Virginia Tech shootings

Metroblogging DC is covering the events which occurred yesterday at Virigina Tech University. The last I heard from Channel 9’s news was that there are at least 9 Australians studying at the University. I hope all is well.

I wonder, if the Universities in Australia have a contingency plan for such incidents. I can’t imagine what I would do if confronted …

Its a very very sad day.

10 Comments so far

  1. Angela (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 3:31 am

    It’s so sad…

  2. Darren (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 8:45 am

    I guess Australian Universities are counting on the possibility that it’ll (probably) never happen here.

    Here’s PM Howard’s response as reported by ChannelNewsAsia:

  3. Brie (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 9:36 am

    Well, considering how easy it is to obtain guns in the U.S., I’d say that if you don’t radically change your gun laws to be, say, completely insane, we should all be safe.

    My hearts go out to everyone involved, but for some right wing pundits in the U.S. to claim that this could have been prevented if only the students had been packing makes me never want to go home again.

  4. Ben Hourigan (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 11:07 am

    Just imagine this scenario, Brie:

    The gunman starts firing on students in the classroom. Two students, on opposite sides of the gunman, are carrying concealed handguns. Although the gunman might manage to kill one of them before they get him, at least one should be able to shoot the gunman dead before he manages to murder 30+ people.

    Whether or not you believe it’s a good idea for the carrying of concealed firearms to be widespread, anywhere in the world, it’s absolutely incontestable that less people would have died had a few students in that classroom been armed.

  5. Brett (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 12:01 pm

    Sure, less people would have died on that campus on that day. But I’d say more people would die overall. You’d get less extreme events like this one but more smaller incidents as arguments etc got out of control and somebody pulled a gun. (Especially if you add drunken frat boys into the mix …)

    But there’s no reason to think that uni shootings can’t happen here: a student armed with five handguns killed 2 people and wounded 5 at Monash back in 2002:
    He obviously could have hurt many more people, but was tackled by a lecturer and a student, both unarmed!

  6. Jaffro (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

    Oh yeah, give everyone a gun that should solve the problem. Someone might have popped the gunman before he had a chance to shoot 33, but if you arm everyone then 100x more people are going to die over the year in separate incidents. A typical American attitude which has led to this situation. It’s something out of a comedy sketch… we have a problem with guns, therefore…. yeah, lets give everyone a gun, that’ll sort it! Remember, it’s in the constitution!

  7. dissembly (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 12:41 pm

    Ben Hourigan wrote: “it’s absolutely incontestable that less people would have died had a few students in that classroom been armed.”

    Ben, i have to say it: it’s absolutely incontestable that less people would have died had NOBODY in that classroom been armed. If the gunman had been armed with a knife (or even a shotgun, for god’s sake!), less people would have died.

    Virginia is known in the US for having ridiculously lax gun laws; it’s a documented fact that criminals in other parts of the country have in the past been supplied with weapons from Virginia specifically because it’s easier to get a gun there.

    If there had been stricter controls on weapons specifically designed for no other purpose than killing human beings, then there would be fewer guns circulating in the population, and this incident (and many others in recent American history) might never have happened at all.

    Ben, if a couple of other students had been armed, then you would be dealing with a higher rate of gun ownership in general, and a larger number of essentially random individuals – not all of whom would be perfectly mentally stable for their whole lives – walking around with available guns in their pockets. If a couple of other students in that classroom had been armed, then many more people *around the state* would have died in a far larger number of incidents just like this one.

  8. Neil (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 3:25 pm

    You are damned if you have a gun and you are damned if you don’t.

    I think Australians and others around the world don’t quite understand the gun culture in the US. The purpose of the right to bear arms was to defend your homes from British invasion during the Revolutionary War. This has been engrained in the constitution and is a way of life. Your home is your castle and you have a right to protect your home from foreign invaders (burglars, rapists etc.) Are you going to wait 5 minutes for the police to show up or are you going to go defend your family? Anyway that’s it in a nutshell.

    Semi automatics and automatics serve no purpose in civilians use but the NRA is a powerful lobby. Also take into account there are 50 states with differing gun laws. Then again many gun related crimes relate to illegally processed guns which gun laws have no effect on.

    Either way it will be interesting to see Obama, Clinton, and Guiliani’s stances on gun control in the 2008 election.

  9. Darren (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 4:47 pm

    Well said. The phrase ‘gun culture’ itself is a rather romantic concept often exaggerated by the media we’re fed with. Though I’m personally not for possession of firearms (too much legislation involved; too cumbersome), fact is that ‘US gun culture’ is much more boring than we think.

    I recall a paternal grand-uncle, who is an Australian man of Irish descent, bitterly relating how he was forced to give up his hand-me-down old-school shotgun, a little bit of a prized possession for him.

    I’m rather disappointed that some focus has slipped off to racial discrimination, though I can’t really say I didn’t expect it…

  10. Brie (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 7:40 pm

    Ben – sorry that’s just not going to fly because your argument has to eventually reduce to mass conceal carry. Civilians aren’t police, and it should never be up to them to decide how to handle a situation like that with a firearm. Civilians are not trained for hostage/combat situations, and no amount of shooting Osama bin Laden at the shooting range is going to make them combat-ready.

    When they passed the obscenely foolish conceal carry law in MN (I can’t even get into how stupid it is right now), Republicans were talking about how armed civilians might be good for controlling riots. The Democrats, understandably, went insane, arguing that civilians aren’t trained to understand the complexities of such situations. Civilian police is the worst possible idea.

    Lastly, no one should have to go to a uni (jesus, anywhere!) where they have to be in fear of being gunned down. More guns, not the answer. As an example, I give you… America.

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