Monday, April 16, 2007

Massacre in Virginia

It was just yesterday that I wrote about America's unanswered wake-up calls, including the Columbine massacre. Today, tragically, according to early news reports a now dead gunman managed to kill 21 people at Virginia Polytechnic Institute - leaving at least another 21 wounded.

"Polytechnic". We Canadians have our own sad memories of another massacre at a school with the same designation. That wound still bleeds.

The unidentified shooter was among the dead, according to officials, who also said that several were injured in the shootings, at West Ambler Johnston, a dormitory, and Norris Hall, which houses the College of Engineering. Authorities said the first shooting was reported shortly after 7 a.m.

"We have a ballpark figure on fatalities," Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum, said at a news conference broadcast by CNN. "It's at least 20 fatalities."

Flinchum said he did not know whether the shooter was a student. Some of those killed were in a classroom, he said.

Horrendously sad. I just don't know what else to say at this point other than to offer comfort to all who lost a loved one and to wish that those who are wounded will not perish as well.

Update via the NYT:

The shooting was the second in the past year that forced officials to lock down the campus. In August of 2006, an escaped jail inmate shot and killed a deputy sheriff and an unarmed security guard at a nearby hospital before the police caught him in the woods near the university.

The capture ended a manhunt that led to the cancellation of the first day of classes at Virginia Tech and shut down most businesses and municipal buildings in Blacksburg. The accused gunman, William Morva, is facing capital murder charges.

ABC News is now reporting 29 confirmed dead. Also:

ABC News has confirmed that there were two separate bomb threats last week at Virginia Tech that targeted engineering buildings. The first was directed at Torgersen Hall, a classroom and laboratory building, while the second was directed at multiple engineering buildings. Students and staff were evacuated, and the university had offered a $5,000 reward for information into the threats.


CNN is now saying there are 31 dead according to the AP and that this is the “worst shooting incident in US history” - not only as far as school shootings go.

Bush will hold a live press conference at 4:15 ET, in what has already been promoted (by CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux, iirc) as an “emotional” message.

Will Bush dare to call this "terrorism"? I doubt it.

It appears the Va Tech president will be holding another presser at 4:30 ET as well.

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