Virginia Tech Shooting 2007 Essay

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Monday, 16th April, 2007 will be etched onto the minds of the Virginia Tech community forever. For it was on that day that 23 year old, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior English major at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, killed 32 people in two attacks whilst injuring around 15 others, in what was considered as one of the most gruesome mass shootings in US history. Cho, was a South Korean who had migrated to America when he was 8 years old. He was majoring in English at Virginia Tech.

Many described him as a loner and he was often referred to as the question mark kid. Cho had a disturbing past; he had been accused of stalking two female students in late 2005. Apparently on one occasion he even tried to commit suicide. His creative writing teacher was very concerned with his writings, since it frightened her she claimed. She urged him to stop writing the way he did and even recommended him for counseling. One of Chos poetry teachers had him removed from her class, because she felt intimidated by his writings and felt he had a mean streak in him.

Chos classmates believed that the plays were morbid and grotesque. Ian MacFarlane, Chos former classmate, wrote in a news blog posted on AOL website, about Chos writings, when we read Chos plays, it was like something out of a nightmare. The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldnt have even thought of (qted. in pantagraph. com). In 2005, Cho had been declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice and ordered to seek outpatient treatment . The bloody massacre occurred in two separate attacks on the campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The first shooting took place at around 7:15 a. m. , on the fourth floor of a high-rise co-educational dormitory, where two students were killed. And about two and a half hours later, at some distance away, at a classroom building, he opened fire and killed 30 others, injuring many more and finally shot himself in the temple. Victims were found in different locations around the building. Between these two hours, the gunman, Cho, managed to post out a multi-media package outlining his grievances to NBC News.

The texts, videos contained in the parcel were filled with hatred toward unidentified people. The video reeks of rage and he expresses his anger and a desire to get even, not mentioning to whom he wants to get even to. Police claim that this package did not assist them in the investigation in any way. It is impossible to understand how such an event could have occurred. Angry and shaken students and staff demanded to know why the university did not notify them until several hours later of the incident, when they were aware of the first shooting at 7:15.

They felt that if the administration had taken immediate steps to secure the university, the episode could have been averted. To their defense university officials claim that they thought that the shooting an isolated one and did not make too much of it. They believed it to be domestic related. In the aftermath of the bloody episode at Virginia Tech, once again the debate of gun control laws cropped up. Under federal law Cho should have been prohibited from purchasing a gun on the grounds that a Virginia court had found him to be a danger to himself in 2005 and he was undertaking psychiatric treatment.

Warren Fiske, of the Virginia-Pilot feels, Lobbyists on both sides of the issue predict the shootings will provoke new laws expanding the mental health information on gun buyers that must be disclosed on instant background checks. The debate was ongoing and finally on April 30, Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia closed a loophole in the gun control issue. The governor issued an executive order intended to prohibit the sale of guns to anyone found to be dangerous and forced to undergo involuntary mental health treatment. Under the order, their names would be included a database of people banned from buying guns (qtd.

in The New York Times). As I heard about this incident I felt a host of mixed emotions. First, anger as to why something like this happened, anguish and distress for those who succumbed to this horrific incident, and somewhere deep inside fear, if it happened to them, theres no guarantee that it could happen to me. I then proceeded to follow and soak up any news and information about the entire episode. There was too much horror to make sense of. A couple of days later amongst numerous discussions with friends and family regarding this massacre I tried to make some semblance of my thoughts.

The burning question in my mind was, how could have something like this have happened? What about security? Having witnessed such an event, will students ever be able to trust or feel safe? We all go to school or college, never envisaging that something like this could ever happen. After all its an educational institution where we go to study. Why should we worry about shootings and killings? I am sure after this all colleges and universities in America will be putting in infrastructure for tightened security and response procedures, if they havent already.

But what will it take to prevent yet another Virginia Tech Shootout? How do we plan to prevent something like this happen? Do we leave it to the school or college officials to decide, or do we need to be concerned? Can we trust our officials that they would be able to handle such an episode? Is there any fool proof system to prevent this? Collecting my thoughts, I wonder if there were so many red flags regarding this guy name Cho, from professors to mental health professionals, how could he, have gotten away with something like this.

President Bush said the shootings were a reminder that people must be willing to raise red flags about others disturbing behavior. One of the lessons of these tragedies is to make sure that when people see somebody or know somebody who is exhibiting abnormal behavior, you do something about it, to suggest that somebody take a look, he said. But my point here is that, university officials were aware that Cho had a problem, there were indeed red flags for him. But, why wasnt he given the medical attention that he was in need of?

How come his so called sick writings did not trigger off any warning alarms to university officials? Or did they choose to ignore it? As early as November 2005, police and school administrators were wrestling with what to do with Cho. He was a victim of a society that did not do enough or know enough in enough time to help him and prevent this awful tragedy from happening. In times of grief and moments of despair, all logic seems to fly out of the window and its very easy to start the blame game, to point fingers at someone rather than take the responsibility.

Anger and blame are not going to get back those who died and so what we must do from this incident is learn something. What if it happens elsewhere, would the university administration be better equipped to handle something like this? What are the procedures of the campus security and emergency response? Can the college administration come up with a system whereby they can broadcast alerts to all immediately, maybe via instant text on the cell phones. Its nearly a month now since the shooting, and I am sure that students around the country are probably thinking on the same lines that I am.

But what are the answers to our numerous questions. Are the students at Virginia Tech ever going to be able to put this episode behind them? Are we going to ever forget? I sincerely hope and pray that some substantial lessons can be learned and maybe implemented from the horrors of Virginia tech. Works Cited Fiske, Warren. Gun control laws scrutinized in wake of Virginia Tech shootings. Hampton Roads. 30 Apr. 2007. 08 May. 2007.

Geller, Adam. Gunman had raised concerns with his writings. Pantagraph. com. 17 Apr. 2007. 09 May. 2007. High school classmates say gunman was bullied. MSNBC. 19 Apr. 2007. 09 May. 2007. Urbina, Ian. Virginia Ends a Loophole in Gun Laws. The New York Times. 01 May. 2007. 08 May. 2007.

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