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Author Topic: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead  (Read 9556 times)

EEtoJD

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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #140 on: April 16, 2007, 11:23:08 PM »
I could be completely wrong about this, but when else in the history of mankind has there been a double homicide, the perpetrator was not in custody, and yet authorities determined everyone was safe? There's no such thing as "safe" when a homicidal maniac is roaming free.

Given your view, I should be scared because I can hear gunshots at night.



I hve a feeling that when you hear gunshots, you don't decide that's a good time for a jog.


It doesn't stop me from chugging along as normal. I'm not going to glue myself to the TV every time I hear about a murder in Dallas to make sure the world is safe for me to peak outside and live my life. That will be Virginia Tech's defense and it's one everyone employs in varying degrees. The vast majority of schools in this country don't halt what they're doing because of what happened in the world.



You keep making these faulty analogies. We are clearly not talking about a murder in another part of the country here, we're talking about one that happened a few hundred yards in any direction.
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Ever162

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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #141 on: April 16, 2007, 11:25:27 PM »
I doubt the perpetrator of a murder/suicide would go on a later killing spree. If you tell me that a deranged gunman murdered someone on campus and is not in police custody, you shut down campus.


When it happened no one knew it was a murder/suicide.

Does anyone think that the victims will be able to recover from the state of VA for its failure to close the school after the fist shooting?

It's likely; assuming they don't raise sovereign immunity... I dunno if they can in this instance.
So, that's the question, does sovereign immunity apply?

Depends on the state, I think. We start sovereign immunity in Torts next week.

Under the Virginia Torts Claims Act, the Commonwealth waives its immunity if one of its employees acts negligently and that employee could be sued, but it expressly reserves immunity for its employees.  It seems then that if the employee would be liable, then the Commonwealth would be liable.  So to determine if the employee enjoys immunity we have to know what policy or action is at issue and if it was within the scope of the government's legislative/judicial/executive authority.  If so, then immune, if not then we have to analyze the action itself to determine whether it was within the discretion of the actor.  More discretion means more immunity.  Does this sound right to everyone?

"Absent an express statutory or constitutional provision waiving sovereign immunity, the Commonwealth and its agencies are immune from liability for the tortious acts or omissions of their agents and employees. [citations omitted] "In 1981, the General Assembly stated in the Act an express, limited waiver of the Commonwealth's immunity from tort claims." [citations omitted] The limited waiver provided for in the Act will be strictly construed because the Act is a statute in derogation of the common law.

Under the plain language of the Act, the Commonwealth (and certain "transportation districts" not here relevant) are the only entities for which sovereign immunity is waived. See Code 8.01-195.3 (stating that "the Commonwealth shall be liable for claims for money"). The Act contains no express provision waiving sovereign immunity for agencies of the Commonwealth, which we have stated repeatedly is a mandatory requirement before waiver occurs. As an agency of the Commonwealth, UVA is entitled to sovereign immunity under the common law absent an express constitutional or statutory provision to the contrary."

The Rector And Visitors of The University of Virginia v. Carter, 267 Va. 242 244, 591 S.E.2d 76, 77-78 (Va. 2004)


Doesn't seem like Virginia Tech could be sued, but there is plenty more case law that could indicate whether that is actually the case.
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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #142 on: April 16, 2007, 11:26:55 PM »
A. it is easy to judge the police from the comfort of your desk
B. we dont know what information was available to them
C. i can easily imagine a situation where the police would think the threat was contained, like if they see him flee from the school, why would they necessarily expect him to come back?  Should they have shut down the whole town?

Either way, there is not enough information to say with any high degree of certainty whether the school acted negligently, grossly negligent or deliberately indifferent.

Reasonable minds can differ about what the appropriate action was.

The problem is they necessarily expected him not to. That is unreasonable.
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whatthexxisgoingon

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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #143 on: April 16, 2007, 11:29:03 PM »
Oh my God...This has been the darkest day since I decided to come over to study law in the U.S...My heart is bleeding, I can't hold my tears, and I feel completely devastated to know the suspect shooter is Asian, possibly Chinese. I cannot understand at all how Chinese people, me as one, can be so heartless,inhumane to commit this sin. God...I mourn for all the VT people. Though nothing can save it at all, I hope the dead peace in heaven and the butcher excruciated in hell.

EEtoJD

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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #144 on: April 16, 2007, 11:29:28 PM »
A. it is easy to judge the police from the comfort of your desk
B. we dont know what information was available to them
C. i can easily imagine a situation where the police would think the threat was contained, like if they see him flee from the school, why would they necessarily expect him to come back?  Should they have shut down the whole town?

Either way, there is not enough information to say with any high degree of certainty whether the school acted negligently, grossly negligent or deliberately indifferent.

Reasonable minds can differ about what the appropriate action was.

Regardless, there should have been a campus-wide alert. We warn the entire country with a color-coded alert system every time a brown person shuffles his feet nervously at an airport. Why are we so reticent to warn a campus when there's a killer on the loose?

I can only see the police thinking the situation was contained if they knew, with certainty, where this guy was. I cannot imagine any other scenario where they would deem it safe for people to roam about campus knowing that a dude with a gun was running around campus.

I would like to temper my response, though, and I think you have a good point. There shouldn't be a mass overreaction, but there should be some sort of reaction. Any reasonable person would want to be warned if there was a gunman loose in a place they were. I've had gunmen run around my apartment complex and the police told everyone to remain in their apartments. Oh, and there were police around. I mean, why wouldn't most of the police department have been on campus warning students in a similar manner?
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ErwinChemerinsky

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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #145 on: April 16, 2007, 11:29:39 PM »
I could be completely wrong about this, but when else in the history of mankind has there been a double homicide, the perpetrator was not in custody, and yet authorities determined everyone was safe? There's no such thing as "safe" when a homicidal maniac is roaming free.

Given your view, I should be scared because I can hear gunshots at night.


What?  Who isn't scared when they hear gunshots?  Anyway, the fact remains, that two people were MURDERED at Virginia Tech, and they did not have anyone in custody.  I know you're going to defend your point until the death, and keep making analogies to prove that you're correct, but I think most people are going to agree with the fact that the University should have taken action.  In this instance, you are wrong.  And the result of this incident proves it.  

Careful; I don't know that anyone wants to go that far. It's entirely possible that it wouldn't have mattered. We want to conclude that it was the wrong thing to have done regardless of the outcome.

Please don't tell me to be "careful" and then instruct me what you want me to prove; it comes off as very pretentious.  Secondly, why are you saying "regardless of the outcome."  Throughout my posts I've been talking about THIS outcome.  The result of THIS outcome illustrates my point that the police and campus safety should have taken active steps to prevent THIS outcome from happening.  
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DutchessA

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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #146 on: April 16, 2007, 11:29:57 PM »
I see no problem with VT admin and law enforcement officers delaying notification to the students:

First, if the admin had canceled class or notified students that there was a homicidal maniac (if they knew that is what they were dealing with) running around campus a lot of people's first inclination would have been to flee.  How does admin know that the guy hasn't perched himself up on the top of a building or in a tree somewhere (or like the guy in Texas in a clocktower) just waiting to pick off people running away from the campus?

Of course, in regards to notification, it is a two-edged sword because if there had been proper notification the students could have barricaded the door closed, or taken other precautions to protect themselves--but, the likelihood is just as high that the students would have decided to run for it possibly exposing themselves to a greater threat.

Second, the mass of people running around campus because class was canceled will make it more difficult to actually catch the perpetrator.

I think that everyone will look for someone to blame (tragedy tends to bring that out in people).  Admin and law enforcement are always easy targets--but, let's not forget about the guy who stalked onto campus with two firearms obviously intent on murdering as many students as possible before killing himself.  

fuwaf

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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #147 on: April 16, 2007, 11:31:49 PM »
I'm not one to assign blame, but the Va Tech administration really messed up. The guy killed two people in the dorms and came back two hrs. later to kill the rest. They didn't raise the alarm because they thought it was an isolated incident? Then the Pres. tried to make excuses saying that the campus is big, lots of buildings, people coming and going, blah blah blah. So? It would have taken a mass e-mail to all faculty and staff and notice to the media and word would have spread in 10 minutes. No one would have come to campus and everyone would have left. If there's ever a shooting on my campus, I want the damn campus shut down until the cops are all over it.

So, it seems no one read my earlier post.  I'd like to see you try to lock down the VT campus.  Honestly.  It's easy to point fingers when you don't know what you're talking about.

1. I read your post.
2. I know what I'm talking about. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about. Stow the attitude. I know some people high up the facilities chain at UNLV and they, along with the professors I spoke with, agree that what I say could have easily been done.

I'm not saying that the campus could have been "locked down" (whatever that means), I'm saying that a warning to stay off campus could have easily been disseminated. If you know how quickly word-of-mouth spreads on college campuses, you'd know that everyone on campus would have known within 30 minutes of a mass e-mail to all employees and students, probably less. Additionally, word to the media would have caused breaking news reports to further spread the word. The campus would have been a ghost town and the police could have raked it.

Instead, VT thought it was an "isolated incident" and decided to keep it far too quiet. There was no reason not to try to get everyone off campus. If someone shoots up a store in the mall, they don't just shut the store down, they shut the whole mall. Not a perfect analogy, but you (hopefully) get my drift.

I worked with people high up on the chain at a VA university and I doubt they're now saying "Gosh, I would have handled that much better.  They should have done A, B, and C."  Everything is clear in hindsight and it's easy to say that things should have happened a different way, but there's no way to say that a tragedy would have been averted had some other action been taken.

You deal with the information you have at the time.  People are asking why an e-mail about the shooting wasn't sent out earlier.  What are they going to do?  Send out an e-mail 2 seconds after the shooting without finding out what's going on?  It's a public university and telling students not to come to campus and canceling class is a huge deal, especially when you have an on-campus population.  They still have to use University resources. 

I don't think Ever is wrong by likening this to the incident in a campus apartment.  There are acts of violence all over college campuses daily, including deaths and murders.  Yes, maybe in hindsight they might have acted more prudently with the information since they had not located the gunman, but if they believed it was an isolated incident, it wouldn't have warranted canceling class and warning thousands of students away from campus.  Maybe it was kept too quiet, but the fact is that you have 9k students living on campus and 14k more commuting, and if you think you're dealing with an isolated incident, the first instinct is not to lock everyone down in their buildings and create panic. 

You talk about people leaving campus-- what about the students who live on-campus?  Where are they supposed to go?  Would it really be safe to send everyone OFF-campus when you don't know where the gunman is, since they may have left campus already?  There is no feasible way to block access in and out of Virginia Tech, and that's what I'm saying about the inability to "lock down."  Yes, roads can be closed, but there aren't enough resources in a small town to block off foot access or something like that. 

This is an unexpected incident and I don't think anyone can honestly say that they would have handled it better to the point of actually preventing the tragedy.  We don't know what would have happened if they got the word out about the first shooting earlier, but I can guarantee that if the deranged psycho gunman never set foot on campus, it wouldn't have happened.

Ever162

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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #148 on: April 16, 2007, 11:31:56 PM »
I could be completely wrong about this, but when else in the history of mankind has there been a double homicide, the perpetrator was not in custody, and yet authorities determined everyone was safe? There's no such thing as "safe" when a homicidal maniac is roaming free.

Given your view, I should be scared because I can hear gunshots at night.


What?  Who isn't scared when they hear gunshots?  Economic machine?  Jesus man, have some compassion.  It's not all about money and efficiency.  Anyway, the fact remains, that two people were MURDERED at Virginia Tech, and they did not have anyone in custody.  I know you're going to defend your point until the death, and keep making analogies to prove that you're correct, but I think most people are going to agree with the fact that the University should have taken action.  In this instance, you are wrong.  And the result of this incident proves it.   

Christ, to hell with you for trying to paint this like I don't have compassion for the people hurt today. Asshat.

It's a basic question of whether the School acted reasonably. Not whether they should have canceled class, but whether it was reasonable for them not to cancel classes and "lock down" a 2,600 acre campus in search of someone the authorities believed fled the campus. You're welcome to attempt to hold them to a standard higher than mere reasonableness, but that doesn't mean those within the school's administration should be held legally accountable or even could be.

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Born to bear and bring to all, the details of our ending.
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EEtoJD

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Re: VA Tech shooting - more than 20 dead
« Reply #149 on: April 16, 2007, 11:33:12 PM »
I see no problem with VT admin and law enforcement officers delaying notification to the students:

First, if the admin had canceled class or notified students that there was a homicidal maniac (if they knew that is what they were dealing with) running around campus a lot of people's first inclination would have been to flee.  How does admin know that the guy hasn't perched himself up on the top of a building or in a tree somewhere (or like the guy in Texas in a clocktower) just waiting to pick off people running away from the campus?

Of course, in regards to notification, it is a two-edged sword because if there had been proper notification the students could have barricaded the door closed, or taken other precautions to protect themselves--but, the likelihood is just as high that the students would have decided to run for it possibly exposing themselves to a greater threat.

Second, the mass of people running around campus because class was canceled will make it more difficult to actually catch the perpetrator.

I think that everyone will look for someone to blame (tragedy tends to bring that out in people).  Admin and law enforcement are always easy targets--but, let's not forget about the guy who stalked onto campus with two firearms obviously intent on murdering as many students as possible before killing himself. 

The bolded is a good point. I think the best response would have been to spread the campus police (do they have any?) and local police all over the campus to keep an eye out. People should also be made aware of threats to their lives, but they should also be reassured that the proper authorities are all over it and that they can be calm.
I can't believe these obnoxious Michigan students, who use the board not to share information, but to socialize (as pathetic as that is)

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