Skip to comments.Another shooting on a "no-guns" Virginia campus
Posted on 12/30/2009 4:31:11 AM PST by marktwain
Amidst continued reverberations from the worst campus shooting in our nation's history at Virginia Tech in 2007 came news of yet another shooting on a "no-guns" Virginia campus earlier this month.
According to news reports, as 20 year-old James Michael Hamilton stood at the entrance to his math classroom with a long black canvas bag at his side, oblivious classmates filed into a classroom, apparently giving nary a thought to what was in the bag, or why Hamilton had suddenly decided to reappear at the class after having been absent for several weeks.
Although at least one student reportedly questioned Hamilton about what he was doing, ("I'm waiting for her", came the ominous answer), there are no reports of any students deciding not to enter the class, or calling 911 to report his suspicious behavior. Even the teacher apparently passed Hamilton and entered the classroom without pause.
Just as class was about to get underway, Hamilton stood in the doorway, drew a Marlin bolt action hunting rifle chambered in 30.06 from the black canvas bag, and fired a round at his teacher. As he cycled the action, news reports say the teacher instructed students to "run" (it isn't clear where the teacher expected the defenseless students to go, since Hamilton was blocking the door, and dove underneath her desk. He entered the room and, standing just five feet from the teacher, fired again.
Perhaps the only reason "James Michael Hamilton" is not a household name today is because of what happened next...
...He was unable to work the bolt to load the next cartridge.
After the shooting started, it became obvious that the students at Northern Virginia Community College aren't the only ones who seemingly continue to plod along in Condition White - the staff and faculty do as well.
Aside from the targeted teacher's obvious Condition White behavior, consider that classrooms do not have locks on the doors, or that text messages and intercom announcements warning students didn't go out until at least a quarter of an hour after the first 911 call went out at 2:40 p.m., with students in some classrooms saying they never received a text message or heard anything over the intercom.
Consider also that a sociology professor one floor above the math class led students down the hall after hearing that shots had been fired:
"The frustrating part was that no one really knew what we were supposed to do," said Michelle Wittkoff, 43, who was sitting in a sociology class on the third floor of the building when the shooting began on the floor above. She said she didn't hear the shots but was soon alerted by another student who entered her classroom. "Do we wait here? Do we stay? Do we run out of the building?" Ms. Wittkoff said. "We had no idea."
She said that as students and her sociology professor wandered down the hall, another faculty member told them that she believed everyone was supposed to stay in place. The students then returned to their classroom and looked out the window to see the police with guns drawn. Soon after, Mr. Hamilton was ushered from the building in handcuffs, Ms. Wittkoff said.
It took 2 1/2 hours for SWAT team members to notify students of the all-clear. For his part, Maj. Ray Colgan, assistant police chief for criminal investigations, seemed to think the campus officials' actions had been enough:
"If the gun hadn't jammed, we could have been looking at something much worse," Colgan said. "But preparedness would have helped then, too. If you can say something good came out of Virginia Tech," where a student killed 32 students and himself in 2007, "preparedness was it."
Really? Apparently to Mr. Colgan, the best we can do in this country to prevent another Virginia Tech is to make sure ill-trained students and instructors ignore an obviously suspicious person, while other ill-trained students and instructors enter and proceed down a hallway after shots have been fired, while still other students are forced to stack desks behind doors that have not had locks installed, all the while with campus officials laboring to get a warning out a quarter of an hour after all has gone silent.
The fact is, there was an extreme the lack of awareness displayed in the behavior of students, faculty and campus officials alike, and I suspect this head-in-the-sand mentality is still rampant across campuses today, despite there having been so many attacks.
Thankfully no one was injured in this incident, but not because of anything that Mr. Colgan has labeled as "preparedness." This issue MUST be addressed if we truly hope to prevent future multiple victim public shootings.
I agree with that-a lot.
I don't know this particular teacher, but if her class was typical of an NVCC math class those kids would have had to have translated what was going on before they could have taken action.
Preparedness requires that you come up with plans beforehand that can deal with EVERYTHING.
NVCC, or NOVA as we know it, needs a universal system easily taught to everyone ~ I was thinking of large flashing lights, sirens and arrugggahhh horns which can be triggered by instructors. The response would be the same as for fire or bomb ~ LEAVE THE BUILDING.
BTW, it's better to be facing down a guy with a gun outside in big open areas than locked up in a room with him!
Oh, and the locks on doors deals, they probably need to put locks on the doors.
What good are locks? The shooter can just shoot them out.
The academic setting is a perfect place to be a victim.
That is where the civilian version of unilateral disarmament was born.
That is where the disdain for personal empowerment with respect to self-defense and self-reliance thrives.
That is where the idea that some victims need to be sacrificed so we will see that we cannot fend for ourselves and need Philosopher Kings to run our lives.
That is therefore where a perpetrator can be comfortable in knowing that his victims will be defenseless.
Janet Nappy insists that Homeland Security is meant to be First Responders.
That is the exact mentality that will get us all killed.
I wonder how many calls Colgan got telling him he is an idiot...
I was thinking about this yesterday when I was shooting my Marlin “lever-action” 1895...It is a fantasic firearm, and one of my favorites...And it works really well when you take care of it...
Obviously the dimwit with the rifle in this incident is dumber than a bag of hammers to begin with, but that is another story...
All I know is that the new and improved AWB contains an appendix “A” that enumerates ALL the bad guns that need to be banned...
And strangely you think that rifles like this would be “safe” from banning...nuh uhhhh!!! You’ll see, if you do a little digging...
So much for “legitimate” hunting rifles being acceptable by the gun-controllers...hehehe, suckers!!!
Just like the airplane underwear bomber. The "system" failed completely.
The only saving grace was that, in both cases, the attacker failed as completely as did the system.
1. This was NOT a mass murder scenario in the first place. No one goes into a "kill them all" attack armed solely with a bolt-action rifle. This was a targeted attack apparently on a single person.
It most definitely was NOT this:
If it had been, there would be MANY, MANY dead people right now.
2. Even with a bolt-action rifle, it was sheer luck that saved the day.
3. And no, disarming all of the potential victims didn't help.