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Carnage at Virginia Tech;Readers point to campus ban on self-defense;More video, plus student e-mail

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 16, 2007 01:52 PM

Scroll for updates…

All the latest. (Update: Cell-phone video added, Bush video, more eyewitness reports, and questions about campus management of the crisis)

Virginia bloggers tracking the story here.

Audio of Virginia Tech President Charles Steger’s comments here.

Reader Brian writes:

I am a Virginia Tech alumni and have been following the VT shootings on my blog. Something not covered by the press yet is how far apart on campus the two shootings took place. As far as I am aware, there was no
effort to close school or warn students. The students (and the killer) would have had to cross campus with a shooter on the loose. I have a campus map of the area and commentary on my blog showing how far a distance the killer would have had to traverse.

Andrew’s Dad, noting a recent editorial from Va. Tech’s university relations vice president arguing against allowing students to carry in self-defense on campus, blogs:

Just imagine if students were armed. We no longer need to imag[in]e what will happen when they are not armed.

PJM round-up here.

Reader Kevin e-mails: “Imagine if sensible CCW laws allowed people to defend themselves, this tragedy could have been avoided.” He points to this story from last January:

Gun Bill Gets Shot Down by Panel

Jan. 31, 2006

HB 1572, which would have allowed handguns on college campuses, died in subcommittee.

A bill that would have given college students and employees the right to carry handguns on campus died with nary a shot being fired in the General Assembly.

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.”

Del. Dave Nutter, R-Christiansburg, would not comment Monday because he was not part of the subcommittee that discussed the bill.

Most universities in Virginia require students and employees, other than police, to check their guns with police or campus security upon entering campus. The legislation was designed to prohibit public universities from making “rules or regulations limiting or abridging the ability of a student who possesses a valid concealed handgun permit … from lawfully carrying a concealed handgun.”

The legislation allowed for exceptions for participants in athletic events, storage of guns in residence halls and military training programs.

Last spring a Virginia Tech student was disciplined for bringing a handgun to class, despite having a concealed handgun permit. Some gun owners questioned the university’s authority, while the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police came out against the presence of guns on campus.

In June, Tech’s governing board approved a violence prevention policy reiterating its ban on students or employees carrying guns and prohibiting visitors from bringing them into campus facilities.

Flashback: Lessons from the Appalachian Law School shooting.

***

Update:

A student e-mails…

Dear Michelle,

I was in Norris Hall today when the shootings took place. I thought I’d give you my account in case you wanted more information.

It was just a regular day in class; the door was open and we heard a pop-pop-popping noise. Sounded like some kind of construction but it was getting disruptive so we went to close the door, and one of the girls stepped out in the hallway to see what it was. She saw the gun and ran back inside the room and slammed the door shut and we all got down on the floor.

We heard pretty much continuous shooting for the next minute or so, and I said, “Shouldn’t we barricade the door,” because we were sitting ducks with no way out inside that room if he opened the door. A couple more people floated the idea that “We need to barricade the door, NOW.” But I was too scared to even move, much less move the teacher’s desk.

Finally one of the guys in the front of the classroom was brave enough to get up and move the desk in front of the door to prevent outside entry. About twenty seconds later, the shooter rattled the doorknob trying to get in. When he couldn’t get in he fired two shots through the door (single solid piece of wood) and left. We heard him go in to 206 (the room across the hall) and shoot the people in that room. If we hadn’t put the barricade up when we did, I and all my classmates would be dead.

When the police arrived five minutes later we heard them call for him to surrender his weapon and some more, irregular shots. Another five minutes later the police knocked and yelled “Police!” and we yelled “How do we know?” and when a second voice confirmed that it was in fact police, we opened the door. An officer came in and told us to line up single file, take nothing with us (I grabbed my coat) and run out the door single file while another officer escorted us.

We entered the hallway. Blood, bullet casings, and empty pistol clips were everywhere; this was definitely the most horrifying sight of my entire life. We ran past quickly. A door to the stairwell had been opened and there was a massive trail of blood; we found out later that a class had tried to escape only to find that the monster had chained the doors shut before starting his rampage. They were all killed.

We all ran to a nearby building and stayed there until we could be processed, and that was the end of it. Thank you all for your concerns and prayers, but please mostly pray for those who were seriously injured or hurt today.

Also, let me say that the response from the campus, local, and state police was exemplary. Within five minutes of the first shots, police were gathering outside. In another ten minutes, the threat had been neutralized and the building was secure. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the brave men and women who kept us safe today.

–Jacob Simmons
junior, Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech

Rick at Brutally Honest reprints an IM exchange with a VaTech student.

Via Dan Riehl: At “The Lounge” — a Virginia Tech bulletin board — complaints about the press and more.

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Categories: Guns