Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thoughts On Virginia Tech

It's time now for some thoughts on the tragedy at VT last Monday.

First, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum showed himself to be a first-class police administrator. His demeanor and style during the early afternoon press conference was extremely professional, even though he was surely suffering severe mental anguish from the ordeal.

Chief Flinchum and the university came under severe criticism for not locking down the entire campus after the early morning shooting. That criticism came (and still comes) from people who have obviously given no thought whatsoever to the situation.

The Virginia Tech campus, at 2600 acres, is roughly the same size as uptown Martinsville. With twice the population. The same idiots that expected Chief Flinchum to close down the campus would feel extremely silly demanding that Martinsville's Chief Rogers close down the City streets, shops, and stores after a domestic shooting in an apartment on Fayette St. Like Chief Flinchum, Chief Rogers would never even consider such an extreme reaction to what appeared to be the result of an ex or jilted suitor.

The Virginia Tech Police force is a nationally accredited police agency, just like hundreds of City and Town police agencies throughout the country. Granted, theft from dorm rooms and backpacks is the leading crime on campus, but the VTP are fully capable of handling crime of any sort. No agency though, is ever expecting to have a mass murder to deal with when the shift begins. Nor was there any reason to expect one on April 16, until shots were fired in Norris Hall.

The esteem I hold for Chief Flinchum does not extend to all of Virginia Tech's personnel, however. I don't know who instituted Tech's ban on weapons. Specifically the ban on legal concealed carry. I do know that Virginia Tech spokesman, Larry Hincker, worked hard to keep it in place, even crowing over the failure of HB-1572 in January of 2006. HB-1572 would have required Virginia's colleges and universities to recognize a legal, legitimate concealed carry permit. When HB-1572 failed to clear the House Militia, Police and Public Safety committee, Mr. Hinker said, "I think it's fair to say that we believe guns don't belong in the classroom. In an academic environment, we believe you should be free from fear." Apparently Mr. Hinker feels you should be defenseless as well.

There is no public record of the vote (that I'm aware of) that killed HB-1572 in this committee, and yes, I'm aware that this committee is very heavily weighted with Republicans. They were still very wrong.

See why I believe this here.

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