Phi Beta Cons

Security Issues

Here’s one voice hoping that Monday’s murder rampage at Virginia Tech leads to few substantive changes either in college campus security, specifically, or in increased state and federal governmental controls on guns and involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations, generally. Even accounting for Monday’s horrific killings, college campuses are still the safest places in American society, exhibiting extremely low incidences of violent crime, as Eli Lehrer cogently noted on NRO earlier this week.  
And the facts known thus far about Cho Seung-Hui do little to confirm the shibboleths of either liberal or conservative political correctness. Although Cho certainly believed himself to be an aggrieved victim, he wasn’t a member of a politically-preferred racial or ethnic group. In fact, he was a member of the most over-represented ethnic group on American college campuses today. And Cho wasn’t raised by a single mother in a drug or gang-infested urban barrio or ghetto. Instead, Cho grew up in an immigrant, two-parent family that was living the American dream; his father owned a dry-cleaning business and Cho attended a middle-class high school. And although Cho was certainly filled with rage, there’s no evidence that his murders constituted a “hate crime” along racial or gender lines. Apparently, Cho was an equal opportunity mass murderer.
Although Cho wasn’t an American citizen, he lived two-thirds of his life in the U.S. and possessed a legal green card. And even though Cho wasn’t an Islamic terrorist, could any lone Islamic terrorist with two handguns have inflicted more havoc on Americans than Cho did?
Mass murder is mass murder, regardless of the killer’s motives, politics, or racial and socio-economic background. We should have the same reaction to the actions of the Muslim Mohammed Atta as to the actions of Christian Timothy McVeigh, two killers who claimed that U.S. government policies targeted their religious group. And our view of Colin Ferguson, the black murderer who targeted and killed six whites in 1993, shouldn’t be any different than our view of anti-feminist student Marc Lepine who killed 14 women at a Montreal university in 1989. In short, our response to murder shouldn’t be affected one iota by whether the murder was committed for money, political objectives, or alleged personal grievances.
Again, I hope that Virginia Tech’s administration and campus security leaders review their specific actions from last Monday to see whether their crisis management plan was followed correctly. I hope that Virginia Tech’s leaders don’t completely revamp their current plan purely because of Monday’s horrific events. Unfortunately, any lawsuits against Virginia Tech will likely force it to make some substantial changes to its security.

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