Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why the senseless killing of engineering students?

It pains me to think that the life of some bright young engineer has been put out so senselessly. A lone gunman, shot and killed 32 people at Virginia Tech (VTech) today. VTech is one of the top engineering schools in the US.

Why the senseless killings? I'd first read about it after getting home from a meeting this evening. Then, I watched the scenes of the shooting on BBC. It strikes me as sickening that such a thing could have happened. Senseless killings just beg the question of why.

Firstly, why did the lone gunman go on a rampage? The details are sketchy at the moment, as they have not even identified the gunman yet. Wikipedia is being constantly updated as more information is made known. Some news media claim that it could have started as a dispute with his girlfriend. If it did start off with a lover's spat, it was not only senseless but stupid as well.

Secondly, why didn't the university take appropriate action? According to the reports, the first shooting started just after 7am. The second shootings began just 2 hours later. However, it wasn't until another 20 minutes later was an email sent out to the faculty and students of the university informing them about the first shooting and warning them to be vigilant. Of course, hindsight is perfect and the university could not have predicted that the gunman would be on a rampage. However, it still doesn't excuse them from their lackadaisical attitude unless of course shootings are so common in Virginia that nobody thinks anything of it.

Thirdly, why does the government support pro-gun lobby and laws after so many incidents of shootings and killings in schools and universities? Virginia has one of the most lax gun laws in the US. It is perfectly legal to buy a gun in Virginia without even the semblance of a background check. The NRA is also head-quartered in Virginia. Students should not be required to wear bulletproof vests to school. That's just plain wrong.

Fourthly, why did he bother to cross the campus, from one end to the other, to kill engineering students? I can understand shooting your lecturers for making the classes such a pain to go through. However, killing the students is just inhumane. Engineering students are a pretty harmless bunch. If he had shot a bunch of lawyers, he would have at least done society a favour! [HAHAHAH!! Okay, tasteless joke!! - Me].

However, we will never know the answers. The gunman shot himself and became the 33rd person to die in the shootings. It's just sad that he had to drag another 32 other people with him with another 20+ people still in hospitals around the area being treated for injuries.

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