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Monday, April 16, 2007

Horrific Morning News Update

posted by on April 16 at 10:00 AM

Shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.

21 killed. Gunman dead.

AP has the death toll (including the shooter) at 31. CNN reports.

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Death count is up to 29 now.

Holy fuck.

Posted by David Schmader | April 16, 2007 10:34 AM

From the updated AP story:

A White House spokesman said President Bush was horrified by the rampage and offered his prayers to the victims and the people of Virginia.

"The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed," spokeswoman Dana Perino said

What a putz. Bastard can't even show the respect of holding off on giving a Second Amendment defense until they've had a chance to count the dead? ITMFA

Posted by Phil | April 16, 2007 10:49 AM

I'm glad to see that President Bush was sensitive enough to reiterate his support for the right to bear arms in his statement. Has he no shame at all? Is there any tragedy at all that he will not exploit for a political point, even when it's still happening?

This is bad. It's the worst mass shooting in US history now.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 10:51 AM

Beat me to it, Phil. Unbelievable, isn't it. They're not even cold yet.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 10:57 AM

That was the White House press office that brought up his policy, he wasn't quoted as saying that -- today. Of couse, we don't have the entire transcript. Bush bashing is OK, but lets be factual.

Posted by raindrop | April 16, 2007 10:58 AM

Another disgruntled Iraqi war vet?

Posted by Gurldoggie | April 16, 2007 11:02 AM

I'm still seeing reports of 22 dead and 20+ wounded. Who is reporting the body count is up to 29?

Posted by elswinger | April 16, 2007 11:02 AM

The body count from this rampage is reminiscent of Harry Chapin's epic song "Sniper", which is a ballad about... a disillusioned student going into a university clock tower with an armory of guns and capping as many people as he could before the SWATs got to him.

I'm curious as to the motive of the shooter, but that's all I can really feel about this.

Also, #2, keep in mind this is a guy spearheading a war where dozens of innocents die every day. You think he's gonna give a crap about a couple dozen dead students in Blacksburg, WV?

Posted by Gomez | April 16, 2007 11:05 AM

@ #8 -- it's Blacksburg, VA (not WV).

I graduated from VA Tech, and I cannot fucking believe this. I went to countless dorm parties in West Ambler Johnston and took the majority of my classes either in Norris or right next door. I do not like seeing the campus on the news this way; I am unspeakably sad.

Posted by Peggy G. | April 16, 2007 11:14 AM

Cable news reports always overestimate American death counts when a story is breaking... I remember hearing on 9/11 that over 50,000 people were dead and around a hundred dead during Columbine. A tragedy no matter what of course.

Posted by frown | April 16, 2007 11:16 AM

So is The Stranger going to follow up with "The Virginia Tech Killer Filled My iPod"?

Posted by bma | April 16, 2007 11:17 AM

Elswinger @ 7: CBS News is reporting that the death toll is up to 30. CNN and MSNBC are still sticking with the 21-22 death toll.

Posted by Cori | April 16, 2007 11:17 AM

The press office IS the President; they are his official spokesmen.

The Chapin song is based on Charles Whitman, who until today had the highest victim total in a school shooting: 16 at the University of Texas in 1966.

They're reporting the shooter was an Asian male student. He chained the doors, lined them up and shot them at close range. Over a girlfriend? Lord.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 11:21 AM

The governor of Virginia just announced a revised death toll of 31.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 11:27 AM

Adding to the White House's awful initial response, check out this despicable response. Unbelievable.

Posted by Gabriel | April 16, 2007 11:37 AM

Okay, I have to say it: what does fussing over and itemizing the death toll from way across the country matter at this point? Police are still sorting out the victims, the damage and what happened, and the info is going to vary between now and the end of the investigation. What is the difference at this point between 21 and 31 bodies? A moron with a gun walked into a classroom and gunned down students for no fucking reason. That's pretty much all that matters at this point, unless they open a classroom door and find 100 more bodies or some other crazy development.

We don't have any answers and we're not gonna for a long while. It happened and there's nothing we can do about it. Let it rest.

Posted by Gomez | April 16, 2007 11:39 AM

Gomez: Commiserating over the confusion helps somehow.

Posted by David Schmader | April 16, 2007 11:41 AM

Helps what? Tell me. Tell me whether people who are completely detached from the whole situation give a crap whether 20 or 30 or 50 or 100 were killed. Tell me whether it is just idiotic tragedy porn, or whether it really does change how you feel about this.

Posted by bma | April 16, 2007 11:48 AM

Only a REPUBLICAN could be cold enough to look at a tragedy like this and worry about defending the 2nd amendment.

Bush is a cold heartless asshole.

Posted by Andrew | April 16, 2007 11:51 AM

Dear Gomez and bma:

Completely detached? Just because you aren't from Virginia or no anyone there, it's not the same for the rest of us. I, for one, have friends on campus right now. And I would imagine any parent reading this with kids on a college campus *anywhere* is not incredibly "detached."

Assholes. Get off your fucking high horse for ten minutes and realize that the coverage of this situation is not all about you.

Posted by kasa | April 16, 2007 11:53 AM

This isn't directed at you, kasa. It's directed at the rest of us who *don't* know, who obsess more about numbers and factoids and the artificial feeling that we're a part of something that we're just not.

So I'm really sorry about what you're going through. I understand more than I can say here. But please don't confuse my criticism of tactless and shallow news coverage with belittling of your situation and the situations of the people that are really going through a tragedy here.

Posted by bma | April 16, 2007 12:01 PM

via drudge

At least 32 people are feared dead in the worst ever gun rampage on an American university campus.

Dozens more were injured before the gunman was himself killed.

Posted by r | April 16, 2007 12:06 PM

Bush is the biggest scumbag!! Throwing a political bone at the NRA in a time like this is the lowest even for a frat boy scumbag like him.

But what can one expect from a president that asked people to go shopping after 9/11..

Posted by SeMe | April 16, 2007 12:10 PM

Well bma, I guess I just hate assholes who use a tragic incident with over 30 teenagers dead to make themselves feel morally superior.

And if you wanted to attack "tactless and shallow news" coverage, you shouldn't do it here, where nothing but a link is probably the most restrained news coverage you're going to find.

Posted by kasa | April 16, 2007 12:19 PM

disgusting misstep from white house PR. whoever authorized it will probably get the medal of freedom or a 5 figure raise at the world bank.

make the family & friends of the victims know peace.

Posted by Max Solomon | April 16, 2007 12:23 PM

Dear Kasa and other dramamongers:

Get over yourselves and get real.

Posted by Gomez | April 16, 2007 12:57 PM

Listen to Gomez. Caring about human life isn't cool, and it's important to be cool. Get real indeed.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 1:06 PM

Guns is bad news. The solution to this kind of violence being an armed population that can "fight back" is twisted.

What are we doing to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen in Seattle (again)? Can we do anything as a city or county that we can't yet get done as a state or a nation?

Posted by j | April 16, 2007 1:09 PM

I think it's at 31 now. My condolences - a friend of mine says the probability that he (a former post-grad there) knows someone who was killed is pretty close to 100 percent.

Just because you're in pain doesn't mean you should put others in pain, no matter what Mistress Matisse may think.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 16, 2007 1:12 PM

I don't think anyone has any idea how to prevent this from happening. There's a lot of the usual talk on TV about identifying these people before they go on their rampages, but the problem is, for every guy like this there are a thousand others who exhibit the same signs of stress and mental illness. If you locked up every college student who was having trouble in his classes or relationships and was angry and stressed out and scared other college students a little, you'd have to turn half of those colleges into prisons.

It's not just an American problem either. Some of the worst school shootings in recent years have been in Germany and Canada. But the way we pump out endless numbers of weapons every day doesn't help. In Virginia you can easily buy a gun without so much as an instant background check for criminal or mental-health problems.

Posted by Fnarf | April 16, 2007 2:00 PM

Really funny attempt at character assassination, Fnarf. Fussing over details that are going to fluctuate for the few days is irrelevant to whether or not you 'care about human life,' which is my point all along.

Also, since we're going that way... what's more insulting to the victims? Being realistic and asking people to be so, or insincere hand-wringing over the tragedy to make yourself look more humane than you actually are?

Posted by Gomez | April 16, 2007 2:33 PM

Everyone, in their imperfection and varying degrees of self-absorption, has the right to respond to this type of tragedy in their own way, however egoic, however it looks from someone else's perspective, as long as it does not harm anyone else. The late Vonnegut said somewhere that we are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.

Arguing about how people respond - telling them that they are reacting the wrong way, is not helping them. For me even arguing about solutions and reasons, on the day of, is an easy way to avoid the reality of what happened, and to avoid the feeling of not knowing why it happened. But it happened, we are aware of it, and we have to live from that point forward.

Posted by Jude Fawley | April 16, 2007 3:03 PM

In a perfect world etc., Jude. But I highly doubt the sincerity or perspective of most of these reactions.

This has been mentioned elsewhere, but meanwhile, in Iraq, 35 people died while everyone here was watching the news. Where is their coverage? Where are your homilies for them? Are they not white and middle class enough?

We live in a world that is simultaneously wonderful and fucked up. Great things constantly happen, and horrifying things constantly happen. One just happened to happen in our home nation. What makes this stand out from Iraq or Darfur? Dare we go there?

Posted by Gomez | April 16, 2007 3:08 PM

Who said "don't go there" (on Iraq, Darfur)? Start writing and bringing attention to all the shit that goes on - that is great. I hope you find a productive way to do it, but reading the style your comments I am not optimistic.

One more thing: you wrote this: "I'm curious as to the motive of the shooter, but that's all I can really feel about this." It seems your personal response may be affecting your attitude. FYI some people respond to things differently from you. You may think that because you don't feel anything, others don't either, and thus must be insincere. Consider questioning this belief.

Posted by Jude Fawley | April 16, 2007 3:38 PM

The catatonia that people are feeling about a shooting that happened nowhere near them, in light of what happens in Iraq and other nations on a daily basis, in light of murders that take place around us every day, and the forthcoming canonization of the victims, reeks of a glaring lack of perspective.

Posted by Gomez | April 16, 2007 6:18 PM

And some people live in an ethnocentric bubble and lack perspective. Actually, most of them do. Which is my point.

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