Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech the day after

Via the NYT - Drumbeat of Shots, Broken by Pauses to Reload

The article has some first hand accounts from students, faculty and staff who were in the building during the shooting. There were a few things in the article that particularly struck me.

Here's the first:
Some students on campus took refuge in the library, searching the Web to find out what was happening. No one knew.
It is interesting to me that even when something is happening right where people are, they immediately look on the internet to find information. True that was safer than going to investigate, but still I think it says something about our society that we turn to cyberspace to find out what is happening just outside our own doors.

The school did not notify students by e-mail of the first shootings until 9:26 a.m., said Matt Dixon, who lives in the dorm. Mr. Dixon did not receive the e-mail message until he returned from his 9:05 class. When he left for that class, he said, a resident adviser told him not to use the central stairs, so he left another way.

On dry erase boards, advisers had written, “Stay in your rooms,” Mr. Dixon said.

Other students and faculty members said they had only a vague notion that there had been a shooting at the dorm.
It does seem that the campus police should have made more of an effort to get the word out, a gunman loose on campus, even if he was only shooting in a domestic violence-type situation, was something that the campus should have been notified of. It seems to me that this indicates just how lightly law enforcements takes domestic violence situations. It was like "oh, he only shot his girlfriend (or whatever), he's not really a threat to society." To me that is just wrong-minded.

It also surprises me that the news did not spread by word of mouth. I'm on campus (at a different University, of course) all the time and students are ALWAYS on their cellphones. I would think that if there was a shooting in the largest dorm on campus people would be talking about it. I guess people just aren't paying enough attention to the world around them.

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