Virginia Tech

I keep waiting to hear how the killer was armed with some sort of automatic weapon. I just cannot imagine how one man could do this with two handguns, one of them a .22.

I don’t think I could walk into a packed sports arena and manage to shoot 50 people with two handguns. Really. Let alone kill over 30 of them.

Regardless of how crazed and motivated I was, I would just not expect to be able to do that on my own.

It is astoundingly tragic. My thoughts and prayers go out to the dead, the wounded, and their families.

It also borders on the unbelievable. Am I off-base, here? Doesn’t this just seem too absolutely incredible?

UPDATE: Something else I had been waiting for was word that the number of wounded was far higher than initially reported. When I was hearing 20 dead and 40 wounded, and that it was probably a hand gun, I told a co-worker that we were looking at probably 60 wounded. My thinking was that we’d be seeing three wounded for every person killed. (I don’t know what historical numbers are in this sort of situation. Just going with my first thought.) But when the wounded total grew to only 50 or so, I was relieved. After all, the fewer the better.

But after posting this I was talking about it a bit and it occured to me that the death toll had grown to over 30 and the wounded total was staying right around 50. While I’m glad that there weren’t 90 or 100 or more wounded, I’m also wondering what this guy did to be able to kill over 60% of his victims with a 9mm and a .22 handgun.

Execution-style killings? More than 30 of them?

I haven’t been following this terribly closely. In fact, some of what I’m posting has probably been explained or the numbers updated from the initial flurry of chaotic reports. But I’m having trouble understanding how this one guy managed to do this.

UPDATE 2: Looking through the comments, I see someone has already noted the killed:wounded ratio. Seriously, isn’t this number closer to what you’d expect of a sniper with a high-powered rifle picking people off at range? Not with a 9 and a .22.

Maybe a well-trained guy could do this. He obviously thought ahead (chains on the doors, apparently a ton of reloads, etc.). It certainly seems to be beyond the capabilities of some student or regular guy, no matter how pissed he was over something.


  1. Gunman kills 32 at Virginia Tech before being killed April 16, 2007 BY MICHAEL SNEED Sun-Times Columnist Authorities were investigating whether the gunman who killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history was a Chinese man who arrived in the United States last year on a student visa. The 24-year-old man arrived in San Francisco on United Airlines on Aug. 7 on a visa issued in Shanghai, the source said. Investigators have not linked him to any terrorist groups, the source said. Police believe three bomb threats on the campus last week may have been attempts by the man to test the campus’ security response, the source said. The exits to the buildings where the shootings occurred were chained by the shooter, the source said. (,vatech041607.article) ————————– Obviously a fine product of our wonderful H1-B visa system. Maybe now Bill Gates can mention again how he wants unlimited H1-B visas. After all, there’s more than one way they can destroy the field of engineering in this country. It’s not like we have anything to lose – unless you value freedom.

  2. Something is off here. The ratio of dead to wounded is really wacked and he was using 9mm and .22?? The guy must of been a great shot, and no one got the chance to jump him when he reloaded. Personally I would not be surprised if this guy has some training.

  3. Already the knee-jerk reaction is beginning…many people on facebook are already calling for tighter gun restrictions – (of course they ‘only’ mean to put restrictions on who can get a handgun/assault rifle) give them an inch and they will take a mile.

  4. It isn’t unbelievable at all when you think about what we are teaching our kids. When our kids are taught from the time they are little to hide and cower in the face of an aggresor and hope the police man comes and saves them in time, it is easy to see how one man with small arms can kill that many people.

  5. I fear Wes may have the straight of it. I feel pretty confident that given a half dozen of my generation in a room maybe two would have died but the rest would have ‘laid hands’ upon the person. The thing that brings me to this opinion is the reported chaining of exists. If this was truly done by the murderer then he was trying to prevent the escape of victims and assuming that there would be no resistance. He was assuming they would behave as victims till the end and never become adversaries. I find this disturbing on many levels. There was an earlier report of one classroom’s occupants barricading their door with the shooter not trying seriously to enter but instead moving to the next classroom to commence killing. The people in question remained behind their barricade and listen to others die. I am not condemning yet still I am saddened that apparently none of them thought of going to the aid of the others. Okay we do do pay police etc. to carry out the law. However when a civilization gets to the point that it will remain passive, in the face of death, awaiting the arrival of properly appointed authority then it’s a sad day indeed. I feel a great sadness for the victims, their families and, unfortunately, for our society. We are apparently losing something of our makeup, the ability to act in our own and others defense when needed. We have forgotten how to die standing up.

  6. Of course, what do you bet less than 50% of those dead are of any one nationality? You’ll hear calls for gun control, but none for visa control! After all, only a racist would think American schools should be for American students.

  7. We just don’t know enough for the how and the why. But ya I can easily imagine that a guy can walk through a school and gun that many people down. – The campus is gun-free, students and faculty law-abiding. No one was gong to be armed. – Since Columbine the SOP has been for teachers to lock doors, students to get under the desks and wait for the cavalry to arrive. – You fight the way you train.

  8. Murdoc’s no hero. Murdoc’s not tough. Murdoc’s certainly not well-trained. But Murdoc had better be one of the first guys you shoot, because if there are no other better immediate options he’s going to be in your face. And if you kill him when he comes for you, the types of people Murdoc associates with are probably going to be all over you while you climb out from under his dead body. I sure hope I’d be able to act that way. I sure hope I never have to find out.

  9. What perfect timeing. They canned that bill just before hunting season. I’ll bet the Virginia capital building has much better security than VT. Dumbasses!

  10. Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. ‘I’m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly’s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.” Do you feel safe now Larry? Way to go buddy. Remember college students, if somebody storms in your room, calmly lock the door and get on your hands and knees. You’ll be safe, the po-lice man will save you any second now. By the way, I have some ocean-front property for sale at very reasonable prices…

  11. Someone pointed out elsewhere that this guy offed his ‘girl friend’ and another guy across campus, which distracted the cops for a while, while he walked across campus, LOCKED THE DOORS OF THE BUILDING and started shooting up classrooms. You are right, the kill vs. wound rate is all wrong. Just a what if. What if this guy was a spy of some sort, his GF found out, he offed her, and someone else, but screwed things up bad enough that he was ordered by his handler to go on a shooting rampage to cover up what was really going on. The guy acted like a pro. There is also the theory that he was the one doing the ‘bomb threats’ prior to this to test security and he knew he would have plenty of time to pull off his massacre if he caused a distraction on the other side of the campus. THere are waay to many unknowns right now, but something feels WRONG.

  12. Murdoc’s no hero. Murdoc’s not tough. Murdoc’s certainly not well-trained. But Murdoc had better be one of the first guys you shoot, because if there are no other better immediate options he’s going to be in your face. I don’t know how old you are or what your background is but I’ll bet you have not spent the last decade being drilled in the classroom to lock the door and hide under your desk. It makes a difference – attitude counts for a lot. We used to spar in the Marines in hand-to-hand. I’m not even remotely good at that kind of stuff but one of the best guys I ever saw wasn’t ‘good’, nor was he especially athletic. But he would consistently come out on top. How? He went all out. He didn’t try for a perfect lock or throw he just did it and from furious effort would kick everyone’s ass. I sure hope I’d be able to act that way. I sure hope I never have to find out. Me too.

  13. THere are waay to many unknowns right now, but something feels WRONG. Take a random morning in the life of any person. Freeze it in time and examine it. Study it with the attention to detail that a thousand pundits, reporters and experts can bring. Now add bloggers … You’ll find an amazing mess of coincidence, confusion, happenstance and just plain odd crap. Stuff happens and life is pretty darn interesting – but it never holds still long enough for anyone to notice. Usually it take the form of meeting a co-worker by accident at the gas station or picking up the phone just as someone calls you. This doesn’t need a whacko explanation or plots by foreign powers – it’s just an evil man doing some whacked stuff.

  14. I’ll agree that there probably isn’t some sinister scheme (other than the obvious sinister scheme) at work here. For instance, before 2001 I would have said that there’s no way a jetliner could destroy a World Trade Center tower, and that the odds of going two-for-two (or even hitting two buildings in two tries) were so astronomical that it wasn’t worth seriously discussing. I’ve changed my mind about that. As I currently understand this incident, it seems implausible that one man could do what this man did with two handguns, one of them a .22. But he did it and I’m not advocating a conspiracy of some sort. This might have been a 1-in-500 success (as such) for lone crazed gunmen. That just means that, statistically, the last 499 weren’t as successful. Columbine was intended to be even worse, right? So those whackos just didn’t get as ‘lucky’ as this whacko. Same could be said for hundreds of other plans by whackos. All that being said, if it turns out that circumstances were different than we understand right now, such as if he had different weapons, or if he had help (maybe even from one of the dead?), or [insert almost anything here], I won’t be shocked.

  15. This situation is easily explained, mostly because of what Wes said. It’s easy to kill lots of people with no means to defend themselves and who’ve been conditioned not to fight back. Lambs to a slaughter, that’s all those students were. People that bet on the Gov’t coming to save your ass are betting on the wrong team.

  16. Point taken. And the more I thought about it, the more it sounded off. No, the cops are, as always, the clean up crew.

  17. In terms of the death toll, as well as the overall number of people shot, you have to consider a couple of things. First, the students were for the most part young, and without much experience in the world, particularly the world as it involves a gunman intent on killing everybody who crosses his path. It is a generation that, for better or worse, has spent a lot of time at the computer, playing games that require a suspension of disbelief. Note how one of the best reactions to the shooting, at least in one of the stories being told, is that of a Holocaust survivor who blocked the door to his classroom, thus giving his young students a chance to escape. He died giving a number of his students that opportunity The other thing to consider is the environment itself, a campus, where students come to learn and, when in class at least, are concentrating on their studies. It’s hard to keep yourself at condition yellow in a situation like that, although with time and conditioning, it’s possible to do just that. Unfortunately, these were young, inexperienced kids one step removed from their childhood. Time and conditioning were scarce commodities in many of those classrooms, and the experience, even with well publicized accounts of shootings on other campuses, probably was lacking.

  18. Well the whole thing is in flux and I’ve turned off the TV in disgust. The news agencies are acting like starved hogs at the slops trough. Hell they can’t even pronounce the kid’s name properly… by the spelling (Hui, the romanized conversion method from the Korean alphabet) it’s actually pronounced Hee, not Whie as the newscasters are doing it. Interestingly enough the Hui middle name is actually feminine (I know this because that is my wife’s middle name). My wife found this very unusual for the name of a male. It would be much like naming a young man John Roberta Whatever. In fact if you convert the phonetics back into the ancient Chinese character system (a Korean friend who was the equivalent of a Korean Lit instructor did this for my wife’s name) the charter for Hui means roughly ‘girl.’ But despite it all I’ll stayed tuned out for a few days until the media frenzy dies some and maybe a good summation is available.