Virginia Tech: Children have questions

glok.jpgMy teenage daughter introduced the Virginia Tech murders into our discussion around the dinner table last night. She was confused and completely horrified by the incident. ABC news reports,

The Virginia Tech shootings sparked criticism of U.S. gun control laws around the world Tuesday.

I think it has taken me a few days to even begin to process the true horror of this story by writing about it. I saw others post on it, but I felt struck speechless although I was raging inside. When it first came through on the news I felt fear and dread flood through me as I thought about the innocents. Just a bunch of students (and a Canadian prof) trying to get an education. How could anyone decide that these people deserved to die for it?

7:30 a.m. — After interviewing witnesses, police believe the double homicide stemmed from a domestic dispute and was an isolated incident. They also believe the gunman has fled campus and are following up on leads concerning a person of interest in relation to the killings.

8 a.m. — Students begin their first classes of the day. Word of the killings begins to spread among students via text messages and cell-phone calls.

I have reviewed the timelines and they are so tight between the time the police learned of the first killings and the second, I think it’s hard to throw a lot of blame on the University, or the police. How did this deeply troubled 23 year old get his hands on a 9 mm glok handgun?

I do think the campus should have been locked down immediately and searched after it was apparent several people had been shot. However given the short timelines, I am not sure it would have made a difference in this particular situation.

We get cougar warnings, stranger/suspicious persons warning emails here at the University as well, but I rarely use text messaging so these notices wouldn’t help me much if I was heading off to a class. I certainly can’t imagine UVic not locking down the grounds if someone was shot. It’s not a small place though so it would take some time.

I wonder if the University has a warning alarm system for this kind of incident that could notify the whole campus immediately and would require complete building evacuations…like a fire drill? We have never had this kind of drill, but does society succumb to the madness of practising evacuation procedures at Universities/schools in the case of psycho killer attacks? We have earthquake drills all the time. As I write it, I feel like this is a ridiculous suggestion; like crossing a line between living your life and living in fear of your nightmares, but I suppose it could save lives. We don’t have the same ease of access to guns here in Canada, but obviously Canada is not immune to this phenomena given the Polytechnique, Dawson College and Taber tragedies.

Most Canadians are unable to buy short-barrelled handguns of the type reportedly used in the Virginia Tech campus shootings, but thousands of other similar firearms are legally available to anyone with the right paperwork.

According to this LA times article,

Under Virginia law, Cho, a South Korean-born legal resident of the United States, would have had to show a Virginia driver’s license issued at least 30 days before the sale, a checkbook with checks that matched the address on his license and an immigration card showing that he was living legally in the United States.

As required, the two gun shops contacted the Virginia state police, who performed instant criminal background checks to make sure he wasn’t a felon or in violation of other conditions. Then they took Cho’s money, gave him the weapons and sent him on his way, the federal official said.

It was not known Tuesday whether Cho had a concealed-weapons permit.

Concealed weapons permit? They give regular everyday people permits to carry concealed weapons in the USA? Are they nuts? Isn’t a concealed weapon something only the police and other law enforcement personal should be allowed to carry? I will never understand the NRA induced reasoning ingrained in the American psyche.

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