Virginia Tech Rampage

 

WARNING CAME TOO LATE TO SAVE LIVES

THE QUESTION: Why did students go to class — as if nothing happened?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

 

A single question stands out from the massacre at Virginia Tech: Would more students be alive if the university in Blacksburg, Va., had not allowed them to go to class after a shooting had occurred in a campus dorm?

The nation’s deadliest campus shooting rampage began at 7:15 a.m. in West Ambler Johnston, a coed dormitory, where police found two people fatally shot. But the first e-mail message to students from the Virginia Tech administration did not go out until more than two hours later, at 9:26 a.m., stating that a shooting had occurred but with no mention of staying indoors or staying off-campus or canceling classes.

Sometime after 9:30 a.m., a second round of shooting began in Norris Hall, an engineering building on the other end of the sprawling 2,600-acre campus. Police said the gunman killed 30 people at Norris and wounded 15 before killing himself.

“I think the university has blood on their hands because of their lack of action after the first incident,” said Billy Bason, 18, who lives in the dorm. “If you had apprehended a suspect, I could understand having classes even after two of your students have perished. But when you don’t have a suspect in a college environment and to put the students in a situation where they’re congregated in large numbers in open buildings, that’s unacceptable to me.”

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