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Monday, April 16, 2007

The Deadliest Mass Murder in US History-at a university

Why? Why? Why?
As I watch the horror unfold on TV that occurred this morning at Virginia Tech--all I can wonder is why?
And the only answer that comes to me is . . . sadly . . . because. Because. Because the killer could. Because no one knows the horror that lives inside a determined killer's mind. Because the time, the place, the opportunity existed in the killer's mind and no one could possibly know what darkness shrouds, clouds, corrupts the mind of a killer. And so he killed because he could and no one stopped him.

No one stopped him after he murdered two students in their dorm room and no one stopped him after he murdered over 20 students more than two hours apart across campus while they sat in their German class?
What were the campus police thinking?
Maybe they weren't. It is hard to judge, I wasn't there.

"Why?" is what I hear in the CNN reports. So Anderson Cooper interviews a killer from another shooting years prior. The convicted killer speaks, "I had to do something to get everyone to leave me alone." So this kid was picked on unmercifully and his resolution was to shoot one by one at his list of abusers. He based this on watching video games. He never realized that a wounded or murdered person didn't get back up after being shot. That never happened in video games, so why wouldn't a murdered person get back up again. If only he'd known the reality. Now he is serving an over 200 year life sentence.

I guess somebody should have told him that his problems, just maybe, weren't that bad. Oh . . . he just said this himself.

I teach at a university. How can something like this be prevented or how can my university be prepared for such a horrible thing? How and why can any university be ready to avoid such a massacre?
Honestly, I don't think my campus can nor can any other campus.

But I have had a student become scarily aggressive and verbally abusive in class, so much so that I had to walk away quickly and report him to campus police. The result...he was told to write me a letter of apology by the VP of Student Affairs. He never did and remained in my class even after I had a campus police officer talk with him about his inappropriate behavior after class one day. I could not legally force the student to stop attending....after all--I was told--he paid his tuition--all I could do was fail him.

The ironic thing is that these kinds of events are creating cell phone journalists. Students using cell phone cameras are the primary reporters for this particular event. Jamal Albaughouti jumped into action as he was walking across campus to talk with his advisor...as a professor yelled at him and others to get the fuck away Jamal drew his phone and started recording at least 27 shots fired. And now he and other students are stringers for TGV and radio--paid nothing by the way--for their reports.

What do we call this new form of electonic journalism? Cellphojournalists? CPjournalists? Jamal is being interviewed all over the news. He and a slurry of other cellphojournalists or students who were eyewitnesses.
Jamal, now referred to as an eyenews reporter by Larry King, felt this event to be similar to what he, Jamal, was trying to escape from in the Middle East. Go figure. You don't have to be in the Middle East to risk being killed in a war zone....just come to the USA--any school.

Where is there a safe place to live?