I’ll go ahead and jump on the bandwagon of everyone throwing out their thoughts on the VA Tech shooting. Yesterday, I was aware of what was going on from the news, but due to work and an upcoming TDY to prep for, I really didn’t have time to dig into the details… until today.
As I read what had happened, I could feel the anger just boiling up in me. But unlike Astro (where his anger is concentrated on anti-gun laws on campus) or Limey (where his anger is more from where or how the shooter got the guns), mine is focused away from the gun issue and more on the human issue of things. That being said, I feel really bad for anyone connected to VA Tech (be it parents, friends, classmates, etc).
I premise the rest of my thoughts with this: I wasn’t there. I don’t exactly know what happened (other than what the media reported). And like anything, hindsight is always 20/20: meaning that I can sit here and armchair-quarterback how things may or may not have been prevented, but it really doesn’t mean a whole lot because A) I wasn’t there and B) talk is cheap and won’t bring back 32 of the people whose lives shouldn’t have been taken yesterday.
And to the 33rd life taken: you’ve committed yourself to a page in high-school history books as a monster bending to one of the most cowardly acts mankind can do: indifferently killing innocent, unarmed people that you probably never even met before. I hope in your day-long rage that you got a good chance to feel what it was like to be God, deciding the fate of others with a simple squeeze of a finger with no threat to you whatsoever; because now and forever more, you’ll get the taste of what it feels like to be Satan, shunned in anguish and agony for eternity.
With that off my chest, the questions of “how?” start to come to mind. Honestly, I could care less of how the killer got the gun. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Guns, like many other things, are for the most part regulated by laws. All laws have loopholes in them. If you’ve ever drunk alcohol before you were 21 or smoked before you were 18 (which with those two, I’ve probably covered about 95% of the American population), you know that how you got the alcohol or cigarettes doesn’t really matter because you probably would’ve found a way to get what you wanted regardless.
So how come more alerts or warnings didn’t come out about this? With all the confusion going on, it probably had a “fog of war” effect. By the time alerts/warnings were issued, it was probably too late anyway.
My big question is this: how can 1 person walk into a room and kill 30 others with nothing more than a gun or two? That is what baffles me. I understand it comes down to “fight or flight.” A sane unarmed person, when faced against someone with a gun, would rather flee and leave the situation than test the odds and find out that Jackie Chan moves really only work in the movies. One versus one, I would probably try to leave the situation too. But in this case it wasn’t one versus one, it was one versus ten or more!!
Here is an excerpt from MSNBC found here:
Alec Calhoun, a 20-year-old junior, said he was in a 9:05 a.m. mechanics class when he and classmates heard a thunderous sound from the classroom next door – “what sounded like an enormous hammer.”
Screams followed an instant later, and the banging continued. When students realized the sounds were gunshots, Calhoun said, he started flipping over desks for hiding places. Others dashed to the windows of the second-floor classroom, kicking out the screens and jumping from the ledge of Room 204, he said.
“I must’ve been the eighth or ninth person who jumped, and I think I was the last,” said Calhoun, of Waynesboro, Va. He landed in a bush and ran.
Calhoun said that the two students behind him were shot, but that he believed they survived. Just before he climbed out the window, Calhoun said, he turned to look at the professor, who had stayed behind, perhaps to block the door.
The instructor was killed, he said.
From that, I gather there was at least a little bit of forewarning for the impending crisis (from the shots fired next door), as well as the classroom contained at least 10 students and 1 teacher. At this point we’re looking at 11:1 odds (granted, the 1 is weighted with a gun), and possibly the element of surprise. So instead of hiding, or just standing there waiting, or running away and jumping out a second-story window, why not gather a few guys around the classroom door (hugging the wall on each side) and unexpectedly beat the ever-living shit out of this guy as he walks into the classroom? Even without a plan, I’m pretty sure 30 people can take out 1 armed gunman with fewer casualties than 30!!!
Again, I wasn’t there. I’m not second-guessing the people that were. See my disclaimer before I started my rant. But why is it so engrained in masses of people to flee or hide against one gun. Unless it’s a chaingun, that dude can only produce 1 bullet at a time and will have to reload after 15 or so (worst case scenario). Even with 10 people coming at you from varying directions at once, how many shots would you be able to get off accurately? Not 10. In fact, CNN has a video about using/reloading a gun (though it somewhat focuses on how the kid got the gun), and says that it would take about “one second or less” per round to shoot and “a couple of seconds” to reload (assuming you’re efficient at reloading it). I honestly think a 10-person rush of this guy could’ve happened in seconds; the gunman wouldn’t have had the opportunity to fire upon all ten people.
So I’ll go back to what angers me out of this whole ordeal: the gunman of course, but also, how can 1 person walk into a room and kill 30 others with nothing more than a gun or two?
UPDATE: As things unfold on the news and the stories come out, it is good to hear the many stories of heroism of both those that died and those that made it out alive. From coming to the aid of others to holding a door shut to ensure other’s safety. That’s part of the “fight” that I was talking about. To the survivors, I can’t imagine being in your situation… I commend your quick thinking. To the fallen, my heart goes out to all of you and to all you knew. I still say, though, as stated above and in my comment, it would have been sweet justice to see the hunter become the hunted (by those he was targeting) and get beaten-down and possibly taken into custody. Perhaps that’s just the military side of me coming out.