Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Healing"

Donald Sensing at Winds of Change notes that "healing" covers a multitude of subjects.

From the beginning, the public utterances of university President Charles Steger's and Police Chief Wendell Flinchum have been sorry spectacles. They have distanced themselves from the events, describing the day as if it had little to do with them personally. It's one thing to demonstrate command of facts, but they have displayed all the personal connection with the mass murders as if describing a close loss of a football game. Certainly, I have seen no evidence that they have even done much soul searching about their decisions and response plans. Frankly, ISTM that they hardly even care much. ...

But hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits are sure to follow, anyway. Already, parents are calling for Steger and Finchum to get the boot. Myself, I hope they will have the decency to resign as a matter of principle. No matter how much legal and emotional distance the two men try to put between the killings and themselves, the deeds happened on their watch. Everyone is, of course, talking about "healing" at the university. The departure of Steger and Finchum would be a big part of it.


Commentary

I've always been fascinated by the concept of "healing" as applied to public tragedies. Healing, it would seem, is what the people in the hospital are doing now. What other "healing" is truly possible must be left to time as memories dim and lives are restarted. But the term as commonly used today seems to describe the suspension of the cognitive faculties, the "time out" after a catastrophe during which survivors are spared intrusive interview requests from tabloids (unless they are offered money in which case it helps the healing) and nominally responsible officials can refuse to answer questions by invoking the need to "heal".

But unless a real effort is made to retain a focus on the issues, the process of "healing" can actually prevent it. The dead may not be brought back to life. But if the lessons learned from their misfortune can be learned, then they may not have died in vain. The RMS Titanic disaster, for example, led to the establishment of an Ice Patrol and altered the lifeboat requirement for oceangoing liners. The "healing" that followed the Columbine school disaster, conferred no such benefits on Virginia Tech. It remains to be seen whether the recent shootings will change anything or whether some similar shooting in the future or a possible terrorist attack on an American campus will occur just as if nothing had been learned.

One approach would be to avoid solutions which tread on 2nd Amendment minefields. As some readers have privately suggested, there are ways to improve security in schools which do not necessarily focus on the prohibition of guns or result in universal armament. Tasers, security doors, fightback drills, police training, etc should be relatively noncontroversial measures. The changes need not be perfect. Just make things better than they were before.

69 Comments:

Blogger allen said...

How is "healing" possible without first knowing the extent of damage? At this writing, the names of the victims are still be released in dribbles. Questions, such as cause of death, are not being addressed at all.

There are steps to grief which must be internalized before "healing" can begin. Given the "chaos" of the moment, I see healing coming much latter than sooner, if at all.

4/17/2007 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

"The shooting death of the mayor of Nagasaki by a gangster has jolted Japanese accustomed to gun-free streets, sparking a government pledge Wednesday to stop crime syndicates from evading strict gun-control laws." (IHT)

4/17/2007 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Well Healing is a process that Governments use to hide failure. Because above all bureaucrats must never allow themselves to be blamed for failure. We had to heal after 9/11 because if we hadn't healed we might have asked some very uncomfortable questions...like where the hell have all those trillions of dollars we spent on Defense and Intelligence gone when 19 College Students can outwit the most powerful nation on earth. We might have also wondered exactly why wasn't anyone held to account in the Government. Instead Medals were given out...

Not sure but I am betting that if someone might have asked those folks plummeting to their deaths after jumping out of the 80 story if they thought anyone in the Government deserved a medal I am fairly certain what the answer might have been. Ditto for those folks fighting back on flt 93.

Not to eloquent right now but I have been wondering about why no one was held to account for a long time...I believe I have had all the "healing" I can stand. Now I want someones ass...

If the press wasn’t the enemy questions they would ask of the President…old news made new by relevance.

4/17/2007 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

And again we see the police out playing in their armor with their cute little helmets and their wicked cool AR-15's...milling about the school but not going inside. Hey someone might get hurt eh? Might not make it to pension. Didn't we see that sort of crap at Columbine...aren't they supposed to be the SheepDogs? Look like a bunch of puppies to me...well dressed no doubt but all bark no bite. There is a word for that around here somewhere...where did I misplace it? Oh maybe its in the title of this terrific piece written so long ago but so apt now.

"A Nation of Cowards"....which word do I have in mind....???

4/17/2007 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Its worth noting that the 3 officers who put that criminal down in Salt Lake City Mall showed more balls than all the cute little make believe Sheepdogs at Virginia Tech. They went into the mall no helmets, AR15's and put that sucker down.

Character...Sheepdogs...bad asses...not puppies.

4/17/2007 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Some context.

"Imagine a plane full of people crashing, killing everyone on board, every single day. That’s how many people die on America’s roads daily, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

'Motor vehicle crashes in the United States result in more than 40,000 deaths per year,” says the Institute in the journal Injury Prevention. “That is, on each of the 6,209 consecutive days included in this study, an equivalent of a plane load or more of people died on the roads.'

The death toll for a single day can range from 45 to 252 people, say the researchers."


The Virginia Tech massacre was not merely bad. It was, numerically, the worst shooting-massacre in the United States ever, by a significant margin. In other words, the frequency of a VT-sized event is precisely 1/n, n being the number of all homicides in the history of the U.S.

A mindless, horrible tragedy, to be sure. But unlike 9/11, which demanded serious, systemic changes, here it is not obvious that any adjustment in policy is needed.

Practical measures like security doors and trained faculty? Without a doubt. Gun-oriented policy overhauls? Not obvious.

4/17/2007 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

I've suspected that the antrax attacks were the efforts of a man to "wake up" America to a vunerability.

Avian flu in Asia is also a "wake up" call for America.

Now we have a school massacre that should serve as a "wake up" call to America - we have a major vunerability.

Did you get your Anthrax vacination? Do you have access to Ciprio? Can you get a flu shot if there was an outbreak of flu? If you answer "no", then be forwarned that our country has not "woke up".

Do you remember the clamor when pilots wanted to be armed? Lawmakers actually wanted to shoot down airliners instead of allowing the pilot to fight back.

Our children are sent into a make-believe "safe" world called school. Well intentioned people who watch "The View" clamor to keep schools disarmed. Each school is a target rich environment unable to resist. It is almost as though we are mentally ill as a country.

4/17/2007 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Portrait of a Pervert as a Young Man

Since some animals are more equal than others, especially if they are pervert psychos, nothing could be done to insure order in the madhouse.
---
"Lucinda Roy, an English professor, said Mr. Cho’s writing, laced with anger, profanity and violence, concerned several faculty members. In 2005, she sent examples to the campus police, the campus counseling service and other officials. All were worried, but little could be done, she said.

Ms. Roy said she would offer to go with Mr. Cho to counseling, just to talk. “But he wouldn’t say yes, and unfortunately I couldn’t force him to do it,” she said.

Students were also alarmed that Mr. Cho was taking inappropriate pictures of women under desks, she said.
"

4/17/2007 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Shameful to ask for context at a time like this, Aristides:
Hysteria is the order of the day, please conform.

4/17/2007 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Appointment w/the I-Man,
Don't be late:
---
The recorder clocked the speed at 91 m.p.h. five seconds before the Suburban collided with a white pickup truck, and at 30 m.p.h. when it slammed into a guardrail along the shoulder of the Garden State Parkway, the police said.

Mr. Corzine, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the front passenger seat to the back, breaking his thigh bone in two places, a dozen ribs, his breastbone and collarbone and a lower vertebra.

He remains in critical condition and on a ventilator after three operations on his leg.

4/18/2007 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Where do we find such men?
Paul Mirengoff
Power Line,
Virginia Tech Shooting

In a 1974 speech in which he honored returning POWs including John McCain, Ronald Reagan asked where we find such men. He answered, "We [find] them in our streets, in the offices, the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms."
Yesterday at Virginia Tech, we found one in a college classroom.

Professor Liviu Librescu was shot while blocking the door to his classroom, thereby impeding the gunman while his students escaped by jumping out of the window.

For Professor Librescu the road to Blacksburg, Virginia was a winding one. Originally a Romanian, Librescu survived the Holocaust and later immigrated with his wife to Israel. In 1986, he took his sabbatical in Virginia and decided to remain, lecturing in mechanics and engineering, and conducting his research at Virginia Tech.

Professor Librescu's sacrfice reminds us that we find "such men" -- our heroes -- not just among native Americans by also among those who come to this country from other lands. His confrontation with a mass murderer who also came here from another land reminds us that the U.S. is a melting pot of good and evil.
Hat Tip, Hugh Hewitt

4/18/2007 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

If you turned down the voice during the VT President's news conferences you could still hear him saying "I live in the Big House and make $400,000 a year. Your murdered children are a terrible inconvenience for screwing this up."

And if I ever fail again to get to the clicker fast enough to shut off the bureaucrats' news conference where the podium full of suits and uniforms praise each other for the good job they are all doing I will forever give up television. "They" did not do a good job. It doesn't appear that "they" did anything at all.

All the same suits and unfiforms got together a few months ago and decided that although Virginia law allowed permitted students to carry that "they" had policies in place that would assure VT students' safety. "They" promised everything and delivered nothing.

Maybe the vision of hundreds of uniformed policemen armed with automatic weapons surrounding Norris Hall while one individual murdered at leisure inside the building is the metaphor for our times.

Michelle Malkin has used the phrase "Culture of Self Defense" and is that ever right on the mark. Who doesn't see and hear about the horrific acts of violence that happen daily from Paris to Baghdad and feel vulnerable that some suit's policy and a few miles of ocean are the only things standing between you and them? There is no ocean in Blacksburg.

4/18/2007 03:20:00 AM  
Blogger Brother D-Day said...

The general rule for dealing with an active shooter is to send a single fire team into a building in a stack with other fire teams outside securing the perimeter.

This does a few things.

1. It reduces the chances of friendly fire within the shoot zone by ensuring the single stack will be the only source of fire other than the active shooter.

2. It puts eyes all around the perimeter to prevent the active shooter from escaping the cordon. One of the reasons you see the perimeter teams stop, frisk and interrogate all people egressing is to make sure the shooter did not change clothes and attempt to escape the cordon with a group.

3. If the first fire team gets wiped out, you have reserves.

The lame response at Columbine was the catalyst for the new tactics with active shooters. To sum it up - run to the gunfire, worry about ambush later.

Remember, the shooter at VT chained the doors at Norris Hall. This slowed the fire team down signficantly.

Also remember, there were seven officers on duty when all of this started. Figure most of them were at the dorm when the hell unleashed in Norris Hall.

This is where the issues with the University President and Chief of Police are most profound.

You have all of your officers now at one location with a shooter unaccounted for. Why the local and state PD were not called in, locking down the campus, setting up cordons and perimeters is beyond me.

Secondly, with all of the campus PD at the dorm, it is going to take time to get the right response team in place to breech Norris. There was not a group of officers on location ready to breech.

Finally, I highly doubt, given the dominance of leftoid sheeple-think on college campuses, that the administration had officers trained for active shooter scenarios like this. That kind of training costs bucks, and I am sure the administration replied to any request to get the training with, "it can never happen here."

4/18/2007 05:18:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

One of the weaknesses of our culture, which makes self defense tougher, is the way we blame our police and other authorities instead of blaming the criminal.

After any major crime, there is endless second guessing of every "good guy" involved. Independent commissions break down each statement someone made, each action the police & fire fighters took, into a minute by minute timeline so it can all be second-guessed. The investigations and lawsuits for 9/11 are still going on, including charges that walkie talkies were the problem.

It increases my respect for the police & fire departments even more, because most people in their places would just throw down their badges and say "I've had it. Defend yourselves."

4/18/2007 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Back in the 60’s a major assertion of the anti-war movement was called “Student Immunity.” Students engaged in protests were supposed to be immune from the consequences of their actions.

The Student Immunity concept seemed to come to an end with the shootings at Kent State. Student protestors rampaged through the nearby town, breaking windows, and when the National Guard was sent in the students attacked armed men, using rocks. And whaddaya know; the students weren’t immune to bullets.

Virginia Tech was using the long-discredited Student Immunity principle.

And Pierre: I know what you mean relative to the law enforcement guys milling around outside, waiting for the handouts for PowerPoint presentation to get printed or whatever they do, and that was apparently the pre-Columbine norm - but reports are that the police had broken through the chained doors and were running down the 2nd floor hallway to the active murder site when the last shots were fired - by the shooter into his own head.

No doubt there were a lot of Barney Fife's milling around outside, trying to get their one available bullet out of their shirt pocket, but the guys with real guns and real guts were running toward the noise of the gunfire. I can fault them for many things, but not for that.

4/18/2007 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 04/18/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

4/18/2007 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yeah, rwe, the ROTC Honor Grad, way across Campus on his way to class, was shot and killed by those National Guardsmen.

No immunity at all, to bullets, no matter the politics of the victim.

William Knox Schroeder (July 20, 1950 - May 4, 1970) was a student at Kent State University, Ohio, when he was killed by Ohio National Guardsmen in the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970.

Schroeder was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. At age 17, Schroeder applied for the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship. He received the Academic Achievement award from both the Colorado School of Mines and from Kent State University, where he was a psychology student. He also earned the Association of the United States Army award for excellence in history.

Schroeder was killed with a shot in the back ...

According to reports, he was not taking part in the Vietnam War protests that preceded the shootings, but simply going from one class to the next.


No immunity at all.

4/18/2007 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Perhaps one problem with the news coverage is that they make a celebrity out of the evil bastard and save all their venom for the first responders. Admittedly, the police could have done better but why are their headlines about students "forgiving" the shooter? Is that healing?

I ceased being a Catholic the day the pope said we must ask God to forgive the 9/11 hijackers.

Professor Liviu Librescu was shot while blocking the door to his classroom, thereby impeding the gunman while his students escaped by jumping out of the window.

Everbody knows all about the killer. Why isn't the press doing around-the-clock reporting about Professor Librescu?

4/18/2007 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger wildiris said...

I have some questions that maybe someone here can answer. Why the engineering building? Was the "girlfriend's" boyfriend an engineering major? Or was that building one whose doorways were easy to barricade? That is, a good building for a terrorist-type of attack. It would appear that the chains used to secure the doors had been purchased earlier. This implies some premeditation and planning. I guess what I’m trying to get at, is the question, was the attack on that particular building related to the woman in question, or was it chosen for other logistic reasons.

Re: Desert Rat, many of the National Guard troops that were there that day were no older that the college students that they faced across the riot line. Rather than shoot directly at the protesters, as they were ordered to do, they fired over their heads instead. But those rounds had to come down somewhere. As a result, a number of the causalities at Kent State that day were far from the protest and had nothing to do with the rioting students. I personally still hold the protesters that day, and not the Guardsmen, responsible for the deaths and injuries to the innocents you mention.

4/18/2007 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/18/2007 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> I guess what I’m trying to get at, is the question, was the attack on that particular building related to the woman in question, or was it chosen for other logistic reasons.

No one knows. The room mate of that woman, Emily Jane Hilscher, the dorm room victim, said she had never seen the killer or heard of him. Other sources have said they know of no link between the killer and Emily.

So no one knows why the killer went to Emily's dorm room or to the classrooms in engineering. They do have evidence he made bomb threats to those engineering buildings in the past.

4/18/2007 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Herr wu Wei and Wildirus:
I have wondered the same things. On campus, there is always a certain amount of rivalry between specialties and given that VA Tech is a "Tech" school, one can assume that the engineers felt somewhat superior to others. This was true at my university, where we had but one engineering building but many devoted to "humanities." I have seen evidence of it at other universities as well. The fact that the people majoring in humanities and "business" often include at least a fair number who have washed out of engineering adds to this feeling of separateness.

After the Columbine massacre, we heard how something had to be done about bullying of homosexuals and nerds by the jocks and the popular crowd - that was said to the real reason for the killings, rather than that those who carried it out were simply vicious little beasts. I would predict some recommendations will be made to make sure that the engineers don't lord their "superiority" over the other students - it is the kind of crap that comes out of things like this.

And of course, the man was a senior, presumably quite close to graduation. At this point you are looking at job prospects. And I think we can be assured that job offers for a technical degree from a school respected for its engineering department (e.g., the school has its own nuclear reactor) are rather better than for a sad English major with some demonstrated weird ideas. He could well have concluded that he did not have much of a future - unlike the school's engineers.

4/18/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

My first reaction, when hearing of this massacre, was that, the guy was a Jihadi. I was willing to take bets on that, too.

However. The murderer was a solitary man, one who didn't even talk to his room-mates in the dorm. He was an oddity, with no friends. He was crazy.

And now I have learned something more about "Jihadi-ism": it is a social thing. They hang around with other guys at the mosque. They are friendly and cheerful with fellow workers and neighbours. And then they go out and bomb a bunch of people. Nice.

Also, it has occurred to me that our new religion, the Worship of Gaia, is notably inadequate in explaining the VT slaughter, is it not? Maybe Peter Singer and Al Gore should juice up their New Thing to take account of Mr. Cho.

And although I do not think that the president of VT is personally responsible for the massacre, I do think he should resign. That job of his, with all the perks and $$$ mean nothing if he will not step down and let someone else deal with the mess.

4/18/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> After the Columbine massacre, we heard how something had to be done about bullying

I would totally disagree with any attempt to blame the victims in massacres like these. Even if they though they had a right of revenge against specific people, no sane and moral human being would kill a bunch of innocents like these school massacres.

So all of these killers are a combination of evil and insanity. For example, there was a female mass murderer in Illinois who was almost all insanity, with behavior like riding elevators up and down for hours, and dressing herself in a garbage bag then laying in the dumpster with the other garbage. The Son of Sam killer believed his neighbor's dog gave him orders to kill.

The Columbine killers sounded mostly evil, spoiled brats who acted like they were possessed by demons.

This Virginia killer sounds like a mixture of both. He had mental problems to the point where he was unable or unwilling to communicate with anyone, and he was loaded with evil, but he still kept enough sanity to keep himself out of a mental hospital long enough for his massacre.

4/18/2007 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger J.B. said...

Herr Wu Wei -- thank you.

I am completely ashamed that Donald Sensing, of all people, is spewing this kind of nonsense.

We've developed a pornographic (and juvenile) level of "blame, blame, blame" in America and now spew it out as a first instinct.

Get a grip, people. I was proud that the Virginia Tech people gave their President a standing ovation as Geraldo et al obsess about B.S. questions, questions, questions. STFU!

The L.A. Times has a good story explaining how the police REASONABLY chased a bad lead. It happens. We don't live in utopia and you can't protect people from life.

4/18/2007 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

"But if the lessons learned from their misfortune can be learned, then they may not have died in vain."

This comment is logical. However, something that has bothered me in the wake of events like these, is that the first thing people always call for, is the resignation or firing of those who probably will learn the most from this incident, and how to prevent it or handle it in the future. This response seems illlogical in many cases.

If clear fault can be determined, if credible warnings went unheeded, etc. etc. then I can see asking for the resignation or firing of such individuals. However, when it is simply a reaction to a hurt that has been inflicted on the community, it is punishment misplaced. I cannot say which is true in this case yet, but I cannot yet clearly see how Steger and Finchum's departure would "heal" anything. 32 lives have been ended here. I see no value in adding two careers to the cost, unless it is truly merited.

4/18/2007 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

One of the greatest problems of our society is how to differentiate evil and insanity. To most sane people, they look quite the same. How could you be evil if you are not insane? Even the WWII Nazis look insane from our present day perspective - and the present day swastika wearers even more so.

This was further complicated by the 60's counterculture assertion that what we call insanity is merely part of an infinite variety of "alternative lifestyles." The Earl Warren Supreme Court decreed that protective incarceration for reason of dangerous mental infirmity essentially cannot be done; the patent has to want to be locked up for his own good. Thus, the doors to the mental hospitals were thrown open, creating most of the homeless problem, among others.

There is even an organization, the Insane Liberation Front, which holds that even prescribing drugs to right chemical imbalances represents a violation of civil rights; people should have the right to be crazy if they so wish.

There are nuts who are harmless and those that are not, and that applies to whole countries. Are they nuts? Or are they evil? And should it matter in terms of our reactions?

We seem to embrace ignorance and are righteous in our subsequent bafflement. And then something like the shootings at Virginia tech occurs and we are sorrowful, full of a new determination - and still are baffled.

4/18/2007 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger J.B. said...

L.A. Times story:

Events Turned On Puzzling Initial Shootings

4/18/2007 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

No doubt there were a lot of Barney Fife's milling around outside, trying to get their one available bullet out of their shirt pocket, but the guys with real guns and real guts were running toward the noise of the gunfire. I can fault them for many things, but not for that.

Thanks for educating me...and sorry for being so hard on the officers.

And for those of you saying that we shouldn't blame anyone but the perps sorry I don't buy that argument. I bought it for a while after 9/11 until I had done enough reading to realize that typical bureaucratic asscovering had created the perfect conditions for a group of people out of a society unable to create anything but chaos to attack us like no other enemy in history has managed.

4/18/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> One of the greatest problems of our society is how to differentiate evil and insanity.

I think it shows up in the verdict "not guilty by reason of insanity". Being evil is a moral choice, and that is only possible for someone that has a minimal sanity.

Evil is morality, insane is rationality.

4/18/2007 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

j.b.

I independently arrived at the same conclusion that Sensing did about the detachment of the VT president. The student body at VT gave him a standing O. They know him better than I so I will defer to them and admit the fallacy of my impression.

Whether or not the campus police could have acted differently may someday be a good discussion, but that does not remove the importance of looking at the overriding culture that actively prevented any VT student or employee from having taken steps to protect themselves, or maybe on a higher level that no monstrous evil could occur at VT because there was a policy against it.

If we have learned anything over the last few years it is that acts of horrific violence are committed by individuals against groups of unarmed civilians. Although Cho is not connected with Islamic violence the M.O. is the same.

I rail at the VT administration that not only made personal self defense a campus crime, but belittled the people who asserted their personal obliigation and right to do so. What happened at VT is terrible enough in its own right, but such shocks to sensibility incite discussions about even greater possible, and some feel inevitable, horrors, against which we hear the same assuring and vacuous arguments.

4/18/2007 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Mahone said...

A few decades back and friend and I were watching the mainstream news when a report came on about a man who had randomly started shooting people on the street. "The authorities were," the newsman said in all seriousness, "still unsure of the gunman's motive." My friend and I both broke into spontaneous laughter.
The point then, that we both instantly understand -- not being trained psychologists -- was that some people are just mad dog crazy. There IS no motivation other than the insane desire to destroy other humans at random. Hence, the idea of seeking the Virginia Tec mass murderer's "motivation" only point out the obvious absurdity of those elitist elements in our culture that presume "there are no bad children", "everyone can change for the better," and "the anger of others can be dealt with if we just take the time to understand their point of view." Gag, puke. A mad dog has no deep motivation. And the absurdity of trying to discern the 'motivation' of a crazed killer is . . . well, crazy.
And the psychoanalytic boobs are just as daft, and potentially as dangerous to society, as the killer's they empower with their attempted intellectualization of what amounts to chaos in a human soul. Jeez, PC will kill us all.

4/18/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> If we have learned anything over the last few years it is that acts of horrific violence are committed by individuals against groups of unarmed civilians. <

I think one of the biggest problems is the victims in these cases are told if they don't have a gun, then resistance is futile so they should just lay down and die.

One of the heros in the Virginia incident said he originally felt that way:

Petkewicz described his state of mind unabashedly: "I was completely scared out of my mind originally, just went into a cowering position, and then just realized you have got to do something."

But then they fought back by blocking the door, and the killer wasn't able to get at them, even by rushing the door or shooting at it.

Maybe next time some of the victims will use imrprovised clubs to stop the killer. I'm not saying it would be easy, but since the killer is insane and not trained in fighting, it's possible.

4/18/2007 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

The more I read about "healing" the more convinced I become that, to the gentle practitioners of the "healing" art, this means, "Let's put this behind us. Let's move on."

To where?

To what?

To the victims, it will always be day before yesterday.

4/18/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Allen
David Allen White says we have lost connection with the meaning of suffering, replaced w/psychobabble like "healing."

Went into the derivation, having to do with "to bear" as in Your Cross to Bear.

4/18/2007 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

PB Said,

"I rail at the VT administration that not only made personal self defense a campus crime, but belittled the people who asserted their personal obliigation and right to do so."
---
Legal concealed carry docs were not honored on campus, meaning no-one, I believe, not just students.

4/18/2007 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pierre,
I assume then, that when a WMD comes across our open border, you'll hold additional parties responsible?
...at least "Bush" is easy to spell.

4/18/2007 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

"And for those of you saying that we shouldn't blame anyone but the perps sorry I don't buy that argument. " - PierreLegrand

This was not what I was suggesting. I was suggesting we shouldn't rush to blame anyone who isn't shown to be at fault.

In this case, I don't think (someone may correct me, or events may unfold which indicate otherwise) that the two gentlemen in question have been shown to clearly deserve blame.

4/18/2007 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

This shows how hard it is for colleges to discipline and protect their students. A Colorado student was just arrested for making remarks which fellow students felt were like Cho's. Some students are afraid to come to class with him. Yet the father of the arrested student says he will fight it as a violation of free speech.

Student arrested

4/18/2007 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Conversion of David Allen White

So I went into the university, a modern university, where they taught me the three things that I think you get at a modern university: hate your family, hate your country, hate God (Who "doesn't exist," but hate Him anyway). That's what my head was filled with. So that when I graduated and went on to graduate school, my head was filled with absolute nonsense. I still knew nothing about religion, although I would talk about it at length, mainly to try to debunk it. As far as I was concerned, there was only nature. Nature was all we needed. Everything was material. There was really only one "Commandment", that was, "We should be nice to each other even though life has no meaning" – which is a very peculiar thought.

When I began teaching, that's the sort of nonsense I was teaching. Absolute nonsense, because I knew nothing. I had no business being in front of a class teaching anything because I didn't know anything. But I was a modern teacher with a head full of feathers and sawdust that I spewed out around the room. Then one day, when I was teaching at Temple University in Philadelphia, I had a student in the back of the class, who raised his hand and challenged me. He began debating me in the classroom. In no time at all, I became aware of a situation that most teachers live in terror of: I had a student in my class who knew a hundred times more than what I knew. I was an absolute ignoramus and this student was really smart.

4/18/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

doug,

I cannot recommend strongly enough Bill Whittle’s essays:

Seeing the Unseen, Part 1

Seeing the Unseen, Part
2


Additionally, Dr. Sanity’s considered opinion is equally compelling:

Paranoia Strikes Deep

Whittle intends to eventually finish his thoughts with a third essay.

What he has not considered, but hopefully will, is the irrationality of what I consider the “Gamer’s Mind”; wherein, otherwise reasonable folk begin to expect life to mimic video games; that is, life should have controls that permit “pause”, “stop”, “replay”, “rewind”, and “edit”. So firmly held is this pathology that large segments of the public believe the role of government is to legislate these expected modes.

4/18/2007 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't forget the "Free Lunch" and "Free Doctor" modes.

4/18/2007 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

I think there is a lot more to come about this story. Police have asked for warrents to get more medical information, but right now they just have it from the university.

Cho was reported involved in two stalking incidents at the end of 2005, which was when he had problems with his instructors, and then was signed into a mental institution for around two days.

Since then, up until the shooting, the university police had no complaints about him. His roommates and others seemed to say Cho had medicine for mental illness. Someone from the university today said they were aware of the problem and were handling it the best they knew.

4/18/2007 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Some news came quickly:

Cho Seung-Hui in 2005 was declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice, who declared he was "an imminent danger to others," a court document states.

Cho ruled imminent danger


Cho was referred to a mental health facility that year after officers responded to accusations he was suicidal and stalked female students, police said Wednesday.

It is unclear if that declaration and the referral were related.

Authorities said they received no more complaints about the 23-year-old English major until Monday when he killed at least 30 people before taking his own life on the Virginia Tech campus, university police Chief Wendell Flinchum said.

4/18/2007 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger dueler88 said...

What keeps going through my mind is how many people this guy was able to shoot at without resistance. When somebody points a gun in your face, to me that is grounds for lethal self-defense by whatever means one can muster.

While a GLOCK 19 is nearly foolproof to operate, I'm guessing the guy was not an expert marksman since it appears that the 50-round box he bought was his only 9mm ammo purchase. It is possible to disarm such an inexperienced marksman, especially if he was attacking at point-blank range. Then again I may be proven wrong as the story develops.

This is not to say that I'm an expert in self-defense or that I know exactly how I would react in that situation, but if you know you're about to get shot repeatedly and have nowhere to go, wouldn't you maybe want to attack the shooter with deserved ferocity?

Please don't misunderstand - each victim is a tragedy in itself, and none of us knows exactly what we would do in that situation. I just wonder if our culture of dependence has caused us to believe that we must rely completely on the government to protect us against those who would do us harm.

4/18/2007 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Doug said...
Pierre,
I assume then, that when a WMD comes across our open border, you'll hold additional parties responsible?
...at least "Bush" is easy to spell.


Not sure I understand the question. From what I have seen so far regarding 9/11 was that our Government to which we have given trillions of dollars to expressly prevent attacks against this country, failed.

Failure in government doesnt seem to carry the same sorts of penalties it carries in RealLife tm. In Real Life tm if you fail that spectacularly you get fired...you don't get a medal. We don't get to hear you whine about how unfair life is...we don't get to hear how mean the other Government Bureaucrats were to you. You get fired and you fade away.

Holding people to account is one of the hardest things to do in management because we all develop friendships and alligences...and yet by not holding even your friends to account the goals of the organization get lost. When the goals of the only institution protecting this country get lost you get stuff like Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

At least in Pearl people got fired...even if they might not have had substantially anything to do with the failure.

Aren't y'all just a little upset that NO ONE was held to account for 9/11?

4/18/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

People wondered "What did the killer do between the first and second attacks?"

He sent a package to NBC!

Gunman contacted NBC News during massacre

Gunman contacted NBC News during massacre

Rambling communication, video being examined by FBI, network says

Sometime after he killed two people in a dormitory but before he slaughtered 30 more in a classroom building Monday morning, Cho Seung-Hui sent NBC News a rambling communication and videos about his grievances, the network said Wednesday.

Network officials turned the material over to the FBI and said they would not immediately disclose its contents pending the agency’s review beyond characterizing the material as “disturbing.” It included a written communication, photographs and video.

The network said it would release a statement shortly.

4/18/2007 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> Aren't y'all just a little upset that NO ONE was held to account for 9/11?

They were. Al Qaeda and the Taliban did it, and lots of them are in hell now. The rest are out of power and on the run.

4/18/2007 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Here's an article about the need to resist killers like these.

Schools need to

Cowering under a desk and waiting for help to come is no longer an option. American schools must teach their students to respond aggressively to attacks by people bent on mayhem.

"I would hope that the administrators and folks that are making the decisions would understand that it’s difficult to negotiate with a bullet," security consultant Allen Hill told TODAY. "A person that comes into your facility with a gun intends to kill and do you harm."

4/18/2007 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I believe the reference was to folks like Normie Mineta getting the Medal of Freedom for enabling future attacks.

4/18/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hadn't seen Pierre' Post:
My comment was that Bush will be most responsible for our helplessness when his cherished open border yields another attack.

4/18/2007 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

They were. Al Qaeda and the Taliban did it, and lots of them are in hell now. The rest are out of power and on the run.

By god those in our government responsible for protecting this country were most certainly NOT held responsible. Hell Tenet got a freaking medal of freedom....Gorelick got a position on the 9/11 Commission thereby insuring that it was a useless waste of my money. Countless boobs inside of FBI who were more interested in reaching pension than protecting this country are STILL TO THIS DAY actually STILL FCING Employed...ohmyfckingdamnhowcan that be????

HOLY SMOKES they didn't follow up on leads because of some stupid directive that was deliberately vague to protect the ass of Gorelick and the rest of that band of incompetents in the Clinton Administration?

In regards to the actual shooting war exactly why in the hell is our Defense Budget STILL TO THIS GODDAMN DAY under 4% of total GDP...it was higher in Clintons term.

No NO NO do not preach to me that those in our government have been held to account for their failures...haven't heard of anyone shooting themselves in the head because of the shame of failure. That used to happen don't you know. People used to take that sort of thing pretty damn seriously...now we just are asked to feel their freaking pain.

Exactly WHY TO THIS DAY do we allow Syria and Iran to blow up our troops and our allies...??? Do you call that success? Or do you simply define success as no large city in the states blowing uP?

Yea Doug you have read my stuff long enough to know that about 3 years ago I stopped seeing Republicans as saints and Democrats as evil...now they are all merely lower than whaleshit politicians. I am a litte unhappy with my Government...but thank god it is better than all the others.

4/18/2007 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

“I think it shows up in the verdict "not guilty by reason of insanity". Being evil is a moral choice, and that is only possible for someone that has a minimal sanity. Evil is morality, insane is rationality.”

Logically argued, but I think that while insanity can produce evil, evil certainly can produce insanity. As to which comes first who can say? If he had murdered all those people in order to steal their watches then would that have been straightforward evil rather than evil that came from insanity? It sounds just as nuts to me either way.

I understand that in Great Britain rather than “not guilty by reason of insanity” they have “Guilty but insane.” I suppose that changes the punishment situation but it at least recognizes the evil that was done.

We now know that he was judged to be a danger to himself and others, was given a temporary incarceration for psychiatric evaluation – and then was let loose on us – and furthermore, passed a supposedly extensive background check in order to obtain the murder weapon earlier this year.

Once again, to reiterate my point about the Warren Court decision of the 60’s, the problem is a philosophical acceptance of insanity as being a lifestyle choice that we have no right to interfere with - until the subject does something like kill 32 people.

Is the BTK killer any less insane, just because he was more "functional" in society?

4/18/2007 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

This is sad. Not only the deaths, but a whole room of people just laying still and waiting to be shot, laying there while he left the room and then came back and "continued to shoot everyone over and over".

If it wasn't from someone who was there, I wouldn't believe it.

Play Dead

Following the gun was a man. He was Asian and had a lot of ammunition and gun gear on — like a big utility belt or something for ammo. That was the only glimpse I got. I quickly dove under a desk — that was the desk I chose to die under. He then began methodically and calmly shooting people down. It sounded rhythmic — like he took his time in between each shot and kept up the pace, moving from person to person. ... I played dead and tried to look as lifeless as possible.

--------------

After some time (I couldn't tell you if it was 5 minutes or an hour), he left. The room was silent except for the haunting sound of moans, some quiet crying, and someone muttering "it's OK, it's going to be OK. They will be here soon." I [propped] my head up just enough to mutter in a harsh whisper, "play dead. If he thinks you're dead then he won't kill you."


--------------


Shortly after, the gunman returned. My head was down the whole time. I continued to play dead. He began unloading what it seemed like a second round into everyone again — it had to be the same people. There were way more gunshots than there were people in that room. I think I heard him reload maybe three times. I think it was the sound of reloading — they were long pauses. He continued to shoot everyone over and over. After every shot I braced myself for the next, thinking, "This one is for me." ... I had come to accept my death,

4/18/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

I'm an old fashioned conservative who doesn't blame the victims or the government for crime.

4/18/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

I'm an old fashioned conservative who doesn't blame the victims or the government for crime.

I am an older fashioned Conservative who believes that personal responsibility is each of our duties. And furthermore that when our Government doesn't live up to its duty we should hold those inside of it to account.

It is my personal responsibility to protect my family and myself from criminals. If the Police arrive to help fine...if not I will handle it. The last time my family depended on me I got there before the police and flushed the asshole out of the yard. He is lucky he made it out of the yard...bastard was stalking my wife. After a little heart to heart he understands the penalty for ever bothering my family again. He moved away...

Terrorists are the Governments responsibility. Its why all these years I have not protested giving so much of my income to them in taxes. Giving them lifestyles that I can only dream of...if they cannot accomplish this task then I expect them to be held to account. I certainly do not expect to see them awarded medals.Bastards.

I am a little angry at the acceptance of incompetence in our government in this country.

4/18/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> Once again, to reiterate my point about the Warren Court decision of the 60’s, the problem is a philosophical acceptance of insanity as being a lifestyle choice <

I see the point, but to me it is more about not being like the Soviet Union, where everyone who opposed communism was obviously mentally ill, so they were put into mental hospitals.

It appears like the system worked, up until a few weeks ago. Various complaints in 2005 caused Cho to be forced into a mental institution for examination. Apparently, all the complaints and problems stopped then, or we just haven't been told yet. But there were no more complaints to the university police, and none of the problems the teachers mention seem to have come after then.

So I am waiting to see what happened over the past 16 months.

4/18/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger BigLeeH said...

From the MSNBC story about the package mailed to NBC news:

Sometime after he killed two people in a Virginia university dormitory but before he slaughtered 30 more in a classroom building Monday morning, Cho Seung-Hui mailed NBC News a rambling communication and videos about his grievances, the network said Wednesday.

...

The package bore a U.S. Postal Service stamp recording that it had been received at a Virginia post office at 9:01 a.m. ET Monday, about an hour and 45 minutes after Cho shot two people in the West Ambler Johnston residence hall on the Virginia Tech campus and shortly before Cho entered Norris Hall, where he killed 30 more people.


For what it is worth I think MSNBC is making a false inference here. 9:01 is more likely to be when the post office opened and started processing the mail from the weekend than when the package was actually mailed.

4/18/2007 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

As predicted yesterday, the nutters have begun.

The analogies of the Virginia Tech massacre to Iraq will be starting in three, two, one…now:

H/T Jules Crittenden

Oh, the author is a professor of law.

4/18/2007 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

I just a few items on TV that may explain some things.

The order for psychiatric treatment was issued as being VOLUNTARY. He could choose not to do it. Had it been issued as MANDATORY it would have shown up on his background check and he would have been denied the guns.

However, the result of the psychiatric evaluation was that he was “a danger to himself and others.”

In the case of the first shooting on Monday, in the residence hall, the woman who was shot had a webpage in which she said she had fired guns with another male student at a firing range. The male student had a webpage that said he was in a relationship with the woman victim. The police obtained a warrant for the search of the male student’s off-campus domicile on the basis that the guns used in the shooting might be there. The police were interviewing the male student when they heard of the 2nd campus shooting.

As for the USSR analogy, there is an enormous difference between what was done in that failed totalitarian state and what was normal in the US before the Warren Court decision. And here they have pushed back the borders of normalcy every year since.

4/18/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Reading these accounts of the passivity of the victims in Va Tech, as difficult as it is to do, it may help our society in the long-run for the media to harshly 'blame' the victims - especially the male students - for failing to fight back against Cho and protect their classmates, especially the women.

I realize it's distasteful to do so, but how else will we as a society learn, and teach our upcoming generations, to stigmatize the culture of passivity and helplessness?

4/18/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

From Big Lizards:

Fighting Back Was Not an Option, Part 2

H/T The Glittering Eye

4/18/2007 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Actually the court order said that Cho was a danger to himself, but not others.

A temporary detention order from General District Court in the commonwealth of Virginia said Cho "presents an imminent danger to himself as a result of mental illness."

A box indicating that the subject "Presents an imminent danger to others as a result of mental illness" was not checked.


The initial psychiatric exam, the one BEFORE the court order listed depression as a problem but nothing else:

A handwritten section of the form describes Cho. "Affect is flat and mood is depressed," said the order, which was signed December 14 by Special Justice Paul M. Barnett. "He denies suicidal ideation. He does not acknowledge symptoms of a thought disorder. His insight and judgment are normal."


Next came the part we don't know about yet, what happened at the mental hospital. Police have asked a judge for a warrant, but until then, by law, the hospital can't release more information.

We do know from his roommates that he was gone only a couple of nights. Afterwards, for the 16 months before the shooting, there were no university police complaints against Cho. It's not clear that any of the teacher's complaints happened after that.

It looks like Cho cleaned his act up after being in the mental hospital. He was always evil, but had enough sanity left to fool people. Even his roommates didn't suspect.

4/18/2007 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

A key point is that some of the Virginia Tech students did fight back, by blocking the door with furniture when they heard the killer coming. They had the courage to hold the table in place even when the killer was pushing on it, and shooting at the door to try and kill them.

Two sets of students, two different reactions. The students who fought back by blocking the door lived. Almost all the students who instead chose to lay of the floor in what a survivor called "a cowering position" died.

Student saves life

The student who led the effort to block the door with furniture captured the two choices perfectly:

Petkewicz described his state of mind unabashedly: "I was completely scared out of my mind originally, just went into a cowering position, and then just realized you have got to do something."

Wait in "a cowering postion" or "do something".

4/18/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

There was no “fight”! Arguing otherwise does not move the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.

___To attempt to harm or gain power over an adversary by blows or with weapons.

___To contend with physically or in battle.

___A confrontation between opposing groups in which each attempts to harm or gain power over the other, as with bodily force or weapons.

___to contend in battle or physical combat; especially : to strive to overcome a person by blows or weapons

___to contend against in or as if in battle or physical combat

___a hostile encounter : BATTLE, COMBAT

4/18/2007 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Unfortunately, "doing something" meant fleeing the threat, not acting to stop the threat so Cho could no longer harm others as well as self.

4/18/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

No offense, but those of you criticizing the university for handling this are ingorant. I went to VT and know recognize the silliness of the lockdown concept in this situation. Trust me, if you have not been there, and thus do not understand the campus layout, then you might consider holding back a bit...

4/18/2007 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger oldarmy said...

tA few comments:

(1) Our P.C. society teaches people not to resist.

(2) Even govt. law enforcement has to be sensitive to avoiding being sued for use of excessive force, even the appearance of intent.

For example, in our building is a security guard. He carries a semi-auto pistol. I talked to him one time and asked why no laser sight. He told me that if he had a laser sight, Glazer safety slug ammo or even anything so minor as custom grips on his pistol, a lawyer for a shot perp could assert that he (the security guard) was a rogue "cop" as he had taken measures to increase the lethality of his gun. These measures being evidence of a state of mind which is prone to use his gun in lieu of more reasonable, alternate measures.

(3) Above applies also to private citizens. And in my state, lawyers are skilled at jury shopping, going thru literally hundreds of prospective jurors to get the kind of jurors most likely to decide as the lawyer wishes. Stacking the deck, as it were.

Been there. Seen that.

Also, advertised gun-free schools are akin to posting a sign in one's yard that the house is a gun-free house.

A deterrent to criminals?

4/19/2007 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger USpace said...

All children should be given self-defense and crisis training in school...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
make wacko killers famous

celebrity killer cults
breeds copycat flattery
.

4/22/2007 12:39:00 AM  

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