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.