...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

April 16, 2007

Tech Shooting

The point has been made over and over again, and I'm sure I don't need to mention it on this blog, but I'll do it anyway.

It's ironic that some people who are criticizing the school for its response to the initial shootings this morning are the same people who will be calling for tighter gun control in the future.

If we learned anything from Katrina, it's the same thing we learned again today:

You cannot rely on the government to protect you from every harm!

In a land where the citizenry is unarmed, the government is the only thing that stands between a criminal and his victim. Thus, the one thing these types of shooters know is that all they need to do is outsmart the government in order to accomplish their evil.

Government, specifically the police, do certain things well, but preventing random acts of violence is not one of them. They can only respond after the fact. And the difference between that first 911 call and the arrival of SWAT (usually after the shooter has killed himself) today was measured in 32 innocent lives.

So when people ask "why didn't the school officials shut down the school right away?" the answer is, "well, I guess they fucked up." (Even though on a campus the size of Virginia Tech, I'm not sure that was practical, or that it would have even prevented the tragedy. Who's to say he wouldn't have found some other populated place to go on his rampage?)

Yes, government fucks up sometimes. Recognize this reality. Embrace it. Own it. Because the sooner we realize that government cannot gaurantee our safety, the sooner we'll stop willingly handing away our right to protect ourselves.

More: KG at Crusader Rabbit has a partial list of recent school shootings worldwide. And John Hawkins correctly identifies the deadliest school mass murder in U.S. history, the 1927 Bath School bombing.

Still more: I wonder if anyone in the MSM will contact VT grad student Bradford B. Wiles, just to see if his opinion has changed any by the events of today. My guess would be no on both counts.

Mr. Giles wrote the following in an op-ed published last August, after he had been evacuated from a campus building in the previous on-campus incident.

I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun in the commonwealth of Virginia, and do so on a regular basis. However, because I am a Virginia Tech student, I am prohibited from carrying at school because of Virginia Tech's student policy, which makes possession of a handgun an expellable offense, but not a prosecutable crime.

I had entrusted my safety, and the safety of others to the police. In light of this, there are a few things I wish to point out.

First, I never want to have my safety fully in the hands of anyone else, including the police.

Second, I considered bringing my gun with me to campus, but did not due to the obvious risk of losing my graduate career, which is ridiculous because had I been shot and killed, there would have been no graduate career for me anyway.

Third, and most important, I am trained and able to carry a concealed handgun almost anywhere in Virginia and other states that have reciprocity with Virginia, but cannot carry where I spend more time than anywhere else because, somehow, I become a threat to others when I cross from the town of Blacksburg onto Virginia Tech's campus.

Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness.

Read the whole piece here.

h/t Dymphna at Gates of Vienna

Update: Anti-American AP reports the following:

Two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information had not been announced, said Cho's fingerprints were found on the guns used in both shootings. The serial numbers on the two weapons had been filed off, the officials said.

One law enforcement official said Cho's backpack contained a receipt for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol.

Did anyone think to ask why Cho would go through the trouble of filing off the serial numbers, then carry the receipt around with him?!?!!? Something is not right with that story. Why would somebody take the receipt with him on a shooting rampage? Especially after filing the serial numbers off (which isn't easy by the way)? Gun receipts are multi-page documents, at least mine is. If you ask me, it would be real convenient for the gun-grabbers if they could say this gun was bought legally just a few weeks ago.

Must-read: Publicola deconstructs the incident in his inimitable way.

[I]t has been preached from every rooftop of every school that resistance is bad. We even had a politician proposing using books as bullet proof shields as a solution to school violence. Not too long ago a teacher in Texas was "re-assigned" because he dared teach his students to fight back even if unarmed. For a number of reasons political & cultural we simply do not on the whole wish to face the idea that violence is an acceptable option in any situation.

That, & not the school's reaction (or lack thereof) contributed to the deaths & injuries at VT. [links omitted]

My friend Publicola says he can't take credit for my becoming a gun owner. That's wrong. It was he and Katrina that made me take the leap. Unfortunately, in California, the gun laws are designed to prevent self-defense. But as my sidebar quiz shows, if somebody busts into my home, I won't be jumping out the second story window.

Posted by annika, Apr. 16, 2007 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


Bingo. Just changed a few minds at my office as we were all watching the headlines on the cafeteria TV... I muttered, "imagine if just two students in that classroom were carrying..."

Posted by: taxlawmax on Apr. 17, 2007

Sean Connery and I approve Annika's message.

Posted by: reagan80 on Apr. 17, 2007

Ex law enforcement officer - forgot if he was FBI or some other branch - was being interviewed on MSNBC yesterday. I was going nuts when the reporter was asking some really dumb questions ('How fast can this (reloading of a pistol) happen?' 'Well, we trained our agents to reload within a couple of seconds, it's possible for anyone to reload a gun quickly...' (note: paraphrase; I don't have the transcript in front of me))... but then the reporter opened the question up to the idea of gun control, and the man came out and clearly stated that his experience taught him that gun control laws only keep weapons out of law abiding citizens hands (I remember he came out and said "I'm for lawful gun ownership", and the context was clear that he didn't mean for hunting or target shooting at a range). He went on about how his experience, talking about how only lawful people turned in guns in gun buyback programs, and how criminals were the first to ignore those programs.

In the end, it turned out to be a great interview. And even better, when the ex-officer/agent said what he did, the interviewer didn't try to steer him away from his claims. She kept the normal gun control rhetoric out of it, which is something I haven't seen for a long, long time.

Posted by: ElMondoHummus on Apr. 17, 2007

They just announced that the shooter was a South Korean on a student visa studying English. Oh man, do I know this story. ROK's coming to the states to study English are usually on a year long party. Then they have to go home, and explain why they don't know how to speak English. Can't wait to hear Kevin's side of this.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 17, 2007

I didn't know the 2nd Amendment applied to non-citizens either.

Posted by: reagan80 on Apr. 17, 2007

"(Even though on a campus the size of Virginia Tech, I'm not sure that was practical, or that it would have even prevented the tragedy. Who's to say he wouldn't have found some other populated place to go on his rampage?)"

The university administration has blood on its hands.

After the initial shootings around 7AM, the university was well aware that an armed man who had just committed two murders was still at large.

And their solution was a mass e-mail.

True, perhaps shutting down the campus would have achieved little or nothing, but to have left everything functioning as normal seemed like the concern was more on P.R. and less the safety of VT students.

Posted by: Mark on Apr. 17, 2007

I wouldn't jump to conclusions on that either way. It looks like they had reason to believe that the first shootings related to a "domestic" dispute. Would you say that the police were negligent if they didn't shut down scores of blocks or an entire city every time a guy shoots his girlfriend (or vice versa) in a private house?

You could argue, however, that the university assumed total responsibility for student safety because it closed off avenues of self-protection (no carrying) and purported to provide a safe environment for the members of the school community (lame security guards? Tech police?). I'm not sure if I buy that either, though.

Posted by: taxlawmax on Apr. 17, 2007


I'm about to head off to bed (13-hour difference between Seoul and DC), but I can say this: an email from a friend of mine said that one Korean anchor's reaction to the killings was to say something like, "We hope this doesn't lead to racism." In other words, the ethnic/national angle is more important than the brute fact that thirty-two people were slaughtered. No "our hearts go out to the victims," no "we are all Americans now," but "uh-oh, they gonna be hatin' on Koreans."

I conjectured to a friend that Korean Netizen chatter will include some "those fucking Americans deserved this" remarks from the Kornazi end of the spectrum. Such remarks won't represent the majority opinion, but they won't be a tiny minority, either.

There will be a lot more such histrionic navel-gazing in the Korean media in the days to come as questions about "face" and "race" will surface. (Not that such questions are ever far from the surface in a society like South Korea's.)

Be sure to check out places like The Marmot's Hole (this post in particular) for up-to-the-minute blogging on this and other Korean issues. Those guys never sleep, and their comments sections are pretty wild. The place gets over 2000 unique visits a day, so you know how it is.


PS: Don't be shy about checking my blog on occasion, too, though to be honest, I'm about blogged out on this. For now, anyway.

PPS: The guy was a Korean national, but has been living in the States since he was 3. I guess this means his note (the contents of which I'd like to know) was likely in English. Burn in hell, Cho.

Posted by: Kevin Kim on Apr. 17, 2007

I love Korea, the people and the culture, and I couldn't say that about any other country in Asia. Cho won't change that. Pass the kimchae my brutha.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 17, 2007

Brilliant post, Annika!

Rush is doing a magnificent job breaking this event down this morning from the perspective of how the MSM/Left - after all, they are really part of the same entity - is trying to politicize a single event by a crazed, evil lunatic, attempting to treat it as a microcosm of America.

As we should have expected, some Lefty nutter in the House is already blaming, you guessed it, Bush.

Between the MSM's handling and the Left's reaction to Duke, Imus, and VT, it is becoming even more obvious how far these people will go to politicize any event, using whatever ready-to-use template is available.

Can't wait to hear Rosie's take on this.....

Posted by: blu on Apr. 17, 2007

It was a domestic dispute; he was in her place at 7:15 A.M.; what does that tell us?

Then, he went home and picked up the other artillery and ammo.

He set out to deal with her, (maybe with her and the guy he blew away) but changed his plan after he killed them.

So, why are the idiots calling for resignations for the Chief of Police and the President of VT? HOw far will this Imus crap go?

Damn, why not blame the girl for blowing him off?

Does anybody ever think that the perp is the bad guy anymore???

Posted by: shelly on Apr. 17, 2007

No one's discussing the obvious solution - if you eliminate students from the universities, you won't have these problems. :)

There's one parallel between Virginia Tech and 9/11. In both cases, a horrible event occurred, and no one (or very few people) conceived that the terrible event could occur a second time. The strategy of multiple nearly-simultaneous attacks, whether performed by a lone gunman or by an organization, has become very deadly.

Yet are we now obligated to assume that this will always occur? I don't think so.

Posted by: Ontario Emperor on Apr. 17, 2007

good point Shelly. i tend to doubt that the dude was there so early because he had spent the night. From everything i've heard today about him, he seems like too much of a loser. i think he probably went there early to catch the girl with her guy.

and the fact that he bought so many extra clips tends to indicate premeditation for the mass killing later. it was all planned.

Posted by: annika on Apr. 17, 2007

Notice the "alleged" shooter is from C(r)apitalist South Korea and "supposedly" perpetrated this horror in Adoph Chimpler's C(r)apitalist America. Do you ever see North Koreans perpetrating atrocities like this?

This PROVES Socialism is SUPERIOR!

Posted by: isitstinky on Apr. 18, 2007


Are you posting under a different name?

Posted by: Blu on Apr. 18, 2007

For once, I agree with you. I guess I am not a liberal who is anti-gun.

Posted by: Dan on Apr. 21, 2007