Another College Shooting

5 dead and many others wounded according to the Chicago Tribune. I don’t have anything to add to what I said in “Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish, and Short.”

UPDATE: The authorities are on TV now saying that “nothing further” could have been done to prevent the shooting. Really? Nothing? News seems to be that he was on psychiatric medication who had been behaving erratically for the past two weeks. This is the fourth school shooting in a week.

UPDATE #1 In the light of the pattern that has developed since Columbine I’m hard pressed to see how we cannot think of our schools as potential shooting galleries. Schools must adapt immediately. Human beings have a natural right to life. No civil entity has the power to strip them of that right. Universities and colleges and secondary schools must do whatever is necessary (e.g. armed guards, security searches, metal detectors) or they must allow students to protect themselves. Clearly, the idea of armed high school students is impossible to accept. The idea of armed, trained university students is a little easier to accept. In this case, however, it’s hard to see exactly how armed students might have helped since the shooter seems to have begun firing immediately. A search and scan of students entering the building would have found this fellow before he entered the building with a shotgun in a guitar case and more than one handgun on his person.

This is a grave problem that school administrators must address immediately or risk losing credibility regarding the safety of college and university students.

UPDATE #2: “Lee N. Field,” who had more at stake than most of us, points us (below) to a case where an armed parishioner was able to help protect a congregation against heavily armed terrorists. I’m willing to think about trained, armed students who could help protect campuses. Perhaps we ought to consider arming returning Iraq/Afghanistan combat vets? Give them a full ride. Give them the necessary police training and le them help protect us.

It also occurs to me that we could make campuses into fortresses. The ancient university campuses were fortresses, at least the particular colleges were. Maybe we must to return to that? Universities could set up 4-5 high-security entry points with scanners/imaging. The campus within that perimeter would be be a “clean” zone. The schools have a choice: protect their students or face losing the confidence of parents from whom they demand already outrageous tuition and fees.

Update #3: Bob Weir at The American Thinker weighs in.

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


  1. Two of my children go there (both are safe).

    “however, it’s hard to see exactly how armed students might have helped since the shooter seems to have begun firing immediately.”

    Google on “Charl van Wyk’ and/or “St. James Massacre”.

  2. Thanks Lee. This is interesting. I suppose if someone had a loaded weapon holstered and was trained and ready and willing to use it, then that would be different. I was thinking of a typical college student with some time on the range. Shooting back under fire is a little different than the range. I’m open minded. Something has to be done. The current situation is intolerable.

  3. Thirty-seven states, comprising about two thirds of the US population, allow law-abiding adults to carry concealed handguns, once a background check has been passed. In many such states, proof of training is required. Two states (Alaska and Vermont) allow law-abiding adults to carry weapons without securing any license or permit.

    For many, perhaps most, of these “shall-issue” states, such concealed-carry permits are not valid on college campuses. In many states where they are valid on campus, administrators are lobbying to reverse the situation.

    I think this is unfortunate. Have you noticed how many shooting sprees have taken place in so-called “gun-free” zones? The places where law-abiding people can’t carry weapons? Have you noticed how few have taken place at shooting ranges, where nearly everyone is armed?

    Statistically speaking, about five percent of the people I see at the library or the grocery store are going to be lawfully armed. It doesn’t particularly bother me. In fact it makes me feel more comfortable. I figure criminals, who may be crazy, but who aren’t dumb, will be somewhat deterred from attacking there. They don’t know who is armed and who isn’t. That’s a good thing. The same reasoning should apply to college campuses in my state. But it doesn’t. It is against the law for people to carry guns on campus. At the large state university in my city, the violent crime rate — muggings, rapes, murder — has sky-rocketed in recent years. It’s sad.

    I would not claim that licensed individuals among college staff and adult students could forestall all tragedies of the type under discussion. However, I believe such law-abiding people should have the same right to defend themselves against violent criminals on campus as they would anywhere else.

    In this country, we can be thankful that the the same Bill of Rights that protects our freedom of religion also protects our right to defend ourselves.

  4. I think this one is a case where even armed guards, students, etc. would not have helped. There isn’t always “something” we could have done.

    But in general I would agree with allowing students, teachers, etc. to be armed is a good idea. Police cannot (and I don’t want them to) be everywhere all the time. When shooters and other thugs are aware that people are armed they will have less incentive to try to kill. Although the guy had mental problems, he was still rational.

  5. My brother works at U of I, where the criminal was going to school. My sister-in-law is a grade school teacher in same town. I live near Virginia Tech, the scene of last years criminal attack. I am a military police officer.

    I keep looking for the news article that profiles the student or teacher that charges the attacker or throws books, pointers and laptops to distract the shooter. I am looking for the person that runs to the sound of the gunfire instead of away from it. But my search is in vain.

    It seems as if we have raised an entire generation of adults that has a stronger “flight” impetus rather than an active “fight” impetus.

    My rational is that all of the attackers have little in-depth experience with firearms while under stress. Analysis of police shootings demonstrate that 80% of trained law enforcement miss. It is attributed to stress that a police officer can not replicate expert level marksmanship on a shooting range to a real-world, shooting situation. Adrenaline, environment, fear, anger, and a moving target all contribute to a long list of variables that are difficult if not impossible to replicate in a training environment. So if trained professionals have that level of inaccuracy, these murders have similar if not greater problems. The murderer in Illinois fired 56 rounds and wounded/killed less than 16; giving him a slightly better than professional percentage of lethality, but still missing 73% of the time.

    So–if confronted with a mass murder attempt while sitting in a college classroom, you have a much better opportunity of personal survival and of saving the lives of your classmates if you assault your attacker. In the Illinois case, the attacker paused to reload his weapon, providing an excellent opportunity to be stopped.

    There is a lot of conversation about providing security or allowing students to carry guns. I think that is missing a greater discussion–that of basic survival instincts. Event after event has failed to produce that individual who fights back.

    Each one of these criminals is a coward; otherwise he wouldn’t target unarmed victims. They have rehearsed being shot by police in their mind, almost wanting that to be the end of their attack; because they are too cowardly to end their own lives. Each time one of these murders succeeds and is glamorized by media coverage it emboldens the next one. The coward sees that in these incidents they will have uncontested control until they decide when to end it. They do not anticipate counterattacks from their intended victims–because all of the past victims have failed to fight back. These cowards will not put up a fight if confronted; their true nature as cowards will come out and the initiative will be taken from them.

    The first time a teacher or a student fights back and either kills or beats one of these cowards until the police arrives we will have solved this problem. When that cowards life is put on trial and all his emotional/mental backage is entered into trial and then the media gets to go ad naseum into what a pathetic individual he is a message will have been delivered to all cowards. That message is that there are no more victims. Murderers will be fought and killed or apprehended. The public will know about their petty emotional shortcomings and the coward may have to live through the humiliation if not killed by his intended victim.

    Fighting back is not something that is easy to get your brain wrapped around while you are being attacked. It is something you have to think about when you are calm, rational and have the opportunity to reflect. What would you do when the gunman appears? Where is the nearest exit? What can you turn into a weapon? Do you have time? Do you go for the gun or his arm or his eyes? Or do you just tackle him? Do you tell someone to call 911? What do you do to fight to save your life?

    Flight will not always work. It seems as if that is what we have taught a generation. Even in Rwanda, a hard country with hard people, there is documented cases where people litterally stood in line to be executed via machete. Do our children have what it takes to make it in a world that is short, nasty and brutish? Do you and they have what it takes to fight or will you and they just watch as the next murderer shoots you in your chair?

  6. You can not outsource your survival instincts…well you can, but you will find that you will not be able to compete with the other animals and will be put “out of business” when it really counts.

    We have an obligation to teach a sense of morality that includes a healthy self-defense perogative. There have been 160 “small wars” from 1945-1990, with an estimated 22 million casualties. We do a great disservice to our children by teaching them that they will not have to have the courage to face conflict in their lives. We do a great disservice by preaching pacification but not preparing for and being able to defend ourselves.

    Peace like war is not sustainable; it is cyclical. The wheel will turn. Trying to ignore half of your people’s world won’t fix it….

Comments are closed.