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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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Early warning signs at Virginia Tech

I heard a news report on CBC this morning stating that a few of the shooter's English teachers had been raising the alarm about him to the administration prior to Monday's massacre, worried that the content of his writing assignments and what he was saying in class were causing them grave concern. If that's true, it's worrisome that nobody acted on it.

A risk assessment specialist was also interviewed yesterday, who indicated that after the early morning shooting the school should have been closed down. Anytime more than 1 person is killed like that (in the morning, apparently there were 2), it's a reasonable assumption to make that there is a random shooting occurring, and protective measures must be taken. The university's president has been quoted as saying that shutting down the campus would have been difficult to do, and so they didn't consider it seriously. If only they had done so, it's probable that many lives would have been saved.

And boy, do I ever feel for that kid's parents right now. Now that I'm a parent myself, I often seem to think of the parents first in situations like this. How would you feel if your own child did something like this? What would you feel that you had missed in raising him? Would you feel that you could have prevented it somehow, "if only"? Who was the last person he spoke with before he started his killing spree? Was there any way to guess what he was going to do?

I also wonder how I would react if I were in a situation like that. I heard one eyewitness account from a classroom on the second floor, wherein a student from the class looked into the hall after hearing the shots, and saw the shooter heading towards her. She retreated to the classroom and several students barricaded themselves in with tables and chairs. While two students were holding the barricades against the door, the shooter came and started firing his gun through the door. Some bullets made it into the classroom, but nobody in that particular room was hit. Imagine what that would have felt like. In the abstract, I would want to do anything I could to stop the shooter; in practice, I'm not sure if I'd have to guts to do anything or not. Impossible to know unless I was there. Again, now that I'm a parent, I have no big dreams to be a hero or anything. But I would sure want to try and stop him if I could.

Everyone must have been so scared.

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(Deleted comment)
iamom April 18th, 2007
Oh my God, you were there? I had no idea!!! Wow...

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