The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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“School is a Sanctuary” – With Guns

Posted by thedarwinexception on April 16, 2007

Sometimes I wish I was a reporter. Only because when a big story breaks, like the one today with the Virginia Tech shooting, and there is a press conference or interview with some authority or the police, reporters never seem to ask the right questions. I guess most reporters, faced with a shooting incident, are so used to asking the hard hitting questions, like “How did you feel when you were shot, Johnny?” and “What kind of neighbor was the shooter, Mrs. Piddly?” That they just freeze up when they have people in front of them and limited information coming at them. But from my vantage point of watching the press conferences and seeing the interviews on TV, it certainly seems obvious to me that some of the answers given by the President of the University Charles Steger at the press conference yesterday begged for follow up questions or at least shouts of “Are you fucking kidding me?” And see, if I was a reporter, I would have done both of those things. Because some answers just strained credulity.

One of the biggest questions I had was “What the hell were you all doing after the first shooting incident at 7:15 at West Ambler Johnston Dormitory?” You would think that the killing of the two people there would have at *least* set off a manhunt for the shooter, right? The police would shut down the campus, look for the shooter, and not allow the guy to come *back* on campus and shoot dozens more people. What the hell were they doing? Well, one reporter did ask the question “What was the thought process after the first shooting?”, and Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said “they didn’t close the campus because they believed it was an isolated incident and the shooter had left the grounds.”

So, apparently at this point they had to have *some* idea of who this shooter was – I mean, if they knew he had left the grounds, they had to have had at least a passing clue as to who he was. Maybe a cursory description, maybe an idea of what he was wearing, since they were going on the information that “he had left the grounds”. Now, if I were a reporter, I would have asked that all important follow up question of “What were you doing to locate him at this point? And did you have Virginia Tech security as well as Policemen  placed on the campus to ensure he didn’t return, and had you given security all the information you had as to any identification made of the individual by witnesses of the first attack? Did they know who they were looking for?” I can’t believe that if they knew the shooter had “left the building” and were saying that this information was so credible that they didn’t feel a need to shut down the campus that this information didn’t also include some idea of either who the shooter was or a damned good description.

Which leads to another point. At the press conference a reporter asked the President of the University Charles Steger why he *didn’t* shut down the campus, and Steger answered “Well, you know, we have 26,000 students, only 9,000 of which live on campus – the rest are commuters. How would we let them know?” The reporters seemed to be satisfied with this answer, which infuriated me. I mean, this is where I would have been all over this guy. Are you fucking kidding me? Do they not have fucking television stations in Virginia? Every time there is a snowstorm here, there is a crawl along the bottom of the TV during the morning news announcing all the school closings. I don’t even have kids, and on any given day I can tell you what schools are closed , which are delayed and which ones are going along “business as usual”. What if there was a tornado headed for the school or a hurricane or the building is on fire? Don’t they have *some* kind of emergency response system in place to tell students “Don’t Come To School?”  And what about the 9,000 students that *do* live on campus? Was he not concerned about them? Why weren’t *they* told anything until 9:29 a.m., when the university sent an e-mail warning students that a gunman was on the loose and to stay indoors. That “Stay Indoors” message probably would have been more effective had it come an hour earlier.

And how the hell does someone shoot 30 plus people without being stopped? This, to me, is the biggest question of all. Is it really true that if I went into Price Chopper with a gun, I could off 30 people and not have someone rush me and take the gun, or come up from behind me and wrestle me to the ground or have the police SWAT team show up and pluck me off before I killed that many people? I find it mind boggling and disturbing that this could even be possible. Not only because I could be a victim at the Price Chopper, but because I have a son in college, and I don’t want to even entertain the thought that *he* could be a victim. President Bush made his obligatory “We are shocked and saddened” statement yesterday, as well. And while he is “shocked and saddened”, I think he should be more “shocked and saddened” to hear the current gun laws in Virginia.

“Virginia imposes few restrictions on the purchase of handguns and no requirement for any kind of licensing or training. The state does limit handgun purchases to one per month to discourage bulk buying and resale, state officials said. Once a person had passed the required background check, state law requires that law enforcement officers issue a concealed carry permit to anyone who applies. However, no regulations and no background checks are required for purchase of weapons at a Virginia gun show.” – Veronique, AFCA

I think this is the *one* issue not brought up by reporters at the Press Conference that should have been addressed. I would have loved to have heard one of the reporters ask the Chief of Police “Sir, How could stricter gun laws in America have averted this tragedy?” But, I’m sure once the gunman is positively identified, the reporters will be all over doing what they do best – interviewing his neighbors, his hair stylist and his kindergarten teacher so that we can all be assured that he was a “nice guy, really quiet, and always colored inside the lines.”


3 Responses to ““School is a Sanctuary” – With Guns”

  1. Veronique said

    I want to make sure readers know my comment about Virginia gun laws was from an article in the New York Times.

    On another note, the more I read about Cho, the more it sounds like he was screaming for help: wouldn’t make eye contact, refused to speak when addressed by professors in class, wouldn’t speak in more than a whisper at the best of times, blank and expressionless affect…the news reports keep calling him an “eccentric loner” but he wasn’t an eccentric loner, because I’m an eccentric loner and I’m perfectly able to interact with people. Cho was mentally ill, in a pretty obvious way. And thank you America’s health care, no one could do more than “suggest counseling.”


  2. Bill T said

    I also find it amazing that Cho managed to shoot 40 people (dead and wounded) with just handguns. I do occasional target practice with a .22, and it seems to me that it would be difficult to hit a moving target. Granted, I am not very good or experienced with guns, but there is no indication that Cho was either. For him to inflict so much damage (especially since he would need time to reload his handguns), many of his victims must have been immobilized by panic.

  3. Mizfitz said

    I am a Virginian and was screaming at the TV along the same lines as you Kim. What the fuck!!!!!!!! Apparently after the initial shooting – they were chasing the fucking boyfriend of the first victim. Poor fucker – he didn’t know his fiance was just killed, and they interrogated him until the real shooting started. He was just featured on Miami Ink getting the tattoo that his fiance had drawn for both of them to get when they got married.

    We do have a serious problem with the gun shows around here. The restrictions are getting harder, but Cho bought the gun at a regular dealer. Seems to me that anyone with any type of mental problem and therapy should be on the fucking list of who not to sell a gun to – just a thought.

    Hey – at least we don’t sell driver’s licenses to terrorists anymore – not even citizens of the fucking state can get one now.

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