Uni/Police response panned re shooting

April 18th, 2007 at 5:48 am by David Farrar

It seems that many of the deaths at Virginia Tech were preventable. The killer shot two people initially at 7.15 am and then the 30 others at 9.50 am.

The uni relied on e-mail (!!!) to tell people not to come onto campus after teh first shooting, and started to phone people. Good God the Police SWAT team should have been there within minutes with loudhailers evacuating the campus until they caught the killer.

It sounds like a love affair gone sour. Very tragic. Also sounds like the killer had only been in the US a few months and was from China – there could be some complications arising from that.

It would be nice if the bodies were at least cold before the NZ Herald uses the tragedy to editorialise against the US’s gun laws. Yes there is a legitimate debate about those laws. But a knee jerk reaction before it is known how the students got the guns is just that – knee jerk.

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30 Responses to “Uni/Police response panned re shooting”

  1. Bob () says:

    I gather, if reports now are accurate, that the shooter is South Korean and has been in the USA since age eight.

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  2. tim barclay () says:

    The shooter is a socialist going on about rich kids. This is not the first time that despicable philosophy has been acted out at the barrel of a gun.

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  3. dad4justice () says:

    Once again the distasteful NZ Herald shows us all that they just love dirty laundry -forget the victims families – get a mongrel story out – push the ism ideology – kick them in the head – kick them when they’re down .

    I wouldn’t even wipe my arse with this bullshit paper -let alone read the crap contained in it !

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  4. Nigel () says:

    Let me get this straight, you’d evacuate 36,000 people with a swat team & a loud hailer.
    Maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t that slightly understating the difficulty involved, what you’re saying is the equivalent of a shooting of two people in Courtney Place should prompt the lock down of the surrounding restaurants/bars etc covering an area which would encompass 36,000 people, the scale is wrong.
    I find this whole blame culture really disturbing, it was not the police’s fault, the fault lay with the perpetrator.

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  5. Lisa () says:

    Why didn’t they use the campus speaker system that they apparently used later on in the happenings which advised students specifically of the gunman and his movements. The fault of course lies with the gunman however perhaps if things were handled differently the fatalities may not have reached the number they did.Nigel I think your scenario of Courtney place would need to be qualified…If there was a gunmen taking pot shots at randoms then yes perhaps the Restaurants and Bars would need to be locked down in the surrounding vicinity, if it was at the rugby, all the grandstands be evacuated, if at the airport terminal, the airport cleared.This is a tragedy of momentous proportions and reflective practice is required by many to reduce potential casualties when the next fruitloop runs amok.

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  6. Max () says:

    The killer wasn’t from China.

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  7. Nigel () says:

    Lisa,

    It’s tough to find an analogy to the scale of the problem, but with 10k staff & 28k students and the size of the campus, it’s a massive exercise, I picked Courtney place because the scale is alot worse than a sporting event or airport, but alot less than a small city.
    I listened to the entire interview by the police chief on CNN yesterday & to be honest in their shoes it was a tough situation, with minimal indication that it was more than a confined domestic.
    I’m sure there will be lesson’s learnt & ways to improve things, but fundamentally I think picking on the cops with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight is a pretty cheap shot, how different is this to 9/11 where who would have thought someone would fly a hijacked plane into a building, some things are so horrific we’re just not conditioned to expect them & I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, it’s a pretty aweful world if this person’s actions are considered any more than at the very extreme end of unlikely.

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  8. towaka () says:

    I also thing it is wrong to have a knee jerk reaction and blame the cops and campus authorities.

    The first 2 killings were it seems due to a relationship breakup and the police at the time just considered that it was a normal homicide.How would they know that the same guy would go on a killing spree on the other side of the campus.

    Also the trouble with locking the campus down at this time of the morning was that there were thousands of students walking to class across the vast campus.How would you make contact with them?

    Nigel is right,the fault lays completely with the perpetrator.

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  9. Redbaiter () says:

    Utterly predictable commie bullshit from the commie Herald. What a shallow uninformed person the editorial writer is. Here’s a clue for the gun banners-

    Americans have always had easy access to guns. Killings like this are only a comparatively recent occurrence.

    What’s changed???

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  10. Andrew Bannister () says:

    Also sounds like the killer had only been in the US a few months and was from China

    Yes, this just shows how we really don’t know what happened. Wildly speculating about what should and what should not have been done is ill-informed.

    ps, current bets are that he was Korean and had been the US since 1992.

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  11. Fred () says:

    Cho….”You caused me to do this”

    Sounds familiar.
    You sure he wasn’t a “disadvantaged” Kiwi mendicant?

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  12. Craig Ranapia () says:

    Yes, this just shows how we really don’t know what happened. Wildly speculating about what should and what should not have been done is ill-informed.

    I’m in the amen corner with you on that one… It’s a shame that the Herald chose to go with that headline, because it’s entirely understandable that some students had precisely that reaction. The one phrase I heard over and over again in the coverage was “I never imagined this could happen here” – and there’s got to be someone to blame.

    But DPF writes:
    Good God the Police SWAT team should have been there within minutes with loudhailers evacuating the campus until they caught the killer.

    Yes, but… what if that had happened, and someone had been killed in a panicy stampede or (God forbid) dozens of students had unwitting walked – or ran – into the crosshairs of a sniper? So bloody easy to have 20/20 hindsight, especially when you’re sitting ten thousand miles away as the funerals start.

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  13. Cathi () says:

    I like Nigel’s analogy of Courtenay Place, it is appropriate. Besides, Nigel, 36,000 is analogous to a small city in NZ – the minimum city size in NZ is 20,000.

    Evacuating Virginia Tech on the basis of the earlier incident would have been a total overreaction. It is very easy in hindsight to say it should have happened. Bear in mind that this is not like NZ universities where very few students live on campus – we have more halls of residence now than we used to but even so, they are typically not on the campus itself. Where would you have the resident students go exactly? For how long? And we’re also not just talking about buildings – campuses include lots of open land, parks and walkways which are open to the public as well as enrolled staff and students. In addition they might have cinemas, museums, cafes and bars that similarly encourage the public to visit, as well as banks, post offices, bookshops and general stores. Campuses are inherently insecure places, shutting them down is a big operation and not to be done lightly – more difficult than evacuating Courtenay Place, which is just one clearly defined street. Of course if they’d known they would have done it, and I daresay if the perpetrator had given a clue that this was his next step, they would have acted on that. Without any indication that this was a possibility, the decision was the right one.

    The choice of email sounds a little odd but it was one way of reaching the students and staff who hadn’t left home-base yet, and as we know from the anecdotal reporting, it worked for some. How else are you going to reach 36000 people? Phone them all? How long does that take?

    University campuses are not controlled environments and controlling them is a big undertaking. It’s facile to say they should have evacuated.

    More important to me is – why did the campus security people think this guy had gone? In my day they would have searched the campus looking for him, and if you haven’t seen a trained security team scour a campus for someone, you’ve missed a delight. They should have been after him not so much for the future threat (which they thought was minimal/non-existent) but because he’d just murdered two people.

    That’s the gap in the process as far as I’m concerned.

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  14. Clark is gay () says:

    Can I just point out the ad that was served with this article:

    Tactical Shooting Gear
    Item found – Check out the sales. Shop deals on tactical gear.

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  15. David Farrar () says:

    Yes just after I posted I saw new stories saying Korea.

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  16. Duncan Bayne () says:

    This would have been preventable with much lower loss of life if the university admins hadn’t voted down a rule change to allow students with licenses to carry concealed handguns on campus.

    As it was, they deliberately disarmed their students, setting them up for this kind of horrible slaughter … and then having disarmed them, utterly failed to provide for their physical security.

    Disgusting behaviour on so many levels :-(

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  17. John Dalley () says:

    As has been eluded to isn the media so far, this has occured in Virginia a good ol southern state where the gun is king. Will this tragedy make a jot of difference, i doubt it. as has also been alluded to, guns are so easy to obtain in that town.

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  18. Duncan Bayne () says:

    John,

    Yes – guns are easily obtainable there. But the University had rules prohibiting the carrying of guns on campus, despite protests from students who didn’t like the idea of going unarmed.

    This tragedy shows – again – that banning a particular class of weapon will ensure that only those with ill intent will be armed.

    The problem is that the majority of voters assume that it is possible to prevent tragedies such as this by passing laws against weapons. In fact, there is no legislative way of preventing them. The only thing that can be done is to accept that physical security is an individual, personal responsibility, and allow people to own & carry the means of defense.

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  19. thehawk () says:

    In so many cases guns havn’t worked for civilian self defence in the USA – most are turned against them and used to kill the innocent.
    I can be right-wing and still opposed to the liberal arming of civilians with cheap hand guns. Anyone who thinks the murder rate drops when guns are made more freely available is a first class dipshit.

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  20. Duncan Bayne () says:

    thehawk,

    You’re citing urban myths – have a read of Gun Facts. Even if you were correct, the ban on handguns didn’t seem to stop the murderer in this case, did it? All it did was render the victims defenseless.

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  21. rob brown () says:

    Oregan and Utah are the only two states where they allows the facaulty to carry guns, and have never had shootings in schools in those states. 85% of Americans support the right of a principle or a teacher to have instant access to a safely stored firearm in order to defend the lives of students and prevent a school massacre.
    Gun Owners of America President Larry Pratt stated,”All the school shootings that have ended abruptly in the last ten years were stopped because a law-abiding citizen — a potential victim — had a gun.”

    As with most of the previous school killings, the students or killers were taking anti depressants or anti axienty medications, and one wonders why there is no investigation into the medications or the effects they have. Indeed what difference does medication have compared to taking Drugs, considering even in NZ anti depressants have been proven to have increased the likelyhood of suicidal thoughts, and may have well been a result of NZ teenagers deaths, heck even the extremely well prescribed ritilin is in the same molecular family a cocaine, YET THERE IS NOTHING DONE, because the big pharma boys cant be touched.

    Investigators believe Cho at some point had been taking medication for depression, the Tribune reported. News reports also said that he may have been taking medication for depression, that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic, and that he left a note in his dorm in which he railed against “rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on campus.
    Go figure.
    Either way, Home security no doubt will resume calls for gun control and extra funding for police.
    Dont blame the guns, we have laws against them here in NZ and still manage to have regular murders and beatings.

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  22. peter () says:

    People say US gun laws are bad, but criminals can get them in any country. If all the students had carried guns with them, It wouldnt have happened, or at least only a few would have died before the clasmates shot him.

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  23. James () says:

    Great piece here about 4 occasions where available guns stopped massacres…

    http://freestudents.blogspot.com/

    “When mass killers meet armed resistance.”

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  24. mara () says:

    Some thoughts..1
    it was known that the murderer was unhinged long before he killed.2…broadly speaking,we do not contain odd/spooky people because of what they MAY do.We wait until they do it. 3.Expelling him from the Campus would likely have been useless anyway;he could always have come back with his guns.4..It is human nature to believe that “it won’t happen to me”.5..Most folk appear to think that people who do horrible things must be insane.6..allowing students to arm themselves,however distasteful it may be to the the sensibilities of the “social yearners”, it may be the most pragmatic solution.gasp…7..however horrible this mass killing was,we must live with the fact that humans have always killed one another, with whatever the technology at hand.

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  25. James () says:

    Good post Mara..

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  26. Fred () says:

    John Tingle, the accurate one….

    “Has anyone considered the wonderful irony of the Greens and others calling
    for tighter gun controls and bans on handguns here in the wake of VT?

    The massacre was carried out in an environment – a campus – where nobody was
    allowed to have a gun. It was the law on that campus, and an expellable
    offence. Even students who had carry licences (quite a few according to
    my reading) couldn’t take their guns onto campus.

    So here was the ultimate environment of absolute gun control and
    prohibition.

    NO guns.

    Well… no legal guns.

    But people died there anyway, because the killer simply ignored the law.

    The ban didn’t protect anyone. Not having guns on campus may well have
    protracted the massacre because there was nobody there with a firearm to use
    in defence.

    Gun control controls people – not guns. But it does not protect people.”

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  27. James () says:

    Gun control controls people – not guns.

    Nice line! ;-)

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  28. Hemi () says:

    Redbaiter: Americans have always had easy access to guns. Killings like this are only a comparatively recent occurrence. What’s changed???

    People now check their facts?.

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  29. Fred () says:

    “Bill Landes of the University of Chicago law school and I examined multiple-victim public shootings in the US from 1977 to 1999 and found that when states passed right-to-carry laws, the rate of multiple-victim public shootings fell by 60 per cent.
    Deaths and injuries from multiple-victim public shootings fell even further, on average by 78 per cent, as the remaining incidents tended to involve fewer victims per attack.” Prof. John Lott, State Uni NY

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  30. mara () says:

    Thank you James.

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