The Virginia Tech massacre: Ed Board doesn't agree with the crisis policy or the media coverage

Title

The Virginia Tech massacre: Ed Board doesn't agree with the crisis policy or the media coverage

Description

By: The Daily Campus Ed Board
Posted: 4/17/07

The worst recorded shooting spree in American history occurred on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va., yesterday. Thirty-three people were murdered, dozens suffered injuries and the entire campus now must deal with grief. How does someone begin to digest the incomprehensible evil exhibited by this shooter and the needless loss of innocent lives?

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and the entire Virginia Tech community. This is the natural reaction people should have. We were shocked when we saw how politicians, such as John McCain, a Bush administration spokesperson and the media turned this event into a discussion about the right to bear arms. Political policy should not be a part of the discourse and coverage of the massacre at this early stage. It is entirely inappropriate to even mention political policy right now, when families are still being notified of their relatives' deaths.

This is a time for mourning, not campaigning.

If people need something to talk about, rather than just trying to cope, the discussion should be about why officials took two hours to close down the campus after the first shooting in the dorm. When a murder-suicide occurred at the University of Washington April 2, the entire campus was locked down. Rather than close down the entire campus immediately, Virginia Tech officials did not give students elsewhere on campus any information or warning for two hours. By this time, the gunman had closed off the exits to the engineering building and had begun his killing spree.

Furthermore, students were first notified via e-mail about the incident. Ed Board does not think e-mail communication is sufficient for such a drastically dangerous event. Police should have been in every building within minutes of the dorm shooting, going into classrooms and locking down the campus.

We wonder how officials here at SMU would react to such an event and hope that they would take better precautionary measures, leaving nothing to chance. In such cases, it's better to overreact than to sit by and do nothing. However, in SMU's emergency "Lockdown/Take Cover" guidelines, there is no indication of what officials, such as the SMU police, would do to protect students. The plan states that, in such an event, "emergency alarms should not be sounded" (dare they draw attention to the police instead of those in classrooms) and that information would be relayed via "e-mail, phone calls or word of mouth."

Ed Board does not believe that this is an adequate means to alert the campus. A better solution would be to install a silent alarm system throughout campus, where flashing lights could indicate that something is wrong.

Once again, we are shocked and saddened by this tragedy, and we encourage students to show their support by attending the prayer vigil at the Flagpole at 1:15 p.m. today.

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Original Source:<a href=http://media.www.smudailycampus.com/media/storage/paper949/news/2007/04/17/Opinion/The-Virginia.Tech.Massacre-2845464.shtml>SMU Daily Campus - April 17, 2007</a>

Creator

The Daily Campus Ed Board

Publisher

SMU Daily Campus

Date

2007-08-24

Contributor

Sara AA Hood

Rights

"Norris, Mark William" <mnorris@mail.smu.edu>

Language

eng

Citation

The Daily Campus Ed Board, “The Virginia Tech massacre: Ed Board doesn&#39;t agree with the crisis policy or the media coverage,” The April 16 Archive, accessed February 21, 2019, http://april16archive.org/items/show/1221.