You Got to Be Kidding Me!

A ’93 In The News

Posted in Books, Virginia Tech Massacre by Stacy McMahon on April 28, 2007

I posted awhile back about What Really Happened to The Class of ’93. I’ve finished reading it now and will have a review up at some point. In a nutshell though, I liked it. Chris, if you happen to read this, look me up next time you’re in town. If nothing else I owe you a beer for kindly leaving my name out of that one quote… 😀

Another of our classmates — someone I knew this time — was in the news recently and for a sadder reason (I thank Christina for the link, though it’s not on her blog) He was a friend of one of the Virginia Tech Massacre victims. I hate that name by the way, but much like “nine eleven” or the “war on terror”, that’s what the world has decided to call it. Anyway, The Boston Herald’s interview with my classmate Luke Sponholz is strangely reminiscent of Chris Colin’s interviews with some of my other high school classmates. It is [finally] the kind of tasteful remembrance that the media can give us on its better days; and very welcome after the great, garish display of instant analysis that inevitably follows this and other tragedies, becoming more widespread every year in spite of being universally hated. Anyway, go read it.

UPDATE: As Christina notes in the comments, she has now blogged the BH interview.


Like Clockwork…

Posted in Ungeheuer, Virginia Tech Massacre by Stacy McMahon on April 27, 2007

…you can count on public school administrators to come up with the most stunningly mindless and pedantic response to a violent incident that happened halfway across the country and has nothing to do with their particular school.

Police Thursday released portions of an essay used to charge a Cary-Grove High School student with disorderly conduct, leaving several experts puzzled at an arrest based on such schoolwork.

Asked to write about whatever he wanted in a creative writing class, would-be Marine and honors student Allen Lee, 18, described a violent dream in which he shot people and then “had sex with the dead bodies.”

Allen “Lee”? Yes, of course he’s asian.

After 4/16 everyone knows asian kids who write a violent scene must be future school shooters! I have actually attached electrical generators to harness the energy of my eyes rolling at this, and am currently selling electricity back to the power company. I am not, however, going to write a long-ass post about all that’s wrong with the quoted scenario. If it’s not obvious, then there’s no way I can make you understand. There is certainly no way I could ever make the administrators or police up there in IL understand. That much is clear…

* Side note: You may notice I’ve added a new category for this post. Ungeheuer is a German word that means, roughly, “jaw-dropping, un-effing-believable thing that no real human being should ever have come up with, but someone did anyway.”

Too Soon?

Posted in Guns, Virginia Tech Massacre by Stacy McMahon on April 17, 2007

It’s my fault. I’m watching the cable news shows and it’s their business to yammer on about the politics of current events, appropriateness be damned. Hell, they probably even think it’s time now. I almost think that myself — only because I’ve been thinking and talking about it near-constantly since it happened.

I know I don’t need to tell you what ‘it’ is.

Anyway let me try, if I can, to talk about something more concrete and without getting into politics per se. A commenter over at the Bitch Girls asks why nobody bum-rushed the gunman while he was reloading. That’s a fair question, and one some of us on a VT message board talked about this afternoon. My theory: guns have been so demonized in our society that the mere sight of one probably strikes mindless terror into a lot of people. I’ll stop here and say that while I’m not frightened by a gun, having someone shot dead right next to me would undoubtedly bring on that mindless terror.

But if it didn’t — let’s think about the unthinkable, that this could happen to you — then you have an opportunity. Reloading is like this:

1.) discard old clip : you’ve seen movies, this is a one-handed operation

2.) fetch new clip : takes a little longer, maybe a lot if the spares are in a pocket or backpack.

3.) insert new clip : fast but needs two hands.

Critically, through all three steps the gun is unloaded and the gunman is busy and distracted. My hail-mary play would be to throw some object — a book, backpack, shoe, anything with a bit of weight to it — at the shooter and rush him. What do you have to lose? Of course none of us truly know how we’ll react until we’re in the hotseat ourselves.

Take this for what it’s worth to you. I’m the type to try to draw any lesson I reasonably can, no matter how seemingly trivial, from an experience. And tragedy only makes it more necessary to do this, to do any small thing (and this is a small thing) you can to give meaning to senseless death.

Think of The Children!

Posted in Miscellaneous, Virginia Tech Massacre by Stacy McMahon on April 17, 2007

I couldn’t think of a much better title for this post. I am both an alum and a current grad student at Virginia Tech; I haven’t posted about the shootings because I simply have nothing to add. Someone has done us the favor, though, of providing a picture worth 1,000 words. It captures my mood perfectly, so here you go:

sad hokiebird

Some people always have a lot of word though, and so it goes. This guy from Leesburg, with no special qualification and whose daughter was on campus but apparently nowhere near the combat zone, has stood forth for an entire Fox News article to discuss his solemn conclusion that President Steger and Chief Flinchum should both be fired.

Shourds said he is second-guessing his decision to push his daughter towards Virginia Tech, where several of his nieces and nephews have attended. Many of those relatives have called to offer support to the family and Shourds said many are equally displeased with the university’s initial response.


However, John Shourds said he had doubts about the effectiveness of Virginia Tech’s campus police from the start. He called the force, “an Andy Griffith and Barney Fife” operation.

“They are really small police force for 20,000 students and they are not the best and the brightest,” said Shourds.

I’m sure the family and friends of the students who were actually injured and killed appreciate this jackass speaking for all of them before the bodies are even cold. What is it about tragedy and/or the news media that brings this out in people?