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A common sense view of the VT shootings
Posted: 27 April 2007 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]
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It’s late and I am browsing my email, when I stumbled upon this article from a LE website.  I think this gentlemen hits the nail on the head associated with a variety of issues associated with the shooting at Virginia Tech:

There is a lull for a week or two in the hand-wringing over the Virginia Tech incident . This provides a time for the friends and families to grieve and bury their dead, and for those looking to make the best of a bad situation to find lawyers and draw up papers to serve on anyone with pockets deep enough to make the effort worthwhile. Some of the lawsuits will focus on Monday-morning quarterbacking the actions of the VT Police and other agencies that responded, but others will try and find someone to blame for what Cho Seung-Hui became in the days and years before April 16. Their stated mission will be to ensure that no one is ever again driven to do such a thing–oh, and make someone pay them money.

This purported sense of outrage is at the foundation of what some people called the Nanny Society, where we invoke the power of the state to protect people from themselves, and to forbid behaviors that are harmful to society. Extending the premise a bit, we can also see mandating behavior that encourages a nurturing environment. I’ve had several conversations over the past week where Seung-Hui’s behavior was cited and the question “why didn’t anyone do anything?” came up. Something probably could have been done, but most of us wouldn’t want to live in a society that required it.

I thought the phrase “nanny society” was a relatively recent one, but a Wikipedia entry indicates that the earliest use of the term was back in 1965, where it was actually characterized as the “nanny state.” Opposition to the nanny society is fairly universal, although it is usually selective in scope. Cops are very familiar with people who object to nanny state laws that would seem at first examination to need no defense or explanation. Take, for instance, the requirement to have small children ride in child safety seats. The closest thing that kids in my generation saw to a child safety seat was a plastic contraption that slung over the back of the front passenger seat, facing forward. The kid would ride there, seated much the way that infants ride in shopping carts, with or without a toy steering wheel and horn to play with during the trip. If the driver locked up the brakes, the seat and kid were launched into the windshield. Parents of more common means, such as mine, either carried their kids in their arms or bundled up on the seat beside them, unrestrained. Seat belts were rare. If my head had gone ballistic a few times, it would have explained a lot about my behavior in later life, but that didn’t happen.

Show me a cop that thinks that child safety seats are an unnecessary nuisance, and I’ll show you a cop that hasn’t yet responded to a fatal TC with unrestrained kids involved. That sort of thing gets your attention even if you don’t have kids of your own, and it’s hard to understand why everyone isn’t on the same page with this. But cops also encounter people who get very agitated when they’re facing enforcement action on a car seat violation.

  * “I can’t afford one.”
  * “It’s in my other car.”
  * “He won’t stay in it.”
  * “I was just going to the store.”
  * “You have no right to tell me how to take care of my kid.”

Switch to an area that’s a little less life-threatening, and the resentment increases. One of my pet peeves is having to deal with secondhand smoke. When I was a young zealot cop, I was coming from court and in a coat and tie, when I got onto an elevator. A man got on with me, and was smoking a cigar. I pointed to a sign in the elevator that quoted the state law forbidding smoking on elevators. He chuckled, and said, “Who’s gonna stop me?” I pulled back my coat so that he could see the badge clipped to my belt. I expected him to either look embarrassed, as in “You caught me,” or fearful, like, “What are you going to do to me?” Instead, I got the hairy eyeball of resentment and silent rage. I also realized at that moment my faux pas in calling him on a violation that I wasn’t prepared to enforce. If I had been forced to take him into custody and call a patrol unit to assist me on a charge of elevator smoking, throwing myself off the roof would have looked like a good alternative.

Cho Seung-Hui’s behavior before the massacre was antisocial, and it was clear he felt alienated. Granted, he probably brought most of this on himself by virtue of his actions and demeanor, but I would also wager that he was teased and bullied for much of his life, because that’s what people–especially young people– do to oddballs. He was briefly institutionalized, but a judge found that there was insufficient cause to hold him for treatment. That decision might seem like the worst kind of bad judgment now, but the judge has to balance the rights of the individual over the potential threat to public safety. I doubt if Seung-Hui mentioned anything about his plans to use Norris Hall as a shooting gallery. This also speaks to the sad state of mental health care in the country, and for the long-term effects of bullying, but I’ll leave those for other columns.

We could put into place a mechanism where people who were acting angry, alienated, or erratic would be held for a thorough psychological workup and screening, but, tell me, would you want to live in a world like that? I think most of us would wind up institutionalized, sooner or later. On another level, although it would be nice to clear streets and buildings quickly in a Virginia Tech-type situation, would you want to require unquestioned and immediate obedience to any order given by a police officer, without any explanation?

It’s almost always a bad idea to make major legislative changes based on an unusual, isolated incident. The wholesale changes in air travel security made after the 9/11 attacks have been costly, annoy everyone who travels by air, and haven’t been shown to be especially effective. One can argue that there have been no aircraft hijackings since then, but any would-be hijacker that tried that today would be torn to shreds by the other passengers.

Just as some activists have been using the Virginia Tech incident as a platform for more stringent gun control, someone else will try to make it a case for required reporting of erratic behavior of students, or felony-level penalties for bullying. I would suggest that we simply apply some common sense, but it’s more difficult than ever to identify what those senses in common are.


I thought his discussion was well balanced and did not take a particular side, but rather exposed a lack of common sense in some of the fallout of this incident.  Agree?

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He was just a man doing a job.  A job whose primary attribute was self-restraint and self-composure, not for his own sake, but for those whom he lead by example.  A job whose objective could be boiled down to the single understatement, as he did at the Hot Gates on the morning he died, of performing the commonplace under uncommonplace conditions. 

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Posted: 27 April 2007 10:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Agree. I think the saying among lawyers is that “hard cases make bad law.”

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Because "viriliter age" has to mean something in English, too.

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Posted: 28 April 2007 12:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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great article.  I think way too often we have knee jerk reactions to situations in general.  It is a good lesson for all of us when “situations” arise whether they be big (Virginia Tech) or small (my kid ditched class) to take a step back, take a deep breath, and watch and listen before we make judgments…or new laws!

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Posted: 28 April 2007 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Great article. I agree with all that for the most part, though I don’t ever think there’s anything wrong with re-examing something like this to see if it can be done better…not necessarily by us, but by whoever was involved.

I really hope no one sues the police or the school, though. That would just be incredibly sad and tacky.

Did you all hear that it sounds like there’s already a law on the books that could’ve made the kid’s name come up in the gun background check? Something to do with his being commited against his will; that’s supposed to show up (if I understood the article I read). The VA governor wants that to be enforced. Well…yeah.

I really liked the mention of the “nanny state.” I always call it paternalistic, but nanny works too. It’s that idea that people are too stupid or too incapable to do for themselves so the govt has to do for them. And then the people, by default, become incredibly entitled and incapable. It does a huge disservice to the country, to humanity, and to the individuals themselves. Plus, it’s rude.

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Posted: 28 April 2007 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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MARK THE DATE AND TIME….....


Petunia and I AGREE!!!!!!!!!


What a great feeling :wink:

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He was just a man doing a job.  A job whose primary attribute was self-restraint and self-composure, not for his own sake, but for those whom he lead by example.  A job whose objective could be boiled down to the single understatement, as he did at the Hot Gates on the morning he died, of performing the commonplace under uncommonplace conditions. 

Description of Dienekes, a Spartan warrior at the Battle of Thermopylae

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Posted: 29 April 2007 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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[quote author=“LargeLefty”]MARK THE DATE AND TIME….....


Petunia and I AGREE!!!!!!!!!

It does happen occasionally….usually when y’all say something particularly smart or Mikki unleashes her inner liberal.
:SP

Oh, Lefty, I meant to ask. What is an “LE website”?

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Posted: 29 April 2007 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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My guess is, Law Enforcement.

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Posted: 29 April 2007 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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LE=Liberal Essay’s It’s quite common for LL to spend time there when he has turned off NPR. LOL

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Posted: 29 April 2007 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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LOL

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Posted: 29 April 2007 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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So many people to convert, so little time.

P.S. Thanks, metric.

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Posted: 29 April 2007 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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GD

Don’t hate me because I’m a closet liberal just like you!!!!  Petunia was your friend first.  She apparently converted you first and then pointed her in my direction.  She can be very persuavise :shock:  :shock:

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He was just a man doing a job.  A job whose primary attribute was self-restraint and self-composure, not for his own sake, but for those whom he lead by example.  A job whose objective could be boiled down to the single understatement, as he did at the Hot Gates on the morning he died, of performing the commonplace under uncommonplace conditions. 

Description of Dienekes, a Spartan warrior at the Battle of Thermopylae

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Posted: 02 May 2007 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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This sounds really familar. When done reading check author at bottom.

To disarm a gunman, you’ll need to take his focus off his weapon and his
plan of attack. To do this, you might throw chairs, laptops, or fire extinguishers at him, or set off the sprinkler system or fire alarm. Then, you’d want to pick up a desk or some other shield and charge right at the killer. There’s a chance you’ll be killed in the process, but if two or three people rush at once, there’s also a chance that somebody will take him down. (Unarmed civilians who band together have a much better chance of surviving an attack.)

If you’re already within a step or two of the gunman, you might be able to grab his weapon. If he’s facing you, quickly reach up and take hold of the barrel, and then aim it away from your body. The move should be as clean and economical as possible. The gunman will reflexively pull the gun back away from you. Go with him: Keep gripping the gun and push your weight forward. Then, punch him in the face or the throat as hard as you can. Hit him on the nose, jab your fingers into his eyes, or strike him with the heel of your open palm. Then use your free hand to grab the nonbusiness end of the gun. With two hands on the gun, you can knee the killer in the groin or head-butt him. A better idea might be to twist your hands like they are revving a motorcycle engine. The weapon will pivot and break the gunman’s finger inside the trigger guard.

Of course, this wouldn’t have worked at Virginia Tech, since Cho had one gun in each hand. In that case, your best option would be to grab both weapons and hold the gunman off with kicks until another person can help disarm him.

Got a question about today’s news? Ask the Explainer.

Explainer thanks Richard Kobetz of Executive Protection Institute and John Whitman of Krav Maga Worldwide.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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shock alrighty then!! seminar to be krav double gun take-a-way and not get killed in the process techniques. from the front side and back. now im going to try and be funny here big d so dont get mad at me but let me see; grab a table and rush the guy and get killed? mob the guy with others and draw straws on who gets it? set off the fire sprinklers and get him wet and then do what? my next book, since i havent written the first one yet is CAVE MAN VRS UZI, WHO WOULD WIN? throwing rocks at a guy with 2 pistolas semi auto with 15 round clips? heres brave dale ok you guys ready to rush him? i’ll be right behind you all the way. far behind. honestly without equal fire power i dont know what to do with a guy intent on killing everyone including himself. i love the ideas though. i love the part where i might get killed in the process. hummm. being born in las vegas, drawing straws doesnt seem to inticing either, heard i was won on a crap table. havent figured that one out yet. im assuming it was a good thing. ha! got it rushing the guy is compared to a crap shoot. i’ll wait until my motorized wheel chair is repaired before i do any rushing about.

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Posted: 03 May 2007 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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[quote author=“dale”]:shock: alrighty then!! seminar to be: krav double gun take-a-way and not get killed in the process techniques. from the front side and back. now im going to try and be funny here big d so dont get mad at me but let me see; grab a table and rush the guy and get killed? mob the guy with others and draw straws on who gets it? set off the fire sprinklers and get him wet and then do what? my next book, since i havent written the first one yet is CAVE MAN VRS UZI, WHO WOULD WIN? throwing rocks at a guy with 2 pistolas semi auto with 15 round clips? heres brave dale: ok you guys ready to rush him? i’ll be right behind you all the way. far behind. honestly without equal fire power i dont know what to do with a guy intent on killing everyone including himself. i love the ideas though. i love the part where i might get killed in the process. hummm. being born in las vegas, drawing straws doesnt seem to inticing either, heard i was won on a crap table. havent figured that one out yet. im assuming it was a good thing. ha! got it: rushing the guy is compared to a crap shoot. i’ll wait until my motorized wheel chair is repaired before i do any rushing about.

But hiding under a desk waiting for the shooter to casually walk up and shoot you is clearly not the answer either.  I think the point is to DO SOMETHING and then you will at least have a chance.  Most people do not realize how difficult it is to hit a moving target especially when under stress.  Either run away or run towards there really is no other option.  Modern medicine can do great things and rushing someone and getting shot in the stomach is infinitely more survivable then someone walking up and putting a bullet in your head.  The problem is to many people have come dependent on someone else coming and saving them that they just hunker down and wait rather then trying to save themselves and when victims do this time is on the attackers side.

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Posted: 03 May 2007 03:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I had asked some of my co workers if they would have attempted to disarm the shooter. None of them said they would unless they were SURE they could be successful - If they knew they would have saved someone else, even if they got killed, but they weren’t willing to risk dying without being sure of the outcome.

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Posted: 03 May 2007 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Fear like that can be paralyzing. I’m pretty sure I’d have been willing to jump out a window or barricade the door, but rush a guy with two guns pointed at me? I really don’t know how I’d react. I’d like to think I’d have fought back, but honestly, I can’t say for sure. And I’m someone who had Jeff and Dan drill “fight back” into her head for several years and should have a pretty good idea, intellectually, of how to respond.

These were a bunch of college kids who were accosted in, what most would consider, a pretty safe environment. Yet, even without specific self defense training, several of them reacted really well. But those who did all had leaders…the boy who thought to barricade the door, the professor who stood between the students climbing out the window and the shooter. The kids who were in classrooms without a real leader would probably be more likely to buckle. And not everyone’s cut out to lead.

Also, I’d expect the first room of students to be less active than the later ones. If you have some time to prepare, even if it’s just a minute, you’re probably more likely to react better.

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