“The Legacy of the Texas Tower Sniper”

Charles Whitman was a murderer [Univ. of Texas tower sniper, 1966]; he killed innocent people. We should not forget that. In Virginia we appear to have a Whitman-like character. It is vitally important for all to remember that there is only one person responsible for what happened in Blacksburg, and that is the man who pulled the trigger. But in Virginia the diversions have already begun. As I write this, less than a half-day since the senseless killing of nearly three dozen innocent people, Web headlines on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC read: “Did Virginia Tech’s Response Cost Lives?” “Parents Demand Firing of Virginia Tech President, Police Chief Over Handling,” “Students Wonder About Police Response.” Ironically, those headlines are juxtaposed with pictures of law-enforcement officers administering medical treatment and hauling wounded students to safety. Next to those pictures are videos of Virginia Tech’s president and chief of police, in pain and in the midst of a nightmare, bombarded with sensational questions from irresponsible reporters.
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Before we identify and learn the lessons of Blacksburg, we must begin with the obvious: More than four dozen innocent people were gunned down by a murderer who is completely responsible for what happened. No one died for lack of text messages or an alarm system. They died of gunshot wounds. While we painfully learn our lessons, we must not treat each other as if we are responsible for the deaths that occurred. We must come together and be respectful and kind. This is not a time for us to torture ourselves or to seek comfort by finding someone to blame.

The Legacy of the Texas Tower Sniper,” by Gary Lavergne, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 18, 2007
Charles Whitman – Wikipedia
Cho Seung-hui – Wikipedia

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