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Most of the analysis so far, since the basic facts were known (discounting the package news that came later), has been only too happy to deal with emotional and subjective procedural questions alone. But what about the body count? Is there going to be no inquiry into how unsafe the campus turned out to be in the face of an armed militant? I thought the post-911 world was supposed to be tighter, more prepared for something like this.

I'm noticing a weirdness in the coverage. The big question that comes to my mind is, what went wrong to allow Cho to return to his room and visit the post office right after committing a double murder on a campus that probably has 30 or more security staff on duty. Aren't the campus police, building watchmen, student police and others all inter-connected by two-way radios? Aren't there emergency loudspeakers around campus? Is an email really an appropriate way to convey a present danger? Do all the students have BlackBerries?

According to the newspaper report that I read, "University president Charles Steger ...said investigators did not know there was a shooter loose on campus in the interval between the two shootings because the first could have been a murder-suicide.

Is that what happened? Campus wasn't closed down promptly and an APB about a possible armed killer on the loose wasn't broadcast over all available PA systems because it could have been a murder-suicide? Could it be that some of Virginia Tech's security staff watch to much CSI?

I am wondering where is this coverage? I see a lot of useless discussion of whether the counseling support system failed him and should blame be assigned. That's stupid because there can be no blame when inherently subjective counseling is the process under examination. Learn sure, but blame no.

On the other hand, if he was on SSRIs without being properly monitored, that is an important question too, again, not one that is being asked too much. Here's an interesting link one the subject: http://www.ssristories.com (Put on your sunglasses for this one, by the way.)

But it seems to me there ought to be some blame assigned for the absence of a strong campus-wide warning following an unsolved double murder that maybe _could_ have been a murder suicide, but obviously turned out not to be. Who played CSI without proper authority, and who improperly followed along with that person's lead?

Canada's National Post ran a story with the promising subhead "Critics are demanding answers from Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum," but alas, the headline, "It's easy to second-guess" reflected the story's content much more accurately. And then there was, "V Tech officials blameless" from Wednesday's Edmonton Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein.

I know it's always painful to come down hard on the blue-collar guys, but I think Goldstein's verdict is just a bit premature. The whole thing is giving me a deja-vu of the weeks following 9/11 when I was literally pulling clumps of hair from my head while shouting obvious questions at the TV talking head reporters who were gushing on about the humanity.

Over and out.

May your information be good,


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Peter Dearman is a Canadian teaching English and living in Taiwan. (edit) Now he runs a bar too. He is concerned about the generally high level of bad things happening in the world today, especially on the matters of depleted uranium, repression (more...)

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