With Sympathy and Frustration

Filed under:Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on April 16, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

Deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the worst shooting spree in U.S. history, on-campus or off.

Allah has the huge round-up of the press coverage.

The two sides of the gun-control debate are already at it–more gun control and the gunman wouldn’t have been able to do it; carry policy on campus and the gunman would have been shot before killing so many people. While I consider the first of those two positions dangerous nonsense, until now I would have said sure, I support a university’s being able to allow or disallow otherwise legally owned weapons on campus. I’m not so sure any more.

Even more frustrating to me was the authorities’ decision not to cancel classes in the wake of the first shooting at the dorm, before the rampage in the classroom building. In the middle of Allah’s string of updates is this little gem from ABC:

“According to Dr. Charles Steger, president of Virginia Tech, the administration locked down Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory after the first shooting. But classes weren’t cancelled because it was believed to be a domestic dispute and campus police thought that the shooter had left the campus.”

Hindsight is 20/20, but a domestic dispute involving a fatal shooting in the hive domicile that is a college campus wasn’t reason enough to put out a warning immediately to all on campus? Especially in a place where the “no guns for the law-abiding” policy precludes any opportunity for effective personal or group defense?

When you’ve disarmed the enclosed population by fiat, it’s only right that they all be aware if an armed and dangerous person is present. That’s a basic minimum. All high school, junior high, and elementary school administrations know this–that’s why they lock down if they hear fireworks close enough to campus to make them think it’s gunfire. I pray university authorities never have to learn this particular lesson again.

Cross-posted at Electric Venom.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace