Recent Virginia Tech Shooting...


New member
I came across a British news site that reported (Dec 8) on the recent Virginia Tech shooting. At the time of the report it wasn't known that the second victim was the shooter who had committed suicide. I had to respond to a flippant comment that was made by a Britisher. What I found distressing was the condescending attitude and the unwillingness of the site to allow me to reply to the last comment made by the original poster (Marchin). The site took down my final reply and hasn't allowed me to post it. I'm going to post the content of the article and all comments (including my omitted post at the end). Since I cannot continue the debate there I would greatly appreciate any feedback on the efficacy of my comments, thanks...

Two Die in Virginia Tech Shooting

News Source

Two die in new Virginia Tech shooting - Americas - World - The Independent

Two people, including a police officer, have been killed in a shooting on the Virginia Tech university campus, scene of America's worst gun massacre four years ago.

The gunman remains on the loose.

A news release from the university said the police officer was shot after pulling someone over for a routine traffic stop.

Witnesses told police the gunman ran towards a car park on campus. A second person was later found dead there.

Virginia State Police will be taking over the investigation, according to the news release.

The university locked down the campus after the shooting.

"The campus community should continue to shelter in place and visitors should not come to campus," the school said.

The suspect was described as a white male wearing grey tracksuit bottoms, a grey hat with neon green brim, a maroon hoodie and a backpack.

"It's crazy that someone would go and do something like that with all the stuff that happened in 2007," said Corey Smith, a 19-year-old who was heading to a dining hall near the site of one of the shootings, but stayed inside after seeing the alerts from the school.

"It's just weird to think about why someone would do something like this when the school's had so many problems."

Harry White, 20, a junior physics major, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that he was queueing for a sandwich at a Subway restaurant in a campus building when he received a text message alert about the shooting.

He said he did not panic, thinking instead about a false alarm about a possible gunman which caused the campus to be locked down in August. He used an indoor walkway to go to a computer lab in an adjacent building, where he checked news reports.

"I decided to just check to see how serious it was. I saw it's actually someone shooting someone, not something false, something that looks like a gun," he said.

Mr White said the campus was quieter than usual because classes ended yesterday and students are preparing for the start of exams.

He said he did not see anyone outside from the windows of the computer lab after he received the alert. But he also did not detect any signs of panic.

The shooting came on the same day as Virginia Tech, which has about 30,000 students, was appealing against a $55,000(£35,200) fine by the US Education Department in connection with the university's response to the 2007 rampage, when a student gunman killed 32 students and staff and then shot himself.

A report of a possible gunman at Virginia Tech on August 4 set off the longest, most extensive lockdown and search on campus since the 2007 bloodbath led the university to overhaul its emergency procedures.

No gunman was found, and the school gave the all-clear about five hours after sirens began wailing and students and staff members started receiving warnings by phone, email and text message to lock themselves indoors. Alerts were also posted on the university's website and Twitter accounts.

That incident marked the first time the entire campus had been locked down since the 2007 shooting, and the second major test of Virginia Tech's improved emergency alert system. The system was revamped to add the use of text messages and other means besides email of warning students.

The system was also put to the test in 2008, when an exploding nail gun cartridge was mistaken for gunfire. But only one dorm was locked down during that emergency, and it reopened two hours later.

Marchin Comment
Whilst I am sure we all have a great deal of sympathy with the victims of what appears to be yet another senseless gun crime no sensible person I know has any sympathy with a society that condones gun ownership by virtually anyone.

The cynic in me thinks the Americans must simply have watched too much John Wayne . . .

My Reply
Unfortunately, your comments clearly show a lack of understanding of the principles upon which the United States was founded. It is also clear that you don't have an understanding of our culture if you can make a blanket statement about all Americans where we are all gun-toting, John Wayne worshiping, red-necks.

I am an American gun owner and I take my responsibility seriously. I teach at a Tribal College and I don't walk around in camouflage. I don't have posters of John Wayne plastered about my domicile. I don't fantasize about taking down a bad guy for the glory of it. However, I refuse to become a defenseless victim of a criminal act. I take personal responsibility for the safety and protection of my loved ones and that of my fellow man.

I refuse to look the other way if someone is in danger of physical harm or losing their life by the actions of an attacker. Physically, there are few I could best hand-to-hand. Armed, I become the equal of those who are bigger, stronger, and those who are armed as well. I refuse to delude myself into selfishly believing that someone else (the police or the government) can/should protect me or anyone else. I refuse to let others abrogate my rights because they are afraid of what I might do with a gun. What they are really doing is projecting what they think they might do if they had a gun.

I believe I can characterize myself as a well-adjusted individual. Owning a gun doesn't suddenly make me want to shoot birds out of trees as I walk down the street. If anything, it tempers my actions knowing that there exists the possibility of a life being taken. I walk away from the loud-mouth and the ill-tempered. I work to defuse rather than escalate a confrontation. Heinlein's quote "An armed society is a polite society" is very true for me.

Marchin Reply
This deep seated belief in the 'goodness' of gun lore is lamentable and reflects on the immaturity of a society that believes a law written 224 years ago is as relevant now as it was then. Perhaps you would like to look at other American laws enacted at around that time and resurrect those too?

The American gun lobby who chant about the 'right to bear arms' need either to adopt the type of laws every other civilised society on this planet has or explain to the more enlightened citizens of your country why there will be many, many more Virginia Techs, Columbines and Tucsons.

My Reply
This lamentable gun lore you speak of is the supreme law of the land. Our constitution is a living document subject to a rigorous amendment process. The 2nd Amendment you reference is part of the Bill of Rights that our founding fathers required before the constitution was even ratified. There have been further amendments ratified (and repealed) since. The fact that our constitution has stood the test of time indicates the wisdom with which it was crafted.

You should be proud of the fact that some of our Bill of Rights were derived from the English Bill of Rights (and other great documents). Then again, you consider our constitution merely lore which means your civilized society thinks little of your own Bill of Rights. So much so that the English right:

"That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence, suitable to their condition and as allowed by law"

has been whittled away thusly:

1. In 1903 permits are required to carry a handgun and the age of purchasers is restricted
2. In 1920 potential firearm owners now need to show "good reason" for owning a gun
3. In 1936 short barrelled shotguns and fully automatic firearms are outlawed with the government dictating that civilians had "no legitimate reason" for owning them (In addition, a "safe storage" requirement was added)
4. In 1946 "self defence" is no longer a valid reason for obtaining a permit to own a firearm
5. In 1953 carrying of any type of weapon for self defence was made illegal
6. In 1967 because of a handgun shooting of police officers shotguns were restricted (where's the logic in that?)
7. In 1982 black powder muzzle loader shooters and handloaders had to allow police inspection of "safe storage" of powder (hence allowing warrantless searches of domiciles)
8. In 1988 all semi-automatic and pump action rifles were outlawed and seized (all the legally held ones)
9. In 1996 all handguns were banned as well as all knives longer than 3 inches (*and* you had to show "good reason" to carry a knife)
10. In 2006 all "realistic" toy/replica guns are restricted

In England today you cannot carry any type of weapon for self defense and you cannot use a firearm to defend your home, family, or property. The lawless are free to riot and the elderly can be found murdered in their own home by knife/hammer-wielding intruders (Couple came to Britain for a better life and met a brutal death in burglary - Telegraph).

I'll take my immature society even though we have inane federally-mandated "gun-free zones" that allow the insane/unstable to murder freely within those zones (Virginia Tech, Columbine, Tucson) over a civilized society that forces their enlightened citizens to buy baseball bats in record numbers in order to defend themselves from rioters and home intruders.

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