Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten

That is 2,977 American flags placed on the Virginia Tech drillfield – effectively the center of campus. One flag for each victim of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Never forget.

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A surprisingly balanced article on gun control

At the Roanoke Times.

About 30 years ago as a young reporter in Florida, I was assigned a series on gun control in response to gun violence, which had peaked in the U.S. in 1980.

I began the series with profiles of three gun users, including a woman who had killed her would-be rapist, the owner of a sport shooting club and a convicted murderer on death row at the Florida State Prison in Starke.

Most dramatic was the woman, who was attacked as she entered her apartment after work one evening. She had just moved in and boxes were stacked floor-to-ceiling, nary a broom nor a pot to use in self-defense.

In her panic, she suddenly remembered the small derringer in her purse, which still hung over her shoulder. Already, the man had her pinned against the wall. Reaching into her bag, she grabbed the gun, pressed it to his side and, boom! He died instantly. To my question, she replied: “Hell, yes, I’d do it again in a New York minute.”

Or words to that effect.

Most chilling was the murderer, whose name I no longer recall. I do remember that his fingertips were oddly flared and he pressed them together, expanding and contracting his hands like a bellows. No doubt aware that I was nervous, he seemed amused by my questions.

“Sure,” he chuckled. “I’m all for gun control. Because that means you won’t have a gun. And I will always have a gun.” [Emphasis added - Jake]

I may not agree entirely with the author, but it’s at least a balanced and fair article, without the normal heavily anti-gun bias the Roanoke Times usually publishes. Go read the whole thing. It’s worth it.

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[Source: Roanoke Times article, retrieved 9/20/13]

Miscellany

A couple of things I’ve been meaning to comment on but never got around to:

On the passing of Midnight

I’d like to give a belated thank you to those who gave their sympathy on the recent death of my cat Midnight. It was appreciated.

As a bit of a surprise, a few days after that, I received a sympathy card from the vet. Now, I suspect there are many veterinary clinics that will send such cards, but what was really surprising was that this one had a very nice and personalized hand written note from the veterinarian that actually attended us that night.

Sometimes it’s the little touches that can make such events bearable.

The Great Gas Experiment – a hiccup

Due to a combination of bad timing and the fact that there is only one gas station in my area that has alcohol-free gas, I had to put $5 of alcoholic gas in the car yesterday. I’ll run it close to dry before filling up again to try and minimize the impact. Before I left for the gun show, my car was reporting an average mileage of 24.8 mpg, up from the previous 24.5 mpg. After the gun show, which involved driving on the interstate, it shot up to 25.3 mpg, but that’s not really useful data here because of the difference in driving styles.

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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.

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April 16, 2007 – We Remember.

Six years ago today, horror struck Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Most of those who were freshmen at the time will be graduating, and most of the upperclassmen are gone, but the memories remain with the faculty and staff, the town residents, and especially with the police and EMS providers who responded.

We Remember…

West AJ

The killer shot his first victims around 7:15 a.m. in West Ambler Johnston Hall. At about that time, the killer entered the room that freshman Emily J. Hilscher shared with another student. Hilscher, a 19-year-old from Woodville, Virginia, was killed. After hearing the gunshots, a male resident assistant, Ryan C. Clark, attempted to aid Hilscher. Clark, a 22-year-old-senior from Martinez, Georgia, was fatally shot. Hilscher survived for another three hours.

The killer left the scene and returned to his dormitory room. While police and emergency medical services units were responding to the shootings in the dorm next door, the killer changed out of his bloodstained clothes. Police receive information leading them to consider Hilscher’s boyfriend as a suspect.

Almost two hours later, he walked to the nearby downtown post office and mailed a package of writings and video recordings to NBC News; the package was postmarked 9:01 a.m. He would then go to Norris Hall.

We Remember

Norris Hall

At about 9:40 a.m., just over two hours after the initial shootings at West Ambler-Johnston, the killer entered Norris Hall, which houses the Engineering Science and Mechanics program among others, and chained the three main entrance doors shut. He placed a note on at least one of the chained doors, claiming that attempts to open the door would cause a bomb to explode. Shortly before the shooting began, a faculty member found the note and took it to the building’s third floor to notify the school’s administration. At about the same time, the killer had begun shooting students and faculty on the second floor; the bomb threat was never called in.

At about 9:41, within one or two minutes of the first shots, the first 9-1-1 call was received. Because it came from a cell phone, it was routed to the Blacksburg Police dispatch center instead of the Virginia Tech Police. Despite some initial confusion, it takes only about one minute for the dispatcher to recognize that the call is coming from on campus and transfer the call. The first police officers arrive within three minutes of receiving the first 9-1-1 call, but cannot enter because the doors of all three exterior entrances are chained shut. Attempts to shoot out these locks are unsuccessful.

The killer’s first attack was in an advanced hydrology engineering class taught by Professor G. V. Loganathan in room 206. The killer first shot and killed the professor, then continued shooting, killing nine of the 13 students in the room and injuring two others. Next, the killer went across the hall to room 207, in which instructor Christopher James Bishop was teaching German. The killer killed Bishop and four students; six students were wounded. He then moved on to Norris 211 and 204. In both of these classrooms, the killer was initially prevented from entering the classroom by barricades erected by instructors and students. In room 204, Professor Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor, forcibly prevented the killer from entering the room. Librescu was able to hold the door closed until most of his students escaped through the windows, but he died after being shot multiple times through the door. One student in his classroom was killed. Instructor Jocelyne Couture-Nowak and student Henry Lee were killed in room 211 as they attempted to barricade the door.

The killer reloaded and revisited several of the classrooms. After the killer’s first visit to room 207, several students had barricaded the door and had begun tending the wounded. When the killer returned minutes later, Katelyn Carney and Derek O’Dell were injured while holding the door closed. The killer also returned to room 206. According to a student eyewitness, the movements of a wounded Waleed Shaalan distracted the killer from a nearby student after the shooter had returned to the room. Shaalan was shot a second time and died. Also in room 206, Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan may have protected fellow student Guillermo Colman by diving on top of him. Colman’s various accounts make it unclear whether this act was intentional or the involuntary result of being shot. Multiple gunshots killed Lumbantoruan, but Colman was protected by Lumbantoruan’s body.

Students, including Zach Petkewicz, barricaded the door of room 205 with a large table after substitute professor Haiyan Cheng and a student saw the killer heading toward them. The killer shot several times through the door but failed to force his way in. No one in that classroom was wounded or killed.

Hearing the commotion on the floor below, Professor Kevin Granata brought 20 students from a nearby classroom into an office, where the door could be locked, on the third floor of Norris Hall. He then went downstairs to investigate and was fatally shot by the killer. None of the students locked in Granata’s office were injured.

At about 9:50, using a shotgun, police shoot open the ordinary key lock of a fourth entrance to Norris Hall that goes to a machine shop and that could not be chained. They hear gunshots as they enter the building and immediately follow the sounds to the second floor. As they reach the second floor, the killer fires his final shot, killing himself.

We Remember

The Aftermath

At about 9:52 a.m., the killing is over. The killer shot himself in the head just as police reached the second floor. Investigators believe that the police shotgun blast alerted him to the arrival of the police. The killer’s shooting spree in Norris Hall lasted about 11 minutes. He killed 30 people in Norris Hall, and wounded 17 others. It is the worst mass killing by a single gunman in U.S. history.

The horror continues. The police work to clear the second floor of Norris Hall. Two tactical medics attached to the Emergency Response Teams, one medic from Virginia Tech Rescue and one from Blacksburg Rescue, are allowed to enter to start their initial triage. Police are carrying out victims and handing them off to waiting Rescue Squads, still unsure if there is a second shooter waiting inside. High winds have grounded rescue helicopters, meaning that the most seriously wounded victims must instead be transported 30-45 minutes by ground to the closest Level 1 trauma center in Roanoke, Virginia. False reports of gunshots throughout the rest of the day mean a continuation of the fear and psychological trauma for students and local residents.

In the hours and days following the shooting, makeshift memorials to those killed or injured began appearing in several locations on the campus. Many people placed flowers and items of remembrance at the base of the Drillfield observation podium in front of Burruss Hall. Later, members of Hokies United placed 32 pieces of Hokie Stone, each labeled with the name of a victim, in a semicircle in front of the Drillfield viewing stand. This makeshift memorial was later made permanent.

We Remember.

(Information for these posts came from Wikipedia and from the Report of the Virginia Tech Review Panel. The killer’s name is deliberately omitted, and shall never pass my lips nor contaminate my keyboard, save for the strictest necessity. He shall remain nameless to all men and women of honor, his identity cursed, and forever denied the infamy he sought.)

[This post is a consolidation of a series of posts I wrote for this date in 2010, with each post originally scheduled to appear at the same time that the events described within began.]

Breaking: Shooting at New River Valley Community College

Update – 1609 hrs: The Christiansburg Police chief spoke at a press conference this afternoon, and stated that there were two people injured – one flown and one taken to the local hospital – and a suspect in custody. It is believed that there is no more danger. No further information is being released at this time.

Ignore the stupid reporters calling him a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy. That’s definitely a CPD uniform, and you can see the eagles on his collar even with the poor quality streaming video. The press, as usual, is ignorant.

—–

News reports here, here, and here.

That third link is to the Roanoke Times, which seems to be having issues at the moment, probably due to high traffic.

This is in Christiansburg, VA, right next to Blacksburg and Virginia Tech.

Initial reports are that the shooter is in custody, and that one person was flown out. The media has no reports of other injuries at this time. The police have a press briefing scheduled for 1500hrs EDT.

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Breaking News!

The Virginia Tech Police Department has obtained a full confession in the most brazen crime our area has seen so far this year!

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Resource for Virginia Gun Owners – VCDL

I’ve mentioned the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) before, and I’ve had their website in my links to the right for a long time, but this is a good day to mention them again. They now have their 2013 Legislation Tracking Tool online, with a full listing and synopsis of this year’s gun and gun-related bills in the Virginia legislature – including links to the state’s website for details and actual text. In addition, they’ve revamped the site a bit, which is great. They do some incredible work with the legislature, but the old website had some serious design issues. While I see that some of those issues have carried over to the new design, it’s still light years better than it used to be.

I’m going to back off on posting my Legislative Updates now that they have the tracking tool up and running for this year’s session. I will still post on major bills and events as I see the need, but VCDL has people dedicated to that who are able to do a much better and more consistent job than I can.

Go check it out!

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Legislative Update: Virginia Gun Bills #2

Some more gun bills have been filed in Virginia. In addition to the ones I listed previously, they are:

  • HB 1506 – Reduces from 15 years to 10 years the minimum number of years that certain officers must serve in order to qualify to purchase their service handguns. [I don't see anything objectionable here.]
  • HB 1557 – Requires every school board in the Commonwealth to designate at least one qualified person for every school in the district who, upon application with the school board, may carry a concealed handgun on school property. Establishes required training for such persons. [This is a good thing, specifically requiring school boards to allow at least one person in every school to be armed. The list of people they can designate includes teachers, administrators, and volunteers with CHPs, so bad guys don't have to just "look for the cop". This allows greater protection for our children.]
  • HB 1582 – Permits any armed security officers, licensed by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, to carry firearms onto school property if such officer is hired by the school to provide protection to students and employees. The bill also prohibits the Board of Social Services from adopting any regulations that would prevent a child day center from hiring an armed security officer. [Like HB 1557, this allows greater protection for our children, though it is limited to hired security.]
  • HB 1604 – Prevents the applicable regulatory body from prohibiting locksmiths and employees of any electronic security business from carrying firearms if they have a valid CHP. [I'm all for limiting the state's power to prevent people from carrying.]
  • HB 1660 – Prohibits prisoners in state, local, or community correctional facilities from possessing or transporting weapons. A violation of this prohibition constitutes a Class 6 felony and may carry a minimum sentence if the violator was previously convicted of a felony. The bill also excludes such prisoners from the process whereby individuals may petition the circuit court for a permit to carry a firearm, stun weapon or explosives. [I assumed prisoners were already prohibited from having weapons in prison, but maybe its isn't actually a crime currently. I can't say I have any objections, unless it would be a redundant law.]
  • HB 1662 – Allows a locality to adopt an ordinance that prohibits firearms, ammunition, or components, or a combination thereof, in libraries owned or operated by the locality. [Pure anti-Rights cultist BS. I don't know why they have this obsession with guns in libraries, but it's just as stupid as any other victim-disarmament gun-free zone.]
  • HB 1679 – Adds another group of LEO’s to the list of people who can carry concealed without a CHP. [Yet another privileged class designated as better than the peasantry.]
  • HB 1693 – Repeals the section of current law that allows someone to possess a firearm on school property as long as it’s unloaded and in a closed container. [This is a step backwards. I don't believe there has been one single case where someone took advantage of that exception to facilitate breaking the law. More anti-Rights cult BS, trying to take advantage of a horrible tragedy.]
  • HB 1833 – Reorganizes the existing concealed carry law into separate, discrete sections. [This is purely a clarifying measure. I don't see any actual changes to the law, it just splits it up into separate and smaller code sections to make it easier to parse.]
  • HB 1866 – Removes certain weapons from the definition of weapons that require mandatory expulsion from school for up to one year. [If I'm reading it right, it removes knives, stun guns, etc., and limits the mandatory one year expulsion to firearms.]
  • HB 2025Requires a background check for any firearm purchase and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for sellers to obtain such a check from licensed firearm dealers. [The anti-Rights cult's coveted "gun show loophole" bill. This bill MUST be opposed and killed.]
  • SB 965Another “lost or stolen” bill. [This one is far worse than the one I listed last time. That one required reporting within 48 hours and imposed a monetary "civil penalty". This one only allows 24 hours to report it, and makes failure to do so a CRIME. This bill also MUST be opposed and killed.]
  • SB 1012 – Prohibits the possession of a firearm in Capitol Square, including the Capitol and other buildings predominantly used to conduct the business of the General Assembly. [Of course, they exempt themselves from this law. Another one to oppose.]

I’ve put the bills that are more relevant to the average citizen in bold type, and critical bills are in red. Contact your Virginia state representatives!

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Gun Show Report

Pretty much the same as the last time – busy and crowded. Anything semiautomatic and centerfire that takes a removable magazine was going for about twice the normal price. Thirty round pmags were actually pretty plentiful and selling for about $35 at most tables (there were one or two trying for $50 or more). Getting close to any tables with semiautos was an exercise in patience. Ammo dealers were crowded and started running short fairly early on. 5.56/.223 was running about $1 a round.

Dad picked up some ammo, and I found some stripper clips for the Mauser. I almost went for a 10/22 (synthetic stock $213 sticker price), but I restrained myself. I could have afforded it, but there are other things I need that money for a little more. When we left at around 2:00, the line for tickets was still running all the way out the door, which I’ve only ever seen happen in the mornings, before. There was still a lot of anger at Obama, but it’s had time to settle a bit.

Still, we had fun, which was the main point.

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