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Vocapedia > USA > Gun violence > Mass shootings > School shootings







26 February 2018























Let the Teachers Teach

The New York Times

FEB. 22, 2018



































































































































































































prevent school shootings










guns at school










college police / armed police squads / armed guards














urban schools > gun violence

















USA > school shooting        UK / USA





















































100000005911972/teachers-school-shootings-classrooms.html - May 2018




100000005743519/school-shooting-images.html - May 2018






















































roboteacher-program-would-harden-our-schools - 26 february








































































































































































USA > school shooting > statistics        UK










school shooter












school gunman


























lockdown drills


































cartoons > Cagle > School shooting










campus shooting










school slayings




















Oxford High School shooting in Michigan        November 30, 2021























Marshall County High School shooting        Benton, Ky.        January 23, 2018










university shooting










USA > Oikos University shooting - Oakland, California        March 2012        UK










school shooting > Northern Illinois University        February 2008





































Did My Son Inherit My Anxiety? | Conception Season 2        NYT        31 October 2018





Did My Son Inherit My Anxiety? | Conception Season 2        Video        The New York Times        31 October 2018


She never told her son about what happened in their small town.


After Parkland, he has trouble in public spaces.


She wonders, will he ever escape his fear?


















Report of the Virginia Tech Review Panel       August 2007










school shooting > Virginia campus massacre        April 2007        UK / USA


watch?v=3w5z-8vZmy4 - NYT - 31 October 2018





























The Washington Post > Virginia Tech shooting        April 2007






USA Today > Virginia Tech shooting        April 2007






Report of the Virginia Tech Review Panel       August 2007






USA Today > Virginia Tech shooting        April 2007







The Killer at Thurston High

Aired: 01/08/2000        56:34        Rating: NR



explores what led Kip Kinkel,

a 15-year-old Oregon boy,

to kill his parents

and two classmates,

and shoot and injure 25 others

at his high school.



















By David Barreda

Rocky Mountain News via AP


Platte River sophomores Taylor Fraser, 15, left,

and Sophie Sasser, 15,

hug after being reunited

at the Deer Creek Elementary School

near Bailey, Colo., Wednesday.


A student witness

told the Today show that the gunman

"was just an old guy who came on a mission,

and I think he got what he wanted."


Colorado school shooter identified; no motive yet known

Updated 9/28/2006        1:21 PM ET        USAT


















Brian Fairrington

c. 2000



















Kevin Siers

c. 2000



















Mike Thompson

c. 2000



















Cameron Cardow

 c. 2000



Uncle Sam















Corpus of news articles


USA > Gun violence > Mass shootings >


School shootings




Massacre at School Sways Public

in Way Earlier Shootings Didn’t


January 17, 2013

The New York Times




The massacre of children at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., appears to be profoundly swaying Americans’ views on guns, galvanizing the broadest support for stricter gun laws in about a decade, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

As President Obama tries to persuade a reluctant Congress to pass new gun laws, the poll found that a majority of Americans — 54 percent — think gun control laws should be tightened, up markedly from a CBS News poll last April that found that only 39 percent backed stricter laws.

The rise in support for stricter gun laws stretched across political lines, including an 18-point increase among Republicans. A majority of independents now back stricter gun laws.

Whether the Newtown shooting — in which 20 first graders and 6 adults were killed — will have a long-term effect on public opinion of gun laws is hard to assess just a month after the rampage. But unlike the smaller increases in support for gun control immediately after other mass shootings, including after the 2011 shooting in Tucson that severely wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the latest polling results suggest a deeper, and possibly more resonating, shift.

In terms of specific gun proposals being considered, the poll found even wider support, including among gun owners.

The idea of requiring background checks on all gun purchases, which would eliminate a provision that allows about 40 percent of guns to be sold by unlicensed sellers without checks, was overwhelmingly popular. Nine in 10 Americans would favor such a law, the poll found — including 9 in 10 of the respondents who said that there was a gun in their household, and 85 percent whose households include National Rifle Association members.

A ban on high-capacity magazines, like the 15- and 30-round magazines that have been used in several recent mass shootings, was supported by more than 6 in 10, and by a majority of those who live in households with guns. And just over half of all respondents, 53 percent, said they would support a ban on some semiautomatic weapons.

After the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Tucson in 2011, polls found that 47 percent of Americans favored stricter gun laws.

“I’m from a rural area in the South, I grew up in a gun culture, my father hunted,” Leslie Hodges, a 64-year-old graphic artist who lives in Atlanta and has a gun, said in a follow-up interview. “However, I don’t believe being able to have a gun keeps you from thinking reasonably about changes that would keep someone from walking into a school and being able to kill 20 children in 20 seconds. I think that we can say, O.K., we want the freedom to have guns in this country, but there are rules we can all agree to that will make us all safer.”

The poll also gave an indication of the state of play in Washington at the outset of what is expected to be a fierce debate over the nation’s gun laws, as the National Rifle Association and several members of Congress, particularly Republicans in the House, have criticized the gun control measures that Mr. Obama proposed Wednesday and have vowed to block them.

Americans said that they trusted the president over Republicans in Congress to make the right decisions about gun laws by a margin of 47 percent to 39 percent, the poll found.

The National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby, is viewed favorably by nearly 4 in 10 Americans, the poll found. All told, 38 percent said that they had a favorable opinion of the group, while 29 percent had a negative view and the rest had no opinion. The N.R.A. was viewed positively by 54 percent of those with guns in their homes.

But the group is deeply unpopular with people in households without guns, who were twice as likely to have a negative view of the N.R.A. as a positive one: 41 percent of them expressed a negative view of it, while only 20 percent expressed a positive one.

The survey underscored how common guns in America are: 47 percent of those surveyed said that they or someone in their household owned a gun, and 31 percent had close friends or relatives who did. The top reasons cited for owning guns were protection and hunting.

The national poll was conducted by land lines and cellphones from Jan. 11 to Jan. 15, before the president announced his proposals to curb gun violence. It surveyed 1,110 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Some gun owners, like Sally Brady, a 69-year-old retired teacher who lives in Amissville, Va., explained in follow-up interviews why they would support some restrictions on ammunition or more thorough background checks of all gun buyers.

“I see no reason for high-capacity magazines if you want to go hunting,” said Mrs. Brady, an independent who owns a hunting rifle. “The purpose of hunting is sport, and you don’t need a whole big bunch of bullets to shoot a deer or a squirrel. If you’re that poor of a shot, stay out of the woods.”

Despite the higher support for stricter gun laws, many Americans do not think the changes would be very effective at deterring violence. While most Americans, 53 percent, said stricter gun laws would help prevent gun violence, about a quarter said they would help a lot.

Other steps were seen as being potentially more effective. About three-quarters of those surveyed said that having more police officers or armed security guards would help prevent mass shootings in public places. And more than 8 in 10 said better mental health screening and treatment would help prevent gun violence.

Violence in popular culture is seen by a large majority of Americans, 75 percent, as contributing to gun violence in the United States, including about 4 in 10 who say it contributes a lot.


Marjorie Connelly, Megan Thee-Brenan

and Marina Stefan contributed reporting.

Massacre at School Sways Public in Way Earlier Shootings Didn’t,






Nation Reels

After Gunman Massacres 20 Children

at School in Connecticut


December 14, 2012

The New York Times



A 20-year-old man wearing combat gear and armed with semiautomatic pistols and a semiautomatic rifle killed 26 people — 20 of them children — in an attack in an elementary school in central Connecticut on Friday. Witnesses and officials described a horrific scene as the gunman, with brutal efficiency, chose his victims in two classrooms while other students dove under desks and hid in closets.

Hundreds of terrified parents arrived as their sobbing children were led out of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in a wooded corner of Newtown, Conn. By then, all of the victims had been shot and most were dead, and the gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, had committed suicide. The children killed were said to be 5 to 10 years old.

A 28th person, found dead in a house in the town, was also believed to have been shot by Mr. Lanza. That victim, one law enforcement official said, was Mr. Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, who worked at the school. She apparently owned the guns he used.

The principal had buzzed Mr. Lanza in because she recognized him as the son of a colleague. Moments later, she was shot dead when she went to investigate the sound of gunshots. The school psychologist was also among those who died.

The rampage, coming less than two weeks before Christmas, was the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, in which a gunman killed 32 people and then himself.

Law enforcement officials said Mr. Lanza had grown up in Newtown, and he was remembered by high school classmates as smart, introverted and nervous. They said he had gone out of his way not to attract attention when he was younger.

The gunman was chillingly accurate. A spokesman for the State Police said he left only one wounded survivor at the school. All the others hit by the barrage of bullets from the guns Mr. Lanza carried died, suggesting that they were shot at point-blank range. One law enforcement official said the shootings occurred in two classrooms in a section of the single-story Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Some who were there said the shooting occurred during morning announcements, and the initial shots could be heard over the school’s public address system. The bodies of those killed were still in the school as of 10 p.m. Friday.

The New York City medical examiner’s office sent a “portable morgue” to Newtown to help with the aftermath of the shootings, a spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove, confirmed late Friday.

Law enforcement officials offered no hint of what had motivated Mr. Lanza. It was also unclear, one investigator said, why Mr. Lanza — after shooting his mother to death inside her home — drove her car to the school and slaughtered the children. “I don’t think anyone knows the answers to those questions at this point,” the official said. As for a possible motive, he added, “we don’t know much for sure.”

F.B.I. agents interviewed his brother, Ryan Lanza, in Hoboken, N.J. His father, Peter Lanza, who was divorced from Nancy Lanza, was also questioned, one official said.

Newtown, a postcard-perfect New England town where everyone seems to know everyone else and where there had lately been holiday tree lightings with apple cider and hot chocolate, was plunged into mourning. Stunned residents attended four memorial services in the town on Friday evening as detectives continued the search for clues, and an explanation.

Maureen Kerins, a hospital nurse who lives close to the school, learned of the shooting from television and hurried to the school to see if she could help.

“I stood outside waiting to go in, but a police officer came out and said they didn’t need any nurses,” she said, “so I knew it wasn’t good.”

In the cold light of Friday morning, faces told the story outside the stricken school. There were the frightened faces of children who were crying as they were led out in a line. There were the grim faces of women. There were the relieved-looking faces of a couple and their little girl.

The shootings set off a tide of anguish nationwide. In Illinois and Georgia, flags were lowered to half-staff in memory of the victims. And at the White House, President Obama struggled to read a statement in the White House briefing room. More than once, he dabbed his eyes.

“Our hearts are broken,” Mr. Obama said, adding that his first reaction was not as a president, but as a parent.

“I know there is not a parent in America who does not feel the same overwhelming grief that I do,” he said.

He called the victims “beautiful little kids.”

“They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” he said. Then the president reached up to the corner of one eye.

Mr. Obama called for “meaningful action” to stop such shootings, but he did not spell out details. In his nearly four years in office, he has not pressed for expanded gun control. But he did allude on Friday to a desire to have politicians put aside their differences to deal with ways to prevent future shootings.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut, who went to Newtown, called the shootings “a tragedy of unspeakable terms.”

“Evil visited this community today,” he said.

Lt. J. Paul Vance, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police, described “a very horrific and difficult scene” at the school, which had 700 students in kindergarten through fourth grade. It had a security protocol that called for doors to be locked during the day and visitors to be checked on a video monitor inside.

“You had to buzz in and out and the whole nine yards,” said a former chairwoman of the Newtown board of education, Lillian Bittman. “When you buzz, you come up on our screen.”

The lock system did not go into effect until 9:30 each morning, according to a letter to parents from the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, that was posted on several news Web sites. The letter was apparently written earlier in the school year.

It was Ms. Hochsprung, who recognized Mr. Lanza because his mother worked at the school, who let him in on Friday. Sometime later, she heard shots and went to see what was going on.

Lieutenant Vance said the Newtown police had called for help from police departments nearby and began a manhunt, checking “every nook and cranny and every room.”

Officers were seen kicking in doors as they worked their way through the school.

Lieutenant Vance said the students who died had been in two classrooms. Others said that as the horror unfolded, students and teachers tried to hide in places the gunman would not think to look. Teachers locked the doors, turned off the lights and closed the blinds. Some ordered students to duck under their desks.

The teachers did not explain what was going on, but they did not have to. Everyone could hear the gunfire.

Yvonne Cech, a school librarian, said she had spent 45 minutes locked in a closet with two library clerks, a library catalog assistant and 18 fourth graders.

“The SWAT team escorted us out,” she said, and then the children were reunited with their parents.

Lieutenant Vance said 18 youngsters were pronounced dead at the school and two others were taken to hospitals, where they were declared dead. All the adults who were killed at the school were pronounced dead there.

Law enforcement officials said the weapons used by the gunman were a Sig Sauer and a Glock, both handguns. The police also found a Bushmaster .223 M4 carbine.

One law enforcement official said the guns had not been traced because they had not yet been removed from the school, but state licensing records or permits apparently indicated that Ms. Lanza owned weapons of the same makes and models.

“He visited two classrooms,” said a law enforcement official at the scene, adding that those two classrooms were adjoining.

The first 911 call was recorded about 9:30 and said someone had been shot at the school, an almost unthinkable turn of events on what had begun as just another chilly day in quiet Newtown. Soon, frantic parents were racing to the school, hoping their children were all right. By 10:30, the shooting had stopped. By then, the police had arrived with dogs.

“There is going to be a black cloud over this area forever,” said Craig Ansman, who led his 4-year-old daughter from the preschool down the street from the elementary school. “It will never go away.”


Reporting on the Connecticut shootings was contributed by

Al Baker, Charles V. Bagli, Susan Beachy, Jack Begg,

David W. Chen, Alison Leigh Cowan, Robert Davey,

Matt Flegenheimer, Joseph Goldstein, Emmarie Huetteman,

Kristin Hussey, Thomas Kaplan, Elizabeth Maker,

Patrick McGeehan, Sheelagh McNeill, Michael Moss,

Andy Newman, Richard Pérez-Peña, Jennifer Preston,

William K. Rashbaum, Motoko Rich, Ray Rivera, Liz Robbins,

Emily S. Rueb, Eric Schmitt, Michael Schwirtz, Kirk Semple,

Wendy Ruderman, Jonathan Weisman, Vivian Yee

and Kate Zernike.



This article has been revised

to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 15, 2012

An earlier version of this article suggested

that the gunman in the Connecticut shooting

used a rifle to carry out the shootings

inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In fact, according to law enforcement,

the guns used in the school shooting

were both handguns.

Nation Reels After Gunman Massacres
20 Children at School in Connecticut,







Schools Review Safety

After Va. Massacre


April 19, 2007

Filed at 2:19 a.m. ET

The New York Times



COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Cell phone text messages. Loudspeakers on towers. Cameras that detect suspicious activity. Colleges and universities are considering these and other measures in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre, seeking to improve how they get the word out about emergencies to thousands of students across sprawling campuses.

The University of Washington in Seattle is weighing whether to use warning sirens. Clemson University in South Carolina recently installed a similar system for weather-related emergencies and now may expand its use.

''You're going to see a nationwide re-evaluation of how to respond to incidents like this,'' said Jeff Newton, police chief at the University of Toledo.

Chuck Green, director of public safety at the University of Iowa, said school officials were discussing a new outdoor warning system just a day before the Blacksburg shootings. The technology would allow for live voice as well as prerecorded messaging.

''We'd like the option to hit one button to reach large numbers of people at one time,'' he said.

Virginia Tech officials did not send an e-mail warning about a gunman on campus until two hours after the first slayings, drawing criticism that they waited too long and relied on e-mail accounts that students often ignore.

''Would a blast e-mail have been the most effective tool in notifying people of Monday's events?'' asked John Holden, a spokesman for DePaul University in Chicago. ''Some of the coverage I'm seeing suggests that old-fashioned emergency alarms or broadcast announcements would probably have been more effective.''

At many schools, officials want to send text messages to cell phones and digital devices as a faster, more reliable alternative to e-mail.

''We have to find a way to get to students,'' said Terry Robb, who is overseeing security changes at the University of Missouri.

The University of Memphis plans to build a system that will act as a schoolwide intercom. Scheduled to be in place by this fall, the system will consist of speakers mounted on three or four tall poles.

At Johns Hopkins University, officials installed more than 100 ''smart'' cameras after two off-campus slayings. The cameras are linked to computers that detect suspicious situations, such as someone climbing a fence or falling down, and alert not only campus security but also Baltimore city police.

Using text messages would require students to provide personal cell phone numbers -- an intrusion that many colleges and universities have until now been reluctant to pursue, said Howard Udell, chief executive officer of Saf-T-Net AlertNow, a Raleigh, N.C., company that specializes in campus security.

Cell phone numbers ''have to be as vital as your Social Security number,'' he said. ''I don't think it's been a priority.''

The Virginia Tech massacre could bring about widespread safety reforms at colleges and universities, much as the Columbine shootings in Colorado led to security improvements at primary and secondary schools, Udell said.

''We're going to use lessons learned from Virginia Tech's tragedy as much as we can,'' said Auburn University spokeswoman Deedie Dowdle.

Text-message alert systems are already in place at some schools, including Penn State University, which started its program in the fall. The system has transmitted 20 emergency messages since its start, ranging from traffic closures to weather-related cancellations or delays.

At the University of Minnesota, 101 of the university's 270 buildings have electronic access devices. A control center can selectively lock and unlock doors, send emergency e-mail and phone messages, and trigger audio tones and messages. Video cameras monitor 871 locations around the university and radio networks link the university with police.

Despite the widespread safety reviews, nothing short of a total lockdown would ensure the safety of campus communities, said Maj. Frank Knight, assistant chief of police at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.

''Stopping an individual with a weapon from getting on campus is nearly impossible,'' he said. ''We can't ever guarantee the security of the campus 100 percent.''

At Birmingham-Southern, a small private school in Alabama, campus police also use less sophisticated methods: cars equipped with public-address systems and even runners carrying messages.

Campus Police Chief Randy Youngblood said officers used car-mounted loudspeakers during storms in recent years, and the system has been effective on the small campus.


Associated Press writers Doug Whiteman in Columbus, Ohio;

Ben Greene in Baltimore; Mike Baker in Raleigh, N.C.;

Michael Tarm in Chicago;

and Nafeesa Syeed in Des Moines, Iowa,

contributed to this report.

    Schools Review Safety After Va. Massacre, NYT, 19.4.2007,






‘Horror and Disbelief’ at Virginia Tech


April 17, 2007
The New York Times


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 16 — Thirty-two people were killed, along with a gunman, and at least 15 injured in two shooting attacks at Virginia Polytechnic Institute on Monday during three hours of horror and chaos on this sprawling campus.

The police and witnesses said some victims were executed with handguns while other students were hurt jumping from upper-story windows of the classroom building where most of the killings occurred. After the second round of killings, the gunman killed himself, the police said.

It was the deadliest shooting rampage in American history and came nearly eight years to the day after 13 people died at Columbine High School in Colorado at the hands of two disaffected students who then killed themselves.

As of Monday evening, only one of the Virginia Tech victims had been officially identified. Police officials said they were not yet ready to identify the gunman or even say whether one person was behind both attacks, which wreaked devastation on this campus of 36,000 students, faculty members and staff.

Federal law enforcement officials in Washington said the gunman might have been a young Asian man who recently arrived in the United States. A university spokeswoman, Jenn Lazenby, could not confirm that report but said the university was looking into whether two bomb threats at the campus, — one last Friday, the other earlier this month — might be related to the shootings.

The university’s president, Charles W. Steger, expressed his “horror and disbelief and sorrow” at what he described as a tragedy of monumental proportions. But questions were immediately raised about whether university officials had responded adequately to the shootings.

There was a two-hour gap between the first shootings, when two people were killed, and the second, when a gunman stalked through the halls of an engineering building across campus, shooting at professors and students in classrooms and hallways, firing dozens of rounds and killing 30. Officials said he then shot himself so badly in the face that he could not be identified.

The university did not send a campuswide alert until the second attack had begun, even though the gunman in the first had not been apprehended.

Mr. Steger defended the decision not to shut down or evacuate the campus after the first shootings, saying officials had believed the first attack was a self-contained event, which the campus police believed was a “domestic” dispute.

“We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur,” he said.

President Bush sent his condolences to the families of the victims and the university community. “Schools should be places of sanctuary and safety and learning,” Mr. Bush said. “When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community.”

The Virginia Tech attacks started early in the morning, with a call to the police at 7:15 from West Ambler Johnston Hall, a 900-student freshman dormitory, as students were getting ready for classes or were on their way there.

Students said a gunman had gone room to room looking for his ex-girlfriend. He killed two people, a senior identified as Ryan Clark, from Augusta, Ga., and a freshman identified by other students on her floor as Emily Hilscher.

The shootings at the engineering building, Norris Hall, began about 9:45.

[Prof. Liviu Librescu and Prof. Kevin Granata were among the victims there, Ishwar K. Puri, the head of the engineering science and mechanics department, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.]

One student described barricading himself in a classroom there with other students and hearing dozens of gunshots nearby. Someone tried to force his way into the classroom and fired two shots through the door that did not hit anyone, the student said.

Scott L. Hendricks, an associate professor of engineering, was in his office on the third floor when he heard 40 to 50 shots from what sounded like the second floor. Mr. Hendricks said he had called 911, but the police were already on the way.

The police surrounded the building and he barricaded the door to his office. After about an hour, the police broke down his door and ordered him to flee.

“When I left, I was one of the last to leave,” Mr. Hendricks said. “I had no idea of the magnitude of the event.”

According to the college newspaper, The Collegiate Times, many of the deaths took place in a German class in Norris Hall.

“He was just a normal looking kid, Asian, but he had on a Boy Scout type outfit,” one student in the class, Erin Sheehan, told the newspaper. “He wore a tan button-up vest and this black vest — maybe it was for ammo or something.”

Ms. Sheehan added: “I saw bullets hit people’s bodies. There was blood everywhere. People in the class were passed out, I don’t know maybe from shock from the pain. But I was one of only four that made it out of that classroom. The rest were dead or injured.”

Heavily armed local and state police officers swarmed onto campus. Video clips shown on local stations showed them with rifles at the ready as students ran or sought cover and a freakish snow swirled in heavy winds. The police evacuated students and faculty members, taking many of them to local hotels. A Montgomery County school official said all schools throughout the county were being shut down.

Many parents and students questioned the university’s response to the two fatal shootings in Ambler Johnston Hall, suggesting that more aggressive action could have prevented the later and deadlier attack.

“As a parent, I am totally outraged,” said Fran Bernhards of Sterling, Va., whose daughter Kirsten attends Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, as it is formally known. “I would like to know why the university did not immediately shut down.”

Kirsten Bernhards, 18, said she and countless other students had no idea that a shooting had occurred when she left her dorm room in O’Shaughnessy Hall shortly before 10 a.m., more than two hours after the first shootings.

“I was leaving for my 10:10 film class,” she said. “I had just locked the door and my neighbor said, ‘Did you check your e-mail?’ ”

The university had, a few minutes earlier, sent out a bulletin warning students about an apparent gunman. But few students seemed to have any sense of urgency.

The university’s first bulletin warned students to be “cautious.” Then, 20 minutes later, at 9:50, a second e-mail warning was sent, saying a gunman was “loose on campus” and telling students to stay in buildings and away from windows. At 10:16, a final message said classes were canceled and advised everyone on campus to stay where they were and lock their doors.

Ms. Bernhards recalled walking toward her class, preoccupied with an upcoming exam and listening to music on her iPod. On the way, she said, she heard loud cracks, and only later concluded that they had been gunshots from the second round of shootings. But even at that point, many students were walking around the campus with little sense of alarm.

It was only when Ms. Bernhards got close to Norris Hall, the second of two buildings where the shootings took place, that she realized something was wrong.

“I looked up and I saw at least 10 guards with assault rifles aiming at the main entrance of Norris,” she recalled.

The Virginia Tech police chief, Wendell Flinchum, defended the university’s decision to keep the campus open after the first shootings, saying the information at the time indicated that it was an isolated event and that the attacker had left campus.

At an evening news conference, Chief Flinchum would not say that the same gunman was responsible for the shootings in the dormitory and the classrooms. He said he was awaiting ballistics tests and other laboratory results until declaring that the same person carried out both attacks.

He said accounts from students at the dorm had led the police to a “person of interest” who knew one or both of the victims there. The police were interviewing him off campus at the time of the shootings at Norris Hall. Chief Flinchum said officers had not arrested the man.

“You can second-guess all day,” he said. “We acted on the best information we had. We can’t have an armed guard in front of every classroom every day of the year.”

Classroom buildings are not locked and dormitories are open throughout the day but require a key card for entry at night, university officials said.

Chief Flinchum confirmed that police found some of the Norris Hall classroom doors chained shut from the inside, which is not a normal practice. Some of the people hurt there were injured leaping from windows to escape.

Virginia imposes few restrictions on the purchase of handguns and no requirement for any kind of licensing or training. The state does limit handgun purchases to one per month to discourage bulk buying and resale, state officials said.

Once a person had passed the required background check, state law requires that law enforcement officers issue a concealed carry permit to anyone who applies. However, no regulations and no background checks are required for purchase of weapons at a Virginia gun show.

“Virginia’s gun laws are some of the weakest state laws in the country,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “And where there have been attempts to make some changes, a backdoor always opens to get around the changes, like the easy access at gun shows.”

Students are not allowed to have guns on the campus.

At Ambler Johnston Hall, where the first shootings took place, many if not most students had left and those who remained stayed close to their rooms by late afternoon.

Mr. Clark, the senior who was shot in the dorm, was a resident adviser who went by the nickname Stack on Facebook.com, was well liked and was a member of the university’s marching band, the Marching Virginians, students said. “He was a cool guy,” said one fourth-floor resident.

The shootings unfolded in an age of instant messaging, cellphone cameras, blogs and social networking sites like Facebook. As the hours passed, students who were locked in their classrooms and dormitories passed on news and rumors.

In one cellphone video shown repeatedly on television networks, the sound of dozens of shots can be heard and students can be seen running from Norris Hall.

The student who made the video, Jamal Albarghouti, a graduate student, said he was already on edge because of two bomb threats on campus last week. “I knew this was something way more serious,” he told CNN.

The shooting was the second in the past year that forced officials to issue an alert to the campus.

In August of 2006, an escaped jail inmate shot and killed a deputy sheriff and an unarmed security guard at a nearby hospital before the police caught him in the woods near the university. The capture ended a manhunt that led to the cancellation of the first day of classes at Virginia Tech and shut down most businesses and municipal buildings in Blacksburg. The defendant, William Morva, is facing capital murder charges.

The atmosphere on campus was desolate and preternaturally quiet by Monday afternoon. Students gathered in small groups, some crying, some talking quietly and others consoling each other.

Up until today, the deadliest campus shooting in United States history was in 1966 at the University of Texas, where Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of a clock tower and opened fire, killing 16 people before he was shot and killed by the police. In the Columbine High attack in 1999, two teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before killing themselves.

The single deadliest shooting in the United States came in October 1991, when George Jo Hennard crashed his pickup truck through the window of a Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, Tex., then shot 22 people dead and wounded at least 20 others. He shot himself in the head.


Reporting was contributed by Sarah Abruzzese,

Edmund L. Andrews, Neela Banerjee, Micah Cohen,

Shaila Dewan, Cate Doty, Manny Fernandez,

Brenda Goodman, David Johnston, Michael Mather,

Marc Santora, Amy Schoenfeld, Archie Tse

and Matthew L. Wald.

    ‘Horror and Disbelief’ at Virginia Tech, NYT, 17.4.2007,






In Texas School,

Teachers Carry Books and Guns


August 29, 2008
The New York Times


HARROLD, Tex. — Students in this tiny town of grain silos and ranch-style houses spent much of the first couple of days in school this week trying to guess which of their teachers were carrying pistols under their clothes.

“We made fun of them,” said Eric Howard, a 16-year-old high school junior. “Everybody knows everybody here. We will find out.”

The school board in this impoverished rural hamlet in North Texas has drawn national attention with its decision to let some teachers carry concealed weapons, a track no other school in the country has followed. The idea is to ward off a massacre along the lines of what happened at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.

“Our people just don’t want their children to be fish in a bowl,” said David Thweatt, the schools superintendent and driving force behind the policy. “Country people are take-care-of-yourself people. They are not under the illusion that the police are there to protect them.”

Even in Texas, with its tradition of lenient gun laws and frontier justice, the idea of teachers’ taking guns to class has rattled some people and sparked a fiery debate.

Gun-control advocates are wringing their hands, while pro-gun groups are gleeful. Leaders of the state’s major teachers unions have expressed stunned outrage, while the conservative Republican governor, Rick Perry, has endorsed the idea.

In the center of the storm is Mr. Thweatt, a man who describes himself as “a contingency planner,” who believes Americans should be less afraid of protecting themselves and who thinks signs at schools saying “gun-free zone” make them targets for armed attacks. “That’s like saying sic ’em to a dog,” he said.

Mr. Thweatt maintains that having teachers carry guns is a rational response to a real threat. The county sheriff’s office is 17 miles away, he argues, and the district cannot afford to hire police officers, as urban schools in Dallas and Houston do.

The school board decided that teachers with concealed guns were a better form of security than armed peace officers, since an attacker would not know whom to shoot first, Mr. Thweatt said. Teachers have received training from a private security consultant and will use special ammunition designed to prevent ricocheting, he added.

Harrold, about 180 miles northwest of Dallas, is a far cry from the giant districts in major Texas cities, where gang violence is the main concern and most schools have their own police forces. Barely 100 students of all ages attend classes here in two brick buildings built more than 60 years ago. There are two dozen teachers, a handful of buses and a football field bordered by crops.

Yet the town is not isolated in rustic peace, supporters of the plan point out. A four-lane highway runs through town, bringing with it a river of humanity, including criminals, they say. The police recently shut down a drug-producing laboratory in a ramshackle house near school property. Drifters sometimes sleep under the overpass.

“I’m not exactly paranoid,” Mr. Thweatt said. “I like to consider myself prepared.”

Some residents and parents, however, think Mr. Thweatt may be overstating the threat. Many say they rarely lock their doors, much less worry about random drifters with pistols running amok at the school. Longtime residents were hard-pressed to recall a single violent incident there.

Others worry that introducing guns into the classroom might create more problems than it solved. A teacher tussling with a student could lose control of a weapon, or a gun might go off by accident, they said.

“I don’t think there is a place in the school whatsoever for a gun unless you have a police officer in there,” said Bobby G. Brown, a farmer and former school board chairman whose two sons were educated at the school. “I don’t care how much training they have.”

His wife, Diane Brown, added: “There are too many things that could happen. They are not trained to make life-and-death-situation judgments.”

Mr. Thweatt declined to say how many teachers were armed, or who they were, on the theory that it would tip off the bad guys. He also declined to identify the private consultant who provided teachers with about 40 hours of weapons training.

Most critics question whether teachers, even with extra training, are as qualified as police officers to take out an armed attacker.

“We are trained to teach and to educate,” said Zeph Capo, the legislative director for the Houston Association of Teachers. “We are not trained to tame the Wild West.”

Texas gun laws ban the weapons on school property. But the Legislature carved out an exception allowing school boards to permit people with concealed handgun licenses to carry their weapons. No local district had taken advantage of the exception until the Harrold school board acted.

Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency, said the state’s hands were tied. “We have really tried not to get involved in this,” Ms. Ratcliffe said. “Frankly, it’s a matter of local control.”

Gun-control advocates say, however, that while the school district may be complying with state gun laws, it appears to be violating the education statute. That law says “security personnel” authorized to carry weapons on campuses must be “commissioned peace officers,” who undergo police training.

“It seems to us not only an unwise policy but an illegal one,” said Brian Siebel, a lawyer in Washington for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

The school district has countered that teachers are not “security personnel” and so do not need to become peace officers.

As a general rule, the seven school board members — a collection of farmers and oil workers led by an ambulance medic — have referred all questions from reporters to Mr. Thweatt. But one member, Coy Cato, gave a short interview. “In my opinion, it is the best way to protect our kids,” Mr. Cato said. Asked if others in the community shared his view, he said that he had not taken a poll, but “I think so.”

Still, several residents complained that the board made little or no effort to gather public opinion on the matter. Some said they did not hear about the plan until reporters started asking questions about it in early August.

Mr. Thweatt said the board discussed the proposal for nearly two years and considered several options — tranquilizer guns, beanbag guns, Tasers, Mace and armed security guards — but each was found lacking in some way. “We devil-advocated it to death,” Mr. Thweatt said.

That discussion went unnoticed by many parents.

Traci McKay, a 34-year-old restaurant employee, sends three children to the school, yet said she had not heard about the pistol-carrying teachers until two weeks before the start of the semester. She was stunned.

“I should have been informed,” Ms. McKay said. “If something happens, do we really want all these people shooting at each other?”

Ms. McKay said Mr. Thweatt had yet to explain why a town with such a low crime rate needed such measures. She is afraid, however, that her children might face repercussions if she takes up a petition against the idea.

“We are pretty much being told to deal with this or move,” Ms. McKay said.

    In Texas School, Teachers Carry Books and Guns, NYT, 29.8.2008,







Major shootings

at schools and universities


Fri Feb 15, 2008

4:29pm EST



(Reuters) - Five people were killed when a man opened fire in a classroom at Northern Illinois University near Chicago on Thursday, including the gunman who killed himself, CNN reported.

Here are some major shootings inside schools and universities around the world in recent years:

March 1996 - BRITAIN - A gunman bursts into a primary school in Dunblane in Scotland and shoots dead 16 children and their teacher before killing himself.

March 1997 - YEMEN - A man with an assault rifle attacks hundreds of pupils at two schools in Sanaa, killing six children and two others. He is sentenced to death the next day.

March 1998 - USA - At Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, two boys aged 13 and 11 set off the fire alarm and kill four students and a teacher as they leave the school.

May 1998 - USA - In Springfield, Oregon, a student opens fire in Thurston High School, killing two students and injuring 22. The boy's parents are later found slain in their home.

April 1999 - USA - Two student gunmen kill 12 other students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, before killing themselves.

January 2002 - USA - A student who had been dismissed from the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia, kills the dean, a professor and a student, and wounds three others.

February 2002 - GERMANY - In Freising, Bavaria, a former student thrown out of trade school shoots three people before killing himself. Another teacher is injured.

April 26, 2002 - GERMANY - In Erfurt, eastern Germany, a gunman opens fire after he said he was not going to take a mathematics test. A total of 18 people die, including the assailant.

September 1, 2004 - RUSSIA - 333 hostages - at least 186 of them children - die in a chaotic storming of School No. 1 in Beslan, after it is seized by rebels demanding Chechen independence.

March 21, 2005 - USA - A 16-year-old high school student shoots dead five students, a teacher and a security guard at a school at Minnesota's Red Lake Indian Reservation. He also killed his grandfather and his grandfather's companion.

September 13, 2006 - CANADA - Kimveer Gill opens fire on the street and inside the college in Montreal's Dawson College, killing one student and injuring 19 others. Gill kills himself after a battle with police.

October 2, 2006 - USA - Charles Carl Roberts, a dairy truck driver with a grudge, attacks a one-room Amish school in rural Pennsylvania, He shoots 10 girls, killing five of them, before killing himself.

November 20, 2006 - GERMANY - An 18-year-old former pupil opens fire after storming the Scholl school in the town of Emsdetten. Eleven people are wounded before he commits suicide.

April 16, 2007 - USA - A gunmen kills 32 people and himself and wounds 15 others at Virginia Tech University in the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history.

November 7, 2007 - FINLAND - Seven children and a head teacher are killed when a student opens fire at a school in southern Finland. The 18-year-old dies later in hospital after shooting himself in the head.

February 14, 2008 - USA - Five people are killed when a man opens fire in a classroom at Northern Illinois University near Chicago, including the gunman who killed himself, CNN reports.

(Writing by Nagesh Narayana and Paul Grant)

TIMELINE: Major shootings at schools and universities,










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