The Tragedy On Campus

Thirty-three people were killed
Monday by a gunman on the
Blacksburg, Virginia campus of Virginia
Polytechnic Institute.

The shooter, who was later identified
as South Korean immigrant and Virginia
Tech student Cho Seung-Hui, began the
rampage at around 7:15 a.m., killing two
students at a freshman dormitory. Later,
at around 9:45 a.m., he continued the
massacre, killing 30 more at the
University’s Norris Hall before taking
his own life.

After the initial shootings, the
University sent out an e-mail to its students,
notifying them that a gunman was
loose on campus and to avoid going outside.
By 10:16 a.m., Virginia Tech
administrators sent out an e-mail cancelling
classes and telling students and
faculty to lock their doors and remain

Recent findings have shown that
Cho, a 23-year-old senior English major
at Virginia Tech, was an antisocial student
known for his disturbing and graphic creative writing. He
came to the United States in
1992 and resided in
Centreville, Virginia.

During a search of Cho’s
room, authorities found various
notes he had supposedly
written, denouncing rich,
spoiled students. Another note
was found near his body at the
scene of the crime, also ridiculing
the wealthy.

Authorities have yet to determine
when any of these notes
were written or if they were
intended to be suicide notes.
Cho, whose massacre on
Monday is the deadliest shooting
in American history, had
legally obtained the gun used
during the crime.

“Today, the university was
struck with a tragedy that we
consider of monumental proportions,”
said Virginia Tech
president Charles Steger.

Virginia Tech’s handling
of the situation has since come
into question, especially its
decision not to close the
school after the first shootings.

This controversy has
caused some St. John’s students
to wonder how their
own university would handle
such a situation, especially
given the shooting that took
place at the Queens campus
six years ago in which two
people were shot.

“I think the shooting at the
school was terrifying because
this could become a reality
anywhere,” said freshman
John Visconti. “I think it is
highly probable that something
like this could happen at
St. John’s.”

Other students seemed
more optimistic.

“I don’t think we should
waste time worrying about it
happening here,” said freshman
Alex Boukas. “There are
people everywhere that are
capable of doing the same or
worse. We don’t need to get all
paranoid like we do after
every crisis.”

Some students, however,
like freshman Joanna
Trumino, were confident that
St. John’s would not use the
Virginia Tech incident as an
excuse to beef up security.
“It’s not like they’re going
to start putting metal detectors
in the school,” Trumino said.
“And I don’t think they should
anyway, because it would
make college feel like a

Sophomore Chris
Imparato said that although he
found the Virginia Tech incident
“appalling,” he fears
what could potentially happen
on a smaller campus like St.

“Since our campus is
much smaller, more damage
could be done,” he said.
“Whether St. John’s would be
capable of stopping it is a
tough call.”

A University statement
issued by Vice President of
Student Affairs the Rev. James
Maher, C.M., Associate Vice
President of Student Affairs
Jose Rodriguez and Vice
President of Public Safety
Thomas Lawrence addressed
the issue of how St. John’s
would react if an incident similar
to those at Virginia Tech
were to occur here.

“We would immediately
initiate the Emergency
Management Plan,” the statement
said. “As per the plan,
we would notify local authorities
and have the University
emergency evacuation volunteers
go through the
University buildings and institute
a stay-in-place procedure
(lock down) until the local
authorities have the situation under control.”