Thursday, April 19, 2007

Blame is For God & Lawyers

A lot of that happening wrt to the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting. Even the family of the victim, how horrible must they be feeling?

Here are some thoughts.

Who To Blame?

There is only one easy answer but it does not satisfy. The shooter is to blame. However, beyond that blame is for God & Lawyers. Lots of finger pointing is going on, but from all accounts there is a long chain of events leading up to the massacre, each event a possible turning point from the wreck but the all-time loser continues on headlong to his death and the death of others.

Could these people not have connected the dots? Could they not have spotted the bear about to dump in the woods? No, they could not. What is so cliche then still applies and is about hindsight.

He Should Have Been Committed

Easy to say it now. Especially given the bubble of fear that he exuded. What strikes me is the fact that his stories were disturbing. Yeah, so? Steven King's stories are disturbing too. I saw the end of Carrie when I was young (in 1976 I was nine years old) and IIRC at the end Carrie causes kitchen knifes to fly through the air and bury themselves in the back of her mother. Now, as a nine year old I was in second, third grade, something like that. I wrote a story for an assignment that ended in a similar manner. I got a talking to about that story. Now, admittedly his stories may have always been nasty and no matter what the theme or genre he was supposed to write they all came to the same thing, but still, do you put people away for writing horror stories? Maybe you do, but I can not imagine it is an easy call.

The judge who presided over his mental competency hearing, I bet feels terrible. God have Mercy on the Judge and bring peace to his soul. He couldn't have known.

The stalking? When confronted with it he stopped. The gun purchases? His background checks came clean and from what I understand a suggestion to get psychiatric help does not go on the record.

The University

Many claim after the first two killings the University should have been put on lock down or at least an announcement made. As reported the police were at the first murder scene and he came ready. What he did was create a diversion he murdered two people and disappeared for a time and then came back ready for his real intention.

Should the University have done more? The easy answer now is yes. But a number of factors could have changed the events and none of them are easy. If a number of students were packing guns bang-bang he is dead. However, VaTech threatens expulsion for those students who legally carry concealed weapons. As much as I deplore the policy I can understand why someone thinks prohibiting concealed weapons makes people safe. It only made him safe.

Should the university have expelled him? For what? Did they know enough to look for an excuse? Apparently not.

I have heard reports on the Texas Sniper how students and professors were shooting back at the sniper. That is the sniper could not leisurely target & shoot people. He would have to hide and fire off quick shots.

No One Fought Back

These are students not warriors, perhaps one or two were ROTC (if ROTC isn't banned at VaTech). They had weapons, but like scissors cuts paper bullets beat chairs, books, & other objects. Quick thinking may have inspired some to hide at the edge of the door and jump him as he entered the room. However, quick & clear thinking in such situations is not natural and takes training. Heroes are heroic because their actions are not common and common is what most of us are.

Still heroism was on display, from a Holocaust survivor, God bless his soul and may your perpetual light shine upon him. Reports have it others barricaded the doors and he did not fart around kicking in doors.

Going Forward

The usual suggestions come up. Gun control, throw nutters into asylums, lockdown the campii, metals detectors at every door etc.

Gun control? Brits think gun-control is a blessing, but this Reason Article differs on that bit of conventional wisdom. Oh yeah, there is that pesky Second Amendment too. So, gun-controllers/grabbers go ahead try to amend the constitution and if you do I really fear for the streets.

Toss the nutters into the asylum? Tempting, it seems he should have been but again where is the line drawn? There is a cost to this one as well and that cost comes in dollars to house the nutters & legitimate civil-liberty concerns. Lockdown the campii? How? Again we run into a dollars constraint and once again it would not have stopped diddly squat.

It is hard to pick up on particular individuals when you are dealing with thousands of them. It also seems as he started to notice people noticing him for certain things he would quickly stop those behaviors. Al-Qaida operatives are advised to drive within the driving laws of the nation they are in lest they attract even the slightest bit of attention, the same would probably occur to one plotting something heinous.

A Completely Imperfect Storm

We just witnessed a completely Imperfect storm. It is bound to happen, pray for the victims, the victim's families, the murderer, his family, and that you do not find yourself mixed up in any way with another such imperfect storm.