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April 18, 2007

The Fallout of the VT Shooting

I recognized early on that the violence at Virginia Tech would make us all analyze what happened. And I figure a lot of good will come out of this; however, there will also be many mistakes.

- Chris Muir recognizes one of the biggest fallacies believed on college campuses.
Day by Day
Just because you say something should not be somewhere does not mean that it won't.

- Thus, Jerry Fuhrman wonders how Michael Daly comes up with such an idiotic idea. Daly complains about illegal guns, but spends more time on legally obtained weapons. Hey Daly, people who do stuff like this will find ways to obtain weapons illegally if they are unable to get them legally.

- Still, as I said, some good ideas are starting to pop up. E-mail is a good way to message people about problems like this, but the only people who will get them are those who have not left before then and checked their e-mail before doing so. Yet, like computers, a vast majority of students have cell phones, a very easy way to spread word like this. Bill Koslosky suggests that this is not only a good idea, but a very feasible one as well. He suggests that it is relatively inexpensive, so I am sure that many students and their families would not mind if they had to add a small sum to their tuition charges to cover something like this.

- Bigger problems start to arise though. Other people get ideas from Cho Seung-Hui. Threats directly referencing Seung-Hui and otherwise have closed schools in 10 states out of fear of repeated shootings. Now, many of these (if not all) would result in nothing; most people are very unaware of how many threats like these are called into schools (even at the high school level) but never acted upon. The question here is knowing what needs further action and what can be ignored; indeed, this makes for an incredibly difficult question.

- And Facebook has proven to be a very effective tool. While social networks have a bad rep for allowing child predators easy access to children and for actually making some people even less sociable, Facebook became a good place to figure out if some people were all right, when they would put up messages saying so, and as a way to put up online memorials. Having used Facebook for some time now, I have seen hundreds of groups supporting VT, and dozens of my friends have put up either ribbons or the VT symbol with their school symbol (most often, VT accompanied by the V with sabres that symbolizes UVa) as their personal picture (which is usually populated by a picture of that person, sometimes with friends). This makes for a good way to allow people to show their feelings about the shooting. Unfortunately, some people are blaming gun owners (rather than Seung-Hui), Virginia (rather than Seung-Hui), or even President Bush (what?). But most people recognize that this is about giving the students at Virginia Tech support, rather than finding someone to blame.

UPDATE 3:15 PM: A couple more things.

- Riley is getting criticized for suggesting that Seung-Hui was motivated by left-wing politics. Hard to think negatively of Riley when so many on the left are blaming this on the NRA, the right-wing machine, and President Bush (seriously people, find a new obsession; President Bush is not Satan incarnate).

- And for anyone suggesting that video games makes people violent (indeed, I have some rather ignorant friends who actually believe this) comes a report from the BBFC suggesting that violence in video games does not correlate with feelings of violence in real life.

Let us make no mistake here. Errors were made by many parties here. But ultimately, the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of Cho Seung-Hui.