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Could Blacksburg Happen in Boston?

As of 2:20 pm, the Virginia Tech shooting death toll stands at 32, according to MSNBC TV.

I typically don’t jump into the second guessing fray until I have immersed myself in facts and commentary from opinion makers whom I respect. But I am too damned bothered by one thing about this shooting: the first shooting occurred just after 7:00 am – the second shooting occurred after 9:00 am in a building where classes were being held. Why the hell was the campus conducting business as usual two hours after the initial shooting?

This is unconscionable. I don’t care how bad communication is on any university campus. After the first shooting, the area should have been flooded with law enforcement and a strong official presence should have made everyone acutely aware something wasn’t right. No one on campus should have been oblivious to fact the campus was a hot zone, even if specifics of a loose gunman could not be effectively communicated.

Perhaps I’ve been around Boston too long and I expect big reactions to even the smallest potential dangers. From the months after 9/11, to the anthrax scares, to Red Sox/Patriots “riots”, to the weekly news helicopter flights over Dorchester, and yes, the Mooninite fiasco, I’ve seen enough official reactions to expect that if a student is shot at my own UMass Boston or any Boston-area college, the school will be inundated by law enforcement and emergency response. I won’t dare say the Blacksburg massacre couldn’t happen here, but I am confident that business as usual would be disrupted and we students would not be at our 9:30 am classes after a 7:00 am shooting.

This time gap question is eating at me; I truly feel for the decision makers at Virginia Tech who are going to second guess themselves for the rest of their lives. This is horrible

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Unconfirmed data about his identity and more details: http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/04/virginia-tech-gu...

Greetings from Cambridge...

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I heard the president of Va. Tech. on TV last night. The campus is like a city. It has over 100 buildings and about 25,000 students, with about 10,000 living on campus and another 14,000 commuting in and out. Just as you could not secure an entire city in two hours, so the Va. Tech folks could not either. I think it is easy for people to criticize what went on yesterday, but there are no guarantees in life. We take off our shoes before boarding flights because a Shoe Bomber was discovered on a plane. Well, what about the Cell Phone Bomber who might be just around the corner? It's only a matter of time before someone figures out how to wire a cell phone with explosives. Then we'll all have our cell phones confiscated before flights. Maybe one day we'll even fly naked because clothing has been developed as incendiary devices. We have to understand risk in life and learn to live with it.

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...that i didn't know the campus was as huge as it was at the time of yesterdays post.

However, the community was notified by campus-wide email - EMAIL - about the first shootings only after the second shooting started to begin. Not everyone uses the university email system (especially fascilities staff, food srervice,etc) not everyone has the same email reading habits. And, the email didn't come until well after 9:00 am!

Place cop cars with flashing lights at the entrences and turn people way. Send Cop cars through the campus, lights flashing, and adress the community with bull horn. Place swat-team looking guys at all the high traffic areas. Placed uniformed public safety officials near the entrances of all the dorms. Making a general commotion and having a highly visible public safety / emergency response would send the message through the campus much faster than email - 2 HOURS AFTER THE FIRST SHOOTING.

I'm no expert on this stuff, and it it is a large school. I'm not saying the campus should have been secure, but no one should have been unaware that something was wrong on campus. There should have been no one in classes or taking exams 2 hours after the first shooting. Sure, 25,000 students and thousands of faculty and staff is a large number. But the buildings are clumped together fairly closely. Not one person should have been able to walk out of their dorm at say 8:30, go across campus to class, and sit down in class without having a sense that something wasn't right.

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I think one reason why the campus wasnt notified was because the police saw the first two dorm room casualities (the woman and the RA) as a domestic violence murder/ suicide situation. However, I agree. After they did not find a gun in the dorm room, they should have immediately alerted the rest of the school that there was a shooter somewhere on campus. Some schools have sophisticated text message notification, some just have a loud campus bell that they ring. But whatever means were available should have been used to secure the other students immediately upon not finding the gun.

Unfortunately, I also think this was a case of the school trying to do spin/damage control (after the dormroom shooting) instead of focusing on the safety of the students.

The reason why terrorism works is because it seems unpreventable and uncontrollable. My prayers go out to the students, friends and families effected.

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The young man who went on the Virginia Tech shooting spree was clearly an extremely troubled, or I might say, disturbed individual. However, getting to my point: Incidents like this definitely underscore the need for stronger gun control throughout the United States. While a ban isn't realistically possible due to the extreme powerfulness and sway of the Gun Lobby and the NRA, I firmly believe that stronger, firmer gun laws have to be put in place, including background checks, waiting periods, and screening of prospective gun buyers. The Virginia Tech shootout, in addition to the other shootouts in schools in other parts of the country, including the Columbine High School shootout, as well as the assassinations that occurred 35-40 some odd years ago, and the high murder rate by handguns here in the United states generally, are, sadly, the result of our society and culture's long, long dependency on and revolvement around the gun, and we're now witnessing the net result: It's finally come home to roost, and, in the case of the recent Virginia Tech shootout, not to mention countless other incidents, etc., a volatile situation was exacerbated to the point of bloodshed and murder by the presence of a gun.

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We are fortunate here in australia firstly that we have a smaller population, but also there are very tight gun controls in place. Gun permits are only issued to farmers and contractors for killing vermin on farming properties. Also members of sporting clubs have to leave their guns and ammunition at the sporting club where they are locked away in steel cabinets in specially constructed storage rooms. It seems to work, but then we dont have a very active and powerful gun lobby or NRA over here.

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Nothing can be taken for granted any more. I've been out of ccollege now for more than 20 years and now have a career that I love and cherish. That aside, however, I just go about my daily life and business and can't afford to constantly worry about what will or will not happen.

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