It’s like Tupac said, yo: You live by the gun, you die by the gun. To wit: Dozens of people were shot today at an American university campus.
At least 33 people are dead and about the same number wounded after what appears to be two shootings this morning at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. The first shooting happened at 7.15 in a dorm building where two people were killed, and two hours later there was another shooting in a classroom building resulting in 30 dead.
Police aren’t sure that it was the same person who was behind both shootings. The only thing more shocking than a gunman shooting 32 people one morning on a university campus would be two separate gunmen shooting a combined 32 people one morning on a university campus.
BBC News wrote about it [“Deadly Shooting and US University”, BBC News, today] and invited locals to comment and contribute more details. Three of the comments stood out to me.
First we have Kerem, a faculty member:
I am a faculty from VT. I am shocked with the scale of this horrific event took place in our campus. The gunman is reportedly dead. We do not have much information. An evacuation plan will be performed by police officers very soon and we will go back to our homes. May the victims’ souls rest in peace.
[Kerem Gungor, Blacksburg, VA (emphasis added)]
It wasn’t the shooting itself that shocked Kerem, but the scale of it.
How could this guy be left alone to kill so many over such a long period of time? Why didn’t the cops (or some other armed force) come and blow the perp away much sooner? We need more police on campus! And the teachers and janitors should carry guns!
Two other guys can’t agree on whether today’s event was much of a surprise. Let’s hear it from Josh:
[…] This is very scary, and we are shocked that something like this could happen here in Blacksburg. It really is a very quiet, rural, small town in Southwest Virginia.
[Josh Shiben, Blacksburg, VA]
But are things really that nice and peaceful in Blacksburg? (And how small and rural can a town really be when it houses 26,000 students?) Let’s hear what Derek has to say:
I am a student at Virginia Tech and was on campus during the second shooting at Norris Hall. The Virginia Tech police told us that 20 are confirmed dead and 28 are being treated for injuries. This is the second shooting in one year as well as three bomb threats in the last week. Students are terrified.
[Derek Belcher, Blacksburg, Virginia US]
The quotes above are a few of many at BBC [“Virginia shootings: Eyewitness accounts”, BBC News, today]. A fourth quote is from a terrified Irish exchange student on her first day at the US university wondering what the heck she’s gotten herself into.
The lovely pictures are from Virginia Tech’s photo album of student life on campus.