Friday, April 20, 2007

Brief, Non-Political Virginia Tech Thoughts

To be honest, I've found all the media coverage, and all the overt and not-so-overt political discussions about the tragedy at Virginia Tech to be more than a bit distasteful. Let the friends and families of the victims grieve in peace.

Additionally obscene are all the Monday morning quarterback comments second guessing the school's response and even the response of the students trapped in the building under siege. In particular I just wanted to mention the throwback references back to Columbine and the questions of why something wasn't done before the tragedy happened. The thing is, there are hundreds of thousands (maybe more?) of disturbed, depressed, and emotionally fragile young people out there- most of them don't become mass murderers. If you think back to high school I'm sure most of you can remember some of these kids- outcasts, kids angry with the popular cliques, angry with girls, angry with the world. Hell, maybe you even were one. Lots of young people entertain violent fantasies, but obviously most people don't start shooting people. It's just asinine to think that this Cho Seung-Hui should have been not just identified as a violent threat, but somehow contained as well, merely because of his writings and his personality.

But to quote Randy Marsh (who, at the time, was responding to his son Stan's question about helping the people victimized by the flood in Beaverton),

That's not important right now, son. What's important is figuring out whose fault this is.


Blogger John said...

Absolutely right. The politicization and commentary of this event has been appaling. Whether it's gun control, who's to blame, Chris Matthews prodding Seung-Hui's roommate about why he didn't try talking to him more or Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller claiming students could never do anything like Liviu Lebrescu because students today are selfish and me-first (I'm not making this up.) It's coming from all fronts and all outlets.

Honestly, do you really think a grieving parent wants to see a picture of Cho Seung-Hui aiming a gun directly at the camera while a reporter says "this is probably the last thing the victims saw"?

Also, I'm tired of the blame game on the Virginia Tech administration. I understand that people weren't pleased with how everything was handled, but they need to sit back and see the bigger picture. When the initial shooting occurred in the dormitory, it was being handled as a domestic disturbence because they had no reason to think otherwise. Also, they initially thought they apprehended the gun man. The administration used e-mail because it was the best tool they had and they (rightfully) had no reason to believe more was to come. The shooting at the classrooms couldn't have been predicted. None of that day could have been predicted. It's not Va Tech's fault, it's Cho Seung-Hui's fault.

The constant flak Va Tech has been recieving has made me think about my own school's safety. While I don't you can blaim the school, I do think there has to be a better avenue of reaching students. Here at UConn, I think everything would've been handled the same way. We would've gotten an e-mail because that's the only real way the university has to inform us of things. I've heard mention of initiating text messaging, but that sort of program would necessitate cell phones. It's bad enough already that everyone basically has to have a computer. Dennis Miller and O'Reilly suggested video cameras on every floor of every building, but that is highly unlikely. Tuition costs would soar to pay for the cameras, installation, and the extra security staff required to monitor those things 24/7. Personally, I think the best solution would just be a campus wide PA system. It's the only real way to get a message out to dorms and classrooms in a speedy manner.

This is just a very weird thing to think about, especially since I'm graduating in 2 weeks and I've never given any thought about security until now. Just yesterday I noticed for the first time that a vast majority of the classrooms don't even have phones in them. I know I said I'm tired of the politicization of this event, and I hope I didn't come across as doing so. I just wanted to discuss my thoughts. I've found the event itself and the coverage to be fascinating, I can't remember the last time I watched the news so much.

1:01 PM  
Blogger John said...

Also, just to add on the whole depressed student thing. College campuses are so big, and there are tons of kids that sit in the back and don't talk (me, for example) and it's impossible for everyone to know each other's situation. I just think there's going to be a lot more alienation of these kids and that there are going to be some wrongful accusations. I hope things like that don't happen, but it's possible

1:07 PM  
Anonymous the future Mrs. Lonely Libertarian (who is not exactly a libertarian) said...

It's my fault. I broke the dam.

6:56 PM  

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