Monday, April 16, 2007

Preparing for the Worst: Living in a Post Virginia Tech Massacre World

As the news and accounts continue to trickle out of Blacksburg, VA tonight and my back knots with disgust and sorrow I'm compelled to put to paper some reactions, reactions I've already spoke, but worth getting down more succinctly anyhow.

Complete prevention of these types of incidents seems close to impossible. All talk of what could have been done to keep something like this from happening must be tempered by the truth that all humans have agency and some are capable of atrocity.

Gun control must be open for discussion, but beyond gun control more discussion about security and planning in schools, towns, and cities must be discussed first on a national scale and then locally to implement plans. We need a national discussion about local preparedness. We shouldn't have to wait for terrible days like this for our leaders to act.

In a post 9-11, post U. Texas, post Columbine, post Nickel Mines, Pa, post Virgina Tech world, more care, effort, and resources must be devoted to improving our response to emergency and catastrophe. Say what you will about the response Virginia Tech Administrators made this morning, say what you will about how any University would have responded. What we must focus on moving forward is preparedness.
  • All higher education institutions and all schools must have proper plans;
  • Every student must have a sense of what they are supposed to do to keep them as far from harm as possible in an emergency situation;
  • Every university should have an emergency response program to get useful up to the minute information out to all students and staff; and
  • All schools must have a security director in charge of making sure the above mandates are met.
We've got a lot of work to do. Preparedness is our biggest challenge.

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Blogger The Non-Philosopher said...

I do not argue that having a dialogue about preparedness is an important step after what transpired on Monday, but as a realist I think we need to look for solutions in other areas as well. As with all tragedies, it seems that the conventional reaction is to increase security and impose restrictions, and though this is sometimes necessary it scares me. Will new laws and better security make things better? Or, maybe a better question would be, have they made things better? I think in order to truly remedy this problem, the issue ought to be addressed socially, not legislatively. The fact of the matter is that there will always be crazy people roaming our streets and schools, and regardless of what precautions we take they will take advantage of people when they want to. For that matter, I don't think the VT massacre is the result of poor planning or preparation. I do think it has everything to do with an evil person who would stop at nothing to harm others. No preparation in the world would have stopped Cho Seung-Hui from his atrocities. If he couldn't carry out his plan at VT he would have more than likely found alternatives. With this being said, I think it's important to understand that I do not make these remarks because I'm apathetic. I wish to express this point of view because I'm afraid that this incident will lead to the snowballing of laws that will restrict our freedoms. I’m opposed to building a wall of laws and contingency plans around myself because one lunatic’s actions.

11:14 AM  
Blogger eponymous educator said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:38 PM  
Blogger eponymous educator said...

Walls of laws, no. Plans for how to react to disasters that are, as you suggest, nearly inevitable, definitely. Thanks for your comment.

3:41 PM  

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