April 17, 2007

A Plea to Virginia Tech Officials for Better Clarity

Carroll Andrew Morse

Our prayers go out to the victims of yesterday’s Virginia Tech shootings.

No political commentary here, obviously. But what purpose is being served by investigators' seeming coyness about admitting whether there is the possibility of a second shooter or not…

Virginia Tech's president said Tuesday that a student was the gunman in at least the second of the two campus attacks that claimed 33 lives to become the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

Though he did not explicitly say the student was also the gunman in the first shooting, he said he did not believe there was another shooter at large.


According to ABC News, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger has confirmed the possibility of a second shooter...

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger told "Good Morning America's" Diane Sawyer this morning that there was still the possibility that there were two shooters in the separate campus attacks on Monday morning.

Again, from ABC News...

At this time, police are not looking for a second shooter, however, they did not rule out the possibility that an accomplice may have been involved.

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It seems they are hesitent to say that it was the same shooter since the University was unwilling (or unable)to secure the entire campus after the first incident. They were initially convinced that the first shooter had left the campus, and no one wants to admit they were wrong when the outcome was so horrific. I am sure they truly were doing the best job they could at the time, but now a lot of questions will have to be answered - unfortunately none of the answers will bring back those innocent lives.

Posted by: Matt at April 17, 2007 9:16 AM

I found the reporters' questions, particularly their tone, to be appalling on that count. The inclination to second guess from afar in these instances is among the uglier human tendencies.

So you tell the kids that there's been a shooting and cancel classes. Now you've got thousands of them loitering around their dorms. Gather them together in one place... now you've got them gathered together in one place.

I know it's part of "investigative journalism" to poke and pry looking for news (usually in the form of some error or other and the associated "what if"), but I wonder if we wouldn't all be better off — at least at first — operating on the presumption that the killer and the killer alone is to blame.

Posted by: Justin Katz at April 17, 2007 10:18 AM

I wonder if we wouldn't all be better off — at least at first — operating on the presumption that the killer and the killer alone is to blame.

I completely agree, and that applies to those seeking to put a political spin on this (ie; gun control--for or against). The human need to explain "why" is powerful, but often unanswerable.

Posted by: Marc Comtois at April 17, 2007 11:00 AM
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