Friday, August 31, 2007

Was Virginia Tech massacre avoidable?

BBC's latest top news is: US college faulted over massacre. :
"Lives might have been saved if Virginia Tech officials had acted sooner after student Cho Seung-hui's first killings, a state report into the shootings says."
I've always been skeptical of analysis of what should have been done. After going through an event moment by moment for 2 months, it is easy so say what could have been done better. However, one must realize the limits set by time, lack of information and a persons ability to process that information. So what is the point of realizing after two months of analysis that if all the doors in the campus would have been locked, people would probably might have been safer? It is as useful to say that if we didn't have Virginia Tech, the Virginia Tech massacre wouldn't have happened, so it was avoidable.
What is even weirder, is that most of the BBC article (aside of the heading and the first sentence cited above) actually talks how the massacre could not have been avoided:
"while a lockdown might have helped protect some students and teachers it would have likely been ineffective in stopping Cho, who "had started on a mission of fulfilling a fantasy of revenge", the report said
"From what we know of his mental state and commitment to action that day, it was likely that he would have acted out his fantasy somewhere on campus or outside it that same day," the report said.
The panel were also mindful of the fact that as a student himself, Cho would have had access to the same warning messages as everyone else and to the campus buildings.
In fact the report concluded that a complete lockdown of all 131 buildings in the Virginia Tech building was not feasible in the time available on the day, and that there was little the university could have done to secure the premises which would have halted Cho's attack.
"There does not seem to be a plausible scenario of a university response to the double homicide that could have prevented the tragedy of considerable magnitude on April 16," the report said."
It seems that even BBC cannot resist catchy headings which have little correlation with the actual content of the article.


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