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Breaking News-Shooting At Virginia Tech

Virginia Virginia Tech Shooting 2007

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#41 Chipper

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 06:04 PM

^ I don't know if they can.  They can't even identify the shooter.  He shot himself in the face.

As for the campus lockdown, when I watched the news conference, they made it pretty clear that they isolated the dorm area and locked that down.  But when you have over 15,000 commuters potentially coming in within the two hours of the shooting, it's kind of hard to contact people.  I'm not trying to justify the university response, but when you have shootings, you want to figure out what happens.  Last year, a student here at Georgetown got shot off campus (and we regularly have someone getting mugged outside our gates), but we don't get emails right away because they figure that the person has run away and it's hard to notify people to run and stay inside so many times.  They don't even know where the shooter went after the first shooting and would you really expect the person to continue to massacre 30 other people?

They were looking for the shooter and trying to figure out the facts after the 7:15 shootings.  The media will jump on the time issue and attack the university, but I can bet you all the money in the world that no one would have done things differently.  Screw hindsight, you know it's true.

It's hard to do things on a 2500 acre campus, much less that early in the morning.  It's terrible and my condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims, but one thing that colleges deal with differently than the lower tier school systems is security because of the size and scope of the campus.
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#42 Batrochides

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 06:25 PM

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims of one person's episode of hellish madness.

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#43 Cardie

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 06:58 PM

This was a major miscalculation by the police, who thought they had an aggrieved boyfriend who, having shot his girlfriend, had fled the campus and that the danger was over!!!  I can't imagine that the two shootings are not related, although the shooter had two guns and lots of extra ammo clips in a vest for easy access.  It was a calculated attack, not a shooting in the heat of the moment. (He could, I suppose, have gone home after shooting the girlfriend and come back prepared to go out in a blaze of glory.)

Whatever the situation, and even if you can't get in touch with everyone commuting to campus, you cancel classes and lock down the whole place, sending residents to their secured dormitory rooms, evacuating faculty and staff, and turning everyone arriving at campus away.  You block every road in and out, as long as the shooter hasn't been apprehended.

College campuses have terrible situations regarding people who go nuts like this.  School is very high pressure, and I have personally encountered many students in fragile emotional health, including some who seemed to have bona fide paranoid delusions.  All these people have to do is get hold of a gun, and such shootings can easily happen.  Dorms have some security, but academic buildings are wide open, requiring no IDs or key card sweeps, having no metal detectors as high schools do.

I grieve for the students and their familes and worry about any copycats who are out there.

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#44 Shalamar

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:04 PM

My heart goes out to the families of the dead and wounded.

That said, Chipper is absolutely correct in the points he makes above.

There was nothing to indicate that - at the time of the first shooting - that the same - OR - another gunman would go else where on campus and shoot more people.  

And even at this hour there is nothing to indicate, or at least not that I have seen, that it is the same person.

Cardie, I have to disagree - you can't close a campus, suspend all classes, blockade every way in - the traffic snarl that such would create is mindboggling -

- Even Rice University which sits behind lovely fencing on a small campus still has dozens of ways a person afoot can walk in, that unless they planted police right  at every opening...

Edited by Shalamar, 16 April 2007 - 07:09 PM.

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#45 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:27 PM

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Chipper: They were looking for the shooter and trying to figure out the facts after the 7:15 shootings. The media will jump on the time issue and attack the university, but I can bet you all the money in the world that no one would have done things differently. Screw hindsight, you know it's true.

I have to disagree here and I usually always try to give the police the benifit of the doubt.  

My campus runs about 15,000+ people and we've had several incidents while I've been there as a student.  The first that comes to mind is a campus event got out of control and turned into a mini riot.  The other was a mugging on the campus and the third was a body that they found hung in the woods that turned up to be a suicide.  In each case they didn't lock the campus down but we had enough University Police, State Troopers, and Albany PD Officers on that campus that you wouldn't dare trying to spit out of fear of hitting an officer.  No one was going to manage anything without a cop or trooper being nearby.    

The lockdown I can somewhat forgive them for because totally locking down that large of a campus is hard.  That said you can spread out what police you have around the campus so they can respond quickly to any further incidents.  Even one officer on the scene is going to tie down the gunman in a exchange of fire with an officer rather than giving them a free hand to kill people.  It sounds like from some witnesses that the shooter was armed with a pistol rather than rifle.   However you look at it the campus officials and police jumped to conclusions based on very limited information.

The breakdown in communications I can't forgive them for.  I also can't look past the fact that the gunman managed to kill most of his victims that second time while the police were already alerted to the second killing.  Even on a 2,500 acre campus it does not take that long to get across it in a police cruiser.  For the gunman to manage to kill and wound that many people the cops had to of taken their time getting across the campus or getting into that building.

I can't shake the impression from the University Officials that they are now trying to cover their rears as quickly as they can.  I notice they aren't saying how long it took them to get police to the second building after the 911 call. Apparently their was no exchange of fire between campus police and the shooter.  I'd be curious how Virgina does their campus police departments.  Ours in New York are covered by officers who are trained by the New York State Troopers.  A lot of states tend to rely on more local hiring though so university police departments often end up skimming the bottom of the pool for officers.
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#46 Lin731

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:27 PM

What the Hell is this world coming to? It seems like madness is the order of the day. Why can't these crazy assholes simply kill themselves instead of taking innocent lives and then killing themselves. It's been a bad day all around. We had a kindergartner here killed when high winds brought down a flag pole...

Edited by Lin731, 16 April 2007 - 07:28 PM.

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#47 Peridot

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:32 PM

View PostCardie, on Apr 17 2007, 12:58 AM, said:

Whatever the situation, and even if you can't get in touch with everyone commuting to campus, you cancel classes and lock down the whole place, sending residents to their secured dormitory rooms, evacuating faculty and staff, and turning everyone arriving at campus away.  You block every road in and out, as long as the shooter hasn't been apprehended.

Cardie

I would agree.  There was a time when assuming that it was going to be an isolated incident would have made sense.  But after both the Columbine incident and the Sept 11th attacks....I don't know.  That assumption certainly doesn't make sense to me.

Instead, the college sent e-mails.  And apparently, not even timely e-mails, at that. :( NPR had an article showing the e-mails; they had been given to NPR by a Virginia Tech student, so it seems likely they are accurate.  

http://www.npr.org/t...storyId=9606139

I know we don't have all the facts yet.  And I feel for the police officers involved.  But it's hard for me not to also feel like the college administration should have done more, or at the very least, have done the little they did more quickly.

Also, another eyewitness account, this one from a student in the engineering building, but in a different classroom than the one in which so much of the shooting took place.  Pretty scary, all the same.

http://news.bbc.co.u...int/6561733.stm


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#48 GiGi

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:39 PM

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Cardie, I have to disagree - you can't close a campus, suspend all classes, blockade every way in - the traffic snarl that such would create is mindboggling -
I think every campus is different.  Here at UCSC it is easy to lock down a campus, there are guard stations at both entrances since it is a "closed campus"  It would be harder at Cabrillo the JC with an open campus, but one could block the parking lots and cancel all bus service. All that would be left would be foot and bike traffic and police tape could seal off remaining access.

Sure there would be a traffic problem, especially here since growth has rendered all of our streets overcrowded, but really who would want to enter the campus in those conditions, even if the shooter is captured or shot, the aftermath is not a pretty place to be.
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#49 Chipper

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 07:50 PM

View PostCardie, on Apr 16 2007, 07:58 PM, said:

This was a major miscalculation by the police, who thought they had an aggrieved boyfriend who, having shot his girlfriend, had fled the campus and that the danger was over!!!  I can't imagine that the two shootings are not related, although the shooter had two guns and lots of extra ammo clips in a vest for easy access.  It was a calculated attack, not a shooting in the heat of the moment. (He could, I suppose, have gone home after shooting the girlfriend and come back prepared to go out in a blaze of glory.)

I'm not trying to sugarcoat it, but how can you calculate a massacre to be coming up?  You have what appeared to be a domestic situation; all indications have it so.  I doubt anyone in the dorm knew what this kid was actually packing and ready to do.  They locked down the dorms and were investigating. I'm not saying an email shouldn't have been sent sooner, but what really is the likelihood of what happened actually happening?

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Whatever the situation, and even if you can't get in touch with everyone commuting to campus, you cancel classes and lock down the whole place, sending residents to their secured dormitory rooms, evacuating faculty and staff, and turning everyone arriving at campus away.  You block every road in and out, as long as the shooter hasn't been apprehended.

Almost 3000 acres are hard to blockade that quickly.  They've managed to do it since but that's when you have the huge assistance of all of Virginia's police.  I think classes could've been canceled, but you can't just turn away thousands of people in the span of 30 minutes (which it took at least for the university to realize what was happening and then when classes start).  It's a tragedy but there is only so much you can think of.  They certainly haven't canceled classes here when shootings happened around campus, even a threatened attack at 6:30 in the morning by our library.

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College campuses have terrible situations regarding people who go nuts like this.  School is very high pressure, and I have personally encountered many students in fragile emotional health, including some who seemed to have bona fide paranoid delusions.  All these people have to do is get hold of a gun, and such shootings can easily happen.  Dorms have some security, but academic buildings are wide open, requiring no IDs or key card sweeps, having no metal detectors as high schools do.

I agree, and clearly gun control laws will be reexamined again after this.  But again, what is the likelihood of this happening on campuses in this matter?  Not that high.  And you can't have metal detectors everywhere because hell, people live here.  Metal moves in and out of areas all the time.  I have a pocketknife and whatnot in my room; I'm sure I could use plenty of these things as weapons if I felt like it.  Sure, we aren't allowed to have certain weapons and things in the rooms but anyone off campus could.  As for academic buildings, you can't limit access during the day.  It's impossible.  Only our library has a security guard here.  The others are full of students walking in and out all day and rushing to class.  It's simply impossible.  High schools are a different story -- the entire security setup is easier to control (even if many do not have metal detectors; my high school only did bag searches when they had threats).

View PostCJ AEGIS, on Apr 16 2007, 08:27 PM, said:

My campus runs about 15,000+ people and we've had several incidents while I've been there as a student.  The first that comes to mind is a campus event got out of control and turned into a mini riot.  The other was a mugging on the campus and the third was a body that they found hung in the woods that turned up to be a suicide.  In each case they didn't lock the campus down but we had enough University Police, State Troopers, and Albany PD Officers on that campus that you wouldn't dare trying to spit out of fear of hitting an officer.  No one was going to manage anything without a cop or trooper being nearby.

Yes, but you would expect that event to have some security?  We rioted here when the Hoyas got into the Final Four but that was expected; M Street was blocked off for the safety of everyone and cops were everywhere.  No one got hurt and there was minimal damage.  And you clearly state they didn't lock down the campus.  I'm sure that there was an increased police presence, but it was clearly mostly around the initial shooting site and in the vicinity.  I'm sure they were searching for him -- they've said so -- but who would expect him to kill people like that

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The lockdown I can somewhat forgive them for because totally locking down that large of a campus is hard.  That said you can spread out what police you have around the campus so they can respond quickly to any further incidents.  Even one officer on the scene is going to tie down the gunman in a exchange of fire with an officer rather than giving them a free hand to kill people.  It sounds like from some witnesses that the shooter was armed with a pistol rather than rifle.   However you look at it the campus officials and police jumped to conclusions based on very limited information.

Is there any other information you could have at that time?  I mean, honestly, there is only so much to know.  It's an unraveling story that will be devastating in the end.  But again, classrooms don't have that much security because no one expects them to need it.

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The breakdown in communications I can't forgive them for.  I also can't look past the fact that the gunman managed to kill most of his victims that second time while the police were already alerted to the second killing.  Even on a 2,500 acre campus it does not take that long to get across it in a police cruiser.  For the gunman to manage to kill and wound that many people the cops had to of taken their time getting across the campus or getting into that building.

I think emails should've been sent at more frequency, but in such an evolving case there is only so much to do. An instantaneous email without any information would cause even more panic.  And I think you know how cops work; they can't just barge into the building for fear the gunman will react in a disastrous way.

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I can't shake the impression from the University Officials that they are now trying to cover their rears as quickly as they can.  I notice they aren't saying how long it took them to get police to the second building after the 911 call. Apparently their was no exchange of fire between campus police and the shooter.  I'd be curious how Virgina does their campus police departments.  Ours in New York are covered by officers who are trained by the New York State Troopers.  A lot of states tend to rely on more local hiring though so university police departments often end up skimming the bottom of the pool for officers.

What do you expect?  Any campus would be attacked by the media and everyone else for what happened.  Security is an issue; our officers here are lazy and in the opinion of many useless, but that's the reality.  They are not DC cops or state troopers; many are former soldiers or retired cops.  And the security people are lazy as hell as well, but that's what you get.  I'm sure that will change and it's unfortunate that this event today is probably the impetus.  As for fire between the shooter and cops, I'm gathering he may have killed himself before that opportunity even happened...

It's a tragedy.  I'm sure there is some blame to go around, but the main focal point is the dead kid right now.  What the university does next will speak volumes as to where the entire university system goes from here.
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#50 Cardie

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 08:16 PM

Blacksburg is a tiny town in the rural Blue Ridge Mountains.  Almost everything there is connected to VT.  There wouldn't have been any traffic snarls, and if there were, they'd only be snarled trying to get to campus.

I think if you've just had a killing on campus and the shooter is not in custody, you at the very least cancel classes, ask everyone who is there to go to their dorms or offices and perhaps a big central building like the library.  You then secure those sites until you are more on top of the situation.  If no classes had been in session, the guy wouldn't have found so many victims so easily.

Then you post security at the campus entrances to ask people in cars at least to turn around.  Anyone then seen walking around campus is easier to spot and check out.  The fact was that they gave no indication of what had happened to the student body or local media for almost two hours.  I've worked in college administration.  They wasnt to play down violent incidents for the sake of recruiting and keeping parents pacified.  Here they made a good faith conclusion that the danger was passed and didn't want to close down campus and blow it out of proportion since it was  assumed to be only an unfortunate domestic violence case.  But if they had "over-reacted" lives might have been saved.

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#51 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 08:19 PM

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Chipper: I'm not trying to sugarcoat it, but how can you calculate a massacre to be coming up? You have what appeared to be a domestic situation; all indications have it so.
You had two people killed and several people wounded in that first building.  That fact alone lends itself to the fact that the gunman was not just after two targets but was rather willing to shoot other people.  Plus you have the fact that in crimes of passion the murder is often locked into a downward spiral where they realize "I'm not going to get away with it so I'll take as many people as I can with me in a blaze of fire".  You never assume in a situation like this you always plan for the worse case scenario.  Especially when other school shootings have already started with a crime of passion and then turned into a massacre.

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Chipper:
Almost 3000 acres are hard to blockade that quickly. They've managed to do it since but that's when you have the huge assistance of all of Virginia's police.
They had two hours to do it.  It doesn't take that long to get enough police to lock down an area that size.  On top of that you don't need to lock down the entire campus you just need to get enough police out around the entire campus so they can quickly respond to another incident.  

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Chipper: Yes, but you would expect that event to have some security?
Only about 10 officers or less even were at the location.  The old administration was never very competent at security matters compared to the new one.  Most the extra police who blanketed the campus were UPD who were called in, APD, and Troopers.

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Chipper: And you clearly state they didn't lock down the campus.
They had police presence across the entire campus.  Not just at the scene of the riot but rather the entire campus.  

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Chipper: I'm sure that there was an increased police presence, but it was clearly mostly around the initial shooting site and in the vicinity. I'm sure they were searching for him -- they've said so -- but who would expect him to kill people like that.
Anyone who knows much about crimes of passion should know this is a possibility and a even stronger one since he already shot other people.

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Chipper: They are not DC cops or state troopers; many are former soldiers or retired cops.
They should be at the very least state police or state troopers especially with universities as large as this one.

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Chipper: And I think you know how cops work; they can't just barge into the building for fear the gunman will react in a disastrous way.
How much more disastrous can it get than the fact that he was walking around the building shooting people? :blink:  When shots are being fired in the building the police need to get in there as quickly as possible.
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#52 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 08:21 PM

Reports are indicating that the gunman was armed with a 9 mm pistol and .22 caliber handgun.  

View PostCardie, on Apr 16 2007, 09:16 PM, said:

I've worked in college administration.  They wasnt to play down violent incidents for the sake of recruiting and keeping parents pacified.  Here they made a good faith conclusion that the danger was passed and didn't want to close down campus and blow it out of proportion since it was  assumed to be only an unfortunate domestic violence case.  But if they had "over-reacted" lives might have been saved.
I gotta agree with Cardie here.  Their actions were more focused on PR and the image of the campus as a safe spot and down playing the incident rather than in the safety of the students.
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#53 Chipper

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 08:23 PM

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How much more disastrous can it get than the fact that he was walking around the building shooting people? blink.gif When shots are being fired in the building the police need to get in there as quickly as possible.

I mean worse than it was, or perhaps greater than the severity the cops thought it was initially (I'm not sure if they knew the exact body/injury count when they were trying to stop him, and my guess is they didn't care -- they just wanted to stop him.).  It's not the ideal situation, but my guess is the majority of the people were dead by the time they got there.

*sigh*  This just sucks.
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#54 Chipper

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 08:24 PM

View PostCJ AEGIS, on Apr 16 2007, 09:21 PM, said:

Reports are indicating that the gunman was armed with a 9 mm pistol and .22 caliber handgun.  

View PostCardie, on Apr 16 2007, 09:16 PM, said:

I've worked in college administration.  They wasnt to play down violent incidents for the sake of recruiting and keeping parents pacified.  Here they made a good faith conclusion that the danger was passed and didn't want to close down campus and blow it out of proportion since it was  assumed to be only an unfortunate domestic violence case.  But if they had "over-reacted" lives might have been saved.
I gotta agree with Cardie here.  Their actions were more focused on PR and the image of the campus as a safe spot and down playing the incident rather than in the safety of the students.

What?  They cared about their PR at the time rather than the students?  I think you're making valid points overall but this is kind of ridiculous.  Sorry.
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#55 Captain Jack

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 09:14 PM

The more I read about it, the more angry I get.  I hope there is a special place in hell for that b*stard.

Edited by Spidey, 16 April 2007 - 09:14 PM.

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#56 Cardie

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 09:46 PM

CJ, just to get the record straight, he didn't go around the dorm shooting people.  He had an altercation with the girl friend, the (male) RA came in to see what was going on and he shot both of them and left.

Chipper, I don't think they realized the students were in danger, but thinking that they weren't, they downplayed the domestic violence shootings and delayed notification.  In a regular community, domestic violence incidents happen all the time, and you and I probably don't think we are in danger because some guy killed his wife, even a block or two away from us.  But campuses are special cases with so many people the same age present in a limited space in such numbers that a little extra caution with a killer on the loose would have made sense, imo.

For instance, in my city if there's an armed robbery within a mile or so of a public school, they keep all the students inside until the culprits are apprehended or known to be outside the area.

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#57 Tricia

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 10:40 PM

^^^But it's much easier to lockdown a campus where there are only one to possibly four buildings  as opposed to a college campus where there are many more.

It is easy for the media and all of us to sit back now that it is over and question what happened and the reactions of the police and university to the situation.  

After all, hindsight is 20/20...except when you do not even now have all the facts.  There are a lot of details that have not been revealed to us yet and that they do not know either.

And given the circumstance of the initial shooting, I would have assumed that it was a simple domestic dispute and thought it was all over and done especially after 2 hours had passed.  Not all murderers hang around and go for another round and if they do usually it would be within much less time than this was.  

And if he was so bound and determined to do this....what makes you think that he wouldn't have simply waited out any lockdown and then gone ahead and done it anyway?  If it was premeditated he would have done it anyway...just later.

There does seem to be a trend of people who want to end their lives and take out as many people as possible before they go.  Not sure why but it does make me worry about the copycats out there who seem to like to emulate things like this.

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#58 Hibblette

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 10:54 PM

Actually the domestic thing should have sent bells and whistles along with sirens off in their heads.

http://en.wikipedia....Charles_Whitman

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Charles Joseph Whitman (June 24, 1941 August 1, 1966) was a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a Marine, who is known for having ascended The University's 27-story tower on August 1, 1966, and shot passersby in the city and on the campus below, after having killed his mother and his wife the night before. In all Whitman killed 15 people and wounded 31 others before he was shot dead by Austin police.

I for one always think of this when this type of thing happens.  What is so striking about this is that there is the domestic violence and then the overall shooting of the masses.

It will be interesting to read all that will come out subsequently.

It is being reported that he chained the doors of the learning facilities that he went into and did his most damage.  That's what he was doing in those critical two hours after killing the girlfriend and the RA. he was either purchasing or gathering those chains so that he could do this.  

I won't comment too much on what I think about all of this actually except for one thing-the city police should have been brought into this a lot sooner then they were.
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#59 Rhea

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 11:51 PM

View PostSpidey, on Apr 16 2007, 07:14 PM, said:

The more I read about it, the more angry I get.  I hope there is a special place in hell for that b*stard.

I'd say that anyone who would kill a number of other people in cold blood with no warning and then eats his gun is already in that special level of hell.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#60 CurlyKirsty

CurlyKirsty
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Posted 17 April 2007 - 02:57 AM

Rather than combatting the problem, which is any idiot being able to run around with a gun, even when you ban them as in the UK, they are still available, the innocent are going to be subjected to prison conditions in the name of "safety".  As it is I cannot get into my youngest childs school without being buzzed in by a member of staff.  The local college won`t even let me in the grounds without an ID card to say that I am a student or staff member or without a detailed explanation of what business I have wanting to enter.  So the right to bear arms supersedes my right to enter public buildings! :blink:  

I don`t think the gunman in this case should be named, he should be "Loser-guy" and his body should be used for medical experiments or thrown in the trash.  The media are going to get his name and publicise it so that it (he does not merit being called a person IMO) becomes an anti-hero to the sickest members of society, which is why I think they should not name the gunman.
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