Associated PressQuestions Raised on Va. Tech SecurityMon Apr 16, 2007 17:46Questions Raised on Va. Tech Security
By HANK KURZ Jr.
The Associated Press
Monday, April 16, 2007; 7:01 PM
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- On a university campus of 2,600 acres, with more than 26,000 students, ironclad security is not a practical goal. Even so, tough questions swiftly surfaced as to how effectively Virginia Tech authorities responded to Monday's horrific massacre.
Why were campus police so sure the threat was contained in one dormitory, when most of the killings occurred two hours later in a classroom building?
Why did they think the assailant might have left the campus after those initial shootings?
Why was there a lag of more than two hours after the first shootings before an alarm was e-mailed campuswide _ around the time another, more deadly burst of carnage occurred? And more generally, some security experts wondered, was the school's crisis planning and emergency communications system up to the task?
Clearly, something went terribly wrong.
Bombarded with security questions at a news conference, Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said authorities believed the shooting at the West Ambler Johnston dorm, first reported about 7:15 a.m., was a domestic dispute and mistakenly thought the gunman had fled the campus.
"We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur," he said.
The dormitory was locked down immediately after the shooting, Steger said, and a phone bank was activated to alert the resident advisers there so they could go door-to-door warning the 900 students in the dorm. Security guards deployed at the dorm, he said, and others began a sweep across campus.
Asked why he didn't order a lockdown of the entire campus, Steger noted that thousands of nonresident students were arriving for 8 a.m. classes, fanning out across the sprawling campus from their parking spots.
"Where do you lock them down?" Steger asked.
He said security on campus will be tightened now, but offered no details.
"We obviously can't have an armed guard in front of every classroom every day of the year," he said.
Overall, Steger defended the university's response, saying: "You can only made a decision based on the information you know at that moment in time. You don't have hours to reflect on it."
Some students were upset that the gunman was able to strike a second time, saying the first notification they got of the shootings came in an e-mail at 9:26 a.m. The e-mail mentioned a "shooting incident" at West Amber Johnston, said police were investigating, and asked students to be cautious and contact police about anything suspicious.
Student Maurice Hiller said he went to a 9 a.m. class two buildings away from the engineering building, and no warnings were coming over the outdoor public address system on campus at the time.
"I was troubled with the fact that two hours elapsed from the first shooting," said Brant Martel, 23, a junior. "I just feel they were a little slow on their response."
But Edmund Henneke, an associate dean of engineering who was in the building where the second round of shootings occurred, said criticism of the authorities' response was unfair.
"We have a huge campus," he said. "You have to close down a small town and you can't close down every way in or out."
Security experts not connected with Virginia Tech said their immediate questions focused on whether the university had adopted and practiced a plan to handle such dire crises, and whether its system of emergency communications was state-of-the-art.
"It is critical for them to have solid emergency plans in place to deal with crisis situations," said Kenneth Trump of National School and Safety Services in Cleveland. "The key is to have a solid communications component in place to deal with notifying students, parents, faculty, staff and the media whets going on."
"The most critical element that falls apart in any type of emergency, especially at educational institutions, is often communications," Trump said.
Michael Dorn of Safe Havens International in Macon, Ga., which has advised many universities on security measures, said campus emergency plans can be ineffective unless staff and students are trained on how to cooperate.
"They can make the difference between one or two people being victimized and larger numbers," Dorn said. "But it's a lot harder to do that in higher education that in a K-12 school. A lot of higher ed officials don't have the basic things in place that our K-12 schools have."
It was second time in less than a year that the Virginia Tech campus was closed because of a shooting.
Last August, the opening day of classes was canceled and the campus closed when an escaped jail inmate allegedly killed a hospital guard off campus and fled to the Tech area. A sheriff's deputy involved in the manhunt was killed on a trail just off campus. The accused gunman, William Morva, faces capital murder charges.
As for other crime on campus, Virginia Tech reported just eight arrests for illegal weapons possession from 2003-05, according to statistics posted by the U.S. Department of Education.
AP National Writer David Crary in New York contributed to this story.
GOOGLE NEWS UPDATES: VA TECH SHOOTINGS.....
Williams, his slightness emphasized by an orange jail-issue jumpsuit -- over a bulletproof vest -- listened to the charges against him: two counts of murder and 26 of attempted murder and assault with a firearm. Prosecutors also filed a special charge of lying in wait in connection with the deaths of 14-year-old Bryan Zuckor and 17-year-old Randy Gordon.
Williams did not enter a plea because his lawyers are exploring a challenge to a provision of Proposition 21, the voter-approved state law that requires some youths as young as 14 to be tried as adults. Williams celebrated his 15th birthday a month ago today.
Re: SCHOOL SHOOTING: DAD TIED TO US NAVY, INTEL
Wed Mar 7 17:26:13 2001
Dr. Weeks may just have something here that parallel's the events in
Colorado..One of the young men at the Columbine HS in was the son of an AF
Intell. officer, who had spent a lot of time outside of Plattsburg AFB, even
after it was closed...There is a secret underground complex in use there to
service some of the gurus of intelligence and mind control operating from
the northeast...for what? Well it ain't kosher as far as Christians are
Now, this current to-do may simply be another action to raise the Gun issue
to greater attention, particularly for a new administration, who needs some
excuse for controls...In fact the real manchurian candidate, former
prisoner, McCain is actively pursuing the gun issue as if he has been told
that it's payback time...I suspect that while in prison, some of
Rockefellers sent messages to him about treatment and demands that his
future hinged on cooperation.
When Jane Fonda was quietly handed slips of paper by U.S. POW's and she
threw handed them to the guards, reveals the depth of deceit that surrounds
that entire issue...Rockefellers own the Oil Refineries on that country and
hence, they were not permitted to be Targets...so, go figure...there is more
to this issue of getting our guns then we realize...
It is the last barrier that the Talmudists must overcome before they can
conclude the final aspects of their Protocols of Zion and put us all under
their overall dominion....Watch for more, but then lets hope they get
foolish and set in motion the antagonistic trip wire that ignites the nation
into reality and we do what is necessary...JRN
Subject: lots of nefarious activities behind Santee shooting... FortDetrick,
APFN....a network of networkers....
TIME TO NETWORK....!!!!
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