Opinion and Editorial

Shooting in Virginia

Filed on April 18, 2007

AMERICA is yet to recover from the shock of what is termed “the deadliest shooting rampage in modern US history” — a firing-spree that took the lives of 33 young, promising men and women at a prominent technical university campus in Virginia.

We are shocked, too. All what’s known so far is that a student, apparently of Asian origin, wielded the gun, a fact which is confirmed at least in the second wave of attacks that took a toll of 30 lives, while mystery shrouds the first round of firings that killed three.

What’s also known is that this is the second time in the past nine months that the university has been shut because of gunfire; and that a bomb threat had been made over the campus two weeks ago. Under the circumstances, it would appear strange that no special security measures were in place. Had they been in place, it might have helped at least minimise the impact of what happened on Monday morning, if not altogether avert it.

It’s also intriguing as to how, in an advanced state like Virginia, and in a technology campus at that, it took two hours for an email to circulate among the students about a firing incident on the campus — or alerting the students that a killer was on the prowl in their midst. Had such a message reached students immediately after the first incident, they would have been in a state of high alert; and it might even have helped capture the assailant.

America is currently in the best of positions in many respects. Its people are among the best cared for in the world by virtue of the affluence of the nation and the systems that support the life there. Yet, without doubt, something ails the society at its very roots, symptoms of which are evident in cases like the Virginia one. Whether this has something to do with the overall weakening of the value systems, or America’s own pre-occupation with the affairs in the rest of the world in as much that it has little time to care for its own affairs, is simply a matter of conjecture.

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