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Guest Post: Reflections on the Virginia Massacre


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 12 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 12 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

In sjhoward.co.uk’s first ever Guest Post, regular commenter Mort Karman provides an American perspective on the shootings at the Virginia Tech campus.

A victim is taken to the Emergency DepartmentAt latest count 33 people, human beings, are dead, shot to death by some crazy gunman we have not been told anything about except that he also killed himself.

Virginia Tech is a fine engineering university located in a peaceful area of rolling hills in the Virginia countryside.

It is the kind of campus parents like to send their children to because it is supposed to be located in a safe place.

Today, that place was not safe.

In two individual, but apparently related incidents, what appears to be a lone gunman armed with two assault rifles entered the open campus of the school and proceeded to murder people.

At a press briefing police and university officials offered little real information about what happened.

They just gave the figures: 33 dead including the shooter, and about 17 wounded or otherwise injured.

The university president and the local police chief sounded like the Keystone cops when they tried to explain why it took two hours to warn the students and faculty and why they did not lock down the entire campus. Super Cop said they thought the shooter of the first two people had hightailed it out of Dodge, so why bother to do any more.

I am sure there will be investigations up the yazoo and perhaps the university president and the police chief will get new jobs working as animal control officers, but that doesn’t bring back the dead people.

I don’t have answers.

We can’t turn our schools and universities into high security prisons with gates and a moat and machine gun toting guards. But we can’t keep loosing our young people and the folks who teach them.

Police activity in the wake of the shootings

Pictures from The Guardian

This 1,102nd post was filed under: Guest Posts, News and Comment.

Some recently published posts

What I’ve been reading this month / August 2019, 7 minutes long

A flying visit to Copenhagen / July 2019, 9 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / June 2019, 6 minutes long

Reflecting on my first ten years as a doctor / June 2019, 8 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / June 2019, 6 minutes long

Some random old posts

Lynda Lee-Potter / October 2004, Less than a minute long

What I’ve been reading this month / October 2018, 3 minutes long

How a gun-loving Texan girl came to fear guns / March 2013, Less than a minute long

Thoughts on the (minor) petrol protest / September 2005, 1 minute long

The dirtiest tricks yet / March 2005, 5 minutes long

‘Forget the fake photos: Just use these’ / April 2005, Less than a minute long

Comments and responses

Comment from Mort Karman

by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 16:21 on 18th April 2007.

It now appears that the guns which the Virginia Tech killer used were purchased from a gun shop which followed the law by having Cho fill out the required federal form to purchase a firearm and also called the authorities as required to get a background check and approval code before they sold him the gun. But Cho was not supposed to own a gun because in 2005 he was sent to a mental hospital. The Brady gun law says anyone who has been a mental patient is not allowed to have a firearm. Cho lied on the application and a loop hole in the law prevented the gun control people from knowing he had been hospitalized for a mental health problem.
The way it works is if you have been arrested by the police and convicted of a crime or sent to a mental facility it becomes part of the National Crime Information Computer- but if you go into a mental health facility or just go as outpatient to mental health care without a police or court involvement it does not go on the computer. So Cho lied and got his gun and now we have 33 dead people. What are the authorities to do? Charge the dead person with violation the Brady gun law? We need a better way to identify possible nut cases before we give them firearms. Perhaps before one can get a gun he should have to get a doctor fill out a form attesting to his mental state. It would be as easy as the form I and other handicapped people have to get to obtain the special license plate for parking and access. It would not take away any of the “freedoms” we Americans have to own firearms. There are requirements to get a driver license, so why not a gun license. No one would loose any “gun freedom” but we would all get some needed protection.

Comment from Bush

by Bush

Comment posted at 02:15 on 30th May 2007.

Fantastic website… Good resources for learning, easy to follow… Keep up the good work!!! Make your opinion about my resources 🙂

Comment from Kiandra

by Kiandra

Comment posted at 02:19 on 30th May 2007.

COOOOOOL!!!!!!!! Let’s be friends!!! Go to my site and post your info 🙂

Comment from Mort Karman

by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 02:39 on 30th May 2007.

Kiandra I would be glad to be your friend. But I have no address for your web site. Mine is dotmortthree@yahoo.com – Simon, you have my permission to print the address. Have a good day and evening.

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