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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.


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!