...was a very sad state of affairs indeed. My heart felt condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those who were lost, and my prayers go with them and go out for they who were injured. Speedy recovery.
One of my readers, Jungle Mom over at The Jungle Hut, commented in the previous post, that had someone on the campus had an SKS, things might have been different. I agree with her, if regular students and faculty were allowed to be armed on campus, chances are that things like this would not happen as this one unfolded. Still though, things could have been much different had the students and the faculty been prepared for what one faculty member said was "unimaginable" yesterday on the news. The thing is people want to believe such events are unimaginable, yet they are not. They are part of our lives. Violence caused by violent people is all around us everyday. If we choose to ignore it, if we choose to cocoon ourselves away from it, that is our choice; and I think a bad one at that. Mind you, I am not being critical of anyone who just lost their lives, or who were injured, in this or other events. I am being critical of where society in general seems to be going in this regard, but more importantly I will tell you about some options you may have in cases like this.
Yes, I think the possibility of armed students on campus would very likely have persuaded the killer in Virginia Tech shootings not to have started a killing spree. He may very well have killed the first two people whom he shot; but my bet would be he likely would not have attacked those in the classrooms had he thought they were armed, or had he thought they would have fought back. Even if he had started shooting, someone else would have been more able to defend him/herself and others against this killer.
Even without a gun, those students could have protected themselves and probably ended the rampage before it wound up as bad as it became. A classroom is full of potential weapons, and even if not, well the students likely still could have rushed him and disarmed him. It takes a certain mindset to do that, but the anti-violence types among us have pummeled our brains otherwise. They have bashed it into us over and over again that violence and aggression in any form are bad. This is just not true! Violent and aggressive behavior while trying to defend yourself can be a wonderful thing indeed. Such behavior, while putting yourself at risk of injury or death, actually may save lives, and one of those could be your own. Sure it could put you further at risk, but sometimes taking the risk is worth the reward. Had a few students in any of the classrooms thrown their books or pushed a desk at this guy, then charged him, and tried to take away his guns and subdue him, chances are, in my opinion, that fewer would have been shot. My bet is though, that even had they rushed this guy, and then someone or two started to pummel him to get him to stop, and maybe even beat him to death, someone else would have complained after the fact, and tried to get those students charged with manslaughter saying that the violence they exhibited was abhorrent. The truth be told, had they done just that, I think they should have received medals for bravery, and good citizenship
As it stands right now, about the bravest acts we are likely to see from those students and faculty on this campus, probably were the teachers and students who reportedly held the classroom door(s) closed so this guy could not get in. That was a smart and good thing to do, but had he gotten in, what would have happened. My bet is mass surrender, because that is what people in this country, for the great part, have been convinced to believe is the right thing to do. Even some police departments tell us to surrender to bad guys and comply with them. I have taught my children otherwise. I have told them again and again: if abducted, if accosted, if in a situation where you are sure to be stabbed, shot or otherwise severely injured and you are unlikely to be able to flee to safety, if the shooting is already taking place, and you are pretty sure your cannot getaway, THEN FIGHT BACK even if only with feet, hands, fingernails, and teeth.
You have to prepare yourself for what you will do in such a situation. In recent years, the 'nanny crowd' (to borrow a phrase from Rivrdog), has taught us to be good little victims by just about not doing anything other than what the bad guy wants us to do. Well when the bad guy wants you to stand still so he can shoot you, I think it ridiculous to comply. At any given point you can either fight, take flight, freeze, or be compliant. If you freeze or be compliant, you are at the mercy of the badguy. Badguys like the one yesterday surely do not seem to be very giving of mercy, now do they! If you take flight, at least you are a moving target, and not as easy to hit. If you fight, and if others fight with you, you stand some chance of overpowering the bad guy depending upon the situation. If you prepare and train ahead of time, to take some action, chances are that is how you will initially act when such a situation arises. The choice is yours. You have to examine the record of these types of shootings, and other violent crimes in our country, to see that the shooter can keep on shooting when unopposed, and other violent bad guys can hurt you when you comply or freeze. Sure some will take your money and let you go, but when a guy is like the badguy yesterday at Virginia Tech, he was looking to take one thing, and it was not money, it was lives. While no one wants to be shot, if a group goes to disarm someone like this, chances are they will take him out or disrupt his fire long enough for many to escape. Maybe they will even stop the threat. Even one person might be lucky enough to stop a badguy like this, but in my guess, a group would probably be more effective. Sure it may not work, someone may get hurt or killed - but what is going to happen when everyone does virtually nothing - 32 people besides this bad guy were killed yesterday. There is training available for both armed and unarmed self defense that could very possibly increase your odds of survival, violence can indeed be a good thing when done legally to protect yourself and other innocents.
I am not telling anyone to take any type of action, it is up to each person to decide for themselves if and when and what type of action they may take. The above is my opinion; and I cannot say it will work for you if and when you are faced with such a situation. I do know though what I would be more likely than not to at least try to do something, and that would be either to escape or fight back. If you don't want to be a victim of such a situation, then you probably need to make up your mind about it now.
In my opinion this is what should be done: You need to tell your legislators to pass "shall issue" firearms permits, and allow concealed, or unconcealed, weapons carry everywhere in your state. You need, I think, to prepare yourself to defend yourself with and without firearms or other weapons. Take home defense courses, take self defense courses, take shooting courses (only carry firearms or other weapons legally), buy pepper spray if legal and learn how to use it (imagine if a student had had a can of pepper spray yesterday and sprayed this guy), learn what action to take in such a situation that may save lives including your own. You can freeze and comply and be at the mercy of a killer who shows no mercy; or you can get training now so you will know some of the options you have in such a situation should it arise. You can also learn how to decide which options to pick, and then how to take some sort of action to do something about getting yourself, and others, to safety. The choice is all up to you. Choose wisely, it may save a life, but do choose; and do start planning now for whatever you will do if the shit hits the fan and you are there in front of it.
All the best,
edited: 0300PM 04/17/07, just to better make my point.