The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-VT incident should serve as wake-up call for security

By André Green/se news editor

The murderer who stalked the Virginia Tech campus killing random victims had neither rhyme nor reason for his actions.

This madman had a hate-filled heart and a murderous agenda he was all too eager to fulfill.

Incredibly, the gunman shot two people in a dorm room, mailed a letter to NBC and walked a little more than a mile to continue his killing spree.

The first murders were committed at 7:15 a.m. while the second siege began two hours later.

While Cho Seung-Hui was heading to his next theater, the police had mistakenly labeled the initial crime scene a domestic dispute based on information from a friend of victim Emily Hilscher.

The police pursued Hilscher’s boyfriend, which would be the right call if this were a shooting in a home or an apartment complex. But it wasn’t. The West Ambler Johnson Hall was a dormitory that housed more than 800 students, and any one of them could have been the suspect.

In fact, the campus wasn’t locked down until 10:53 a.m., long after Cho had taken his life.

After arriving on scene, the police began searching off campus for Hilscher’s boyfriend. All the while the real killer was preparing to unleash his rampage on the students in Norris Hall, who were oblivious to what was going on as police and administrators were convinced there was no imminent danger to the rest of the campus.

At approximately 8:25 a.m., officials decided to notify students of the Ambler Hall shooting via e-mail. But it was not until 9:26 a.m., more than an hour later, that students were notified.

By that time it was too late. Cho had already turned what began as a beautiful day for so many into a turkey shoot for his own sick amusement.

E-mail might be sufficient warning for an office building, but not for a college campus. Most students enter their classrooms, open their books, turn off their cell phones and get ready to learn, sleep or slack off.

And the e-mail issue aside, it really didn’t matter that the e-mail was sent because it was too late—Cho was already in the building.

Students received their warning effectively one of two ways, the gunshots in the hallway and the police yelling over the megaphones to get down and stay where they were. But no advance notice.

Virginia Tech and every school hereafter must take a serious look at the training of their first responders and, most importantly, the notification system.

If SE Campus can have a public address system in the building, why is it not possible for a school with the budget and the prestige of Virginia Tech to have one?

In his correspondence to NBC, Cho praised Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine and called them martyrs. It would be foolish to think he is the only person in this country who has that line of thinking. And it would be foolish to think this is the last school shooting we will see.

Understandably university officials did not want to cause undo alarm and have students panic, but sometimes authorities have to overreact.

All campus people deserved to know what was going on, and they damn sure deserved to be protected. Instead, several were methodically killed.

We may never know what went on in the minds of Cho or Virginia Tech officials, but we all must remember that sometimes it is necessary to overreact.

A little overreaction could have meant the difference between who still walks among us and whom we will be memorializing in the coming days.

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