Some followup on the NRV Mall / New River Community College Shootings

 

A couple of weeks ago, just as the gun-control debate in the Senate was heating up, a nameless attention-whore decided to take a shotgun and shoot up the local community college satellite campus. This is MY community college, the one that I am currently taking classes at. Thankfully, he didn’t manage to kill anybody, and only managed to wound two people (which is probably the only reason the anti-Rights blood-dancers didn’t jump all over it).

I call him an attention-whore because he actually posted his intent on 4chan before he started, and posted the address for the local emergency services internet radio scanner, telling people to listen to the chaos he was about to inflict. As a result, the maintainer of that scanner has discontinued it (I assume that’s the reason, based on the note at the link, which says “Due to recent events that have taken place in my community, I have decided to discontinue this feed.”). This is highly irritating to me, since I frequently used it while at work to see if there was a major emergency nearby – usually when I would hear multiple police/fire/EMS sirens. That scanner feed is how I learned about that particular incident, and how I learned about the murder of Virginia Tech Police Officer Deriek Crouse, which occurred only a couple of blocks from my office.

Speaking of learning about these incidents, I also learned (or verified, really, since I already knew) that you cannot rely on those fancy text/email alert systems that most colleges have put in to warn people about emergencies. It wasn’t until about 20 minutes after the shootings that I got the first text message from the college, and that only said that the college was “closing immediately at both locations”. The first message alerting students that “administrators have unconfirmed reports of a shooting” at the mall campus didn’t go out until 40 minutes after the shootings.

In other words, by the time I got the emergency messages, the emergency was long over. I don’t know whether the delay was in getting the message to the administration, the administration waiting to send it, or simply the cellular networks getting overloaded by the sudden batch sending of about 5,000 text messages, but it was essentially useless as an actual emergency alert system. Like always, you are on your own when it comes to your own safety.

And, of course, the school’s policy is to disarm students and staff under penalty of expulsion/firing, and make their campuses into  Gun Free Victim Disarmament Zones. It worked just as well in this case as it always does.

END OF LINE

Why would you need a gun on the VCU campus?

Colleges and universities are sacred places of learning, and are naturally safe, right?

Not so much.

Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao today branded as “absolutely unacceptable” six robbery-related crimes on or near campus last night and said he was pressing for a meeting later today with Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones.

Six “robbery-related” crimes in one night. To be more specific, it was actually six robberies or attempted robberies in one hour.

The first robbery was reported at 7:37 p.m. at 913 W. Franklin St. A second robbery was reported about an hour later at Laurel and Cary streets.

In addition, three attempted robberies were reported – one at 8 p.m. at Grace and Foushee streets; the second at 8:30 p.m. at Laurel and Cary streets, and the third also at about 8:30 at Cary and Belvidere streets, VCU police said.

During the same time frame, a report of a man brandishing a firearm was reported at 8 p.m. at First and Grace streets.

Police said the victims were approached by an armed black male who demanded money.

Two successful robberies, three attempted robberies, and one “brandishing” that sounds a lot like an attempted robbery (but that could be bad editing on the paper’s part). From what I can tell on Google Maps, 4 of those took place on the actual campus, and the other two were within 6 blocks of campus. They took place late enough that most classes were done with, but early enough that many students might be pulling late nights studying or working in computer labs on campus, or having a late dinner.

Yet VCU continues to ban the legal carry of concealed handguns on campus – a ban that is enshrined in the state administrative code, unlike most other universities in Virginia. We see frequently how such bans are total failures at preventing crime.

We need to allow those students who would otherwise legally carry a concealed firearm to do so even when they cross the invisible line that separates “campus” from the rest of the city. The same students who can lawfully carry anywhere else – to the grocery store, to local restaurants, or just walking down the street – and do so daily with no problems.

We need to end the ban on campus carry!

END OF LINE

(h/t Virginia Shooting Sports Association)

Who needs a gun on a college campus? – Mob assault edition

This morning, on the VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) campus, 2 people were assaulted and robbed by a group of about 15 “young people”, in two separate attacks.

Police are searching today for a group of about 15 young people believed to have punched one passerby and robbed and beaten another in rapid succession on Virginia Commonwealth University’s main downtown Richmond campus.

[...]

VCU and Richmond police described the assailants as a group of 15 black males between the ages of 17 and 22.

[...]

The first victim, who is not a VCU student, reported being punched without provocation by a member of the group while getting out of a vehicle at Shafer and West Grace streets.

Moments later, the group encountered the second victim, a VCU student, at Shafer and West Franklin streets. The student told police one member of the group made a comment about his boots before he was punched in the back of the head and knocked to the ground.

Once on the ground, the student was allegedly was told by one of the assailants, “Give me everything you’ve got.” The student was punched again, this time in the neck, and a pack of cigarettes was stolen from his pants pocket, police said.

VCU is, of course, one of those universities that is a Victim Disarmament Gun Free Zone – in this case, a prohibition that has the force of law (PDF warning) because it is enshrined in the state’s administrative code. Yet this isn’t the first time that VCU has had people victimized on campus.

These people felt it was acceptable to attack and injure people for what appears to be nothing more than their own entertainment. The pack of cigarettes seems to have been just a bonus.

Victim disarmament Gun-free zones only disarm the law-abiding – the ones you don’t need to worry about. We need to end them, now.

END OF LINE

[Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch article, retrieved 8/24/12]

(H/T SayUncle)

Who needs a gun on campus? – Attempted Abduction

Update – 2012-06-29 @ 2200: The Roanoke Times is reporting that police have made an arrest. It appears that there was only one person involved, not two as originally reported. The man police arrested was employed by a contractor doing construction on campus.

From the Virginia Tech Police:

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 29, 2012 – The following information was reported to the Virginia Tech Police Department early this morning by the victim of an attempted abduction.

Early this morning (Friday, June 29, 2012), at approximately 2:15 a.m., a female was walking from College Avenue, across Henderson Lawn, toward Alumni Mall. She was approached by two males who grabbed her and attempted to drag her toward a pickup truck on Alumni Mall. She was able to escape from them and ran away from the scene toward College Avenue.

She is lucky that she could get away. What were their intentions? I certainly don’t doubt the possibility that it was just two VT students playing what they thought was a practical joke, but it’s far more likely that they had nefarious intent. Robbery? Rape? Murder? Only they know for sure.

Even worse, Virginia Tech has done everything they can to keep students, faculty, and visitors disarmed. They would prefer that a woman be dragged off by two men for who knows what purposes than be able to shoot them to protect herself. They fail to see that this policy failed to protect the victims on April 16, 2007. They fail to see that this policy failed to protect Xin Yang in 2009. They fail to see that this policy failed to protect Officer Deriek Crouse.

They fail to see – or simply don’t care – that gun bans only protect criminals. It’s a very lucky thing that the police are only investigating an attempted kidnapping, and not a missing person report, rape, or murder.

END OF LINE

[Source: Virginia Tech website, retrieved 6/29/12]

Short Update – Today’s Shooting at Virginia Tech

I’m now free from my other activities – those who have been following my blog and my comments elsewhere can probably guess what I was doing – and can give a short follow-up.

Here’s a quick summary of what happened, from my perspective and based on what I was able to determine with information from publicly available sources.

At around 1230 today, a Virginia Tech police car came past my office running emergently, and clearly responding to something, not simply pulling someone over. A second officer did the same thing a few seconds later. I didn’t think anything in particular, because it’s not unheard of, but it caught my interest, so I opened up the local internet scanner to see what was up. There’s about a 10-15 second delay from the radio transmission to it being streamed onto the net, so I was in time to hear the location and the words “officer down.” There was traffic about a “suspect vehicle”, so while the thought of a shooting did enter my head I was also considering the possibility of a traffic accident involving an officer. I still don’t know if it was an officer who had arrived on scene, or a dispatcher relaying information from the caller, but what I heard shortly afterward chilled my blood.

The downed officer had stopped someone and was writing a ticket when another person just walked up and shot him. The shooter then took off running, and his location at the time was unknown.

Even worse was the initial description of the suspect: A white male in a maroon hoodie and grey sweatpants with a backpack.

Virginia Tech’s colours are maroon and orange, and grey sweatpants are very common. It was like issuing a BOL for a white male in a red and white striped shirt with a red and white bobble hat and black glasses at a Where’s Waldo convention.

Shortly afterwards, there was a second description of the suspect given that did not match the original, including a report that he had a rifle. This caused speculation about the possibility a second suspect. As I noted in my original post, very early on there were reports of the second person down at the parking lot known as “the cage”. That single radio report that I heard indicated that the person down matched the original description, and had a handgun but no rifle. What followed over the next two hours or so was confusing to follow, but at at least one point included reports of shots fired in various locations that were too far apart for them to all be real if there was only one person involved. Each of these reports was checked and the locations secured. None of them were accurate. There was early speculation that he had gotten into a vehicle and fled, and a description and license plate number were given. I don’t know specifically what happened with that except that it was fairly quickly determined that he was in fact on foot, but I suspect it may have been the description of the vehicle the murdered officer had originally stopped. Things eventually settled into what sounded like a practiced and orderly search of campus and the buildings.

At my office, I immediately locked the doors and notified my coworkers once I realized what was going on. I also adjusted my sidearm from it’s usual “deep concealment” to an easier to access but still concealed position. We settled in to monitoring the situation through the internet scanner, twitter, facebook, and the local news websites. All reports put the shooter moving away from my office, but some of the shots fired reports were uncomfortably close. At about 1430, the boss (who was out of the office at the time) made the decision to send everyone home. As I was the only one at the office carrying at the time, I made sure I was the last one out and stayed in the parking lot watching until everyone else was in their cars and in motion before getting into my car to leave.

—–

From this point on, I was involved in activities that exposed me to some privileged information. At this point, I need to be able to look over the news reports to sort out what has been publicly released and what I learned through those activities that hasn’t been released, so I can’t really say much more. I will note that it was approximately 5-10 minutes, maybe as much as 15, from the time I became aware of the shooting to the time the campus alert sirens went off and the information appeared on the website. If you consider that the first officers needed to get there, find out that it’s a real report, find out from witnesses what happened and that the shooter was not there and still on the loose, relay that to dispatch, and for the dispatchers to do what they need to do to initiate the alert system, that 5-15 minutes is actually pretty reasonable (especially on the lower end).

I hate the “mainstream media”, with a passion. Especially once they reach the point of “we’ve told you everything that anyone knows for certain, now we’re just talking to fill airtime.” Wild speculation, blatantly stupid statements, misleading statements, blatantly wrong statements, idle chatter for hours on end, and repeating themselves for hours on end, just so they can avoid not talking about the killing for more than five seconds. They did the same thing on April 16, four years ago, and it infuriated me then, too.

It will take me a little while to get the rest of what I can and can’t say sorted out. To make things more complicated, I have a family funeral to go to tomorrow (not related, not unexpected, and a situation where it was probably a blessing for the deceased, but still a funeral for a loved one), and internet access at my parents’ house is spotty, so I’ll be mostly away from the ‘net until late Saturday.

It’s also going to take me a bit to get my head sorted out. I was here for April 16, and for the Morva manhunt. So… it’s just going to take a bit.

Stay safe, stay alert, and keep Virginia Tech in your thoughts and prayers.

END OF LINE

***Breaking*** Shooting at Virginia Tech

UPDATE @ 1446: I’m now out from work and engaged in activities that give me privileged information, so I can no longer give current updates. I’ll post more when I can but it will be much later.

UPDATE @ 1355: Hearing multiple reports of shots fired in multiple locations. If what I heard during the April 16 shootings is any indication, there will be lots of false reports for a while.

No indication that the suspect has been caught yet. There are some reports that one has surrendered but I haven’t heard anything on the scanner.

VT is reporting that the officer and a second victim that was shot near the Duck Pond are both dead (Found at HuffPo).

My office is closing down and we are leaving. I’ll be off the air for a while. More here.

UPDATE @ 1315: Tweet from Virginia Tech News.

A police officer has been shot. A potential second victim is reported at the Cage lot. Stay indoors. Secure in place.

END UPDATE @ 1315

—–

Reports of a shooting at Virginia Tech. Scanner traffic is that a police officer was shot. Possibly the suspect is down at this time, but there are mixed reports that sound like there may be a second suspect.

This is a developing situation. Reports are confused and conflicting at this time. More as I can post.

END OF LINE

Operation Campus Safety – Virginia Tech

Yesterday was VCDL‘s “Operation Campus Safety” protest at Virginia Tech. Based on what I saw in the short time I was there, in its last hour, I would call it a success. I got there at about 3:00, and this is what I saw.

Click to embiggenate

It wasn’t apparent at first, but the group to the right of the stairs was actually the anti-rights counter-protest. I would say there were about 20 or 25 VCDL folks there at that point (several are out of frame to the left, past the tents), and about 10 to 15 antis. Keep in mind that this was 3 1/2 hours after the event officially started and 1 hour before the official end, and temperatures were hovering in the mid to upper 30′s, so it was really only the most dedicated people (on both sides)who stuck around that long. There were several speakers that were scheduled to start at noon, which I unfortunately missed.

There were a surprising number of students taking “Guns save lives” stickers and the VCDL handouts, and several specifically walked over to talk and voice their support just while I was there. I know I heard more than one variation on “I couldn’t stop earlier so I came back.” I didn’t see anyone stop for the antis, though I could have missed it. VCDL members were spread out and actively engaging passerby, while the antis seemed to be huddled together and just standing there. All reports from the people I saw were that the antis were unusually well-behaved.

VCDL had lots of signs out.

All in all, a good showing. I saw one semi-openly carried firearm*, and at least two empty holsters. I’m sure there were several more firearms that I never saw.

So many firearms on campus. Yet strangely enough nothing happened. Go figure.

It’s almost as if the antis don’t know what they’re talking about, or something.

END OF LINE

* Meaning that it appeared to be an open carry rig, and no apparent effort was made at deliberate concealment, but her coat frequently covered it and made it hard to notice – a normal consequence of carrying during cold weather. I was surprised, because she had walked by me several times before I noticed it. I’m not entirely sure, but I got an impression of 1911-ness.

Reminder – Operation Campus Safety at Virginia Tech Today

Just a reminder, VCDL‘s Operation Campus Safety is at Virginia Tech today.

We have approval for the protest from 8 AM to 4 PM on Thursday, November 17th.  While some of us will be there early, the main protest will start at 11:30 AM and run until 4 PM.  Speakers will start at 12 Noon and continue until 1:30 PM.

[...]

The protest will be held in front of the Squires Student Center (College Ave./Otey Street side), not far from the town of Blacksburg or the VT Drillfield.

I’m going to try to show up during my lunch, if I can, for at least a little bit. Unfortunately, my remaining vacation time for the year is already allocated, and my lunch time is limited.

Campus Carry bans do nothing more than create Victim Disarmament Zones, and they must no longer be tolerated. VCDL deserves all the support we can give them in this endeavor. (They also need a new website design that better reflects their current activities, but that’s another issue.)

And remember, when a university or college asks for money, tell them:  NO GUNS?  NO FUNDS!

END OF LINE

[Source: VCDL email alert from 10/26/11]

Operation Campus Safety at Virginia Tech

The Virginia Citizen’s Defense League has announced (via email alert) its planned protest at Virginia Tech in opposition to the university’s plans to codify it’s anti-gun stance as a state regulation.

Finally – we have a date and time for Operation Campus Safety at Virginia Tech!

**Mark your calendars, this is going to be big and you’re going to want to be part of it!**

We have approval for the protest from 8 AM to 4 PM on Thursday, November 17th.  While some of us will be there early, the main protest will start at 11:30 AM and run until 4 PM.  Speakers will start at 12 Noon and continue until 1:30 PM.  We will need lots of people to carry signs, pass out literature, and answer questions.

This should be an excellent day to be on campus as it is a game day (UNC vs VT), allowing us maximum visibility.  We are also looking at having a presence in nearby Blacksburg.

The protest will be held in front of the Squires Student Center (College Ave./Otey Street side), not far from the town of Blacksburg or the VT Drillfield.

More details will follow, including parking information and possible carpooling from area localities.

A very special thanks to Eric Smith, President of the Libertarians at Virginia Tech.  The Libertarians are hosting the protest and Eric is working hard to make the protest a success, patiently working his way through the VT bureaucracy to get the event approved.

Another powerful force in bringing everything together is  John Wilburn, a VT alumni.  He has been doing all kinds of coordination behind the scenes and he, too, has made it a personal mission to make the protest a huge success.

This is a mission to save lives and that drives both Eric and John, just like it drives all of VCDL’s membership.

There is no way this would have come together so well without Eric and John!

Oh, and as if John isn’t doing enough already, besides running his own business (Hokie Real Estate, Inc.), he is a firearms instructor and will be giving away free CHP classes to two lucky attendees!

Thanks also to EMs Dave Hicks and Dave Knight, who are helping with both the VT and the Radford protests.

Radford and JMU students – come to Virginia Tech on November 17th and stand with Virginia Tech students in support of freedom and liberty.  VCDL will ask the VT students to do the same when we announce the Radford and JMU protests in the near future.

Wild horses couldn’t keep me away – see you there!

No guns? NO FUNDS!  (Remember:  Donations for Virginia Tech can be sent to Blue Ridge Community College instead. )

What is “Operation Campus Safety”? Unfortunately, I can’t find an announcement on their actual website (which they really need to redesign). But it was covered in one of their VA-ALERTS emails. (If you live in Virginia, or travel here frequently, you really should subscribe to their email alerts. There is also an RSS feed available, and an archive.)

THE PROBLEM – UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES ENDANGERING THE INNOCENT

The Board of Directors of VCDL has decided that enough is enough when it comes to the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and guests at Virginia public universities and colleges.  Higher-education “no gun” policies do not make the innocent any safer.  Instead such policies enable people like [the killer] to wantonly massacre, rape, and rob.

Those policies disarm students, faculty and staff not only on campus, but going to and from campus.  ODU, for example, is not situated in the best part of town and unarmed students pay the price.

What’s even more egregious is that concealed handgun permit holders, who are at least 21 years old, have clean records, have had training, are not illegal drug users or habitual drunkards, and carry virtually everywhere else they go, are purposely left helpless.  There simply is no excuse for that.  Just one armed permit holder in one of those classrooms under attack at Virginia Tech on that fateful day in 2007 could have stopped [the killer].

[...]

A SOLUTION – VCDL WILL BE PROTESTING AT A SCHOOL NEAR YOU!

If higher-education won’t do the right thing on their own, then VCDL and gun owners statewide need to “nudge” them onto the right path.

How do we do that?

Simple.  We hit them where it hurts – right in the wallet.  With the economy in the dumps, higher-ed is probably not getting the level of donations they are used to and we plan on squeezing them even more.

To that effect, VCDL is preparing a series of campus protests over the next few months.  We are having signs, brochures, and stickers made as I write this.  We will be on campus educating students and we will be reaching out to alumni to stop donations to the school until they change their policies, however long that takes.

[...]

I will be announcing each protest a week or so before it is held here on VA-ALERT so that we can get a good turnout at each one.  We will need people holding signs, handing out brochures, and talking to those with questions.  Someone from VCDL leadership will be interfacing with the press.

In the meantime, spread the word far and near.  When a university or college asks for money, tell them:  NO GUNS?  NO FUNDS!

Being active in politics is important. Being active in local politics is even more important. VCDL has been a driving and influential force in Virginia politics, and they deserve our support. I plan to be there if I can get away from work, even if it’s just for my lunch hour.

Campus Carry bans do nothing more than create Victim Disarmament Zones, and they must no longer be tolerated.

END OF LINE

Guns ARE on campus

But, except in a few places, they are only in the hands of criminals.*

A man was shot several times in the back just before 6 p.m. on a lower level of an underground parking garage in the heart of the University of Maryland, Baltimore and UM Medical Center campus, police said.

The victim, who appeared to be in his mid-40s, is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital, said Detective Kevin Brown, a police spokesman. [...]

The garage is open to the public and is commonly used by patients and visitors of the hospital, Fanning said.

Maryland is a “may-issue” state. I don’t know how easy it is for people to get carry permits in MD, but most may-issue states are very restrictive. Either way, it is extremely likely that the university prohibits any form of carry on campus. Like most such gun-free victim disarmament zones, the policy appears to be a dismal failure, and possibly a attractant for predatory criminals.

* I am not counting the police in this statement, not as any disparagement of the police, but because predatory crime almost never happens when the police are actually nearby. Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

[Source: Baltimore Sun article, retrieved 10/18/11]

(h/t TXGunGeek, from a comment at Shall Not Be Questioned)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers

%d bloggers like this: