Monday, April 16, 2007

Terrorist Attack Or Simply Random Violence? More Than 50 Dead Or Injured At Virginia Tech

[Update: The death toll stands at 32 in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.]

I don't like Mondays either but this is too much (from Sue Lindsey of the AP via Toronto's Globe and Mail):
Gunman kills 21, wounds 21 at U.S. university

BLACKSBURG, Va. — A gunman opened fire in a dormitory and a classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 21 people and wounding another 21 before he was killed, police said.

“Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions,” university president Charles Steger said. “The university is shocked and indeed horrified.”

The university reported shootings at opposite sides of the campus, beginning about 7:15 a.m. at West Ambler Johnston, a co-ed residence hall that houses 895 people, and continuing about two hours later at Norris Hall, an engineering building.

One student was killed in the dorm and the others were killed in the classroom, Virginia Tech Police Chief W.R. Flinchum said.

After the shootings, all entrances to the campus were closed and classes cancelled through Tuesday.

“There's just a lot of commotion. It's hard to tell exactly what's going on,” said Jason Anthony Smith, 19, who lives in the dorm where shooting took place.

Aimee Kanode, a freshman from Martinsville, said the shooting happened on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston dormitory, one floor above her room. Kanode's resident assistant knocked on her door about 8 a.m. to notify students to stay put.

“They had us under lockdown,” Ms. Kanode said. “They temporarily lifted the lockdown, the gunman shot again. We're all locked in our dorms surfing the Internet trying to figure out what's going on."

Madison Van Duyne, a student who was interviewed by telephone on CNN, said, “We are all in lockdown. Most of the students are sitting on the floors away from the windows just trying to be as safe as possible.”

It was second time in less than a year that the campus was closed because of a shooting.

In August, 2006, the opening day of classes was cancelled and the campus closed when an escaped jail inmate allegedly killed a hospital guard off campus and fled to the Tech area. A sheriff's deputy involved in the manhunt was killed on a trail just off campus.

The accused gunman in that case, William Morva, faces capital murder charges.
Condolences to all the friends and families of the victims, of course.

And then what?

If the dead killer turns out to have been a Moslem, we will hear all sorts of nonsense about "campus jihad" and "sudden jihad syndrome", and the mouth-breathing wingnuts will scream about how the national media is shortchanging their political agenda by not immediately branding the shooting "Islamic terrorism".

Otherwise, the mouth-breathing wingnuts will say nary a word, and anyone who seriously wants to know why the incident was not immediately branded "terrorism" -- regardless of the shooter's religion -- will be considered an enemy of the state ... the same state that can read every one of your emails and listen to every one of your phone calls but which can't prevent maniacs from bringing weapons into public places and killing other people with them.

In other words, now that the Bill of Rights is meaningless, do you feel any safer?