Yesterday's tragedy at Virginia Tech is almost too much to take in. The horror, the loss of life, the senselessness of it, the age of the victims -- it's unbearable.
We can't restore the dead to life. We can't say much to comfort grieving family and friends. We can't erase the memories of the survivors. But one thing we can do is provide at least a few answers.
Why did the shooter snap? Did anyone have any inkling that he might be planning a bloodbath? Where did he get the weapons? Was anyone else involved? Was the response of college authorities appropriate? What needs to be done to prevent incidents like this or provide better warnings to students if such massacres can't be stopped?
The survivors and loved ones of the victims deserve answers to these questions. And after watching the head of the campus police at a press conference last night, I couldn't believe that campus security was still in charge of this investigation.
I went to college and although my encounters with campus security were rare, these encounters were hardly confidence-inspiring. Twenty-year-olds whose voices were still cracking with youth, retired guys who could barely strap their walkie-talkies around their beer bellies, carrying a heavy resentment toward students along with their billy clubs. Maybe my view of campus police is skewed. But when we consider the enormity of this massacre, can we honestly say that campus police are the best people for the job?
There have already been serious questions raised about the university's response and the on-going investigation of the campus police. They still haven't said whether there were one or two gunmen (if there was one, say so to alleviate the fears of students; if there were two, why isn't there a massive manhunt underway?). They didn't identify the student to the public until sometime early this morning. They dismissed the first shooting as merely a "domestic"* and didn't implement wide-scale warnings to students until after most were on their way to morning classes.
Now is not the time for Cletus Farkel or Wendell Finchum or whoever the hell he is to play cops and robbers with a staff accustomed to dealing with drunk students and minor vandalism. Let's get the best law enforcement officers in the country on this case. Let's get some answers.
*And don't even get me started on what this may say about the campus police's attitude toward violence against women: "It was just his girlfriend - he's not gonna shoot anybody else"? "The bitch probably deserved it"?