The worst thing the Virginia Tech leadership did

A point that was revealed in the media last week about the Virginia Tech massacre but that has not been brought out enough is the specific reason for the Virginia Tech administration’s decision not to lock down the campus and not even to send out a warning that a double murder had been committed and that the killer was at large. (Here’s a revealing and damning story from the Los Angeles Times on this. A more definitive story in the New York Post, “Inside story of Va. Tech’s tragic delay,” April 18, draws on the LA Times story and on additional sources, but is not online.)

When police arrived at the dorm where the first two murders had occurred, Heather Haugh, the roommate and friend of the murdered girl, Emily Hilscher, told police that Emily’s boyfriend, Karl Thornhill, was a gun enthusiast. On the basis of this information, the campus authorities decided that Thornhill had done it. They therefore determined that the two murders were an incident of “domestic violence” (domestic violence in a college dorm?) that posed no general threat to the campus community.

In other words, solely because the victim’s boyfriend used guns, the VT leadership didn’t merely think that he was a possible suspect to be questioned, they decided definitively that he was the killer. Further, since he was not a student at VT and did not live on campus, they decided that the killer was no longer on campus. They blocked out all other possibilities. And they did this despite the fact that Heather had told the police that Emily’s relationship with her boyfriend was going well.

It was thus the blind liberal prejudice that gun owners are evil, and that therefore the gun-owning boyfriend MUST be the killer, that led the VT administration not to warn the campus that there was an armed murderer at large.

It was liberalism—specifically the liberal bigotry against gun owners, and more specifically the liberal bigotry against white male gun owners—that allowed this atrocity to occur. And that is why all the liberals call the massacre “senseless.” They don’t want people to think about the real reasons the massacre wasn’t stopped.

- end of initial entry -

Sage McLaughlin writes:

I think you’re obviously right about the “liberal bigotry against gun owners” angle. There’s another angle here, though, and that’s this: I wonder how many workshops, seminars, etc. the campus police have been subjected to by the on-campus feminist establishment about “domestic violence?” Anyone who has had extensive experience with campus politics knows that by far the most powerful sect of PC busybodies is the feminist harpies at your local “Violence Prevention Center” or “Women’s Center” or what have you. A politically militant but intellectually unexceptional legion of mediocrities—usually from the Women’s Studies, Sociology, English, and other liberal arts departments—often wields tremendous power to shape the content of campus police training.

I assure you these officers have been instructed that interpersonal violence against women by men is one of the cardinal issues afflicting Virginia Tech, and that almost all of these bloody incidents go (conveniently) unreported. I am willing to bet a steak dinner (especially because I can never be proven wrong) that these campus officers were so ready to file this under “domestic violence” because they had been indoctrinated to believe that the biggest threat to a female college student is almost always her boyfriend. So not only was this mysterious fellow a white gun-owner, but he was also “the boyfriend.” The specter this conjures for anyone familiar with feminist literature is a generically menacing abuser, who might even play lacrosse.

LA replies:

Agreed. And what is worse, horrible events like this will not bring most of these people to have second thoughts. They are so invested in the world view you have described that they simply block out any contrary evidence. And, as I’ve argued, their need to block it out is their key motivation for seeing the atrocity as a senseless, random event in a universe filled with meaningless suffering.

Josh writes:

Sage wrote,

I am willing to bet a steak dinner (especially because I can never be proven wrong) that these campus officers were so ready to file this under “domestic violence” because they had been indoctrinated to believe that the biggest threat to a female college student is almost always her boyfriend.

Or Cho Sung-Hui…? Let’s not forget that we are told this killer was a “stalker” that did the unthinkable which was to contact girls that he had an affinity for with phone calls and IMs. These contacts were “annoying” and non-threatening according to everything we’ve heard and yet police authorities were called to intervene. I can tell you that such a situation would lead many insecure and introverted men to boil with rage. Of course, this does not justify his final actions, but it may help to explain them.

LA replies:

According to Heather, Emily’s friend and roommate, there was no contact or relationship with Cho that Emily had ever mentioned. Heather is befuddled that Cho chose Emily to kill. If he was stalking Emily, no one knew about it. Heather also told the LA Times that their room is in an out of the way place in their dorm building, so Cho would not have likely found it by accident.

My guess is that he wanted to murder one person as practice and preparation for the big event, so he just went to a dorm and looked for a person to kill.

This theory is supported by the fact that after he did the first two murders, but before he did the mass murder, he went back to his room, put together his package of messages and recordings, including apparently making some new recordings, and mailed the package to NBC. So his plan was, kill one person (it turned to be two persons), which would get him “into it,” into the passion of killing, then in that passion make further recordings and send them, then proceed to the mass murder.

In fact, now that I think about it, the first victim would have to be someone who did not know Cho or have any any previous contact or trouble with him. If he had killed one of his professors or one of the girls who had complained about him, he would immediately have become a suspect and would have been arrested, so he would not have had those two hours of undisturbed liberty in which to finalize and mail his package before proceeding to the mass murder. In order for him for carry out his three-stage plan, it was necessary that the first victim be “randomly” chosen.

Another reason for the three-stage plan is as follows: Sending the package to the media was crucial. But he couldn’t send the package unless he was absolutely sure that he was going to commit the mass killing. What if he sent the package, and then got cold feet? So, in order to make sure that he was ready, willing and able to kill dozens of people, he first had to have a trial run on one victim. Once he had committed the one murder (which in the event turned out to be two), he would be fully launched on his homicidal career and be assured of his own will and ability to carry out the mass murder.

On another subject, I should mention that Josh and I have had an off-line conversation in which he states the view that it was specifically the university’s liberalism that enraged Cho. All these people claiming to be understanding and open and so forth, and then, merely because Cho expressed interest in some girls, these same liberals wanted to lock him up. This enraged him and made him want to kill.

However, the indications are that he did more than express interest. Assuming that he did engage in behavior that can be fairly described as stalking, that is going to be alarming, especially in today’s world. In our society, with all the things that happen nowadays, if a young man follows a young woman around staring at her, that will be seen as hostile and threatening behavior. But I don’t know. Maybe Josh is right and the authorities saw Cho’s behavior through the same feminist anti-male lens that made them rush to the baseless conclusion that Emily’s boyfriend was the killer.

Another point here is: in the old days at least, no one could just walk into a dorm, especially a girls’ dorm. But now, with co-ed dorms, we have the Open Dorm, just as we have the Open Society.

Josh writes:

Perhaps Cho liked this girl from afar and I believe in his video he said something about seeing a particular person soon after his suicide. Was it her … ? We will never know? But the incidents I’m speaking of were the two “stalking” stories from late 2005. It seems to me that “stalking,” if it’s known by the “victims” has to be by definition something more than “annoying” and “non-threatening.” Yet, these are the descriptions given by the first girl and the police, respectively, to the two incidents. A young, insecure and introverted kid trying to make contact with girls he liked from afar only to have the police intervene and probably thoroughly embarrassed and insulted by something entirely normal. It was after these incidents that an acquaintance called to say Cho seemed suicidal. This seems to be another corrosive effect of modern feminism.

LA replies

> It seems to me that “stalking,” if it’s known by the “victims” has to be by definition something more than “annoying” and “non-threatening.” Yet, these are the descriptions given by the first girl and the police, respectively, to the two incidents.

If those two isolated words, “annoying” and “non-threatening,” are all you know about the incidents, then you don’t know enough to be constructing the theory that you’re constructing. You have no factual picture of his behavior, you just have two adjectives quoted without any context.

Josh replies:

My point was that the MSM are calling these incidents “stalking” when all we know is that the first girl said Cho’s contacts (phone call, Instant Messages) were “annoying” and the police said the second incident was “non-threatening.” How then does the MSM suggest that these were incidents of stalking as traditionally understood? Can stalking be merely “annoying” and “non-threatening?” Such descriptions undermine the very charge of stalking in my opinion. As I wrote to you some days ago, one of the media channels (Fox, CNN or MSNBC) showed one of the IMs sent by Cho to one of the girls. It was cryptic and expressed a feeling of a kid that felt even the mention of his name was sure to lead to instant rejection. I have been unable to find that IM and I can assure you (although that might not be enough) that it also undermines the notion that Cho was “stalking” these girls.

LA replies:

On the face of it, it is impossible that the judge would have called him an imminent danger to self or others and sent him to a state psychiatric hospital with the thought of having him institutionalized if his behavior added up to nothing more than what you are supposing it to have been, without any facts to back up your theory. We simply need more facts on this.


I’ve tried in vain to find the IM that was displayed the other night concerning Cho and the girls he “stalked” to no avail. I believe it was presented on CNN with Anderson Cooper and so I went and checked out the transcripts from the shows late last week. I also wrote an email to Anderson Cooper in hopes of getting that IM. We shall see. This is what I have found and again it seems like the “stalking” charge is exaggerated as there seems a dearth of real information to make such a claim. The part that is relevant is about 2/3 the way down the page when Mr. Cooper talks to Cho’s roommates, John and Andy. Again, I’m not attempting a defense of Cho, but I am very dismayed that the portrait being drawn contains so little real information and the main “artist” is a black racialist named Giovanni.

Mark N. writes:

Thank you so much for your analysis of the Virginia Tech administration’s inability or unwillingness to draw the appropriate conclusions from the first two homicides last Monday. I’ve been cudgeling my brains to try to understand why the police and administration simply dropped the ball, and were unable to approach the investigation in a logical manner. And that’s just the point: they were totally unable to think logically. Liberalism at its core denies reality and therefore cannot utilize facts or salient information when approaching any type of social problem. Liberals choose to feel, rather than think.

I can attest that I have personally been the object of liberal prejudice, being a gun enthusiast and NRA member myself. Having a doctorate in psychology, I have the misfortune of having to deal with quite a few liberals in my work. When I tell them that I am a multiple gun owner, and a firm believer in Second Amendment rights, their eyes invariably glaze over, and their frontal lobes shut down. One liberal colleague even had the nerve to call me a lousy parent, and predicted that my ten year old would kill himself with a gun. I must admit that I “lost it” at that point, called her a “personality disordered bitch,” and threw her out of my office. I also told her if she wanted to sue me for my lack of political correctness, she was free to do so, and that I would relish the challenge in court. She never sued me.

Thanks again for the clear analysis.

Tom S. writes:

As you have pointed out, it’s no wonder that liberals, and their allegedly conservative enablers, keep referring to the VT shooting as “senseless”—because if people DID think about the “sense” behind it, they would realize that it was an almost textbook instance of what is wrong with the modern liberal order. Think about it—the “enraged, alienated” minority, egged on by his “enraged, alienated” professors, the helpless, passive, defenseless students, the immediate targeting by police of the white heterosexual gun owner, the “gun free zone” that left everyone defenseless, the prejudice against the Engineering school and students, the absurd posturing of the feckless cowardly clowns running the University, the repeated attempts to take the killer out of circulation thwarted by judges and shrinks, the benumbed, slow response of the “authorities,” the failure of the background check due to bureaucratic malfeasance, right down to the brave, doomed Israeli, and the almost mechanical calls for more “gun control.” If you put it in a movie (assuming conservatives made movies) no one would believe it, they would think that you were creating straw men to criticize modern academic liberalism, they would say that no one could really be so stupid … and yet it all happened, right in front of us. Amazing—simply amazing. I know firsthand the failings of modern liberalism, yet sometimes even I simply stand in awe.

LA replies:

A standing ovation for Tom S.’s summary of the meaning of it all.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 23, 2007 01:57 PM | Send

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