Anorak News | Virginia Tech – Unbearable Truths

Virginia Tech – Unbearable Truths

by | 17th, April 2007

virginia3.jpg“THE VIRGINIA TECH MASSACRE,” announces the Sun’s front page.

There is a picture of a victim being carted from the scene. Blood trickles down a bare leg. Four thickset police hold the victim’s limbs – two on the feet, two on the arms.

No stretcher. The victim’s body slums in the middle. The police are armed. One is wearing full body armour. Yet none of them are touching the bloodied parts. They take hold of the victim’s shoes with their gloved hands.

Are they squeamish? Is it against health and safety procedures for an officer to touch an undressed wound? Or are they uncertain of what to do?

More police carrying another body on the Mirror’s front page. And another on the Mail, this one a woman.

Then a statement and a question: “He lined the students against a wall, then the executions began. As 33 die in America’s worst ever shooting, what price the right to bear arms?”

Questions at a time like this? The Mail should gather the facts before the analysis can begin in earnest.

The killer is shooting. He is in the engineering department. Armed with two 9mm automatic handguns he enters the dormitory at West Amber Johnston Hall, housing 895 people.

Students are lined up. The firing begins. When the shooting ends, 32 are dead and 29 are hurt.

No newspaper goes into the rooms full of bodies. Not yet. But they imagine the scene, the weight of evil hanging overhead. The smell.

The Mail publishes a picture of students in a classroom at Virginia Tech. “A terrible toll in the country where the gun is still sacrosanct,” trills the headline.

And then the stories. There are lots of stories, and there will be many more and they will be told many times.

Engineering student Josh hears “screaming through the walls”. Panic. “Then I head shots down the hallways.” Forty or 50. He jumped from a window to escape. “Then I heard shots through glass – and that’s when it hit me that I had to get out of there.”

Matt Waldron sees a girl jump from a top-storey window. She hits the ground. She isn’t moving.

Matt Matoney sees “an ungodly amount of ammo” on the killer’s vest. “People were throwing desks and whatever they could to barricade the door to stop him coming through,” says he.

Student Suxanne Higgs tells the Mirror: “We’ve heard that the shooter was jealous over a girl who as with someone else.” This is the Mirror’s “jilted gunman”.

Student Kenny Nesselrodt says: “I understand the guy went to her dormitory first and shot his girlfriend because she’d broken up with him.”

Then nothing for two hours. The killer enters a French class. Nesselrodt goes on: “I’ve heard it was his own class. Maybe he figured ‘I’ve already killed so I might as well kill again.”

There will be much analysis to come. But perhaps this student has hit upon the answer to the many questions that will come – not ‘why?’ but ‘why not?’

Posted: 17th, April 2007 | In: Tabloids Comments (4) | TrackBack | Permalink