Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hokie Nation

It's useless for me to try to talk about the Virginia Tech massacre. I have a lot of sympathy for the reporters - the good ones anyway - trying to find some words in the English language to adequately talk about something so horrible and sad. For the most part they've done a pretty good job - I've read some pretty amazingly touching stuff about this tragedy.

I'll leave it to others more elequent than I to talk about the tragedy itself. And I have no intention of addressing the gun control vs. student firepower debate here - at least not right now. The little piece that I can try to wrap my head around is the question asked early on by many of the parents and many in the media (and many of the surviving students) about what security measures the campus administration should have taken between the initial shooting at 7:15 and the later shootings at the engineering building. I don't know what people mean when they talk about "locking down" campus. I haven't been to Blacksburg but it sounds similar to UNC (even larger) and while you can certainly cancel classes and lock the dorms, what are you going to do about the majority of the students that live in off-campus apartments and Greek houses? They're going to get on the bus or get on their bikes or slip on the flip-flops and get to campus. A major university is not a high school.

Modern campuses are certainly in a much better position to actually get communications out to the students quickly then when I was in school 25 years ago. Every college kid has a cellphone, every one has email - I'm sure you could set up a reverse-911 thing to call or text all the students (and faculty) to warn them of... what? That there was a double homicide in one of the dorms? That's the kind of thing that happens. That's the kind of thing that you sort of know how to deal with. Probably a crime of passion, of jealousy. As callous as it may sound, do you somehow shut down what amounts to a decent-sized town (40,000 people if you include faculty and staff) after what that appeared to be? What if the initial shooting had happened in an off-campus apartment?

I know it's too early to be speculating but that's partly my point. I can understand distraught parents and students in the panic of the moment feeling like something should have been done. I just don't see what, given what we know at this point and I'm not ready to start beating on the administration and security staff who are undoubtedly already beating up on themselves enough for all of us.



At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the things we're trying to wrestle with for this weekend is the extent to which anyone (such as this guy's English professor) can get/force someone like this guy into treatment. Short answer so far seems to be that it's doable but incredibly difficult.

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Tony Plutonium said...

Gotta figure that if every kid that wrote creepy shit in creative writing class was institutionalized, there'd be a lot more kids in the mental ward than in class. But, in this case maybe there WAS a degree of wacko-ness that should have been enough - there was certainly more going on there than just sicko writing. Tough damn thing to try to determine.

Kevin Williamson may be a good case in point that even getting them out of the quad and into some place where someone can try to help may not be enough either, unless you're going to lock them up forever.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger tmay245 said...

It's a tragity all for all. even with the best policies and procedures in place, the actions of this kid seemed to be random but calculated. So let's say a text message went out, at the very least the community could have taken a personal defensive posture. Then randomness kicks back in, does panic ensue with mass hysteria leading people into a corral for this monster to have a higher kill ratio. 170 bullets in 9 minutes. 1 shot every 3.2 seconds. I shoot a lot for IDPA and Glock competitions and I find this statistic shocking because shooting 170 rounds in 540 seconds is hard to do. Lets say he had 15 - 10 round magazines (each gun already has a mag). Assuming he is not using a tactical load, that is he depleted all ammo in the magazine. A trained shooter will drop the spent mag without caring an iota for that piece of plastic, and slap in the next mag. Competition and LEO will have the magazines strategically agganged to provide the least amount of effort to load the next magazine. This kid wouldn't know that. So the amount of time to change out mags I would estimate at 10 seconds minimum each, that's 150 seconds. That leaves 380 seconds the sqeeze off 170 rounds. That's now 2.3 seconds a shot. wow. I would expect this from a combat trained person. Obviously there is more behind this.
Anyway, I fear this gives other degenerates and maggots more of an insentive to carry out mass executions on helpless prey.
Oh, further, brother, I don't see any solution to fix this. I hope we don't take the track of diving even further into a fascist state with newer and friendlier Schutzstaffel.


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