Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hokie Warning Signs

Okay, I've moved from sympathetic to cynical at about the same rate that Virginia Tech students interviewed have gone from tearful to smiling, to overly eager to get themselves in front of TV cameras.

"Let the healing begin," the mini-series.

Let the people around the country pour their grief into credit cards as flower shops in Virginia rake in the dough.

The president swoops in to hog the spotlight at a university memorial service. Gee, I bet campus security actually did their jobs today. Funny how Bush has no time to visit Iraq injured soldiers at Walter Reid Hospital.

Flags are hung at half mast for murdered students, but not killed soldiers.
Guns are still cheap and easy in Virginia, and will be for a long time.

Time Magazine ventures forth with the post-massacre psychological analysis, implying that sexual abuse leads to mass murder, in this case.

The New York Times does the "Gee, nobody ever figured, except people who did figure..." interviews:

Roommates Describe Gunman as Loner


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 17 — He was a stranger in a crowd of 26,000. Cho Seung-Hui was even unknown to the young man who for nearly a year slept just feet away from him.

“He was my roommate,” said Joe Aust, a 19-year-old sophomore. “I didn’t know him that well, though.”

Mr. Aust, who was an engineering major, and another student who shared their suite, Karan Grewal, 21, painted a picture of a loner who ate his meals alone in the dining hall and shunned any attempts at friendship.

“He was always really, really quiet and kind of weird, keeping to himself all the time,” he said. “Just of anti-social, didn’t talk to anybody. I tried to make conversation with him in August or so and he would just give one word answers and not try and carry on the conversation.”

He said it was a creepy quietness.

“I would notice a lot of times, I would come in the room and he would kind of be sitting at his desk, just staring at nothing,” he said.

The scenario from there could have resulted in some unpleasantness, perhaps even a suicide by Cho.

But when he submitted a horribly written pair of scripts with brutal murders and gun assaults, Hui's English Creative Writing instructor Lucinda Roy was smart enough to nearly force him to seek counseling, and she called the police.

But what can they do when someone writes a script for a massacre?

An excerpt: "Must kill dick. Must kill dick. Dick must die."

Be concerned.

Of course, Virginia's having gun purchase laws less strict than that of buying alcohol have nothing to do with this, according to any NRA member you might talk to.

What seems obvious about family abuse - based on Cho's frighteningly awful scripts- will come out later as this media frenzy plays out, long and slow.

In a Fox News segment, a blonde female anchor castigated a student in one of the classrooms for not jumping up to grab Cho to wrestle him to the ground. The manic rightwing station will no doubt mangle the truth to its own interest as it continues to berate its interviewees. How long before Bill O'Reilly blames the student "liberals" for this massacre?

Many TV news articles showcased how the internet has expanded communication about such events. ABC's Martin Bashir mentioned Myspace, but not MyDeathSpace.com, which updates with good and awful comments, the list of the murdered.

VT professor Nikki Giovanni's recitation of a poem struck many as getting to the point. It's by now instinctual, but I usually look for a gay angle in any story. And having a lesbian poet inspire others there is worth noting.

That's probably the last time Chimpoleon shares a podium with a radical feminist.

Oh, and here's an odd note no major media outlet has noticed. In August 2006, something similar happened - and was curtailed after only one death- at the same campus.

SecurityInfoWatch has an article about it.

Search for Fugitive Shuts down Virginia Tech Campus
Fugitive allegedly overpowered hospital security, killing a guard and sheriff's deputy

Suspect nabbed after manhunt on Virginia Tech campus, allegedly killed hospital guard, sheriff's deputy

Virginia Tech shut down its campus Monday and ordered everyone to remain inside as authorities searched for an escaped inmate suspected of killing a hospital guard and a sheriff's deputy.

William Morva, 24, had been seen near the campus, authorities said.

Montgomery County Sheriff's Cpl. Eric E. Sutphin was closing in on the fugitive Monday morning along a trail off the university campus when he was fatally shot, the sheriff's department said.

Officials canceled Monday's first day of classes for the more than 25,000 students at Virginia Tech as a precaution.

"The suspect is armed, he has no problems with shooting. ... We don't need innocent people being around the area," said Kurt Krause, a Virginia Tech vice president.

Morva was described as wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and khaki shorts. Police said he had shed his orange prison jumpsuit after the hospital shooting.

"The fact that the guy can blend in so well with campus students is kind of scary," said Josh Burnheimer, 20, a Virginia Tech junior from Ashburn, Va. "Everywhere you look there are police snipers on the roof."

Morva, an inmate at Montgomery County Jail, had been taken from the jail to Montgomery Regional Hospital for treatment of a sprained leg and wrist.

He escaped early Sunday after overpowering a sheriff's deputy, taking the deputy's gun and then shooting the unarmed hospital security guard, authorities said. The hospital guard was identified as Derrick McFarland, 26. The deputy was in stable condition with injuries he suffered in the attack.

Morva had been jailed awaiting trial on charges of attempting to rob a store last year.

Authorities used helicopters and dogs to sweep an area that included the university campus, about one block from the Blacksburg Police Station.

"Whatever it takes, until he's caught," said police Lt. Joe Davis.

So, what the campus police didn't do in comparison will remain to be a point of argument, of potential lawsuits, and eventually, a pointless point, just like Columbine.

Until some other psychotic freak gives every possible warning sign again, and everybody comes forward with their glaring "warning signs" that were ignored, or shuttled away by cops, or campus clown cops, or gun lobbyists, all of it is useless afterward.

And again, we'll act shocked, or at least go through the motions of feigning shock.

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