Massacre at VA Tech could have been avoided and you know what, it could have happened at UNCG

Posted by Andy Durham on April 16, 2007 at 7:09 pm under College | 25 Comments to Read

Webster’s Dictionary defines “MASSACRE” as an act of Killing a Number of Helpless or Unresisting Human Beings under circumstances of Atrocity or Cruelty.

The Massacre at Virginia Tech up in Blacksburg, Virginia could have been avoided. I first heard of the killings on Monday afternoon when I returned a call from greensborosports.com associate Doug Cockman. I went staright to the best information source available in situations like this, that being my car radio and tuned in to WSLQ 99.1 FM/WFIR AM 960 out of Salem-Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia.

From what the radio reports are telling us along with the reports from TV10 and News7 out of Roanoke, the first murders took place on campus at Virginia Tech at around 7:15 on Monday morning. Two students were shot at the dorm and campus security had 2 hours to LOCKDOWN the campus before the second string of murders occured resulting in the deaths of 31 people in the Engineering Studies Building.

The security at Virginia Tech again had around 2 hours before the second round of killing began at around 9:30am. The Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said his staff thought the shooter had left the campus and possibly the state of Virginia. Steger was dead wrong and he and his men have blood on their hands.

How could something this deadly have happened on a college campus in Virginia? Thirty-three people are now dead and others have been seriously injured. WSLQ and WFIR are reporting that proper security measures were not taken after the first wave of Murders in the dormitory. The entire campus should have been warned no matter what it took to get the word out and a Total Lockdown should have been in effect. They had over two hours before the second round of shootings took place.

This whole series of events that has taken place at Virginia Tech is terrible. The crazy thing is it could have happened at UNCG. Sidney Lowe II and his associate went to UNCG on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks back and they were looking to score a drug deal and it went bad and they unsuccessfully attempted to kill a UNCG student. The way it worked out no one died but the dispute could have led to at least one murder and maybe another if the gunfight escalated. Sidney Lowe II had plenty of firearms and he could have shot up the dorm at UNCG and killed several students. Lowe and his partner in crime just walked into the UNCG dorm and went to work.

The killer at Virginia Tech had no ID on him, the guys who went into the dorm at Guilford College after the big fight, looking for the football players involved, those perpetrators had No ID, and remember Sidney Lowe and his buddy had no trouble getting into the UNCG dorm.

The problem in all three cases is “NO SECURITY” or POOR SECURITY as was the case unfortunately at Virginia Tech.

We can’t change what happened at Virginia Tech but we can hope that those in charge will do something to insure the safety of the students at that campus in the future.

Former Greensboro Grasshopper Johnathan Fulton of Danville, Virginia was supposed to be a student at Virginia Tech but he signed on to play baseball with the Florida Marlins instead and he is off to a good start at High Class A Jupiter, Florida. Fulton was set to go to Virginia Tech on a football/baseball scholarship and he was going to Major in Engineering and he might have been in that classroom building today when the shots rang out. It seems like every one of the tragedies today touch some type of Sports Thread.

I am familiar with a couple of our regular readers and posters that studied Engineering in college, be at it NC A&T, Tennessee, Clemson, or Georgia Tech. Former Page football coach Bob Via looked on as his brother Tim Via  attended Virginia Tech. There are a lot of connections out among the Sports Land but the real story is that 32 helpless or unresisting human beings are dead due to cruelty and it could have been prevented to the point where 29 innocent people did not have to die if the Virginia Tech campus security would have been doing their job.

Don’t forget the same thing or something much worse could have happened at UNCG if a few of the circumstances were different on a Saturday afternoon with Sidney Lowe II and his gun-toting crew just a few weeks ago.

Where do we go from here? Let’s hope that we can walk on any college campus in the Country and still feel safe.


  • Doug said,

    This was certainly a terrible situation and my heart goes out to the families of the victims of this awful crime. It does look like Va. Tech dropped the ball in that, with the shooter still on the loose, they chose not to lock down the campus. It looks as if the campus police were overwhelmed in this situation. There is also word out of Blacksburg that there have been two separate bomb threats call in to the University in recent weeks. You would think that alone would have put the campus police on a higher state of warning that possible trouble could be on the horizon. I agree with Andy. We can only hope that this situation serves as a warning to other campuses. The situation with Sid Lowe II at UNCG could have been much worse than it was. Let hope the Gate City or any community doesn’t have to suffer through anything like this again.

  • Marshall Brown said,

    I don’t want to place blame before all of the facts are out, but IF the reports are true and this is the way it went down, something is very wrong here. How could this happen on a campus environment after all of the school shootings over the last decade? In a situation like this I would think the first thing to do would be a lockdown, it is better safe than sorry. My heart goes out to all the students family and friends. I think this is just further proof of what we all know. No one is safe in this country, anything can happen at anytime and anyplace. There is no way to completely secure a college campus just like there is no way to completely secure an airplane. This is the world we live in and we better get used to it because there really is no way to stop it.

  • Rob said,

    Let the blame game begin! If its not the Virginia Tech administration’s fault, its should be the Blacksburg Police Department’s, maybe we should blame whatever branch of the government gave this jerk his student visa, or even better, maybe George Bush paid this guy to distract us all right before Gonzales gets raked over the coals. Maybe we should just blame God or whatever higher being you worship.

    Virginia Tech’s Administration made a decision that ultimately may have cost lives, but its not as if they ignored precedents set by other institutions. UNCG doesn’t lock down the entire campus when a student is wounded by Sid Jr.’s buddy. I don’t remember a lock down at A&T when someone was firing a submachine gun over by Marteena Hall in the early morning hours in the spring of 1997. Did authorities lockdown Carter Finley stadium when the Johnson brothers had a little too much “fun” tailgating? Hey, why should we even stop at locking down college campuses, let’s just lock down entire friggen towns every time someone gets popped.

    We live in a messed up world where I believe the only thing that truly stops some fanatics is an equal amount of extreme and deadly force. We should give people the rights to carry concealed weapons on campuses and more people the rights to carry them overall. Will a person attempt to bully and take others lives if there is a chance they will be capped before they reach there final objective? Possibly, but more then likely they will be killed in the process and long before they do the damage this guy did. If just 10% of the people in this country were legally “pack’n heat”, how many of these instances could be avoided?

    Maybe we should blame the shooter? What a novel concept.

  • Mike said,

    It sounds like the tv news also wants to blame Va Tech police for doing/not doing everything “right,” in hindsight, glorious hindsight. Just like they seemed to be blaming them at the press conference this afternoon for not having every piece of information the press wants to be able to divulge already laid out in graphic form for the cameras.

    As American society, we have to trust people not to do things like this. Every day, for the most part, we all live up to our end of the bargain. Then there are the occasional miscreant massacre-driven cowards like this guy (whoever he was). Those are the people who need the blame, even if they shoot themselves in the end. That’s generally where the blame should stop, because Matt Lauer and every tv personality is just as responsible as the Va Tech police for all the rest of the shootings that nobody could have foreseen coming at the time.

    I don’t know if widespread concealed weapons would be a good idea for everybody in America overall, but it would have slowed this guy down, and probably many many others who get out of line.

  • Doug said,

    The concealed weapon argument is certainly an interesting one. While allowing students to attend class armed might have slowed this guy down, I wonder how many “accidental” shootings would happen yearly because some gun totting student got careless with his firearm. Have things gotten that bad in this country that college aged kids need to carry guns to protect themselves and feel safe. God help us if that is the case.

  • Linda said,

    This has become another media circus. It looks like the TV stations are trying to wedge this into their sweeps weeks competition. There needs to be a cooling down period to let those most effected up in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech have a chance to breathe. There needs to be respect for the families of the dead.

  • Andy said,

    The media have to get in there and cover this tragic event. The public is hanging on the edge of their seats and sometimes car seats waiting for every bit of information they can get on what happened at Virginia Tech. You have to be an idiot to think the media will not jump on this and cover it like a blanket. 101.1 WZTK, 98.1 WBRF, 99.1 WSLQ all had the 9 o’clock press rolling this morning. I want to know as much as I can about what took place up in Blacksburg. The TV media are fighting it out too. NBC had Brian Williams live from the campus on Dateline last night. CBS will try to play catch-up with Katie Couric from VA tonight. Nancy Grace or Disgrace was at it on Headline News on Monday evening. For some weird reason I don’t care for Nancy Grace, her accent is distrubing. I thought I saw Lars Larsen at the Hess Station on East Wendover as he was heading up to Blacksburg on Monday afternoon.(seriously) The Public wants to know what is going on. As far as the Lockdown goes they should have tried something after the 7:15 shootings. They didn’t try anything so we will never know if “LIVES COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED”. The dead can’t speak. I personally do not think you can completely compare this to NC State, NC A&T or UNCG although too much security is not an issue. You can never have too much security and how can we trust anyone in this country after the recent events. I have seen first-hand how severe riots can break out and when guns and alcohol are readily available in this country we will never be safe. You put a gun or a beer or a gun and a beer in someone’s hands and we have problems and everything that we are talking about here involves those two elements.

    Lucky and glad to still be alive in the USA.

  • chuckyd said,

    Where do you really feel safe? As far as the blame goes it sounds like you guys are jumping on the media bandwagon before you even have the facts. I have to agree with Rob on this one the only one to blame is the idiot with the gun. Maybe we should go back to the Wild West days when everyone was packing a six-shooter.
    The only way you will ever be totally safe is to stay on your house with a shotgun and the doors and windows locked and barred.

  • Andy said,

    On another note, if the killer Cho Seung-Hui locked down the education building why couldn’t the VA Tech Security do something to Lock-Down the campus? How’s anybody gonna get any e-mails, they were all on their way to class?(They’re not all walking around with Laptops balanced on their heads) From Yahoo News, two Virginia Tech students told NBC’s “Today” show they were unaware of the dorm shooting when they walked into Norris Hall for a German class where the gunman later opened fire.

  • Lee said,

    If I was a member of the Virginia Tech security force I would turn in my badge. As for UNCG, they just got lucky and dodged a very BIG bullet.

  • Rob said,

    I wasn’t comparing the massacre portion of this to any incident at UNCG, A&T or NCSU. What I was comparing was the initial shooting in the dorm and what were considered isolated incidents or anomalies at these institutions. I’d be interested in how many shooting homicides have happened on college campuses around the US within the last five years and if those shootings warranted lockdowns?

    As my dear ole pappy used to say, “Hindsight is 20/20.” We can all go back rehash what will be countless missteps taken by the school, the police and maybe, most importantly, this guy’s family and few, if any, friends. It’s easy to be critical at this point, now that the unimaginable has occurred and we all are playing Monday morning quarterback.

    We, as Americans, are far too quick to find a scapegoat when trying to rationalize society’s ills. By blaming others, we can ratify our surroundings/society and gain a level of security necessary to blindly carry on. One thing that should continue to resonate from this entire event is that we are becoming less and less secure and changes, whether personal or otherwise, are going to be necessary in order for us to continue enjoying the freedoms we so often take for granted.

    I am not a gun owner. I have no desire own a gun. Yesterday, I gave serious thought to purchasing a pistol. Not because I feel unsafe, but because I feel a need to be prepared. If this can happen in Blacksburg, it can happen anywhere and I shouldn’t rely on the next guy to do it for me. This society is becoming more and more self service and our local law enforcement is seemingly spread too thin. We, the sane ones, are going to need to rely upon one another for our existence and our well being. It is unfortunate that just trusting in society doesn’t seem to be enough anymore.

    Prayers to the victims, their families, VPI and our country.

  • Matt said,

    I’m in favor of bring CCW back to college campuses. Training for CCW’s is mandatory and expires, so those carrring firearms would be somewhat limited to those who maintain it and went through the trouble to get it. So those least likely to have an accident would be enabled to fulfill their role as citizens, if it became necessary. I’d feel safer on campus.

  • Ron said,

    I heard on TV 10 WSLS out of Roanoke and then later I heard the same thing on Virginia radio that all sports involving Virginia Tech teams had been canceled until Saturday. The spring football game that was to be played on Saturday has been canceled and will not be played at all this year. I feel that Virginia Tech should consider not playing any sports again during the remainder of the Spring semester. Out of respect for the students that died, I say no more practices or athletic events this Spring. They need to make a Statement at Virginia Tech and it can start with their athletic programs. The entire school year will end in less than 2 weeks. No more Sports. No more guns.

  • Andy said,

    The sports and the games are the only outlet the Virginia Tech athletes have left. The sports programs should not be stopped. The athletes should not be punished for what one insane individual did. Let the games continue. What do the rest of you think?

    I think all Virginia Tech students with valid ID should get into the Greensboro Revolution game free on Friday and in free to the Greensboro Grasshoppers game on Saturday night. What do the rest of you think?

  • Mary V. said,

    What a tragic day. We were actually on our way Monday morning from Columbus OH to Blacksburg for our son Michael’s football recruiting visit to Virginia Tech. (he participated in the Nike combine in Columbus and we visited with my family there for the weekend, too) We were scheduled to meet with the coaching staff and watch their Monday practice. Coach O’Cain called Bob’s cell phone around 11:30 am to tell us they were in the football center, and had just been made aware of the shootings at Norris, that the campus was closed and for us not to come. He called again today to let us know that the spring game has now been cancelled. I personally think they should reconsider and postpone it for a week…an event like that could really strengthen the Tech students and staff like nothing else.

    Andy, while Bob and I actually both graduated from Guilford, Bob’s Dad, uncle, cousins, and his brother Tim are Tech alums, and we have been going to Tech football games forever. It just seems surreal that something like this could happen at such a beautiful and peaceful campus like Tech. It’s a magical place in the fall for football games, and anyone there understands what it means to be a part of the “Hokie Nation”. We join with the Tech family to remember and pray for those who were lost and their families.

    Let’s allow the authorities to complete the investigation and reveal all of the facts before rushing to judgement on the administration or law enforcement. There are still so many questions, many that may never be answered, but we still must be patient and let the process work.

    Life will never be the same there or on any college campus most likely. God, please help us all find peace.

  • Adam Colbert said,

    Excellent thoughts by Mary in the above post. We all seek to place blame when a tragic event occurs. It’s only human nature. We can blame the shooter, the man who sold him the gun, and the Virginia Tech security force that many feel failed to alert thousands of students who were potential victims. Our anger causes us to displace the blame and responsibility on someone. Somebody will be held accountable and mankind is looking for a source, a place to cast that blame. We need to allow time for all of this to settle in and follow what Mary is saying. So many people have been hurt already and let’s not add to the pain by talking in a tone of hate and displeasure. Calm down and try extend your hands of hope to all of those in Blacksburg, Virginia. We can make a difference, let’s do it with a clear mind and presence of peace.

  • Andy said,

    Strong thoughts by Mary and Adam. I appreciate Mary’s insight on the Virginia Tech Massacre from a first-hand sports perspective. Continuing from previous personal ramblings, weren’t the Eastern Guilford students the ones who saw the UNCG-“VIRGINIA TECH” basketball game for free at the Greensboro Coliseum after their school burned down? If you want to hear something that’s really out there, catch the Michael Savage Show(7-10pm) on 101.1 WZTK. Savage has very strong comments on the Virginia Tech shootings saying Fire President Steger and fire the VA Tech chief of police NOW. Savage says they both should lose their jobs. Savage is calling for their heads. Savage says this is the biggest blunder in US history. Savage is BRINGING IT.

  • anonymous said,

    I agree with Mary. Virginia Tech should still have the Spring Football game. This would help bring the Hokie community back together. The athletes should not be punished for something that Cho did.

  • Doug said,

    The video and other writings by Cho that were just released by NBC News show just how sick this young man really was. It will be interesting to see what comes out about his time at a mental health facility back in 2005. It is pretty clear that it didn’t do much good. Speaking of mental health, Michael Savage might be the biggest nut on the radio today. I give Savage credit, he does have the guts to say what he believes (even when it is insane). That Savage wants mass firings at Va. Tech does not surprise me.

  • Rob said,

    How does a student like this stay in school? I have to wonder what the academic standards were in the English Department. While I have always felt that the liberal arts curriculums are an easier venue, this really exposes the lack of preparation provided therein. How was this guy going to make it after graduating? He was a senior for crying out loud! His ability to pass through VPI’s system and actually position himself for graduation is an atrocity. Are liberal arts degrees this simplistic? Did he get preferential treatment because he was Asian? There are lots of questions here regarding the quality of education, or lack thereof.

    One of the other signs was the failed mental heath exam and the subsequent 30 day waiting period. Were the psychiatric evaluators paid by the state for this? If so, that would concern me greatly given the fact there was no follow up.

  • Marshall Brown said,

    I have heard that this evil young man was actually quite smart. Of course that doesn’t translate to any kind of common sense, but some of the smartest people are those that are very disturbed. How this unfolded and the fact that he murdered as many as he did before he was stopped makes me believe he was at least fairly smart.

  • Frank said,

    I find all of your comments very interesting. I wish there was some way we could get your web site connected to the Virginia Tech community and even have your site directly hooked up to the VA Tech student newspaper. The Virginia Tech student newspaper the Collegiate News has done a super job covering this event going all the way back to 7:30am on Monday morning. What if the shooter Cho had been named Fared El Kassebah, do you think authorites would have done more to try to stop him before the Massacre happened? This young man was very smart to carry out his actions the way he did and in some ways he was smarter than the Virginia Tech authorities. Michael Savage has nothing on Neil Boortz when it comes to stirring the pot. Boortz has many people up in arms with his comments saying the Virginia Tech students were WIMPS. The students should have done something to try and stop Cho once he entered the classroom. Boortz says we are a country with no backbone. Would we be talking about this Massacre at all if Cho would have been Fared El Kassebah, a potential Muslim terrorist in the eyes of our so-called Homeland Security officials? Would the proper security measures have been activated before the shootings could have occured?

  • Jay said,

    The Tiananmen Square Massacre began April 16,1989. Over 2,600 people were killed before it ended.

    The Virginia Tech Massacre was on: April 16,2007. Has it ended?

    I feel there are some connections and similarities.

    By the way, the Virginia Tech student newspaper is the Collegiate Times. I have been reading it every day on-line.

  • Phil said,

    The Tiananmen Square incident was all about China, Cho was all South Korean wasn’t he? GO HOKIES…….

  • Andy said,

    The word I heard on the TJ Cutini Show on WSJS radio today is that a student was banned from the UNCG campus for threatening other students. I didn’t catch the guy’s name on the radio but I went by the web site and he is listed as 21 year old Justin Jackson. Jackson has been banned from setting foot on the UNCG campus because he threatened other students. WSJS will begin airing the Sean Hannity Show on Monday from 3-6pm. WSJS recently sent the Ride with McBride Show packing and Cutini has been filling in till they can get Sean Hannity locked down.

    Speaking of Lockdowns they locked down four schools down in Mecklenburg County when the 16 year old kid had a gun on campus at North Mecklenburg High School on Wednesday. The kid left the HS campus and shot himself in the head at a gas station committing suicide in the process. “We may have erred on the side of safety”, said the Mecklenburg County School superintendent, “but other than the shooter no one was injured.”