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On April 16, 2007 a lone gunman went on a violent rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA. in what law enforcement officials have called the deadliest mass killing in US history (Hauser). According to the New York Times the shootings claimed 33 lives in two separate incidents that were two and a half hours apart (Hauser)…
Cho Seung-Hui had been previously investigated for hostile behavior, but any action was private and was not disclosed due to confidentiality issues ("Killer's Manifesto"). The University was faulted for a slow and inadequate response and the state was criticized for failing to deal with the shooter's mental health problems.
Politicians, educators and editorialists lost no time in commenting on the tragedy, but they arrived at radically different conclusions when it came to addressing many of the basic questions arising from an act of this nature. Among them were the following: Why did University officials allow the killing to continue without evacuating the campus Why did the state not take action and force Cho Seung-Hui to seek treatment for his mental disorders How did the suspect obtain high-powered weapons with a history of mental health issues In this review of the initial reactions to the shootings at Virginia Tech, I intend to examine how those three questions were answered, while at the same time indicating my own critical response to the conclusions that they were based on. The killings could have been prevented by a quicker University response, mandatory mental health treatment, and stricter gun control.
The formal investigation into the shootings criticized the University for faili ...
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