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OT - Virginia Tech Shootings

I'm surprised that this topic has not yet come up.

I send my prayers to the victims and their families as well as the family of the gunman... None of these people asked to be thrust into the limelight yesterday.....The gunman may have been troubled, but he has forever changed not only the lives of the victims, but that of his own family as well. Tragedy has happened on all levels....

This was a sad day on the campus of an institute of higher learning... The students and faculty at VT attended in an effort to further themselves in their education...not to experience the tragedy of a shooting first-hand....

May those who died rest in peace.

Tue. Apr 17, 6:37pm

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I'm currently in college, and the shooting is devastating. How frightening that one person can impact and damage the lives of so many. First the shootings in lancaster earlier in the year, and now this massacre....whats the most upsetting is that it is so difficult to predict and prevent. In high-school shootings like Columbine, the boys were in a small community, someone should have picked up on their disturbances. It was the job of the teachers and counselors as well as the parents to monitor the emotional turbulence that those boys were experiencing. But in cases like Virginia Tech, in a college with thousands of students, adults living on their own, no one is as responsible for the mental well-being of the students. I know in my university we have a counseling service, we have security gaurds, we have teachers watching us, but it is our job to seek out help when it isn't obvious that we need it...our campus is open, we're in a city, theres no way to prevent something like this. You cant install metal detectors in an open field or quad. My heart goes out to all of those touched by this event. And I hope and pray that one day our country will change.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 6:58 PM

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The most disturbing part of the story to me was the detail that the student had written really graphic violent plays for class, and his classmates/teachers thought this might happen but no one (apparently) really took steps to stop him/help him. Makes you think about all the loose cannons in our own everyday lives who go on being ignored because it is too difficult or awkward to step up and intervene... but what do you do???

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 10:10 PM

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I also feel terrible for all involved in this tragedy... those who lost their lives at the hands of the gunman, and the one that took his own. It really makes you think about what is important in life. Love your family and friends... let them know not just by words, but also by your actions. Live life to the fullest every day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 10:55 PM

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Not to disrespect what happened at all but Columbines area was not some tiny town so please dont assume so. No one instance is more or less severe when lives have been taken. The most terrible thing about this type of violence is that one will continue trying to up the stakes

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 4:12 AM

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What you do is assure you live in a country where it isn't easier to get a gun than a driver's license. America's firearms policy disgusts me. And whatever about "right to bear arms", that's actually referring to the concept of militias. The sad thing is, this kind of event could happen fifty times over, nothing will change.

As for the creative writing, that's just what it is. CREATIVE. You are allowed to express yourself in any way you see fit. I've done univeristy creative writing courses and half of the result from ALL students could be termed "disturbed" or "unbalanced." It is an outlet.

I agree it's a shame he wasn't able to access the help he needed for whatever reason, but I've also been to university couselors in the States and spent the morning hearing about my counselor's alcoholic father and problems with her sister. Needless to say I didn't go back.

Universities are basically mini-cities. There will always be disturbed people in the mix. I'm just grateful where I live, it isn't their "right" to arm themselves to the teeth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 5:36 AM

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This has been extremely upsetting. I had nightmares for a week after the school massacre in Russia. It turns out they had many warnings that everyone chose to ignore: "it's not my problem". How many of us, each day, do the same thing? Bury our head in the sand and say it won't happen here. Remember this next time your gut implores you to speak up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 9:25 AM

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this tragedy has touched and affected many people, in many areas, in many ways. let's not further exploit the victims by conversing here about what a fiasco america's university system's counselling departments may have been for some of us or how our needs were not met. the issue at hand is one of compassion, condolence and sympathy for all who were involved. if you need to complain about your experiences with americas' university system, please start another thread.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 9:37 AM

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Yes, let's keep all of our feelings, thoughts inside instead of talking and exploring it this forum. In fact, let's eat instead! I think it's a much better idea to down 5 donuts rather than discussing my feelings of despair with others.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 9:55 AM

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have you NO respect? express your feelings / reactions regarding the situation at the Va. Tech College in this thread in which that is the topic. can't you chat about other issues in a different thread where people aren't opening the thread to share their thoughts and prayers with those who were affected by this traumatic experience?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 10:02 AM

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It is a tragedy and my heart goes out to all the victims. Its interesting to me that so many people only think about this stuff after the fact. One person can alter and impact so many lives on any given day, we just don't hear about it everyday until something huge happens.

To the 5:36 poster, can I ask if you are a USA citizen? Can you tell me what you really know about firearms policy? Did you know that in states where it is legal to carry a concealed weapon that there is less violent crime? It is every persons right to protect themselves. It isn't the firearms policy that is the problem, it is the people who abuse them. Should they start giving people who apply for a license a psyc test, this would be an invasion of privcy, they already do a background check and you do have a waiting period. Some states even require a handgun class. I for one have a concealed weapon license and I am thankful of it. I have taken classes and go to the shooting range often. People who are unstable, who snap in the way that this boy has or the boys at Columbine or any other people who do things like this would have found a way regardless of the gun laws. Whats scarier to me is the fact that the government already has taken so many of our liberties away. We have 400x the amount of laws and rules then our founding fathers did or even then we did 150 years ago. When a kid gets a hold of a gun, its not the firearms policy's fault, it is the the parents fault for either not seeing that their child might have a problem or keeping their firearm in a safe place and teaching their child about it. When something like this happens it is easy to want to lay blame everywhere but what it comes down to is that this man was sick and unstable and people around him saw it. Taking away our rights to bear arms is not going to fix the problem. I for one am willing to protect my family if someone comes into my home trying to hurt me or them. I do not want to be a victim if I can help it. Bad things happen everyday, but when its a tragedy people need to place the blame on someone or something. Stricter gun laws aren't the answer. Its sad that so many people don't take responsibility for their own actions, that is what is wrong with a lot of society.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 10:23 AM

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5:36am, where are you from? Given the time stamp on your posting, I'm guessing the UK, a country with, admittedly, much better gun control laws. Interesting, because the first mass school shooting spree I ever heard of in my lifetime happened in Dunblane, Scotland in 1996, when a middle-aged man walked into a kindergarten class with a whole bag of guns and murdered 16 little kids and their teacher. So blame our lax gun controls all you want, but a psycho is a psycho and will always find a way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 10:27 AM

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if anyone else in the building had had a gun, the perpetrator may have been shot before he shot as many people as he did. firearms are as much a means of defense as they are a means of offense. it depends on whose hands the guns are in.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 10:31 AM

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This is a terrible tragedy and -like many here- send my thoughts and prayers to those in need.

I honor everyones opinion but have to respectfully disagree. We watch shootings like this and talk about how terrible it is, but then we don't take action. We are ignorant to think it won't happen again in the next 5 years and we're ignorant to think this doesn't happen every day in inner cities across this country. Heres something to think about: The homicide rate in the U.S. is more than 4 times higher than the next country (per capita) which is Scotland. When it was originally discussed that people had the "right to bear arms" homicides weren't the issue. I would support a hand gun ban similar to those in the worlds safest countries. Australia has a great program.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 10:43 AM

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Giving everyone guns doens't make the world a safer place.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 10:45 AM

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As an alumnus of Virginia Tech and lifetime member of the VT community, I thank everyone for the thoughts, prayers and kind wishes. While I didn't know them personally, 2 members of a tightknit organization I belong to were killed in the rampage. I feel the loss like they were my own family, but I also grieve for my school. Virginia Tech is one of the greatest places in the world, in my opinion, and I wouldn't have gone to school anywhere else. It hurts to much to see the authorities who acted as best they could be criticized. I would ask that we respect the memories of those who were taken and focus on supporting ach other, instead of pointing fingers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 10:59 AM

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I think they took the right action. There was nothing more they could do, once again it is easier to lay blame on someone else other then where it belongs, on the gunman. Having stricter laws on guns won't solve gun problems. There will always be unstable people who have access to all kinds of things. Its a tragedy for all the victims as well as the gun laws because the media and people will always want to lay blame on that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 11:25 AM

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5:36 Here

Yes I am a United States citizen. I too am concerned about the infringement of rights. However, I believe my right and the rights of others not to be shot supercedes a civilian's right to own a firearm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 12:35 PM

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Don't you think it is the person who owns the firearm to be responsible? We all have a right not to be shot but you can't control someone else's behavior by taking away everyones right to bear arms. Thats small thinking on your part. Do you really believe that if no one was allowed to have guns that the violent issues will be solved. There are other things besides guns. Should we only allow law enforcement to have weapons? Then we might as well give up all our rights and be told what and when we are allowed to do something or all live in prisons. There are millions of people out there who own guns, who are responsible citizens and are not violent, should these people have their rights taken away because you think others have the right to not get shot, because "the rights of others not to be shot supercedes a civilian's right to own a firearm." What about knives? What about ropes, pretty easy to walk up to someone and slip a rope around their necks as long as you have the strength. Your chances of getting killed by a drunk driver are higher then your chances of being shot. You could step off a curb today and get hit. It happens all the time. People need to be responsible for their own actions, you can't enforce laws to make that happen or we would all be locked away. There have always been and will always be unstable, mentally ill, angry people out there who just snap, I for one want to have the right to protect myself should one of them do me harm. I am a proud to be carrying my concealed handgun license, I am responsible with it, know how to use it and know what kind of damage it can do. I would hate to have to use it but should I be forced to I will.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 12:53 PM

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One of the biggest problems as I understand this has nothing to do with guns. The guy was a major nut, and everyone knew it. I guess they were afraid of hurting his feelings I guess.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 12:58 PM

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And I'm sorry but most criminals with guns don't have them legally anyway. Laws aren't stopping them now, what will taking away other citizens rights to own guns do? Leave them without protection against those who have guns for the wrong reasons and illegally.
Guns don't kill people, people kill people

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 1:00 PM

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this may not go over real well, but the shooter is also a victim. we should remember him in our thought and prayers, too.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 1:06 PM

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1:06- no he is not. That is the kind or moral relativism crap thinking that helped prevent people from doing something about this guy in the first place. He was a raving loon, and everyone knew it. But they COULD NOT ACT because they would be persecuted by people like you who would play the VICTIM CARD, which is apparently the trump card in our culture.

You are emblematic of the problem this country faces. If everyone is a victim, then we are powerless to assert ourselves over those we deem dangerous.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 1:11 PM

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I agree that he is not a victim. I still think something has to be done about the gun laws in this country. I'm not saying eliminate all the guns. People that use guns for sport or for law enforcement should be able to do so. The problem is the hand guns and automatic weapons. Again- dozens of countries around the world have figured it out. I travel outside of the US often and our crime rates are humorous to them. They can't believe how we allow people to "kill one another". There is the right to bear arms and there is the write to live peacefully. I was once against the gun ban, but after seeing what has happend over the past 2 decades I've changed my mind.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 3:21 PM

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i just want to say that after the vtech tragedy, i have never been so personally affected. 9/11 is the most recent heartbreaking event before the vtech incident that has stirred the nation with killings. But the people who were affected had a shared interest as business city people. any large college campus is a community of people with soooooo many different interests, backgrounds, and cultures that its like killing a small representation of the U.S. as a whole. I am a college student and it was really disheartening to be stuck in my dorm all day without my home suroundings, without my parents or sisters to hug. the only thing i could do was go to a prayer service to feel comforted. i called them right away when i heard and let them know what had happened and when me and my dad finished the conversation, i never valued his words " i love you" as much i did that day. just from college i've realized that family matters most, but the vtech tragedy touched the lives of so many families and we must realize what matters most. college is getting's not the same as it was thirty years ago and the pressures, stresses, and competition evolving from the campus atmosphere need to be realized by the older generation that there is feeling of failure at times and that's why the foundation of a strong family is so important to have. families and friends are the best counseling you can possibly have because they know u best. and if you don't have a strong family, start making one today or make one for another person who you know is in need. best friends are the family we get to choose. its the relationships we value and never let go of through the good times and bad. this awful tragedy has opened our eyes to so many things from the constitution and civil rights of the u.s. to the relationship we have in our home. if its not better now, make it better. we're all on this website because we want to live healtheir lifestyles right? well make that a top priority in your life. if you're a mom or dad, love your kids. if you're lonely, find a friend and cherish the moments. if you're happy and satisfied with life, find people who aren't. if you're a teenager, cry during the bad times and laugh during the happy ones, but don't hold it in. if you're single, live it up. stop worrying about where your life will lead you and take value in the relationship you already have from life. but most of all, dont be afraid to say i love you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 3:27 PM

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It just breaks my heart to sit and watch this on television. A young man from our town lost his life; this is really hitting home as to which I am sure it is with many of you. Yesterday at our college we were discusing what to do If something like this would happen on our campus and discovered there would really be nothing to do. Our doors do not lock from the inside and the windows are very high there is no way one could survive the fall. I just don't understand how this could happen and why no one seen it coming it is just heartbreaking.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 4:50 PM

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Mental illness can be anywhere it doesn't matter if the town is big or small. This is just heartbreaking.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 4:52 PM

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My thoughts and prayers go out to the familes that lost their loved ones.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 8:39 PM

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I can understand why someone would want to say that this shooter is not a vicitm. He did this aweful thing and everyone has a right to be angry/ upset/ etc. about the situation. But, this man is also a victim. He obviosly had mental health issues and was struggling within himself and in living in "his world". I think about his family and feel for them. I can only imagine the shame that they feel b/c his actions, and that they also lost their son.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007, 10:28 PM

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it is extremely difficult for someone who is suffering from a mental illness, especially paranoid schizophrenia, to understand that most other people do not think the same way the ill person thinks. when one is inflicted with this type of irrational illness that affects one's thinking, it is nearly impossible to grasp that there is something "wrong" with you. and the more others try to step in and help you, the more "obvious" it becomes that you ARE being persecuted and people are attempting to control your thoughts and actions. rage ensues. without a healthy background or without resources that an ill person feels he/she can trust and afford, the rage can turn into destructive behavior.

i am not excusing the tragedy by way of "playing the victim card" for this young, disturbed man. i am merely speaking from my experience and sharing my viewpoint after having been in the stage of rage, but thankfully recognizing that something was wrong and reaching out for help. i did not respond well when others reached out to me or asked if i was ok or needed help, i crawled further into my mad mind. i cannot determine why i reached out, but i can feel for others who do not have the wherewithal to ask for help or the resources to get the help that's available.

my thoughts and prayers go out to all who are affected by the tragedy at Va. Tech.

Thursday, April 19, 2007, 9:02 AM

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insightful. i saw that a student has placed a commemorative stone for the killer in the circle of stones for all the lives that were lost that tragic day. a beautiful gesture following such an event.

Friday, April 27, 2007, 10:26 AM

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Thanks to the 9:02 poster. There are 33 victims in Blacksburg but I have found you must be very careful when you say that. We want to blame someone and sometimes there really is no one to blame. This young man was very, very sick. People recongnized that and did what they could. But the systems that they turned to are broken or extremely limited in what they could do. I hope this opens the discussion, at least on college campuses, of how we treat the mentally ill. We want our country and or campuses to be open but some people can not function in open society without help. Sadly, some can not function even with help. Love and prayers to Va Tech.

Friday, April 27, 2007, 2:00 PM

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mental illness is often treated as a sideshow of sorts, even today. for example, in my imprv comedy class last night, a couple people were "acting" like people who suffer from schizophrenia, from which i suffer but do not tell most people about. i was offended and thought to myself, "wow. it's odd that making fun of, or pretending to be someone who has a mental illness is almost completely tolerated. some illnesses are completely off-limits: most cancers, miscarriage, amputation, tumors, emphysema, etc. but mention that your a schizophrenic with bipolar and you almost get a laugh or looks of disbelief. it is totally discrimination, but it is difficult enough to remain functional some days without having to protest to others that by making fun of me, they are setting up even more barriers to my mental health costs (both financial and emotional)being considered seriously.

Friday, April 27, 2007, 2:29 PM

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I think part of the reason we laugh at people with mental illness is bacause we don't acknowledge it as an ILLNESS. We speak of medical illness as different from mental illness. No one thinks a person with cancer is not ill. But with mental illness we often think the person has some control over it. With physical illness we can often see the cause of the illness on a x-ray, a CT scan, a blood test. There is no such test for mental illness. Maybe it stems for fear, anyone of us could be a victim of mental illness.

How would we be viewing the events of Va Tech if the shooter had a brain tumor which caused him to commit those horrible acts?

Friday, April 27, 2007, 4:40 PM

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Wow, OP here,
I actually haven't been on much since I originally posted and find the responding posts to be quite interesting.

A few other things that I found out AFTER I posted the original post....

1) One of my dad's oldest friends is a prof on the VT campus and his office is in the building next to the one where the shootings occured. By sheer luck, he had a Doctor's appointment that morning and therefore was not on campus when i t occurred.

2) Although at first I felt difficulty in calling the shooter a victim, I then thought about the situation more deeply.... His family is affected by the horrendously negative public opinion--they've also lost a son/brother.... But the public won't allow them to be sorroful and to grieve publicly.... Had this been a suicide (where 32 other murders did not occur), would we have even heard about this story? It probably would have earned 3 lines in the police briefs on the campus, and no more....Whether or not they liked him, or interacted with himi, I'm sure a few of the shooter's classmates may have gone to his funeral and sympathized with a young man that was living a deeply troubled life.

The videos and writings that were conveniently released to the media help support his lack of a grounded mental state. On top of his mental illness, in many Asian cultures, mental illness is almost seen as an act of "losing face". A person's family would not allow other people to see that someone in their family was mentally ill... They would not discuss such issues with anyone outside of the family in fear of being ridiculed or ostracized. Going to a therapist or counselor is seen as something that is relatively taboo...

When I was younger, during my college years, I think I might not have been able to see beyond the surface. Now, that I am older and wiser, I have learned that there isn't always a "bad guy"---the lines between "evil" and "mentally unstable" can be remarkably thin... I wasn't in the shooter's head, nor will I ever be (even with the videos and creative writings as "evidence".)

33 people died... 33 lives were snuffed out prematurely. For those of us who may be religious, I think it's not really our place to send the shooter to "hell"... he'll face judgement when his time comes...

I agree with the other posters that hopefully, some dialogue in our country occurs in the aftermath of this tragedy. Too often, our country doesn't learn from our past-- Unfortunately, I believe that If we (as a country) don't step back and fully examine what happened, it is bound to happen again (and a new generation of young people will be affected...)

Monday, April 30, 2007, 1:22 AM

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