Our country is in shock this morning as more details emerge of yesterday's agonizing day. A lone gunman took the lives of 32 Virginia Tech students and teachers. And he took his own life so we will never know definitive answers to the questions of why.
The campus looks quite beautiful from the live shots of it on the television. It is hard to comprehend such ugliness there. Yesterday morning was a pivotal time in the lives of the student population, whatever innocence of youth possessed is now lost forever.
Professor Liviu Librescu, a Romanian by birth, a Holocaust survivor, surfaces as a true hero. A professor in the engineering school, he held the classroom door shut and yelled for his students to flee to safety. The students opened the windows and jumped from the second floor classroom. The 76 year old professor was shot and killed.
Yesterday was Holocaust Survivor Day.
Cho Seung-Hui is named as the killer today. His weapons of choice were a 9mm pistol and a .22 calibre handgun. He carried the receipt from the purchase of the weapons in his backpack.
Cho Seung-Hui was a South Korean born 23 year old Senior at Virginia Tech. He was an English major and he was a resident alien from Centreville, Virginia. So, how was a resident alien able to purchase guns?
The usual knee jerk reaction was heard, almost as soon as the story began unfolding on television yesterday, that the government must step up tougher gun control legislation. The people proposing tougher laws don't understand that laws don't keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys. If it did, Washington, D.C. wouldn't have such a high murder rate. All guns are illegal there, except for the police.
The second amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms. To many Americans the second amendment is as sacred as the first amendment is to those spouting hateful speech and brandishing their right to do so. This freedom stuff is tricky, isn't it? Guns are not to blame. People are to blame.
I would like to see stricter enforcement of background checks. I would like to see the loophole at the gun shows brought to an end.
I don't think this is the time to point fingers and accuse anyone of not doing what could be done to protect the students. I do think there are many questions to be answered. My heart is broken for the families shattered. My heart is heavy for the parents of this troubled young man and the burden they will carry the rest of their lives.
I would like to know why there aren't surveillance cameras in use on campus, especially at the entrances to buildings. I have questions as to why I saw so many police standing around yesterday and not doing something, anything, as it all unfolded.
I don't blame the initial reaction of the university administration to treat the first two victims at the residence hall as a controlled situation. I do think the time has come to stop with the politically correct language used by administrators to students. Do not send out e-mails declaring an 'unfortunate incident' happened. Tell them someone shot and killed two people in their dorm and to protect themselves.
From what I understand from news reports, many of the campus security guards were not armed. That is insane. From a personal perspective, my son attends a large, urban public high school. Houston Independent School District employs their police force to protect the schools. My son's school has a continuous shift of armed HISD police every day. They patrol on bikes. They are in uniform, armed, and immediately recognizable. Yes, they have guns. They also have tasers and night sticks. I wouldn't have it any other way. It is the times in which we live.
My son's school holds drills for emergency situations. The drills are announced in advance to the parents in the form of the weekly newsletter from the school and by taped telephone message to the parents delivered in the evening when parents are usually home. When a lockdown is to be practiced, everyone knows what to do.
The college student said, "My heart sank down to my toes" as she learned of the events on campus that morning.