Not a Good Day to be at Virginia Tech

There has been a shooting at VA Tech. At the moment, the official count is 31 dead, not counting the shooter. MSNBC has called this is the largest mass murder in the US, which would be incorrect. There were 2973 persons killed in the September 11th attacks. There were 168 killed in the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Julio Gonzalez killed 87 people after he set fire to a nightclub in New York City following a fight with his girlfriend who was at said nightclub. The worst school related-incident in the US occurred in Bath, Michigan in 1927 with a total of 44 dead. The VT incident may well be the largest mass shooting, but that's not what MSNBC was calling it this morning. (Update: By 4pm CDT, MSNBC has figured out their error and is labelling the incident correctly.)

The news media is already starting with the criticism on how there is a lack of good information and everything is chaotic. Really? Who'd have thought that there would be chaos following a shooting in two separate buildings over two hours involving upwards of 40 people. Of course there isn't good information yet. There probably won't be for at least 24 hours. The priority is securing the scene and getting the situation stabilized. Next, get the additional resources (EMS and law enforcement) that you need to contain the situation and handle the emergent issues, then address the less emergent issues. *Then* you start getting information out through the Public Information Officer (PIO) to the media and even then the information released to the public is carefully vetted so as to not complicate or compromise investigations. No doubt this aggravates the news media tremendously, but they're just going to have to wait. It is interesting, however, to watch different PIOs handle the news media and see how well they deal with the repeated requests for information they cannot give out or do not have.

No doubt the anti-gun persons will go nuts over this. I have one thing to say. Had there been a civillian with a weapon handy, the shooter might have been taken out prior to his self-inflicted gunshot wound. Banning guns won't solve problems like this. Guns were banned years ago in Chicago and Washington, D.C. (and are still banned there), yet the shootings continue. What makes you think that criminals who don't follow the laws regarding guns now will suddenly start following them in the future? They won't and the resources are not available to gather up every single firearm and destroy it. It just won't happen.

On the other hand, the VT Rescue Club has been very busy today. I'm sure they'll have a lot to talk about at the next Collegiate EMS Conference.


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