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I've been listening to the pontificating about what VaTech "should have done" yesterday. Let's take them one by one.

Shooting in dorm X. The advice has been "They should have locked down the campus." First of all, how? The campus safety personnel are insufficient in volume to do so. Reasonable response? Lock down the building, verify that the perpetrator had either been apprehended or fled the scene, and then reopen the building. This is consistent with what happens in most public safety situations, both on and off campus. If there is a shooting in a neighborhood, they close down the block, not a 26,000 acre section of the city. Based on the information they had, they did nothing wrong.

Communication. "They should have notified everyone of [fill in the blank]." As of 9:27 yesterday, why? A tragic event happened in one hallway, of one floor, of one dorm, involving 3 people. If the entire campus was notified everytime there was some sort of dire or even deadly event on campus involving a couple and someone who tried to intervene there would be alerts every 47 seconds.

Communication part 2: "They should have sent text messages to all faculty and students." Riiiiiiight. For very good reasons, most professors have it as a rule that all cell phones must be off and out of sight during class, including their own. Yeah, those text messages would have helped people in class at 9 in Norris Hall. Yeah.

The same "Helicopter Parents" who will attempt to bankrupt the school are undoubtedly the same ones who want their "precious children" treated like adults, don't want Campus Safety personnel to be armed with weapons of deadly force, and decry the pressence of civil authorities on campus. Who want underage drunkenness to be excused as a right of passage, who claim their sons don't rape their classmates, and excuse their daughters from taking responsibility for irresponsible behavior. The same ones who want professors to "teach," as long as it isn't anything that challenges the parents' dogma, and wants those same professors to "award" grades, rather than assign grades based on how well the student fullfills his/her half of the learning contract.

Virginia Tech is a small city with an age demographic below the average, not some little Amish school in the middle of Pennsylvania full of minors. It was a horrible massacre. More poignant because of where it was. I wish people would get some damn perspective.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 17th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
Where did this "Helicopter Parent" crap get started, anyway?

I think the thing that is going to give potential cases against the school traction is that when the convict shot the cop and ran on to campus last year, they shut down. They cleared a 100k square foot building last week over a hand-written bomb threat. Yet when there was a firearms-related killing in a dorm in the early hours of the morning, then didn't mobilize in time to stop dozens of people from being shot two hours later. Unless the school can show that they had very good reason to believe that the assailant had truly left campus, it's going to be pretty damned easy to make a case for failure to exercise due diligence.

I am not sure that I would have cancelled classes at this point. I think I would have made sure that there was a warning sent out to watch for any suspicious activity and report to the campus police by 8-8:15am. That would be the best that anyone could have done, but I'll also note that the helicopter parents would never be satisfied with that.

Do you think that distance learning will become the new fad for these people? Heh.
Apr. 17th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
thank you
You put it to writing what I have been feeling on this all day.

The logistics of the measures people say should have been taken are not possible on a community college campus, let alone a university. sigh.
Apr. 17th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
The advice has been "They should have locked down the campus."

By this logic, every time there is a shooting in NYC, they should lock down the Whole City.

"They should have notified everyone of [fill in the blank]."

At that hour of the morning, how are they going to contact anyone? Most people are either in transit or already in class.

My heart goes out to the survivors and families, but I don't see what the school could have done differently.

PS What are "Helicopter Parents"?
Apr. 17th, 2007 04:39 pm (UTC)
"Helicopter parents" are the ones with the resources who, whenever there is a crisis at little Muffy's school, hop in a helicopter to get to the campus. I'm not kidding.

It basically denotes the Lexus/Hummer/Do what I want or Kiss Your Endowment Goodbye parents.
Apr. 18th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC)

You are my new hero!
Apr. 17th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately large Universities are small cities. You can't lock them down. I am concerned with the University and the Commonwealth having to deal with all the lawsuits that will result from this tragedy. Because these "helicopter parents" will want someone to sue. That's America for you.
Apr. 17th, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
as for communication
As soon as the word was released, the entire outbound system went black. every node on every tower was filled and you couldnt get a line into the campus for the first hour after it was announced. If they had made an announcement sooner, there would have been no way they could have made it later when the REAL disaster started as their system just didnt handle the immediate volume well. And it shouldn't have to, no matter what the parents with the money say.

And how do I know this to be a fact? Why because a Scadian from the local group works in the emergency communications center at Va Tech.

He spent all day giving updates, and between that gentle soul and the Baron of the local SCA group( Barony of Black Diamond) everyone in the group was accounted for within 6 hours( no small feat).

The Seneschal of that local group is a Junior at Tech and is working toward getting folks together in the aftremath.

Isn't it nice to know that we are more than a bunch of fools who hit each other?

Apr. 18th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
Re: as for communication
Sometimes I need to remember why the game is worth it. These are the moments that help.
Apr. 18th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
Re: as for communication
Glad I could be of service Commander Dearring ;)

Apr. 17th, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)
I wonder if they will make a bunch of new regulations that will be impossible to enforce, like a firearms ban they did there a few years ago. Unless massive deep changes are made in our society (none of them I'm crazy about), something like this will always be possible, unless we choose a police state.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )