At least 22 people were killed today, some of them students, and about two dozen more injured during shootings at Virginia Tech, some of them in a classroom, the police said. A gunman was also shot to death, officials said.
The attack was the deadliest campus shooting in American history.
Up until today, the deadliest campus shooting in United States history was in 1966 at the University of Texas, where Charles Whitman climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of a clock tower and opened fire, killing 16 people before he was gunned down by police. In the Columbine High attack in 1999, two teenagers killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before killing themselves.
A police official at Virginia Tech, Wendell Flinchum, said there were “at least 20 fatalities,” and that some of the victims were shot in the classroom. News of the number of the fatalities sent up an audible gasp in the news conference, said one television reporter in the broadcast.
I am old enough to remember the U of T clock tower shootings. It was that, and not Columbine, that occurred to me on hearing the news (just as Biafra and not Darfur crosses my mind when I think malnutrition... formative years, and all that). In any case, the idea of school as a safe haven is still ingrained in every parent. This strikes you in the gut no matter how far away you live.
There's other news, but not likely to be discussed much today, not after this.