BBC Article about VA Tech


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SoCalShooter
April 18, 2007, 06:17 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6566763.stm


America has witnessed at least 19 fatal school shootings in the last decade.


Police say the university's size made it difficult to "lock down"
What is it that makes men, and in some cases boys get up in the morning, slaughter innocent civilians in a place of learning and then end their own lives?

The question pursued us on our way to Virginia Tech. Outside Washington the headquarters of the NRA - the National Rifle Association - glints at passing cars.

The lights were on in many of the offices. Was this usual? Or were they busy working on damage control for the inevitable criticism?

Another 100 miles further down the Interstate you enter the Bible Belt. Periodically giant illuminated crucifixes jostle for attention with huge billboards advertising injury lawyers and fast-food outlets. Just before the city of Roanake there is a Wal-Mart. "Guns for sale all year round", it boasts, "except on Xmas Day".

'Aftermath'

We were in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains only a few miles from the West Virginia border. It was bitterly cold. The expectant dishes of a phalanx of satellite trucks pointed silently at the stars. The stage was set for the pageantry of grief and healing that follows every tragedy of this kind.


One teacher described Cho Seung-Hui as a deeply disturbed individual
The aftermath of every school shooting may have produced its own ritual, but every tragedy is different and full of baffling details. In Pennsylvania last October, when a milkman killed five girls execution style in a village school the Amish world of horse drawn buggies, straw hats and militant pacifism collided with modern gun violence, visited upon innocent children by a friendly neighbour.

In Virginia Tech, an institution devoted to learning and clarity of thought was brutalised by the murky mind of a painfully shy Asian American. As he rampaged from the Maths class to the Engineering Class, from German to French he may have felt like Rambo but he still looked like the quintessential science geek.

The stereotype doesn't fit. And as we discovered nor does the location. The campus of Virginia Tech sprawls across the rolling landscape. It is huge. The university has 100 buildings. It boasts its own airport and power station. Size is one of the reasons why the police say that they couldn't easily "lock down" a virtual city that is home to almost 26,000 students.

But the place is also surprisingly beautiful. The college buildings are tastefully built in beige quarried rock. The fluorescent green lawns are meticulously manicured.

A lot of money has clearly been well spent. A golf course snakes between half a dozen artificial lakes and the students we spoke to were impeccably polite, despite our intrusions into their grief. In short, Virginia Tech is the kind of university you would want to send your daughter or son to.

Right to bear arms

On the sports field between the hall of residence where Cho Seung-Hui shot his first two victims and the Norris Hall where he gunned down the remaining 30, I spotted Chris Mucklow, a 22-year-old sociology student who loved soccer.

He was sitting by himself and crying silently. I asked him, whether he thought there should be stricter laws against gun ownership. "More background checks, absolutely," he replied. "But I wish I had had a gun that day. I wish some of the professors had had guns on them. They could have taken the shooter down."
It was an opinion I heard from many students at Virginia Tech and it goes beyond the abstract debate about the "right to bear arms", enshrined in the Constitution. It is about self defence in the face of a rampaging menace.

If Professor Liviu Librescu, the 76-year-old Holocaust survivor who died wedging himself against the door to stop the gunman from killing his students, had had a weapon, perhaps he would he alive today.

But it strikes me that this is a reaction rather than a solution. "You can't control guns with more guns for chrissake". That's how Brendan Quirk, an engineering student who watched as the victims jumped from the second story windows of Norris Hall put it.

If the state of Virginia had been obliged to conduct a thorough background check and seek references before granting Cho the right to bear arms, they might have discovered what his teacher Lucinda Roy knew from his writings: that he was a deeply disturbed individual who fantasised in his creative writing exercises about shooting people in the face - first one eye, then the other.

Debate

Would John Markell, the owner of the Roanoke firearms shop really have wanted to sell Cho the 9mm Glock if he had read some of these pages? After all four guns sold from his shop had already been reportedly involved in other homicides.


Mr Bush said it was impossible to make sense of such violence
Yes, this tragedy has sparked a debate about gun control but mostly outside America. Even Australian Prime Minister John Howard, that stalwart friend of George W Bush, was quick to blame "the US gun culture".

But on Capitol Hill, the Democrats, who have sunk their teeth into every other aspect of the administration, have remained largely silent on the issue. Gun control puts voters off in swing states, their research has discovered. Best to say little about it especially with an election approaching.

Remember Howard Dean, the country doctor turned governor, turned Presidential candidate, turned Chairman of the Democratic Party? He railed against George W Bush "shooting from the hip" but he never really spoke out for gun control. Why? Because his liberal home state of Vermont hates fast-food as much as it likes hunting.

Despite this week's bloodbath there will be no overwhelming demand for gun control in this country. Like evangelical Christianity, baseball and a love of Pumpkin Pie it is just one of those things that separates Europeans from Americans.

Will the next shooting take place at another university, a high school, a nursery or a secretarial college?

In our hotel they were handing out ribbons made by the staff, displaying the colours of Virginia Tech. Orange and red. It was a touching gesture. On campus thousands of students gathered with candles in hand to commemorate the dead.

Earlier in the day they had sat in silence in the football stadium to listen to President Bush explain that the victims found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. America is at its most impressive when it grieves and remembers. But will the soul-searching ever produce legislation and will it make schools safer?



Did not see this in the forum yet.

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xd9fan
April 18, 2007, 07:37 PM
But it strikes me that this is a reaction rather than a solution. "You can't control guns with more guns for chrissake". That's how Brendan Quirk, an engineering student who watched as the victims jumped from the second story windows of Norris Hall put it.


more proof that intelligence doesnt come from a university degree. Read some history little boy.

El Tejon
April 18, 2007, 07:40 PM
Mr. Quirk, why didn't Cho shoot up the Virginia Tech or Blacksburg police station then?:confused:

givo08
April 18, 2007, 07:42 PM
Would John Markell, the owner of the Roanoke firearms shop really have wanted to sell Cho the 9mm Glock if he had read some of these pages? After all four guns sold from his shop had already been reportedly involved in other homicides.

I guess Roanoke firearms has only sold 4 guns total and each one has been used in a crime.:rolleyes: Maybe they "intended" to put a comma after "After all."

JohnBT
April 18, 2007, 11:23 PM
"We were in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains only a few miles from the West Virginia border."

The foothills of the Blue Ridge? A few miles from West Virginia?

You were freaking lost and clueless. Get a map.

John
Va Tech Class of '72

Outlaws
April 18, 2007, 11:48 PM
If the state of Virginia had been obliged to conduct a thorough background check and seek references before granting Cho the right to bear arms

Anyone who isn't in handcuffs should be able to bears arms. Nobody grants anything.

Creeping Incrementalism
April 19, 2007, 01:33 AM
I wish the BBC had a user comments section after the article. There are so many good things to be said in response.

Bartholomew Roberts
April 19, 2007, 02:15 AM
Just a quick point, but what are we teaching BBC by linking to them? They don't support our goals and they don't allow us to address their lies. So why link to them? Does it serve our goals to teach BBC that they can blatantly libel gun owners and it will sell ads?

SoCalShooter
April 19, 2007, 02:29 AM
Even though we know the Brits think that we should be like them, I still think it is a good idea to know what they are saying about us, because some of our congress critters do want to be exactly like them. I prefer to check a few news sources outside of the US because eventually our media will start at some point to show what the are saying about us.

Ratzinger_p38
April 19, 2007, 02:29 AM
Im with Bart. Let's 'ban' linking to BBC, they hate America and our rights and constantly try to re-colonize us.


If the state of Virginia had been obliged to conduct a thorough background check and seek references before granting Cho the right to bear arms, they might have discovered what his teacher Lucinda Roy knew from his writings: that he was a deeply disturbed individual who fantasised in his creative writing exercises about shooting people in the face - first one eye, then the other.

References? GRANTING the right to bear arms? The constituion already does that. So, to the BBC you need to look at a gun owners creative writing? What?

I hate Europe. Sorry UK but you suck now too. Im sickened that the rest of the world found a way to blame US, americans, for what some jackass did. How about blaming him? Oh yeah thats right the UN teaches them that only the police and goverment are responsible, just sit back and they will protect you/feed you/clothe you/breath for you. O'Reilly was right about this - SICK that Europe and the 'i know whats best for you' types slam America and our values - like the 2A.

SoCalShooter
April 19, 2007, 02:32 AM
Don't you think that is kind of narrow thinking? Keeping to just US sources? Regardless of how fallacious their arguments may be or how misconstrued their facts about our laws or guns, I think it is prudent to at least check in on them every once in a while to see what is brewing, it may not affect us now but it is a possibility in the future. Britain has had similar incidents along with Australia and both have banned guns nearly completely from civilian use.

SWMAN
April 19, 2007, 09:56 AM
If the state of Virginia had been obliged to conduct a thorough background check and seek references

The only problem with this "may issue state requirement" is that aside from not being Constitutional, is that it leads to priviledge and connections in order to get a permit just to buy a weapon. :mad:

Ratzinger_p38
April 19, 2007, 11:38 AM
The only problem with this "may issue state requirement" is that aside from not being Constitutional, is that it leads to priviledge and connections in order to get a permit just to buy a weapon.

Welcome to Europe. That is what its like in most Europeon countries, except for perhaps the Czech Republic and Finland (I have a friend who owns an M1 Garand there - try getting one of those in the UK)

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