After watching two days of covereage on the mass shootings at Virginia Tech, here are a few thoughts:
1. Initial wire reports Monday morning said one dead and about 20 injured. Later, when bulletins regarding the first police briefing started coming in, the figure jumped to at least 20 dead. Everyone in the newsroom went, "What?!?" My first thought, since I was working on other things and hadn't actually heard the campus police chief say that number, was that the AP had it wrong, and what they really meant to do was confirm the figure of 20 injured.
2. When I saw the cell phone video that one student had taken from outside the classroom building, my first reaction was to count the number of gunshots.
3. I've been very impressed by the composure and thoughtfullness of the students at Virginia Tech. The students I have seen interviewed have all been well-spoken. Even more impressive, I think, is that they generally refrained from making snap judgements about criticizing or placing blame, instead saying they want to learn more before forming definite opinions.
4. At the convocation this afternoon, Bush sounded more like a preacher than a president.
5. The shootings have raised a lot of questions about the gun laws in this country. Maybe some of those laws need to be strengthened or changed. Maybe we need new laws. My belief, however, is that someone intent on carrying out an act like the one at Virginia Tech will find a way to do it. Laws will not matter.