Unprepared for the Unthinkable
Once again, I am disturbed and repulsed by the swiftness to which the news media is embracing rumors, innuendo, unconfirmed reports and assumptions. Perhaps worst of all has been the instantaneous blaming of Virginia Tech's president and police force for their perceived mistakes. Many are already laying the blame for these deaths at the school's feet.
Please, I beg you, I beg all of us, wait for the information to come out. Let's wait for the professional investigators to do their job and find out what happened here before we start handing out recriminations. But even if it turns out that the Virginia Tech administration made errors in judgment in not shutting down the entire school after the first shooting, I'm inclined to be forgiving (partly because I think killers are to blame for killing).
But this was an unthinkable act, and we should be taken unawares by the unthinkable. I understand that the university president's job is to keep the students safe. But when you're hiring a president for your university, you want to make sure he's going to oversee excellent academics, responsible administration and steady development. His ability to manage a mass-murder situation is just not a high priority for the search committe. And it shouldn't be. This was a completely unprecedented act, not just in the sheer number of victims but in the two-attack way it happened.
A rogue individual who's out to kill and determined to die is nearly unstoppable. Failing to stop him from doing so is eminently forgivable.
As a final note, can we at least wait a day or two before we use this tragedy to advance our firearms agendas? It's obscene to argue Second Amendment issues less than 12 hours after these people were shot.