Monday, April 16, 2007

Hand Wringing In Virginia

I was going to compose a long-winded post about the difficulties of securing a college campus with 26,000 students, but instead, I'll say only this.

Yesterday's shooting at Virginia Tech could happen at "Any University USA." Securing a sprawling campus from a gunman carrying two pistols is very hard, if not impossible. Even given a two hour headstart when you're being led by clues that tell you one thing, it's hard to devote the enormous resources required to shut down an entire university on the off chance that the gunman will show up across campus at carry out a massacre.

Nevertheless, it's likely the VT police chief's head will roll and maybe the school's president, too. But when I worked in the public safety sector in cities with big universities, even responding to the smallest emergency calls came with their own sense of chaos and disorder, if for no other reason than because colleges are almost always a swirling hive of activity.

An event like this could unfold exactly the same way tomorrow right in your own town...and it'd be just as hard to stop.

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