings will lose their sting. People will get on with life.”

    The other problem is who is to say that staying where you are makes you safer? If the guy really is on a rampage, doesn’t encouraging everyone to stay where they are just leave them as targets for him? Staying put in the engineering lab didn’t help the people in this case. Ultimately, if the guy is on a rampage the only way to make things safe is to find him and stop him, telling people to stay where they are doesn’t necessarily help in that.

  25. “At the very least, VT could have made sure the locks on classroom doors were actually functioning…”

    Yeah, because I’m sure the first thing on the mind of the dudes down at Physical Plant was “I wonder what would happen if some crazy bastard went on the worst rampage in US history in Norris Hall and the students had to barricade themselves in the classrooms…dang, we better put locks on them doors!” That’s some damn fine hindsight you got there. But in the normal world, where nobody could have ever predicted the need for said barricade; in the normal world, classroom doors don’t need to be locked.

    You know what other hindsightful action would have saved some lives? Armed robot guards at every classroom door. Dang, Tech, why didn’t have armed robot guards!?

  26. ed, Brian C,

    He’s just asking questions. You don’t think we should look at what happened and try to learn from it?

  27. FYI — just out from the W$J:

    A Virginia Tech student from South Korea was behind the massacre of at least 30 people, the university said. The Virginia Tech Police Department identified him as Cho Seung-Hui, 23, a senior in the English department. “There’s no evidence” of an accomplice, but police are exploring the possibility that the shooter received assistance.

  28. A Virginia Tech student from South Korea was behind the massacre of at least 30 people, the university said. The Virginia Tech Police Department identified him as Cho Seung-Hui, 23, a senior in the English department. “There’s no evidence” of an accomplice, but police are exploring the possibility that the shooter received assistance.

    Not only will talking heads and politicians start blabbering about gun control (pro or con), violent video games, and our low brow culture. Now anti-immigration nuts will get in the mix.

  29. The real problem is English majors.

  30. I’m with Brian Carnell. Although there are doubtless many abuses, law enforcement too often gets called goons when they overreact, incompetent when they underreact. If only we had hosts of omnipotent angels watching over us.

  31. “He’s just asking questions. You don’t think we should look at what happened and try to learn from it?”

    Undoubtedly. But asking unrealistic questions like “how come they didn’t lock down the 2500+ acre rural campus” doesn’t really help. There’s not much we can learn from comparing VT’s campus to a fucking shopping mall or Six Flags.

    I’m all for asking questions and learning from the experiences, but let’s not let wild speculation and inapt comparisons cloud that process.

  32. joe,

    Jeff asked — then answered — the questions:

    I really couldn’t convince myself that officials in charge in either of those two examples would not immediately move to lock down the area to the greatest extent possible.

    We’re commenting on his answer, not his question.

  33. I guess my biggest question isn’t “why didn’t they lock down the campus after the first two murders”, but “what was the police response when the real mass killings began.”

    I vividly recall a sea of blue standing around outside Columbine while the killers went about their work. I have a sick feeling the same thing happened here.

    I have a concealed carry permit. I don’t often carry because my work takes me in and out of hospitals where I can’t carry. BUT . . . if I was armed, I don’t know how I could live with myself if I stood outside a building, where students were getting shot, listening to the gun shots, without going in. I’m no Rambo, but I think I would have better than even odds of killing him before he killed me.

    Maybe the cops were in that building hunting the fucker down right off the bat, but it doesn’t look that way right now. And if they weren’t, they should all be fired.

  34. The students who barricaded themselves in rooms reported hearing the police outside in the halls – that is, within the building going after the guy – within mimutes of the first shots.

    If there were cops hanging around outside, too, it’s because more of them roaming the halls wouldn’t have accomplished anything, and would have increased the chances of mis-identifications.

  35. RC Dean – why can’t you carry in a hospital?

    CB

  36. almost all hospitals i’ve ever heard of ban weapons, outside of those carried by police.

  37. What we need is easier access to more and dealier guns of all types. That’ll solve the problem.

  38. but I think I would have better than even odds of killing him before he killed me.

    Or killing another RCD type who was also trying to kill the shooter.

    Remember, it would not just be the shooter gunning for you, but any other concealed carry person or LEO in the area. You might catch 5 different bullets from 5 different directions.

    The whole dynamic would be different than you seem to be imagining.

  39. why can’t you carry in a hospital?

    Because hospitals are heavy!

  40. The convulsive gun banners are at it again. Notice that at Wikipedia, some doofus has done something to make it impossible to remove or edit at all an extremely biased section. Just try it yourself. The biased section will not appear at all in the edit text. I carefully bracketed it, and it appears nowhere in any edit windows, nor does it seem possible to even mark it as opposed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shooting

  41. Remember, it would not just be the shooter gunning for you, but any other concealed carry person or LEO in the area. You might catch 5 different bullets from 5 different directions.

    That’s not correct. It pretty much every massacre where armed non-police took on the murderer(s), there has been no fratricide.

    Mainly because it is clear who is actively shooting, and who is responding.

  42. Well, how about the response if it were a device of questionable nature and the police reacted by blocking areas off in a seemingly haphazard manner causing general disruptions and panic?

    If the Boston model is used by ANYBODY in the media for this event then their writing of the Moonianites(sp?) needs to be examined too.

    No, this is not a comment about the author of this post at all, it is a “head ’em off at the pass” comment for the “lockdown” crowd.

  43. dhex – A hospital can no more “ban a weapon” that the State has said you can carry, than it can tell you that you can’t congregate freely, or speak… or whatever. Hospitals can’t make laws.

    Or am I confused?

    Rich Ard… VERY funny. Thanks!

    CB

  44. That’s not correct. It pretty much every massacre where armed non-police took on the murderer(s), there has been no fratricide.

    Mainly because it is clear who is actively shooting, and who is responding.

    Pat Tillman took 3 in tha dome.

    What have you got.

  45. Interesting thought for the grist mill that I asked elsewhere a month ago:

    The notion that a bad person is somehow limited in the damage they can do by the lack of guns kind of cracked me up.
    It would be an interesting to see an analysis of crime rates in some society as a function of weapons technology. For example, in the ancient Roman empire, crime was pretty high, even setting aside the enslavement of entire populations by armies armed with shortswords, lances, and some pretty weak artillery.
    Handguns made their appearance about the time of the violent wars between protestants and Catholics in France. It seems to me (and this is an impression and not based on systematic research) that the advent of the musket and the hand-gun marked the high-water mark of routine state violence. Since then, the violent massacres then seem to be visited by well-armed groups of people upon poorly armed victims.
    To me, the theoretical explanation for such a reduction is clear. It only takes a little training to allow someone to defend themselves credibly with a gun or rifle, it takes much more training to use a sword or spear effectively.
    I studied Kung Fu for many years, and it was only with daily practice with a sword or knife that I had any chance of using them effectively.
    One can practice once a month with a gun, and maintain a high degree of proficiency.
    This difference means that in a primitively armed society, the violent criminals have a much greater advantage in a fight over their victims than in a well-armed society. When I was in good form, put me with a group of 10 novices in a gymnasium (with room to maneuver), and there was a good chance that I could have killed them all with a sword, even if we were equally armed.
    Arm everyone with firearms, and the advantage would be with the novices.
    It seems to me that a firearm is a boon to society in that, in contrast to the weapons that preceeded it, it could be mastered by a person who had to work for a living. It allowed a tradesman to defend himself against a professional soldier or aristocrat.
    Personally, I am happier with the thought of living amongst armed neighbors; I maintain good relations with them, and who knows, if I am caught by surprise one of them could possibly defend me. If I was on bad terms with my neighbors, having them disarmed would not be a comfort; a homicidal neighbor could simply burn my house down – no gun required.

  46. dhex – A hospital can no more “ban a weapon” that the State has said you can carry, than it can tell you that you can’t congregate freely, or speak… or whatever. Hospitals can’t make laws.

    The laws usually have something in there about building management being able to set policies. In VA a landlord can not prevent a tennant from legally owning or carrying on their property, but the person leasing the property can.

  47. What can be learned from comparing this disaster to a similar occurrence to similar at a theme park or shopping mall in Virgina is that in those places legally armed citizens would have stopped the maniac before he’d executed 32 people.

    A proposed law that would have clarified that the college administration is not entitled to create a victim-disarmament zone in contravention of state firearms law recently died in committee in the VA legislature. If you’re looking for the culpability of the VT administration in this mess, I’d start there.

  48. Dave W,

    Pat Tillman was killed in a combat zone by .50 caliber machine gun. Yeah, fratricides happen, in the Army where thousands of people are carrying weapons that are profoundly deadly. That is a completely different situation than someone using a gun to defend themselves from one loan shooter here at home. I can off the top of my head name one case, the Law School one in Southwest Virginia, where someone being armed probably saved dozens of lives. Please name one case where someone defending themselves shot a bystander? Further, even if there was one case, isn’t it possible that that risk is outweighed by the benefit of having a chance to stop some lunatic?

  49. Since I was one of the people wondering why the campus wasn’t “locked down”, some comments. First, some caveats. As everyone’s already noted, this is very early and facts are confused. Also, I fully expect all official parties to engage in serious ass-covering, which will further confuse figuring out who knew what and when and what should have been done.

    Classes were cancelled at Va. Tech last year, when a man escaped from a nearby hospital jail ward, killed his guard and killed a Sheriff’s officer who had spotted him near the campus. Authorities had no problem informing everyone that classes were cancelled and going building to building to try and find the guy.

    In this instance, at least two people were shot in a dorm, and neither the shooter, nor the weapon were recovered at the scene. Nevertheless, few warnings were issued and no attempt was made to cancel classes. I understand that it’s difficult, if not impossible to secure such a space. It’s a lot harder than for a theme park or mall, so perhaps those examples aren’t applicable.

    Cancelling classes would seem a lot easier. When I was in college, it would seem natural for a double shooting in a dorm to lead to classes being cancelled, not for any safety reason but out of respect for the dead, “allowing time for the campus community to come together in grief”, etc…(I went to undergrad in the Bay Area, if that helps). Have we become so used to this that a double homicide at our school just becomes water cooler fodder and an annoyance? (“jeez, what’s all the police tape around Bancroft for? Will this bump our exam?”—things I could easily see myself saying at the time.)

    I wonder if Va. Tech’s reticence to cancel classes has anything to do with the previous incidents disrupting classes(bomb threats) in the prior two weeks?

    Thoreau, you work in academia. Your university wouldn’t have cancelled classes or at least sent out an e-mail, under the circa 7:30 a.m. facts we’ve learned this far? Certainly, my grad school cancelled classes for less pressing reasons. (faculty member received envelope w/ white powder, just after 9/11; everyone went bat shit, cipro for everyone in the office.)

    jp’s second/third paragraphs makes the most sense to me: IMHO, based on what little I know so far, the university administration should have made an announcement (via email and whatever other means they had available), as soon as it became evident that the first shooting was not definitely a murder-suicide, that a shooting had occurred on campus and that the shooter was believed to be still at large. And maybe include that classes are canceled for the day.

    That approach would at least have let students know that the situation was not normal. They could then decide on their own how best to handle themselves.

    I’m not sure how you prevent something like this, if indeed it is possible in this country. The policy of allowing existing CCW permit holders to continue carry on campus, makes the most sense to me. As mediageek and LarryA have quoted, the crime rate from CCW holders is dramatically below the median. Most college students would be ineligible for CCW, being under 21, but certainly the TAs and profs would qualify. I’m not saying that concealed carry would have stopped this tragedy, but it may have mitigated it. I acknowledge that those chances of mitigation are incredibly small.

    So what do we do to prevent this sort of thing happening again? Finals and dissertation deadlines are coming up after all, and it’s easy to imagine some loser wanting to copy this tragedy.

  50. If the shooter was South Korean then he most likely had military training before coming to the US. SK is one of those countries that requires universal male military service.

    So he wasn’t your run of the mill college student hopped up on video games and loud music. đŸ™‚

  51. By your logic Dave W, maybe the cops shouldn’t have guns. If there is such a great danger of R.C. killing a bystander if he defends himself that we should not allow him to have a gun, then isn’t that same danger there for the cops? Don’t tell me training prevents the risk, there are lots of cases where cops killed people accidentily in SWAT raids. Wouldn’t you have to agree that it is better for the cops not to have guns and avoid the risk of them shooting a bystander? If it is true for RC why not for cops?

  52. What have you got.

    Well, click here for starters.

  53. Norris Hall is over a half mile from West AJ, separated by the enormous drill field and at least two open quads. Tysons Corner Mall is almost a half mile long, if you count the parking garages.

  54. hier
    builds on Bro Bark’s wiki notes, the link is to the Beeb and its coverage.

    Other papers have a great deal of coverage. The Austrian (left leaning) paper, Der Standard, triumphs, “Shoot first, ask later” (http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=2845001).

    They also parade out articles assembled from the european press, “America doesn’t protect her children”
    (http://derstandard.at/?id=2845314)

    The Danish tabloid notes, “Massacre at School: An American Tradition”
    (http://ekstrabladet.dk/112/article290308.ece)

    The Swedish tabloid offers that, “This could also happen here”
    (her)

    The Sueddeutsche Zeitung”, hier also warns that this could happen in Germany.

    They talk about Australia’s stricter laws (post 1996 killing) hier

    Just remember, “this is glue. Strong stuff.”

    Comfort and condolences to victims, families, friends, and loved ones.

  55. Guy Montag – Georgia CCW permit restricts only “Public buildings, churches, sporting events and places where liquor is sold by the drink”. I am not up to code on Virginia’s specifics, but would question the fundamental right that a landlord can write rules that override State authority. What if your landlord didn’t want you to have the right to speak?

    Yeah yeah. Strawman. Vote with your feet, etc. Fed law trumps State law. State law trumps local, etc. Whatever.

    CB

  56. My weather radio often goes off about murderers running loose 150 miles from where I live. Yet on the Virginia Tech campus, nobody had any idea that there was a murder on campus and the killer was running loose. Armed with this knowledge, don’t you think there would have been a better chance that somebody in the academic building would have called the cops when there was a guy walking around with chains, chaining the doors, and peering through windows?

    I’m hard pressed to think of any organization that would not shut down for a day when somebody is murdered on that organization’s campus. Add to that the fact that the killer was still on the loose!

    It’s true that we scare ourselves to death by thinking that uncommon occurrences are much more probable than they really are. Although the chances of somebody shooting up a school are very rare, they are fairly likely after you have a killer on the loose, especially a killer who has already shown a willingness to kill random people who he doesn’t know.

  57. From Evan!’s cite:

    “We need to have the right to exclude weapons on campus,” University of Utah President Bernie Machen testified to legislators, describing the decision as a matter of academic freedom. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said. Machen has also argued that the ban fosters a safe learning environment.

    It is “broke.” Anyone who tracks multiple murders will quickly notice that almost all of them take place in the relatively few venues where concealed carry is illegal.

    John Lott figured that out ten years ago.

    A hospital can no more “ban a weapon” that the State has said you can carry, than it can tell you that you can’t congregate freely, or speak… or whatever. Hospitals can’t make laws.

    Depends on the state. In Texas hospitals (or any other private location) can post a specific sign prohibiting concealed carry. Reference Texas Penal Code Section 30.06.

  58. Gray Ghost,

    I was thinking along the same lines, that the cancellations of class due to the bomb threats last week or whenever may have made the administration hesitant to cancel classes yet again (even though this was obviously a very real incident, and now it appears this guy was responsible for the bomb threats).

    Some clarification about what went on last year. Yes, they did close campus and cancel classes, but that was the day after the guy escaped from the hospital. So there was a little more of a warning. Even still, it is unbelievable that there was no warning at all for two hours after the first killings, and it’s painful to watch the administration try to justify this. Contrary to Evan!, there are solutions out there which can distribute automated messages across various forms of communication, I’d have thought VT would have been more on the ball about this after everything in August, but I’m obviously wrong.

  59. Tenants have constitutional rights not because property owners can’t impose rules on the use of their property, but because tenants themsevles have property rights in the land and buildings they rent.

    Cracker’s Boy, and time you want to forbid the people in your living room from saying John Kerry would have been a better president, or require your visitors to hand over the firearms they’re carrying, or be kicked off your property, you go ahead and do so.

    The 1st and 2nd Amendments limit the government’s authority, not private property owners.

  60. Thoreau, you work in academia. Your university wouldn’t have cancelled classes or at least sent out an e-mail, under the circa 7:30 a.m. facts we’ve learned this far?

    Fair question. They probably would have. But it’s not clear how necessary that would be, in light of the facts known at that time yesterday. If most murderers flee the scene of the crime, and sprees happen in only a very, very tiny minority of cases, then you have to ask yourself whether it makes sense to suspend all normal activities for 35,000 people.

    So yes, they probably would have done it, but I can also see good reasons to not do it.

    I’ll say this much: Given the facts known circa 7:30 am yesterday, shutting down campus probably would have been the smart thing to do in terms of campus reaction. “We are allowing time for the campus community to come together in grief and begin the healing process in our diverse ways.” Something like that. (At my undergrad alma mater, they probably would have tacked on some statement about “the continuing support of our alumni as we seek to build on excellence as a world-class university.” But that sort of statement gets tacked onto every university announcement.)

    Me, if I were a campus administrator I would have said “We will not allow this horrible act to disrupt our mission of teaching, scholarship, and service. We as a campus community are committed to continuing instruction in the face of adversity, while allowing due consideration for the grieving. All students, faculty, staff, family, alumni, and community members are invited to a memorial service at the Multicultural Center this evening.”

  61. RC Dean – why can’t you carry in a hospital?

    Texas state law specifically carves out hospitals as “no-carry” zones.

    The laws usually have something in there about building management being able to set policies. In VA a landlord can not prevent a tennant from legally owning or carrying on their property, but the person leasing the property can.

    Texas law sounds a lot Georgia – the permit is good everywhere except specified venues, regardless of what the property-owner says.

  62. Please name one case where someone defending themselves shot a bystander?

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/crime/stories/DN-indictment_31met.ART0.North.Edition1.4439daa.html

    I am not saying that the answer is to ban guns. I am just trying to counter some of the more ridiculous assertions like the one RCD is making.

    I think the gun rights people act so polarized, about gun issues that they make themselves vulnerable to the sweeping changes they are trying to avoid.

  63. “Anyone who tracks multiple murders will quickly notice that almost all of them take place in the relatively few venues where concealed carry is illegal.”

    Anyone who tracks terrorist attacks will quicly notice that almost all of them are carried out by Muslims. So?

    “Most As are B” does not mean that “most Bs have A.”

  64. The students who barricaded themselves in rooms reported hearing the police outside in the halls – that is, within the building going after the guy – within mimutes of the first shots.

    I hope so.

    In Texas hospitals (or any other private location) can post a specific sign prohibiting concealed carry. Reference Texas Penal Code Section 30.06.

    In most locations, that sign does not apply to someone with a permit.

  65. I am just trying to counter some of the more ridiculous assertions like the one RCD is making.

    Exactly what ridiculous assertion did I make, Dave? That I would rather risk my life than stand by while others are gunned down in cold blood?

  66. Well Joe sometimes correlation does equal causality. Why are most terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims? Because strains of Islam endorse and promote terrorism as a legitimate form of warfare. Why are most mass shootings taking place where there are no conceal and carry laws? Because the conceal and carry laws deter shooters or allow people to defend themselves if the shooting does occur. Both of those seem like pretty reasonable conclusions to me.

  67. In Texas hospitals (or any other private location) can post a specific sign prohibiting concealed carry. Reference Texas Penal Code Section 30.06.

    My bad. There are actually two kinds of signs that can be posted in Texas – one prohibits non-licensed carry on premises, and one is effective against licensed carrying on premises. 30.06 specs out the sign that is good against permit holders as well.

    Oddly, you almost never see it actually used.

  68. Yeah, fratricides happen, in the Army where thousands of people are carrying weapons that are profoundly deadly.

    So we want to keep the number of armed people relatively low, and the caliber of the weapons relatively low to avoid friendly fire shootings here at home?

    Also, how would RCD know he was dealing with a “loan” shooter and not dealing with this:

    http://tinyurl.com/oyj3g

    Is there some way he could tell, from his hypothetical vantage point standing outside Norris Hall?

  69. Joe – thanks for the clarification. You are part of the reason (“Reason”) I come here.

    And hearing you defend the rights of private property owners…. priceless!

    CB

  70. John

    Your head is so far up your ass that you’ll get a concussion if you fart.

  71. “So we want to keep the number of armed people relatively low, and the caliber of the weapons relatively low to avoid friendly fire shootings here at home?”

    Fine, conceal carry laws shouldn’t allow people to carry .50 machine guns, Mark 19 granade launchers, howitzers of any caliber or any sort of aircraft carrying JADAM weapons or gatling gun cannons. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  72. Yeah Guido,

    There is no connection between certain strains of Islam and terrorism. None at all. Whatever you fucking troll.

  73. “Because the conceal and carry laws deter shooters or allow people to defend themselves if the shooting does occur.”

    Given the way mass kilings like this end for the shooter, the deterrence argument seems unconvincing.

  74. “Given the way mass kilings like this end for the shooter, the deterrence argument seems unconvincing.”

    True. Also mass killings are so rare that you really can’t draw any meaningful conclusions from where they occur. The truth is that they are so rare and isolated that I don’t think that you can draw any usful conclusions from them other than the fact that some people are just nuts. I still support conceal and carry laws, but not because they prevent these types of shootings alltogher but for other reasons and because they at least create the chance that someone might be able to stop the nut like they did at the law school in Virginia.

  75. FWIW Thoreau, at the time, I couldn’t imagine that they wouldn’t cancel classes, but your comments:
    But it’s not clear how necessary that would be, in light of the facts known at that time yesterday. If most murderers flee the scene of the crime, and sprees happen in only a very, very tiny minority of cases, then you have to ask yourself whether it makes sense to suspend all normal activities for 35,000 people.

    make more sense to me. From a safety point of view, why would you close an entire campus, especially one the size of Va. Tech? What if you don’t find the shooter on day 1? Do you close the school on day 2? Until you find him?
    Interesting questions to which I don’t claim to have the answers, just commenting that I was surprised classes weren’t cancelled and security wasn’t increased on campus.

    Your “building on excellence” comment caused me to laugh out loud. Sometimes I wonder whether Dilbert and the Onion are the truest news sources out there.

    R.C. do you think that the sign actually used in TX to bar carry is due to the intent of the business owner to allow only licensed concealed carry or is it due to ignorance of the difference in sign types? I don’t know, I could see arguments either way.

  76. Fine, conceal carry laws shouldn’t allow people to carry .50 machine guns, Mark 19 granade launchers, howitzers of any caliber or any sort of aircraft carrying JADAM weapons or gatling gun cannons. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    “Documents from the Army’s investigations indicate [that Tillman’s fatal] wounds likely came from American 5.56-mm or 7.62-mm rounds.”

  77. R.C. do you think that the sign actually used in TX to bar carry is due to the intent of the business owner to allow only licensed concealed carry or is it due to ignorance of the difference in sign types? I don’t know, I could see arguments either way.

    I think there may be businesses who don’t mind licensed law abiding citizens carrying, but don’t want your random redneck carrying.

  78. Also, how would RCD know he was dealing with a “loan” [sic] shooter and not dealing with this:

    http://tinyurl.com/oyj3g

    Is there some way he could tell, from his hypothetical vantage point standing outside Norris Hall?

    I think I could probably tell the difference between one or two guys with pistols and an entirely paramilitary strike force.

    But even if I knew my chances were very poor, would it be worth it if I could trade my life for the lives of some schoolchildren? I’d like to think I’d make the right decision if it ever came to it. I know Dave W. wouldn’t.

  79. Your “building on excellence” comment caused me to laugh out loud. Sometimes I wonder whether Dilbert and the Onion are the truest news sources out there.

    University administrators are quite predictable in their use of platitudes. I think it’s because university politics works on consensus, the key players have job security, and reputation is the coin of the realm in terms of the value of a degree. So you need to make sure that nobody is EVER unhappy about ANYTHING.

  80. I’d like to think I’d make the right decision if it ever came to it. I know Dave W. wouldn’t.

    He’d make more money suing your widow…

  81. John, good post at 11:18.

    One of the forms of gun control I’ve always supported are laws that limit the most lethal weapons – explosives, artillery, automatic weapons – on the grounds that they would make it easier for spree killers in a public place to increase the body count. If the fire rate is lowered, more people would be able to flee.

    This guy had two pistols. I have to admit, that’s a confounding piece of evidence. On the other hand, he did have a high-capacity clip.

  82. The NY Daily News has an informative article here, with more details than I’ve seen elsewhere so far:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime_file/2007/04/17/2007-04-17_va_tech_gunman_idd_as_student-1.html

    They also have an article about a prof who was killed while barricading his classroom door while his students jumped out the window, and about the RA who was killed:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime_file/2007/04/17/2007-04-17_courageous_final_act_of_professor.html

  83. This guy had two pistols. I have to admit, that’s a confounding piece of evidence. On the other hand, he did have a high-capacity clip.

    Joe…

    1) Not to be pedantic, but “clip” is a misnomer. A “clip” is used to load a magazine, and “Magazine” is the proper term. People that call it a “clip” sound ignorant to people who know firearms, so hopefully this will help in the future. Kind of like calling concrete, “cement”, which is like calling batter “flour”, I guess.
    2) He had normal capacity magazines, from what I’ve seen. For a Glock 19, that is a 15 rounder. Doesn’t particularly make any difference, you can get a Glock 18 magazine which will engage and fuction in a Glock 19, which holds 33 rounds. I’d rather he had that, much harder to shoot accurately due to the weight.

  84. On the other hand, he did have a high-capacity clip.

    First, it’s called a magazine, not a clip. Yeah, I know, in common parlance they mean the same thing, but among users the proper term is magazine. If I don’t call you on it, somebody else will. Consider this friendly advice.

    Second, while I don’t claim to be an expert on all the types of magazines available, he must have fired at least 32 shots. From what I know, that’s a pretty high capacity. Once you factor in that he probably missed with some of his shots, the odds are that he reloaded at least once. A lower capacity, necessitating that he stop and reload, probably would not have changed what happened.

    Say what you will about magazine capacity, but if the guy did what he did while having to reload then it’s safe to assume that capacity was not a key factor here.

  85. Thoreau is indeed correct. Even a relatively inexperienced person can learn to reload a pistol in under five seconds without much trouble.

  86. One of the forms of gun control I’ve always supported are laws that limit the most lethal weapons – explosives, artillery, automatic weapons – on the grounds that they would make it easier for spree killers in a public place to increase the body count. If the fire rate is lowered, more people would be able to flee.

    On this, fully autos are so hard to get that they are functionally banned for most people. Semi autos are one pull, one shot, vastly overstated in terms of rate of fire. The other stuff you mention is already illegal for the most part, and is not what the type of weapons listed in the militia at the revolutionary times. Cannoneers were to have supplies, but not the actual cannon. However, everyone was to have small arms, muskets, etc.

    I don’t know how you’d decrease the rate of fire, nor is it necessary. I’ve seen people fire manual action (pump) shotguns and rifles pretty doggone quickly.

    Focusing on the guns is a wrongheaded approach. We have a culture that has movies that glorify violence, we have video games that do the same, we have songs which make women into “ho’s” or “bitches” who are essentially owned by someone else, we have professional sports, “sports entertainment”, glorifying not only winning, but humiliating others. Focus here first, and the gun issue will disappear.

  87. If I don’t call you on it, somebody else will. Consider this friendly advice.

    Beat you to it

  88. Second, while I don’t claim to be an expert on all the types of magazines available, he must have fired at least 32 shots.

    Actually he fired five shots at a fleeing maintenance worker. All of them missed. It is likely a lot more missed.

    Thoreau is indeed correct. Even a relatively inexperienced person can learn to reload a pistol in under five seconds without much trouble.

    Especially he he simply allowed mags to drop to the floor.

  89. Second, while I don’t claim to be an expert on all the types of magazines available, he must have fired at least 32 shots.

    More. Remember the wounded, and the descriptions of trying to fire through the door. Probably more like 100-150 rounds when you add it all up.

  90. Ultimately, it’s not the weapon so much as the circumstances in which it was employed. Firing at point-blank distances into a group of people who are most likely seated behind desks is going to result in a seriously bad outcome.

    If the layout consists of chairs bolted to the floor behind one long table, or a series of tables, like in the lecture halls/classrooms where I went to college, it would be extremely difficult to respond to the shooter in any meaningful way short of having a ranged response.

  91. Bottom line, the guy reloaded a few times. Magazine capacity was not the key issue here.

    My guess is that mental illness was the key issue.

  92. Other Matt,

    He had a bullet-holder-thingie (no, I really don’t care about my profile among gun geeks) that held more rounds than the recently-lapsed “assault weapons ban” allowed – a 12 (or 15?) round clip instead of a 10 round one. Would the body count be lower if he’d had to reload a little more often? We won’t ever know – any more than we’ll know what would have happened if the Virginia legislature had allowed CCW-licensees to walk around armed.

    Under five seconds, mediageek? Look at the nearest door or window to where you’re sitting right now. Can you get there in five seconds? How about the nearest solid wall – can you get behind it in five seconds?

  93. Joe, so-called “high-capacity” magazines were still legally available during the ban.

  94. Look at the nearest door or window to where you’re sitting right now. Can you get there in five seconds? How about the nearest solid wall – can you get behind it in five seconds?

    In a crowded room full of desks or tables or bolted seats? Even if I’m not in the center of a cluster of desks, the odds are that everybody else is also trying to get out, so I’ll be facing a stampede.

  95. “Under five seconds, mediageek? Look at the nearest door or window to where you’re sitting right now. Can you get there in five seconds? How about the nearest solid wall – can you get behind it in five seconds?”

    Having run drills with a shot timer, I know I can draw and accurately put rounds on a target at 7 yards in that amount of time.

    Regardless, that’s just moot speculation.

  96. A lower capacity, necessitating that he stop and reload, probably would not have changed what happened.

    Say what you will about magazine capacity, but if the guy did what he did while having to reload then it’s safe to assume that capacity was not a key factor here.

    If he had to reload after every shot it would have.

    Even after every two shots.

    Yesterday “name withheld” was telling us about the Penn State shooter was was attacked and restrained by an unarmed bystander while reloading.

    That is much easier to accomplish with 3 bullet magazines than 9 bullet magazines. the opportunites for swinging fire extinguishers or throwing chairs become more frequent over the course of the attack. Hopefully some thoughts to console yourself with when you get rid of your magazines and get magazines with lower capacity in prep for the big move.

  97. Dave W.-

    I’m not responding to your posts. No doubt what you’ve written is the sort of moronic speculation that has made you a legend around here.

  98. Texas state law specifically carves out hospitals as “no-carry” zones.

    Actually, no. Sort of. PC 46.035(b)(4) says you can’t carry in a hospital. PC 46.035(i) says PC 46.035(b)(4) “does not apply” unless a 30.06 sign is posted. You can carry in any hospital that isn’t posted. (Or you receive oral or written 30.06 warning.)

    Note that the above applies to visitors. Hospitals can limit employee carrying by almost any means.

    30.06 specs out the sign that is good against permit holders as well.

    Quibble: 30.06 applies only to permit holders.

    Given the way mass killings like this end for the shooter, the deterrence argument seems unconvincing.

    Laws against guns or killing certainly don’t deter them, given that they don’t intend to live long enough to stand trial. And avoiding uniforms takes care of most of the immediate law enforcement deterrence.

    But suppose a multiple murderer wants to amass a high body count and “go out in a blaze of glory.” Or at least infamy. The last thing he wants is for the news story to be written about a CHL who killed some guy that shot two people before he was stopped.

    Also mass killings are so rare that you really can’t draw any meaningful conclusions from where they occur.

    When the correlation gets over 95% even a few cases are significant.

    R.C. do you think that the sign actually used in TX to bar carry is due to the intent of the business owner to allow only licensed concealed carry or is it due to ignorance of the difference in sign types?

    In my experience the PC 30.05 signs were mostly posted during the initial reaction to concealed carry, 1995-1996. Back then everybody expected all of us camo-clad licensees would be tromping around in our muddy boots and spitting tobacco everywhere, generally disrupting business. By 12/96 that pretty much went away.

    This was before 1997 when 30.06 was passed and the 30.05 signs no longer applied to CHLs. They just have never been replaced or removed.

    It was interesting that most of the businesses that initially posted “no gun” signs were local. Most national chains had experience in other states where concealed carry was established, and didn’t bother.

    The exception is some urban county/big city governments, which remain paranoid even after eleven years.

  99. I think I could probably tell the difference between one or two guys with pistols and an entirely paramilitary strike force.

    How would that work? You are outside of a building. Some people escape and tell you there is a man or men with a gun inside. Maybe they specify a big gun. You hear scattered gunshots, some yelling and lots of screaming inside the building. How are you going to know?

  100. “Yeah, because I’m sure the first thing on the mind of the dudes down at Physical Plant was “I wonder what would happen if some crazy bastard went on the worst rampage in US history in Norris Hall and the students had to barricade themselves in the classrooms…dang, we better put locks on them doors!” That’s some damn fine hindsight you got there. But in the normal world, where nobody could have ever predicted the need for said barricade; in the normal world, classroom doors don’t need to be locked.

    You know what other hindsightful action would have saved some lives? Armed robot guards at every classroom door. Dang, Tech, why didn’t have armed robot guards!?”

    Evan! Your obnoxious sarcasm aside…

    If you had actually read about these shootings, you’d know that the survivors in each room had to block the door with their feet to prevent the gunman from getting back into their classrooms, as the locks on their classroom doors were broken.

    Yes, if the doors had actually had working locks, they might not have saved any lives in this instance, but it hardly seems an unreasonable precaution to take. But I suppose doing anything, however reasonable, is akin to having armed robots….

    *sigh*

  101. Some interesting stuff from a cnn.com piece:

    Kimveer Gill, 25, opened fire at the downtown Montreal college last September, slaying a young woman and wounding 19 other people before he turned the gun on himself as police cornered him.

    As luck would have it police officers on the scene for an unrelated matter were rapid first responders able to spot the suspect. But in a city which had seen two college shootings in the 17 previous years, police had also gained experience from the previous incidents to keep the situation from getting out of control.

    Montreal Police Chief Yvan Delorme said last September that precious lessons learned from other mass shootings had taught police to try to stop such assaults as quickly as possible.

    “Before our technique was to establish a perimeter around the place and wait for the SWAT team. Now the first police officers go right inside. The way they acted saved lives,” he said.

  102. mediageek,

    I’m certainly not defending the language in the phoney-assed “assault weapons ban.”

    thoreau,

    “In a crowded room full of desks or tables or bolted seats? Even if I’m not in the center of a cluster of desks, the odds are that everybody else is also trying to get out, so I’ll be facing a stampede.” I’m just saying, Jennifer-style, that it would have given people a chance.

    Seriously, is this that hard? If the guy has to stop and reload more often, does that give people more of a chance to get away? When you to the range, can you hit 25 paper targets faster, or slower, if you have to reload twice instead of once?

    mediageek,

    “Having run drills with a shot timer, I know I can draw and accurately put rounds on a target at 7 yards in that amount of time.”

    Not only that, but you can dodge an inconvenient question in three minutes flat.

  103. “If he had to reload after every shot it would have.”

    I’m going to entertain your “legendary moronic speculation”, as the geekster puts it.

    Look, putting a 25mph governor on all automobiles would probably save thousands of lives every year. It would also probably spawn plenty of illegal mods that overrode the governor. Just like whatever inane handicaps you’d put on firearms. From what I’ve heard, this bastard had the SN’s filed off of the guns. My guess is that, if there was a legal mag capacity limit of 3 rounds, he’d have found a way to get around it. Meanwhile, all the nice law-abiding citizens are left with their nice legal handicapped handguns.

  104. As far as locked classroom doors:

    I’m frankly surprised that the classroom doors don’t lock, given that many classrooms these days have projectors and other display equipment inside.

    OTOH, imagine what people would say if a shooter were to lock himself inside a room with hostages? Or some students locked themselves in a classroom for some recreational activities (physical, chemical, or otherwise) after hours?

    University administrators can’t win. That’s why they speak in platitudes. That’s why on all of my interviews the easiest people to talk to were Deans: They want to be friendly with me and let department chairs ask the tough questions, so that I’ll regard department chairs as the sources of my problems, not deans.

  105. “Not only that, but you can dodge an inconvenient question in three minutes flat.”

    Snarky comments aside, you’re engaging in idle speculation about reload times, etc.

    “Meanwhile, all the nice law-abiding citizens are left with their nice legal handicapped handguns.”

    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.
    -William S. Burroughs

  106. Meh:

    “Yes, if the doors had actually had working locks, they might not have saved any lives in this instance, but it hardly seems an unreasonable precaution to take. But I suppose doing anything, however reasonable, is akin to having armed robots….

    My armed robot comment was a parody of your perfect hindsight. I wasn’t comparing the expense of armed robots to the expense of fixing the door locks. Just saying that, during 99.99% of the class sessions held at Norris Hall, making sure the doors had working locks didn’t matter. It’s all about statistical improbability. Yes, in hindsight, Physical Plant’s priority #1 would have been fixing the locks. Yes, in hindsight, it is a “reasonable precaution” to take. But on a 2500+ acre campus with hundreds of buildings and thousands of things in need of repair or replacement (believe me, I remember), fixing the door locks on these several classrooms at Norris hall is NOT a reasonable precaution to place at the top of your list—in the absence of clairvoyance, that is.

    You say “reasonable precaution”, but the “reasonable” part comes from the luxury of hindsight. Last week, putting the door locks at Norris hall at the top of Physical Plant’s list just in case a crazed gunman decides to massacre the students there would NOT have been a reasonable thing to do. Not at all.

  107. mediageek,

    No more idle than your speculation about concealed carry laws.

  108. My guess is that, if there was a legal mag capacity limit of 3 rounds, he’d have found a way to get around it. Meanwhile, all the nice law-abiding citizens are left with their nice legal handicapped handguns.

    and my guess is that if .50 caliber machine guns were easier to get, the bodycount would have been much, much higher.

  109. Dave W. – Never in the military, but I’m pretty sure a .50 caliber machine gun is a squad weapon… heavy as hell and very obvious when carried.

    Try better next time.

    CB
    Semper Fi

  110. Try better next time.

    Okay, I am guessing that if all guns were legal, then he would have consulted a gun geek at a gun board on the Internet and determined the optimal weapons with some clever questioning.

    Then he would have purchased the best guns for maximum carnage and racked up a higher bodycount than 30-something.

    And the gun geek who had helped out would sit there in the dull glow of the GOOGLE news page, with his finger in his ass, going, “Duh, duh, duh. Me did baaaaaaad.”

    Semper fi

  111. Having run drills with a shot timer, I know I can draw and accurately put rounds on a target at 7 yards in that amount of time.

    Mediageek-We’ve got to get you down home to get to at least two or three in that time…

    And now on to Joe…

    He had a bullet-holder-thingie (no, I really don’t care about my profile among gun geeks) that held more rounds than the recently-lapsed “assault weapons ban” allowed – a 12 (or 15?) round clip instead of a 10 round one. Would the body count be lower if he’d had to reload a little more often? We won’t ever know – any more than we’ll know what would have happened if the Virginia legislature had allowed CCW-licensees to walk around armed.

    Well, actually, I’m less so much of a “gun geek” as a prior military man. I’d obviously like some measure of respect for trying to help you not appear ignorant, but if you want to be viewed an ass, you obviously need no help from me.

    NY limits to 10 rounds. MerryLand limits to 20 for whatever kind of firearm. In IDPA, I can say there is a slight difference in times when using a 10 round mag, and me using my stock 18 round (for those people that know firearms this seems strange, but the CZ SP-01 stock mag is 18 round)magazines. However, if a guy has two pistols and reloading correctly, you won’t get a jump on him regardless. You always reload in a tactical situation before you run dry, so there’s always one in the chamber. You have a second gun which does have rounds left.

    If he’s dropping mags, he maybe would have had another 2 seconds every reload, so there would be three instead of two for every 30 rounds fired. Since he fired for “a minute and a half” per the news reports, and presumably fired in excess of 100 rounds there were reloads involved. Lets say 300 for talking purposes as it is divisible by thirty, that would be 10 reloads. In that 10 reloads, saving 2 seconds apiece, you would assume there would be 20 seconds for people to get away. However, you’d also have to assume that he ran both guns dry, and couldn’t fire on someone moving until he reloaded, as it wasn’t a continuous 20 seconds. Take it to five round mags, or 3, doesn’t matter, he could just have more guns on him. Occasionally you see this in westerns, where a guy would carry a number of guns as they took longer to reload.

    There’s a workaround for everything, if you want to find it, the point is now we’re hearing this guy had a history of disturbing writing, depression, etc. It simply isn’t about firearms.

  112. There’s a workaround for everything, if you want to find it, the point is now we’re hearing this guy had a history of disturbing writing, depression, etc. It simply isn’t about firearms.

    Its about people with a history of disturbing writing and depression having easy access to firearms.

  113. the point is now we’re hearing this guy had a history of disturbing writing, depression, etc. It simply isn’t about firearms.

    Yep. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more discussion about that, given the controversies that can arise when the subject of mental illness comes up around here.

    Maybe the best segue would be to ask whether it would have been OK for students to carry tranquilizer dart guns loaded with anti-psychotics…

    đŸ™‚

  114. Dave W-

    Okay, I am guessing that if all guns were legal, then he would have consulted a gun geek at a gun board on the Internet and determined the optimal weapons with some clever questioning.

    And would have gotten 1000 different opinions. I like 9mm in pistol. Others may like 40SW, 45, or 10mm. Each one will tell you why their round is “best”, but it means little as it’s about any particular shooter and what they shoot best with.

    It isn’t about the tool, it’s about the murderer.

  115. Last week, several buildings down from where I work, an ex-employee went on a rampage shooting several employees and killing one. We were immediately informed of what had happened and the building locked until the area was deemed safe. Lunch was brought in and the helicopters scoured the area. this was a much better response than the VT response where nobody was informed. University administrations, on a good day, are monumentally inept and don’t care much about students.

  116. Its about people with a history of disturbing writing and depression having easy access to firearms.

    And then you’d have a whole ‘nother arguement about rights of people who are mentally ill, etc.

    You’d be better to focus on why our society glorifies violence.

  117. “Having run drills with a shot timer, I know I can draw and accurately put rounds on a target at 7 yards in that amount of time.”

    cool!

    Have you done any of those drills like you see in the movies where a target springs up, and you see if it’s a friend or foe?

    Those always look really cool!

    Excellent comment “April 17, 2007, 12:18pm:, too!

  118. joe, I’m curious:

    Above, you mentioned banning “automatic” weapons as a reasonable gun control measure.

    Did you mean “fully automatic” like a machine gun, or just regular old automatic, like a revolver or a service pistol?

  119. When you to the range, can you hit 25 paper targets faster, or slower, if you have to reload twice instead of once?

    Given my Glock’s 10 round magazines I would have to reload twice. My Browning has 13 round magazines, so one reload.

    The difference might be 53 seconds instead of 55, but that’s hitting 9″ paper plates, not people.

  120. Given the shooter’s bent for destruction, a requirement to reload after every shot would likely only have changed his tactics. (Sniping from different locations, make every shot count, etc.)

  121. Have you done any of those drills like you see in the movies where a target springs up, and you see if it’s a friend or foe?

    Those always look really cool!

    VM-
    Find your local IDPA or IPSC group. You’ll get a bunch of that, it’s pretty fun. The shoothouse is interesting also.

  122. RC,

    I meant automatic fire – one pull, multiple shots. Not semi-automatic or self-loading.

    Spray and pray might not work very well when you’re trying to hit 8 dudes behind 8 different rocks a football field away, but it’s a real nightmare when you’ve got a roomful of people a few steps away and close together. There’s a reason Al Capone’s guys didn’t use their pistols on Valentine’s Day.

    But like I said, this guy didn’t seem to have too much trouble getting multiple rounds into lots of people with two pistols.

  123. I work at a university.

    Typically, students are *not* able to lock or unlock classroom doors.

    There are locks on classroom doors, but they are locked or unlocked with a key. Typically, in a classroom building a maintenance or security person will unlock all the classroom doors at the beginning of the day and then lock them at the end of the day.

    Students — and in many cases faculty and staff — would not be able to either lock or unlock a room without calling security or maintenance.

    When you’ve got a large # of people needing access to rooms, and that group changes every 4 months, its just easier to do it this way than try to keep track of keys to individual professors.

  124. carrick,

    The real problem is English majors.

    Exactly. To include the ones who got J degrees and went to work in MSM.

  125. Focusing on the guns is a wrongheaded approach. We have a culture that has movies that glorify violence, we have video games that do the same, we have songs which make women into “ho’s” or “bitches” who are essentially owned by someone else, we have professional sports, “sports entertainment”, glorifying not only winning, but humiliating others. Focus here first, and the gun issue will disappear.

    Forget taking away the 2nd Amendment, we’ve got to go after the 1st!

  126. Re: Innocent bystanders being shot by gun-toting civilians …

    As an innocent bystander, you are 5.5 times more likely to be accidentally shot by a police officer than by an armed civilian.

    Those are the stats. At least they were as of a few years ago. Source: The book The Cowboy, the Samurai and the Mountie, a review of the gun-control policies of various democratic countries, by Dave Kopel. (I guess it’s possible, if the recently reported SWAT abuses are now common enough, that the comparative record of the police might have worsened since then.)

    The reason for this is that when an armed civilian mixes in with a crime scene, it is usually someone who was on the scene when it started (often it’s a would-be victim) and is pretty certain who is the bad guy and who is innocent. Or at the very least, a civilian decides to intervene because it’s clear who the bad guy is; they aren’t likely to shoot around wildly.

    A cop, on the other hand, is usually running into the crime scene already in progress, when it may not be so clear who the bad guys are, and does not have as much discretion about whether to intervene or not.

    On top of that, cops are usually more insulated from the consequences of shooting the wrong guy, compared to a typical civilian.

    In short, because cops operate under different constraints and incentives, as a bystander you are much more likely to get hit by a cop’s bullet than by an armed civilians.

    I quote myself, here and here. (Forgive my vehement use of italics and sound effects in the latter link. I was debating with someone who refused to see my point, which was that, yes, cops operate under different constraints and incentives than civilian shooters, which is precisly why cops are more likely to shoot the wrong person. He objected that that wasn’t a fair comparison, because cops operate under different constraints and inentives. To which I would say, YES THEY DO, and that’s WHY THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO SHOOT THE WRONG PERSON THAN CIVILIANS ARE, etc. etc…)

  127. PS: I am (was) an English major, so don’t eff with me.

  128. English major here, as well.

  129. English major who works for the semi-alternative media. I’d love to write about this topic, but unfortunately I’m the only one on staff, I think, who opposes gun control.

  130. That explains two of you. Jennifer still rocks.

  131. PS: I am (was) an English major, so don’t eff with me.

    Gonna diagram me or something? LOL

  132. “Mediageek-We’ve got to get you down home to get to at least two or three in that time…”

    Yeah. My practice tends more towards old-school bullseye pistol than the newer stuff, though I was attending IDPA and IPSC matches regularly before I bought a house.

  133. As a newbie here I have to ask, Is He Serious?!?
    Disneyland would never even disclose to the customers that a murder had occurred on the premises. They would simply close the immediate area while they investigated. 3 years ago a murder occurred at one of the Disneyworld hotels and no one(Outside of security and upper level management) knew about it until Disney had to file it’s annual crime reports with the state!

  134. PS: I am (was) an English major, so don’t eff with me.

    Gonna diagram me or something? LOL

    I might shoot off your dangling participle.*

    *The dangling participle being hypothetical, not something currently in evidence in the above sentence.

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