Monday, April 16, 2007

...**

As the names come out, and you see the faces of the victims... it hits you more and makes your heart break in two... like the professor who placed his body against the door to prevent the killer from entering and therefore died as bullets fired through the door. He was a leading researcher in the quest to find a cure for cerebal palsy.

And it frightens you because what happened there can happen anywhere. It could have been any campus, and it could have been anyone. When I was teaching we had a lock down due to an intruder twice. I remember locking the doors, closing the blinds, turning off the lights and huddling with the little ones on the floor. I remember the confused and scared expressions of my students and feeling amazed that I was in charge. I couldnt be afraid, they are in my care. Thank God nothing happened... but it could have. I guess that never hit me until now...

I sent an e-mail to my Dean today, hoping that they will take the mistakes made at Va. Tech (like not informing anyone until over 2 hours after the shooting through email that a first attack had occurred!) and learn a lesson. I can count on both hands incidents of muggings, and one of armed robbery on campus, and yet all is heard through the news and word of mouth rather than through the authorities on campus whose job it is to keep us safe.

Needless to say its horrifying and its depressing. I pray such a thing never happens again. I pray that we can figure out what it is that makes such incidents not "one time only events" as Columbine, and this has now proved is not the case. I hope this will make people who say that people kill people not guns... think twice because just as many things require the concert of two to create a result.... it took both a person and a gun to be able to cause 32+ deaths as he did and cause 32+ mothers to grieve last night and for the nights to come.

** I guess I should have maintained my blog hiatus. I say things and they seem to cause controversy when none was intended. I agree that if I make a statement I should be willing to address it. I have up to this point addressed it. But- I have a raging fever and upcoming exams and dont have time to deal with the stress of people making assumptions of what I feel or don't. For the record: 1) I dont think this is the school's fault. I said V-Tech made some mistakes. I did not say V-tech could have prevetned this. What I meant was that I wish that schools IN GENERAL had better procedures to handle such situations like police patrolling after one violent instance is reported. In August at Va. Tech there was one shooting by an escaped inmate at a school employee. From what I read, they put the school in lock down and patrolled the campus. In this instance would that have stopped the massacre? Probably not. But its good practice in my opinion. 2) I dont think its fine to make racist jokes againt your own race. I used to always put disclaimers on everything I wrote in the past but now figured that those who read know what I mean since most are regular readers. I thought people knew I dont enjoy racist jokes.. even about our own.. I wrote about it in discriminating from within. My intention with that post was that when that convo was interpreted by an outside party listening to the conversation what felt okay suddenly felt NOT OKAY. I apologize if that was not clear but thought that people knew my intent by now. Henceforth for any such posting I'll always have a disclaimer explaining exactly what I mean and dont mean by what I say. I will not be addressing any more attacks regarding whether I think V-Tech is at fault or why I am such a racist. I apologize for being grumpy at the momen but its probably the stress combined with the fever. But I will say what I always say... respect is desired... if you make statements that indicate otherwise, it will be deleted.

19 comments:

Mia said...

Such a tragic event but the way it was handled by the school was worse.

Tee said...

We agree on one thing for sure - gun control.

The evil in this world is almost too much to bare sometimes. I'm tired of seeing lives being wasted so senselessly.

I'm sure the personal stories that come out (such as the professor), will be touching. Personal stories of any tragic event help to really put a face to what happened.

Here is one thing where I respectfully disagree. I personally don't think VA Tech made mistakes in not spreading the news. At first glance it looked to be an isolated incident of domestic violence. Even if they had spread the word, who would be prepared for a crazy jerkoff on a shooting rampage?

Anyway, there are important lessons to be learned, I'm sure. Of course, the cost of human life is not a fair price.

Aisha said...

Mia, amen.

Tee, regarding the notification, I guess my perspective comes from being here on campus and regularly finding out days later about violent crimes happening that no one informed us of but I hear from the news.If I know that there is violence going on and the person has not been apprehended I want to be alerted to it.

The school administration in Virginia Tech said they did nto notify b/c they thought the guy had probably left the state by then... but a notification in my opinion would be good in general.

In that particular situation would it have done any good? I think what happend may have still happened... Imean who could imagine such a horrifying situation??? But I guess in general from my experiences at several campuses.. campus policy seems to be "lets not alarm people" when that really should be done in some instances ESPECIALLY if the perpretrator is still at large.

Some people I know who are friends w/ or related to folks Va. Tech (so the info is passing through a telephone line and thus perhaps nto fully reliable) say that those who knew the murdered ex girlfriend say her new boyfriend was in the engineering building... which is why he went there. If he could kill two people in the dorm and then be at large... it was conceivable he might go after others for revenge too.

Just as in elementary schools if there is an intruder and he hit one classroom... (we had an incident where a strange man came into our school with a hammer, walked into a classroom and smashed it on a 1st graders head..) we shut the whole school into lockdown because you never know. I know that would be WAYYY more complicated in such a large school as V-tech but SOMETHING even some police presence patrolling would have been smart. It may nto have fixed the tragedy rthat ooccured... but it might have...

But thats just my two cents on the matter.

Anonymous said...

Don't be so quick to blame the school. Hindsight is always 20/20. The earlier impression was that it was a domestic case....

I guess we always have to find somebody to blame... The dude was on a mission... he was going to find people to kill no matter what the school did...

what if... They locked down the school and he was still in a dorm and pretty much went around room to room killin people... would you then blame the school for lockin down the school??

Aisha said...

Anon, I am not blaming the school for the murder. I think they could have done more yes. Would it have prevented it? No. I'm 99% sure the tragedy would have happened yesterday regardless of the school's efforts. I'm saying that I hope this is a lesson to schools on procedures that should be in place in such instances. Will they save lives each time? No. But they should be in place. Also, please see my updated entry.

Anisa said...

all i know is i worried from the moment i heard about it that the person was muslim and i hope to goodness that he is not, although i heard he signed something "ismail." isn't it sad that is the first thing i think of now?

ABCDlaw said...

You are absolutely right about how schools need a better system in place. With these tragedies becoming more and more frequent we all need to be aware. And I'm glad that no one you know was hurt.

About gun control, well let me start off by saying I'm very uneducated on the topic, but now I think I'm going to start looking into it. My only question is, do you think that stricter laws will be able to keep such people from getting their hands on guns? Or will those who are determined find ways to break the laws and continue to cause havoc. From what CNN is reporting I do think VA gun laws need some reform, but will it be enough? I just wanted to know what you thought.

Thanks!

Tee said...

Aisha - Hopefully some better system will be put in place because of this. Maybe they'll work out different scenarios and have specific plans and everyone will know what to do... Sad we live in such a world.

I've never lived in a campus setting so I respect your experience. That would be unnerving to find out a violent crime several days later.

... I'm a little sad that you have to use disclaimers now. When you did it in the past for humorous reasons that was cool, but now so your words aren't taken wrongly :(

{HUGS}

mezba said...

No the guy is not Muslim. Read this for the rumour of 'Ismail' on his arm.

While it might be insensitive to say this - this is a product of an American culture that makes guns freely available to every Tom, Dick and Harry. One of the reasons he was able to kill so many people was due to his huge stock of ammo as well as auto-reloading guns, a ban on which (by Clinton) was allowed to lapse by Bush.

The friendly lion said...

hey
sorry to hear you arent well :(
i really dont get how things you write tend to be so grossly misconstrued! reading the blog, makes one know so much about someone and where they are coming from! its not fair that you should have to justify yourself constantly. its your blog, your ideas, in short your space. frankly i think you should go with an i dont care kind of attitude. for some reason this kind of thing upsets me and makes no sense at the same time. i mean since when did people become the "thought police", i mean "i dont like what you think/ write about something and so i shall tell you off"!!

good luck with the exams and hope you feel better :) *hug*

Bella Nubile said...

I tend to side with the University on not informing the students/staff. At the time, controlling the incident was probably the best course of action. There was no way to predict that the second incident would take place, and preventing panic over the first shooting was a necessary priority. Releasing a statement at such an early stage would have probably been more of a hindrance to the investigation than a benefit to the students and staff.

In regards to gun control, I do not believe that more stringent gun laws would actually make a difference in crime rates - especially in cases like this. When people decide that such a heinous course of action is what they want to do, they worry little over breaking further laws, and access to weapons at that point is a minor consideration. If a person cannot find the weapons they want through legal channels, they will either turn to the black market or make their own. Creating more regulations will not solve this, as the people in question already view themselves as beyond the law.

~Bella

Lawrence of Arabia said...

i thought you were pretty clear in both posts.

hope you are feeling better;
best wishes on your upcoming exams,

LoA.

youngmuslimah said...

Like TFL said, you don't need to apologize.
'Be your greatest fan'. Isn't this what you said?

Good luck on the exams!

squarecut said...

you know what? It's been four days, and I am still having hard time getting over this. And I am not even directly affected by it. It is so heart wrenching. I am still in disbelief.

Sobia said...

hope you feel better soon.

Baraka said...

Feel better honey - and you were clear, don't worry.

Anonymous said...

This is a very tragic event but to put the blame on the police and school officials is absolutely ridiculous. There is only one person to blame and that is the killer himself. How could anybody think that a shooting in a dorm would two hours later lead to the worst shooting in America. People are just playing the blame game instead of trying to put in measures to prevent a tragedy like this to happen again.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to surprise how critical we all are of police and law enforcemnt in general. Lets not forget they are the ones that keep us safe at night. We can walk around our neighborhoods safe at night because police officers who fathers, mothers ,sons, and ect out their lives on the line just to keep us safe at night. We always like to criticize the people who make share great responsibility in our society, i.e. teachers and police officers. Another point to be made is that police are stuck in the "damned if we do and domned if we dont" when a security conernc occurs at places such as airports many times the whole airport shuts down and flights are delayed. A lot of blame is placed on the police for "overreacting"

Living Away said...

I lived in Blacksburg for about 6 years, and my first German teacher was killed in this terrible tragedy at VT (I'm sorry, but "V-Tech" is an electronic brand, Virginia Tech is knowing just as VT).

Knowing how good equipped the campus police is and the size of Blacksburg and the size of the campus, unfortunately I must say that 2 hours is a lot of time to try to avoid such a crime!
But what intrigues me is how people thing that this Korean-American guy is an isolated fact, as any external factor had affected his life and his mind.
It was not the first massacre in the USA and unfortunately we know that it won’t be the last one.

Take care!
Leandra

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