EDITORIAL: Addressing safety after VT

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EDITORIAL: Addressing safety after VT

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Posted: 4/18/07
As expected, even before tears were able to dry, and before the reality of the Virginia Tech tragedy could really set in, officials began discovering details about what happened Monday morning.

Yesterday, Americans saw the face of the shooter -- the first step in putting the pieces together in this country's deadliest shooting. And with that name came information about Cho Seung-Hui's troubled past. He was taking medications to treat psychological illnesses, according to an April 18 New York Times article. Pieces that Cho had composed for a creative writing class contained violent material, concerning one professor so much that she had passed the work onto police and other officials.

Reports about Cho's criminal tendencies spurred much speculation about why it wasn't addressed before he caused nightmarish destruction. It also inspired security leaders and university administrators across the country to meet and discuss how to improve campus safety.

The Boston Police Department met with administrators from surrounding universities to review their own security procedures. One of the biggest things that came out of Tuesday's conversation was the need to find potentially dangerous students and pluck them out before they follow in Cho's footsteps.

While officials are correct in holding these meetings because safety is so important and relevant to consider, this sort of psychoanalytical prevention must just be the very start of security discussions.

Leaders were merely addressing the most important evidence that had come from the Virginia Tech case at the time. But when more specifics come about what enabled the gunman to strike twice, leaders must try to never repeat whatever mistakes police made Monday.

It is unrealistic to think school counselors can identify potential mass murderers within enormous student bodies like those at Virginia Tech, Boston University, Northeastern University and many other colleges. Afterall, not everyone who writes disturbing material about death in an English class is a possible criminal.

The reality is that the two murders at West Ambler Johnston Hall were not preventable. However, it is possible that if students had known of the first shooting almost immediately after it happened, fewer might have been shot two hours later at Norris Hall. But until all the details of the shootings surface, it will remain unclear what could have been done.

After the first shooting, police began tracking the boyfriend of the female victim, but during their pursuit, the second series of shots were reported at Norris Hall, according to the Times.

University officials cannot completely improve security based on unknown errors. Monday's massacre must be put under a microscope. Police need the closest possible look at everything that transpired on the Virginia Tech campus to learn what went wrong, what could have been prevented and what was unfortunately inevitable. Only when all of this is revealed will officials know how to improve university security.

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Original Source: <a href=http://media.www.dailyfreepress.com/media/storage/paper87/news/2007/04/18/Opinion/Editorial.Addressing.Safety.After.Vt-2849541.shtml>The Daily Free Press - April 18, 2007</a>

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Anonymous

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The Daily Free Press

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2007-08-14

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Sara Hood

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Matt Negrin <editor@dailyfreepress.com>

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eng

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Anonymous, "EDITORIAL: Addressing safety after VT," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1052, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1052 (accessed August 23, 2014).