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  • Virginia Tech shootings, blame and other response in the media

    Mods should please move this or /dev/nul this thread if it is too off-topic. Also, given that VPI is a technical/engineering school, there may be members of the DefCon community with friends or family there... out of respect for them and their grief this may be too soon to discuss the following points. I again defer to the wisdom of the group and the mods with respect to thread locking/moving/etc.

    This unspeakable tragedy has touched the nation and many, many families. Two of my cousins actually attended VPI as undergrads and one other did some grad work there. In my immediate reaction to the news, I placed a panicked call to one of my Aunts, forgetting in that moment that her son had left the university a couple years back to finish things out in colorado... so troubling was the incident that i lost my head for an instant. I feel many of us may have similarly experienced cognitive failure when the headlines came across.

    Already there are rumors and uncorroborated reports being discussed in the media. If anyone has reliable sources that can confirm/deny/dispute things that are being reported, please feel free to post them here. Some points that I have read (and which bear directly on certain themes that our community often discusses) are as follows...

    1. these horrible shootings took place in two disparate incidents, separated somewhat significantly in terms of time and distance. what started as possibly just a domestic-type matter in a dorm building (where two people were fatally shot) was followed (something like two hours later) by the killings in a science/classroom building elsewhere on campus. what questions does this raise pertaining to institutional building and grounds security and response to incidents in progress? we've discussed the boston police/ATF response to the Aqua Teen scare and the points made by all participants shed a great deal of light on how first responders and law enforcement brass must make snap decisions. can similar discussion be had about this?

    2. the shooter was armed with two handguns, neither one particularly powerful. i've read reports of a .22 and a 9mm. at least one of these weapons may have been bought legally (although in the "comments" sections underneath many news articles i've seen readers stating that this individual, since he was not a US citizen, should not have been able to legally acquire the weapons... breakdown in dealers following regs? can permanent residents get standard driver's licenses?) but all of this has not, i'm disheartened to say, prevented the almost immediate appearance of press releases and editorials calling for "stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss" and bemoaning "how easy it is for an individual to get powerful weapons in our country... we've done nothing as a country to end gun violence in our schools and communities. If anything, we've made it easier to access powerful weapons."

    i would welcome anyone's thoughts on this awful tragedy, correction of misreported facts, analysis of the physical security themes that are in play, and any predictions for the larger overall reaction which may come out of this terrible event.

    my heart goes out to all who were touched directly by this violence and death, particularly the family and friends of Liviu Librescu, the professor who gave his own life barricading his classroom door so that students had a chance to escape. please read the wikipedia entry that has already appeared regarding this brave and caring man, with all the suffering and death that he already saw and managed to live through (he was a holocaust survivor) he still chose to place himself in harm's way in the hope of protecting others. how many among our citizenry would make that same choice today? i suspect that later some of us may get into debates and questions about "how would you have responded to the shootings if you were there and you were armed?" but it's even harder to ask "would you have confronted this evil in the moment of peril even if you had no defenses whatsoever?"
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    Re: Virginia Tech shootings, blame and other response in the media

    I am not a mod, but would suggest extreme caution if proceeding with this thread. I myself think it may be too soon and could become too off topic. I am concerned only out of respect to those lost and families grieving. For some it may be hard to see it on tv but they deal and their life does not change. However, your life and views change when it happens to you.

    If anyone knows of a support group online for those grieving or having difficulty with the massacre, please post it for the benefit of those that may be viewing the thread. (My initial google search produced lame results.)
    "Haters, gonna hate"

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    • #3
      Re: Virginia Tech shootings, blame and other response in the media

      Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
      what questions does this raise pertaining to institutional building and grounds security and response to incidents in progress? we've discussed the boston police/ATF response to the Aqua Teen scare and the points made by all participants shed a great deal of light on how first responders and law enforcement brass must make snap decisions. can similar discussion be had about this?
      I think I will tackle perhaps the least /dev/null'able portion of your post.

      Working on a campus which is bigger than Virginia Tech, I would suggest that most college campuses are by their design unsecure (meaning, designed to be welcoming as opposed to imposing). It is virtually impossible to "lockdown" a campus as there are generally many roads in/out and little in the way of fences/barriers/etc. A quick look at our campus map shows at least a dozen roadway entry points to the main campus (not even including the outlying areas of campus), as well as dozens of smaller ways in and out.

      Colleges and universities often make many of their facilities open to the public at large, and thus do not generally restrict points of entry, or question why people who aren't students are on campus.

      A university police force, even with preplanned, designed and cooperative assistance of a small town police force, simply does not have the manpower (without massive assistance from the state and federal level) to "secure" such a large area.
      "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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