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Massacre at Virginia Tech

A terrible mass murdering at Virginia Tech today, in the space of two hours. One does hope that, it being Virginia, an enterprising civilian was able to neutralize the gunman. Police are not everywhere—especially on campuses.

UPDATE: One way or another, though, it appears that the killer is dead.

UPDATE: Now twenty-five are reported dead.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds learns that Virginia Tech, by law, is “a gun-free campus,” but of course only for trustworthy citizens. The ideology that inspires sweeping bans against all firearms is a deadly one indeed.

UPDATE: The count is now thirty-two.

EVENING UPDATE: Good heavens, this is horrible. The count is now thirty-three. The few additional bits of news are that the gunman was young, Asian in appearance, and wearing some kind of an ammunition belt. At least one witness says he was looking for his girlfriend.

He unloaded at will at two locations on campus: a residence hall and an academic hall. Two deaths occured at the former location around seven in the morning. Nothing is known of the police response at that time, and students were not informed of the incident. Two hours later, it is thought, the same man reappeared on the opposite side of campus and began firing into classrooms.

Virginia Tech is now on complete lock down; no one on campus but with an ID. Earlier in the day, manhunts searched for the perpetrator:

manhuntvt.jpg

UT students, faculty, and staff who have any information related to the incidents are encouraged to go to the Blacksburg Police Department to make statements, or call 540-231-TIPP (8477), or 540-231-6411.

As I mentioned above, Virginia Tech has among the strictest gun control policies of any American university: It was to be a completely gun-free zone. The local Roanoke Times early last year reported on a failed effort to allow students, faculty, and staff the freedom to have firearms on campus:

House Bill 1572 didn’t get through the House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety. It died Monday in the subcommittee stage, the first of several hurdles bills must overcome before becoming laws.

The bill was proposed by Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah County, on behalf of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gilbert was unavailable Monday and spokesman Gary Frink would not comment on the bill’s defeat other than to say the issue was dead for this General Assembly session.

Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. “I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.”

And the no-gun policy probably did succeed in creating that feeling.

Other news coming in seems to indicate that the massacre may have been in some way planned, although that the murderer was searching for his girlfriend seems to indicate that it was a crime of passion. The school had recently received bomb threats. Additionally, during the second wave of shootings, the killer chained classroom doors closed so that the students and teachers inside could not escape.

Finally, a press conference earlier revealed that the gunman did, in the end, kill himself.

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