The shootings at Virginia Tech have stunned me, bu…

16Apr07

The shootings at Virginia Tech have stunned me, but what what will surely follow is even more loathsome:

  1. Administrators at other schools, leery of being accused of the alleged negligence displayed by Virginia Tech administrators will shut down their campuses after minor, violent incidents.
  2. Jack Thompson or some other evangelical Christian will claim that the shooter(s) were propelled to violence because they played video games or listened to music.
  3. Democratic presidential candidates, pandering to the “do something!” crowd, will call for tougher gun laws.
  4. Alberto Gonzales’ Tuesday appearance before Congress, Moqtada al Sadr’s party quitting the Iraqi government on Monday, Karl Rove’s 5 million missing emails from last week will all get swept off the front pages for the next week(s).
  5. College campuses will begin stringent new security procedures and patrols including student searches and controlled access.
  6. If the perpetrator was a student, two scenarios are possible.
    1. The discourse around a native-born shooter will center around the competitiveness, exclusivity, and rejection he felt in the curriculum/school/etc.
    2. The discourse around a foreign-born shooter will center around the need for tighter visa controls — monitoring and screening of these students.

My responses:

  1. How can you shut down and evacuate a 2,600 acre campus with 30,000 students and hundred of buildings after one violent incident? The same decision is made all the time by other public safety officers and administrators in response to other violent crimes on college campuses. Really, you can’t stand there with 20/20 hindsight and double guess a decision made with the best information at the time. Nevertheless, I expect the ambulance-chasing lawyers are already drafting suits against the school for the families affected by this.
  2. Are violent video games and music present and prevalent? Yes. Do they cause people to go out and shoot other people? No. Any person who claims they have not, even for the slightest second, contemplated causing bodily harm upon others in response to an intensely emotional/traumatic event is a liar. That the vast majority of us don’t act on these impulses makes us human.
  3. What, of the many gun laws already enacted and enforced prevented this tragedy? What law stopped this armed assailant from killing over 30 people? The right to self-defense is the most basic and primal. When you are face-to-face with an armed and deranged lunatic (or the agent of an invading power) and given the choice between firing back or waiting for the police to arrive, which would you prefer?
  4. I’m sure some moonbat conspiracy theorist that will emerge in the coming hours will chalk this massacre up to some vast right-wing conspiracy to divert the nation’s attention, but haven’t Anna Nicole Smith and Imus already done this? Nevertheless, much will be said about the media in how they cover other news in the coming days as anything out of Virginia Tech will be unsubstantiated speculation (and macabre voyeurism) until any investigation is over.
  5. Expect more cameras, limited access doors, security checkpoints, and other central authoritarian measures to be introduced as colleges scramble to cover their collective asses and parents demand more safety in loco parentis. Oh, guess what? It’s also college decision season: I imagine VT is going to have a hell of a time convincing admitted seniors to come now.
  6. This tragedy has nothing to do with high-intensity engineering/science curricula, international students, or any of the other discourses pundits are likely to invent to advance their own political agendas. Millions of both categories go through their education successfully every year without resorting to mass murder.
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