No doubt everyone has heard about the tragedy at Virginia Tech yesterday where a madman walked on campus and killed 32 people, wounded many others and then turned the gun on himself.  It’s just so senseless that decent people will never understand what motivates someone to […]

No doubt everyone has heard about the tragedy at Virginia Tech yesterday where a madman walked on campus and killed 32 people, wounded many others and then turned the gun on himself.  It’s just so senseless that decent people will never understand what motivates someone to do such a heinous thing to fellow human beings.  Unfortunately, now begins the debacle that we will surely see that follows tragedy like this.  The news media has already begun greasing the wheels of the legal system by jumping on the question why the university didn’t notify students sooner of the danger as the situation played out.  The first two news accounts I read of the tragedy were playing up the "university at fault" meme by the third or fourth paragraph.  Soon we will see TV news reporters offering up experts who will make claims that some of the victims would likely have been saved if earlier warnings had been given by Virginia Tech officials.  A monster walks onto campus killing people indiscriminately and we blame the university.  When did we as a society come to expect the authorities in our lives to protect us from absolutely everything?  Ask anyone living in a Middle Eastern hotspot and they’ll tell you there is no total protection from madmen.

What’s even sadder than the tragedy is the scores of lawyers who were no doubt contacting the victim’s families before the bodies were even cold.  It won’t be long before we see dozens of lawsuits filed against Virginia Tech for not protecting (or warning) their loved one quickly enough.  Oh they’ll sue the madman’s family too to make it look like they’re not after the money but the lawyers will make sure they sue the university with the deeper pockets.  This whole cycle sickens me as much as the act of the evil madman who perpetrated the act.  Bad people do bad things, why does someone have to get money as a result?

My heart goes out to the families of the victims and even the shooter.  No one can understand the depth of your loss.

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  1. Warner Crocker Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    Brilliantly said, jk.

  2. I come from Asia and I truy believe United States is a beautiful and wonderful country but this is almost the only highly advance industrialized country that has this kind of senseless killings. Usually when blood spilled, there are motives and interests but this is simply senseless killings.

  3. bob the builder Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    I agree. i just saw the interview with the university president and the reporter was pushing questions of ‘university failed to act after the first shooting’.
    whereas the actual blame for this should go to firstly the gunman and then secondly the american gun culture.
    basically in america everyone has the power to kill if they want to , and all societies have nut cases, so the fairly regualr occurance of these events is no surprise. columbine , the sniper.. now this. you can almost garuntee another one or two of these occuring every decade. what a shame.

  4. As I read your post to my wife she asked if I wrote that. I wish!

    Very well put.

  5. Benjamin Ries Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    I want to say that I respect and understand your response, Mr. Kendrick; I merely wish to offer an additional viewpoint.

    If the university has deep pockets, they are deep with student tuition payments and alumni donations. Assigning blame is only one goal of tort law – effective deterrence and victim compensation are others. So if a lawsuit ends up motivating other universities to upgrade their safety procedures in the future, perhaps that’s not so bad.

    That said, as a Canadian law student I recognize that America is a very litigious place (though this seems to stem, in part, from a different public/private economic balance). I’m merely suggesting that the attention being given to possible negligence on the part of VT does not necessarily symbolize an attempt to prioritize moral blame or allow the victims’ families to get rich quick. Instead, it is likely a part of identifying what needs to change so that this doesn’t happen again.

  6. Benjamin Ries Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    p.s. I agree with the ‘bob the builder’ comment about the US approach to firearms in general. I was saddened, for instance, to see your President yesterday have his press representative remind everyone that he still supports “the right to bear arms.” Doesn’t seem like a very sensitive thing to bring up, only hours after the tragedy.

  7. just stick to mobile tech please. thanks.

  8. James Kendrick Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    Benjamin, to me it’s ludicrous to believe that financial penalties will have any affect on future acts of random, insane violence like this. What’s next, some madman straps a mega-bomb on, jumps out of a plane with the intent to kill as many people as possible attending a sporting event? What do we do then, sue the sports team and stadium owner? The mindset that says if the organization makes a profit then that’s reason enough to make them the bad guy and sue them for the acts of others?

    I do respectfully disagree that to sue VT for this is to “make things better in the future”, it seems clear to me that such legal action would be primarily to line the pockets of the families and the law firms who push this. While everyone involved will no doubt claim what you’ve stated, the desire to make sure that universities step up their security in the future is a smoke screen, pure and simple. I don’t know how long VT has been around but I’m pretty sure their security has been adequate for quite some time until this random act. Sorry but I don’t think you’ll convince me that there is justification for suing an organization for the mindless act of an individual.

  9. Can’t be said better. You read my mind, JK.

  10. James Kendrick Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    bill gates, just ignore the parts you don’t like. A rare post off-topic just punctuates the fact that this is a blog and sometimes we post personal opinions.

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