Monday, April 16, 2007

And right on cue...

Glenn *Instahack* Reynolds cranks up the Wurlitzer in record time...

I figure he will take this down pretty quick, so here it is for posterity:

THIS IS AWFUL: "At least 20 people were killed this morning at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and University after a shooting spree at two buildings on the campus." Nobody seems to know much yet on what happened. These things do seem to take place in locations where it's not legal for people with carry permits to carry guns, though, and I believe that's the case where the Virginia Tech campus is concerned. I certainly wish that someone had been in a position to shoot this guy at the outset.

UPDATE: More here and here. And some background here. And reader John Lucas, who works with a Virginia law firm, emails that Va. Tech is a "gun-free zone." Well, for those who follow the law. There was an effort to change that but it failed: "A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly." That's unfortunate. Had the bill passed, things might have turned out differently, though we'll never know now.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a big, continuously updated roundup on the subject from Pajamas Media. And here's lots more from a Virginia Tech alumnus.

More background on Virginia Tech here. And here's more local blogging on the tragedy. And here's a blog entry with some photos.

And here are more thoughts from John Noonan. And send your thoughts and prayers to Marc Danziger, who has a son at Virginia Tech.

Yeah. Just what a situation like this calls for is 150 Barney Fife's running around, with their bullets out of their pockets. GMAFB

It takes a hell of a lot more than a Saturday afternoon seminar to adequately train people to respond in a situation like this. Remember that the person who stopped the Utah Shopping Mall shooter a few weeks ago was an off-duty police officer - not a vigilante.

Humans have a set of pre-programmed responses to danger. Fight, or flight? If "fight" wins, and there is a weapon like a gun at the avail of a poorly trained person, tragedy is more likely to compounded than ameliorated. How many of these civilians in the action are likely to be felled by trained professionals responding to the shooting? How many innocent people might this untrained army of vigilantes kill in the heat of the moment. "Hey, the guy had something in his hand..." (Yeah, it was his cell phone and he was calling 911...trying to get some real help on the scene...)

I have worked too many traumas. Cops aren't even that helpful until they are properly seasoned. Sorry. That's just reality. And Instahack is, as per usual, wrong. Wrong, wronger, wrongest. A perfect specimen of wrongness. But then, what do we expect from that joker, anyway?


George K. said...

Blue Girl,
Are you saying that I, an average citizen with a concealed weapons license (CWL), am a vigilante? I guess my 8 years in the military (USMC & US Army) makes me a poorly trained BOLDTHIRSTY vigilante… I guess since I’m a NRA certified firearms instructor, I must be the high priest of the local vigilante detachment…

Do you realize that most CWL holders train with their firearm more often than the police? Can you believe that in my almost 30 years of being a “Gun Nut” (started when I was 6, better put my parents in jail for that), I have never met a fellow “Nut” who wanted to take another life? Sure, there are people like that that want to kill other humans, they are called criminals. Those of us who have a CWL understand this simple fact of life and take measures to protect our lives and loved ones. We might even have a fire extinguisher in our home, but we sure don’t want our house to catch on fire. It is called personal responsibility.

To call us vigilantes is just immature and offensive. If my skin was not thickened by the lessons and realities of the real world, I might have been traumatized by your kindergarten taunts and had to call Rev. Sharpton demanding an apology.

--Blue Girl said...

Not at all - and I might need to reread after emotions cool a bit - But for every one competent civilian responding in a case like this, there would likely be ten trigger-happy jackasses.

Responding to live fire is a hell of a lot different than popping off a few at the firing range.

I have been trained, and I have been fired on (emt during a crack war in a grossly affected city) and I would prefer not to have that responsibility thrust upon me - and I qualified like a mother-fucker. I am, what some of my more leftie friends call a gun nut. I can throw lead and I can make my own damned gunpowder.

But I am not a cop.

Chris said...

What is it about liberals that think just because someone is a law enforcement officer (LEO) they are somehow sanctified with superhuman abilities to stop crime, handle firearms, and react in stressful situations. I find your comments sanctifying LEOs and denigrating common citizens small minded and ignorant. As my esteemed fellow gun owner in the above comment mentioned it is often the case that common citizens who carry firearms are more likely to practice and remain proficient at handling their weapon than many LEOs. In my experience my fellow gun owners come from a wide range of backgrounds but in all instances are some of the most decent, generous, moral, and level headed people I have ever met. The "Wild West" myth that you and your fellow holophobes continue to spread is, simply that, a myth. Time and time again states are warned that there streets will turn into rivers of blood upon the passage of right to carry laws and time and time again these sensationalist prophecies fail to come true. You may think that a common citizen armed with a gun would confuse a gun with a cell phone but in the end you are only betraying your own ignorance and fear of something that you know nothing about. Spare us your elitism and hatred.

A police officers ultimate job is not to prevent crime, it is to respond to crime. Prevention of crime by the few, again LEOs, would require an almost Orewellian presence. The police are by and large responders. The responsibility to prevent crime is upon the common citizen, it is a social responsibility, and sometimes that responsibility calls upon us to use force to prevent crimes from occuring or to stop them in their midst. No one that I know who carries a gun ever wants to use it but would if the situation presented itself. This is no different than any member of the police or military forces in this nation. Killing is a horrible thing and should not be done lightly.

The fact of the matter is that LEOs aren't suprehumans, they are humans. A human can't be everywhere at once, even a lot of humans. Proof of this is no where more present than the news stories today. I'm quite sure that VT has a fine campus police force and that the officers in the surronding jurisdictions were more than willing to help but ultimately they couldnt' be everywhere at once. And in light of the fact that VT's campus is vast the killer was able to avoid capture and was able to restart his murderous rampage. The only defense to such nefarious evasion is to give the people everywhere, the common man, the ability to defend themselves. Anything else is wishful thinking at its worst.

Weetabix said...

I know several people who have concealed carry licenses. From talking with them, they've put a LOT of thought into what they'd do in a fight or flight situation. I think "protect life, not property" kind of sums it up. I've read accounts of CCW's being robbed at gunpoint and giving up the wallet because "it's only a wallet."

Illegal aliens, bad drivers, swimming pools, and 5-gallon buckets kill more innocent people each year than CCW holders do.

We need to think this through a bit more calmly.

--Blue Girl said...

Hey, I know a lot of responsible gun owners myself. I am one.

But I don't want them taking on a crazed and determined killer.

It would be a fucking mass-casualty disaster.

As one of those who would get to clean up the mess - thanks for the offer, but no thanks.

George K. said...

“and I might need to reread after emotions cool a bit”

There is one of the main problems in the gun control issue, emotion.

Look, I don’t mean to come off as cold or un-emotional about this shooting. In fact, many of us (pro CWL) are very upset and saddened by the loss of life today. But you know as well as I do that this event will spark more calls for gun control based on… emotion. More and more gun control gets crammed down the law abiding citizens throat with what end result? More victim disarmament zones, restrictions on types of firearms (often because they “look” scary) and general erosion of our rights. More laws would not have prevented today, just as a plethora of laws do not stop the thousands of various crimes committed every day.

Take the time to be emotional about today, as we ALL are grieving this senseless bloodshed. But when the debate for increased gun control comes up, please put your I before your E. Intelligence before Emotion.

--Blue Girl said...

As a general rule, I am of the opinion that "Gun Control means you can hit your target."

I think the debate that is coming needs to focus on the social problems that are contributing to the level of gun violence we experience in this country. It;'s up to us freedom-loving Americans no matter our political persuasions to make sure the debate is focused properly. And i admit that being an armed leftie places a greater degree of onus on me to keep my emotional brethren focused.

Gun control laws are a band-aid on a bullethole - and enough of that already.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner said...

"It would be a fucking mass-casualty disaster."

How could this have possibly been much worse?

--Blue Girl said...

How could it have been worse?

A few wanna-be heroes opening fire on spec under the influence of adrenaline.

George K. said...

"being an armed leftie places a greater degree of onus on me to keep my emotional brethren focused.”

That will be a monumental task! :) You are to be commended for such an undertaking (or committed?). Seriously, when you see them slipping, take them to a range. Once they realize through hands on experience that the tool will not do anything without human input, it helps to drive home the fact that a person is the responsible party, not the gun. Yes, we do need a discussion on society and responsibility, instead of the usual “blame the gun” mentality.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris said...

"A few wanna-be heroes opening fire on spec under the influence of adrenaline."

The fact of the matter is that this has never happened in the long history of concealed or open carry.

The Quiet Man said...

--Blue Girl said...
Hey, I know a lot of responsible gun owners myself. I am one.

But I don't want them taking on a crazed and determined killer.

It would be a fucking mass-casualty disaster.

Perhaps I missed something here, but at first glance the situation appears to be exactly a fucking MASS-CASUALTY. And no responsible gun owners were involved...just a crazed and determined killer. Nobody will ever know if a responsible gun owner could have stopped this rampage because reaponsible gun owners are not allowed to carry on campus. There was NOBODY to stop this guy. Campus police didn't stop him and city police didn't either - he stopped himself. Gun control would not have prevented this nor (obviously) would the whole "gun free zone". Gun free zone means that you can have your rampage without fear of being fired back on. I'm happy to hear that you are a gun owner, but because you don't trust yourself in that type of situation doesn't mean you should extend that same mistrust to all other gun owners.

--Blue Girl said...

"Joe" is a troll who drops in from time to time, gets his comments deleted and his IP posted. Here it is again:

He is especially cranky, holding his political views and living so close to San Francisco.

--Blue Girl said...

Fathers shoot their own children. A student who knocked on the wrong door looking for a halloween party was shot and killed. Things like this happen frequently.

Hell,an FBI agent was killed by friendly fire a few days ago. Are you telling me that the average citizen is prepared for that kind of responsibility? The very notion is madness.

And yes, I am saying it could have actually been worse.

Factfind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
--Blue Girl said...

Nice try, Mountainview California,

Fast_rope71 said...

Blue Girl said..."for every one competent civilian responding in a case like this, there would likely be ten trigger-happy jackasses."

Being a well reasoned and obviously educated person, I'm sure you didn't just pull that number out of your ass. What is the source of this statistic? What is the margin of error?
I'm kinda guessing it's around 99.9% or more, myself.
As for your tendency to place police officers on a pedestal, I'm going to venture a guess that it comes from your professional parallels (as a medical responder). There are a number of us out here, who are military trained to confront armed opposition. So many people never get beyond making the statement that they are military trained.
Let me enlighten you to a small bit of what I have been trained to do. I was trained to search ships with armed and hostile personnel on board. After active duty, I continued training myself at ranges that exist for the sole purpose of preparing one's self to deal with just this sort of situation.
Even if a responsible citizen defender managed to kill or wound 3 other people at the beginning or middle of this madman's rampage, there would still be more people walking around on VT's campus today. I'd still gladly bet my life on the abilities of my fellow citizen to stop a person such as this guy over standing by with a bullseye on my back.

Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner said...

Google "Appalachian Law School Shooting" sometime. This shows how effective an armed citizenry can be. "Pearl, Mississippi School Shooting", or "Joel Myrick" may open your eyes some, also.

mbg said...

Whoa nelly, you brought em' out on this one. Kinda got their panties in a twist, too. Funny how they twist your words to do that. Nice going guys. No one's lookin' to abscond your firearms; that'd never fly in this country anyway. You can only drag out that ol' dictator line so far, be it lefties or righties doin' it. And I'm damed tired of the rights already being taken away by the righties. Why doncha get your panties in a twist on that. What? It's ok to fuck us to death on everything but our guns. Duh, ok.

Anonymous said...

One cannot help but notice all of the "reasoned" and "responsible" gun owners who are up in arms about all of this talk of how letting assault weapons ban lapse (it covered clips that hold more than ten rounds) and how "reasonable" it is to expect vigilantes to police every situation.

No doubt all of them are masters of the guns they use and would never make a mistake with their guns in the heat of battle.

You gotta love the conceit. Everyone else is a nut; they're perfect and can handle the situation better than any old cop.

How many cops would love to have everyone running around shooting at each other. How many well-meaning citizens would have gotten shot today if they'd been roaming the campus at Virginia Tech, trying to track down the killer.

We'll never know. All we have to go on is how "reasonable" it is to expect these Dale Gribbles to take out the bad guy with one shot.

Clayton said...

32 students and professors are dead. How could it have been worse if one or two of the victims had shot at the killer? You think it would have made the killer angry?

fast_rope71 said...

Mgb - Actually, they are trying to. Take a look at HR1022. The new and improved AWB.

Anonymous - a few points that reduce the validity of your statements.

First, the assault weapons ban did a fair bit more than just reduce magazine (proper terminology) capacity to 10 rounds. It violated the 2nd amendment (websters defines infringement as: to violate, transgress, or encroach). But you were the first person to actually mention it, so it's kinda hard to say we have had "all this talk".

Kinda makes me wonder if you even read any of the comments above.

Second, Yes I have to love the conceit. Your conceit that is. Nobody ever made the statement that we could handle the situation better than "any old cop". What was said was the true, and widely accepted, statement that many holders of concealed carry licenses (meaning we have a clean criminal record, and have demonstrated proficiency with a gun) spend more time, money and personal fortune to maintain and improve their proficiency with a weapon, than the AVERAGE law enforcement officer. furthermore, this is done for the very reason of handling a situation like the tragedy that occurred today.

Your next statement is the most laughable so far. In no place that has adopted a method of lawful concealed (or open) carrying of a firearm, has there been a trend of "everyone running around and shooting at each other". In point of fact, I had allowed for the possibility that our intrepid citizen defender may have killed or wounded other innocents. The number of dead would likely still have been less than reality holds to be true as actual events unfolded.

Since you appear to be either ignorant or incapable of discriminating thought, I will point out that that would mean that one or more families would not be hearing the news that their loved one will never give them another hug, smile, or anything else, ever.

I find it most telling that to encompass your stereotype for us, you must look to a work of FICTION.

People like you give folks like Blue Girl a bad name. At least her comments came from a position of reasoning, instead of some ill conceived, ideologically driven, knee jerk reaction to demonize demonstrably law abiding citizens.

You have established yourself as a craven, political opportunist, and a mental midget. No wonder you opted to remain anonymous.

Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner said...

Look up the definition of "vigilante". An armed citizen, defending life, IS NOT a "vigilante".

Anonymous said...

Yeah "Dale Gribble" chimed in, just like I thought.

Hilarious. I love hearing how a civilian is more proficient with his weapon than a trained professional.

News flash, Dale--real cops clean up after you every single day. And no one is violating your Second Amendment rights when it comes to ten round magazines. The founders would have LOVED to have a ten round magazine.

Jmaverick said...

This is a quote from a letter writen by Jacob Simmons, describing what happened yesterday.

"We entered the hallway. Blood, bullet casings, and empty pistol clips were everywhere; this was definitely the most horrifying sight of my entire life. We ran past quickly. A door to the stairwell had been opened and there was a massive trail of blood; we found out later that a class had tried to escape only to find that the monster had chained the doors shut before starting his rampage. They were all killed."

When they all reached the chained door, being followed by the man that would shortly kill everyone trapped there... How exactly could it be worse if they had a handgun to fight back? I honestly do not recall 32 people being executed at any gunshow or NRA convention. I only recall it happening by people who cannot legally own a gun, at places they cannot legally bring one against people unable to defend themselves. See Columbine and yesterday.

Anonymous said...


News flash:

Nothing could have prevented what happened yesterday. Nothing.

Just as we cannot legislate stupidity, we cannot arm every citizen and expect instant public safety. Guns are not to blame for what happened. The man who perpetrated the crime is to blame for what happened.

No amount of pro-gun posturing is going to change that fact. And please explain to me how there is 100% total gun control practiced on every single military installation in this country. If you're in the military, and if you own a gun, you cannot have your weapon in your barracks room. It has to be secured in an arms room. And if you want to take that weapon out of that arms room, the unit commander is responsible for it.

The US Army practices the most stringent gun control imagineable. Ammunition is separated from weapons, weapons are locked and secured in vaults, and anyone caught with an unauthorized weapon or a round of ammunition is quickly and severely punished.

How many cops think a nation of vigilantes and Dale Gribbles waving their cheap firearms around is a good idea? Of course, what the cops think is right automatically goes out the window. Because gun nuts know one thing--the cops are sick of cleaning up their messes.

Anonymous said...

Here's a great diary from DKOS -

Captain Frogbert says this:

Captain Frogbert's diary :: ::
You pull your gun, of course, shoot the guy and you're a HERO! Yay!

Second scenario: There you are when you hear gunshots. You pull your gun and turn to look for a target. Wait! There are two guys with guns and they seem to be shooting at each other! Whom do you shoot?

Third scenario: You turn, gun in hand, looking for a target and there are five people, men, women, black, white, hispanic, all shooting at or towards each other. It's a fire fight! Whom do you shoot?

Fourth scenario: Some other guy is drawing a bead on some guy with a gun and that guy happens to be YOU because he doesn't know who the bad guy is either. Who gets shot?

Given that trained police officers, in several recent incidents, fired dozens of shots at several people and missed most of their shots, and, furthermore, given that no matter how cool and tough and certain and heroic you are or think you are, you CAN make a mistake, what the hell are you thinking?

Life isn't a movie and you're not Clint Eastwood. Target acquisition is a serious problem in any fire fight. The bad guys don't always wear black hats to make them easy to identify. People keep getting killed by mistake in combat (can anyone say Pat Tillman? or Giuliana Sgrena?). How do you identify the "Bad guys?" A few years ago an undercover New York cop was shot dead by a transit cop becasue one of them failed to obey the rules of engagement and know the signals identifying undercover cops.

In any fire fight, you can't always be sure you know the players. That's one reason cops and soldiers wear uniforms. And look what keeps happening in Iraq as the bad guys keep killing people while wearing good guy uniforms.

It's not like on TV. You never really know what's going on. You don't have a handy editor composing the shots so you cam keep track of what's what. Where are the shots coming from? Who's hidden? Who's working together? When six people are shooting and none of them know each other, how do you know whom to shoot?

And given the state of race relations in the US, how many white people will just assume that it's the black guys?

And when shooting, how can you be sure you hit your target? You can't. Bystanders get shot. Little girls get killed in drive-bys. Bullets don't care. No matter how many times you go to the range, a fire fight is different. The light is bad, you're pumped on adrenaline, there's noise and echoes. There might be smoke or fire. Explosions. People are running around. It's terrifying and confusing. People get killed and it might be you.

No matter how much you think you're the hero.

I'm tired of listening to gun-nut's wish-fulfilment fantasies about being the hero of the day.

One of the first rules established in the old west was that nobody carries in town. It took about three days for that rule to pass in every town, right after the first drunken brawl when someone got shot or killed. It was very much NOT like we see in westerns.

The constant, TV- and movie-fueled fantasies of the gun crowd really get to me. We know what happens when war planning is based on chicken hawk fantasies learned from the 4:30 movie rather than the war college. We get Iraq. Why should we set public policy based on Gunsmoke or Dirty Harry? It's insane.

And by the way, I'm former co-captain of my school's rifle team, a damn good pistol shot, a former war games designer for the DOD and have researched and written extensively about black powder, guns and their history. I'm not anti-gun. I like guns. I'm just tired of the Dirty Harry bullshit.

Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Secret Service officers were injured on Tuesday after a gun held by another Secret Service officer accidentally fired inside the White House gate, according to a spokesman, Darrin Blackford.

Their injuries are non-life threatening, the spokesman said.

One officer suffered a shrapnel wound to the face, and the other was wounded in the leg.

They were taken to George Washington Hospital.

At the time, President George W. Bush was on a trip to Blacksburg, Virginia, to attend a ceremony at Virginia Tech university following Monday's shooting rampage.

"It appears that at approximately 2:10 p.m. (1810 GMT) there was an accidental discharge of a service issued weapon, which occurred inside the Southwest Gate at a security post near the White House," Blackford said.