Monday, April 16, 2007

Dozens massacred in gun free zone. AGAIN!

The news is still coming in but another tragedy has taken place on a school campus in the United States at Virginia Technical University. A gunman, in the early morning hours entered a dormitory and started shooting students. Several hours later he returned and walked into a second building and did the same thing. Almost three dozen are dead as a result.

I had a horrified fear in the pit of my stomach the moment I read this story. I suspected the reason that this slaughter would could on for so long. And a partial answer is found in the fate of a piece of legislation in the Virginia legislature known as HB 1572. You no doubt haven’t heard about it.

The legislation went to the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. And the vote was a quick one. The process was over almost before it began. A spokesman for Virginia Tech was thrilled at the results. He said: “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on campus.” Wonderful!

People at Virginia Tech were going to feel safe on campus. The legislation in question didn’t pass. It failed. It failed the first hurdle in the legislature. It was legislation that would have allowed students and faculty at Virginia Tech and other universities to carry firearms if they had a valid concealed handgun permit.

Virginia Tech was famous for being a “gun free zone”. In June of 2005 a student, who had a gun permit, had a firearm on him when he went onto campus. He was disciplined as a result. At that time the governing board of the university approved another policy which made things loud and clear, they would never allow employees or students to carry firearms for self defense. The governing board openly, publicly, loudly, announced to the world they had disarmed every person on the campus.

Every person except, of course, any person who didn’t mind violating the law because he was going to break far more laws that day. And that is precisely what happened. When a person is intent on murder then violating a gun free zone is of little consequence to them. It will not and can not stop that person. It is of major consequence to the law abiding students and faculty, people who have no intentions to harm anyone and want to live peacefully with one another. The ramifications of violating the rules can be high for them. They could lose their job or be expelled.

So they abide the law and disarm. They are stripped of the ability ot defend themselves and must rely on the state and the state alone. That the gunman was able to walk back on campus two after his first shooting spree tells you something about relying on the state for your safety.

The killer walked into the the West Ambler Johnston dormitory looking for a girl in particular. He casually lined up his victims in a row and began shooting them. He could afford to be casual, he was pretty confident that no dormroom door would open up and an armed student would exit to put an end to his actions. The only person on campus, at that moment, who really knew he was safe was the killer. He was the only one armed. The university made sure of it.

All the school could do was tell students to hide and hope they weren’t found. The campus apparently was a real no gun zone since no one on campus appeared able to stop the killing. Students in the dorm were not evacuated by the school but told to stay put and go into lockdown. One girl in the dormitory said: “They had us under lockdown. They temporarily lifted the lockdown, the gunman shot again.”

And, pardon my language, but someone has to ask what the fuck the police were doing during all this? If the first shooting takes place at 7:15 and then again at 9:15 in the engineering building, this means the killer had two hours to wander the campus.

While details are still sketchy this report has some disturbing implications. It appears that the bulk of the killing took place in the classroom two hours after the first killings. Police were on the scene. Doing what? The gunman can walk from the dorm to the engineering building, all the way on the opposite side of the 2,600 acre campus, and kill there two hours later without anyone stopping him. One student complained about this: “That’s pretty ridiculous and meanwhile, while they’re sending out the e-mail [telling students of the first shooting], 22 more people got killed.”

According to the local police chief there was only one death from the dormitory shooting. It that remains to be true that would mean that something like 29 people were killed two hours later by the same gunman on the same campus. If the police were unable to defend students after a two hour warning that a killer was on campus shooting people then just how much time do they need to get their act together? And the school’s response was to tell students in the classrooms to lock the doors and huddle in the middle of the room. Brilliant! Why not just have them wear uniforms with targets on their backs.

These are the people that the students MUST trust to defend their lives because these people stripped them of the ability to defend themselves.

The school was oblivious to the facts. One press report states: “A gasp could be heard at a campus news conference when the police chief said at least 20 people had been killed. Previously, only one person was thought to have been killed.” They were holding a press conference to state one had been killed when they learned it was 20, the number is now set in the low 30s.

On February 15, this blog wrote:

“If you want to kill a large number of people you really don’t want them shooting back at you. Even if you are intent on dying their action can prevent you from accomplishing your goal. If mass killing is your goal you want your victims to be unarmed. And if you want unarmed victims then you are attracted to a “gun free zone” of one kind or another.

So to accomplish your goal you are looking for several things. One is to find a crowded location. You can’t kill lots of people if there aren’t lots of people. You need a confined space. Otherwise your targets can escape too easily. And you want people who are unarmed.

Not a lot of places fit that bill. Certainly shopping malls, if they restrict firearms, fit that bill. Schools would qualify as well.

It seems that most the “mass shootings” we have witnessed in the United States take place within gun free zones. I know people say guns are the problem. But oddly these mass shootings don’t occur at gun shows”

It angers me greatly to have this observation proven correct once again. If I had the power to be proven wrong about this I would grab it. I would reverse the killing. I have never owned a firearm. I prefer not to live in a world where such things are necessary. But wishing doesn’t make it so. Criminals will always have access to weapons and they will make the defenceless their prey. Only when individuals are free to protect themselves does this sort of mass killing end quickly.

If only 10% of the people at Virginia Tech had concealed weapon permits it is unlikely that this man could have continued on two hours later to execute another huddled batch of unarmed victims. The tragic shooting at the mall in Salt Lake City, another “gun free zone” ended because one patron, an off duty cop, of the mall was actually armed.

Once again disarming an entire population of people in one concentrated location has lead to a massacre. A gun free zone is a breeding ground for mass killings.

UPDATE: The most recent information is that 32 plus the gunman were killed in the shooting. Two victims died in the first shooting. The rest were slaughtered two hours later while the campus was crawling with police. It is also clear that 11 minutes after the second slaughter began the university sent emails to students telling them to remain in the buildings. Of course the gunman was inside. No warning was emailed after the first attack. It was two hours later, and after the second attack, that the email went out.

Note: You can read of what happens in similar cases when the shooter finds some of the victims are armed.

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