Tuesday, April 17, 2007


While the country is transfixed in horror and grief in the face of a terrible tragedy of the Virginia Tech shooting, nobody seems to be asking an obvious question:

this is SO incredibly improbable, WHO do they think we are to take it at a face value?

In a self defense class, I was told that if a gunman doesn't have a hold of you, your best bet is to run-- because the chance of him hitting a moving target is only about 10%, and even that is overwhelmingly likely not to be deadly.

Even if one practices enough at a shooting range, killing a real person is a while another matter. We have a deeply hard wired biological prohibition against killing, and it takes special training or circumstances to get over it. When it comes to killing a lot of people, circumstances alone are not enough -- one must be used to this kind of thing on a very deep instinctual level, to keep the heart rate down and all reflexes under control. Otherwise, to put it simply, the hands shake too much.

Because of this I don't buy that an average Joe could in a matter of minutes shoot to death 30+ people with a small hand gun that he bought a month ago. This is unhumanly accurate and efficient. This is triple the number of victims in the Columbine shooting (where there were two shooters with some serious bazookas in their hands), and double that of the Texas U massacre of 1966 (where the guy was shooting from the roof using a sniper's rifle).

He obviously has, or has been, trained.

My versions, from the most to the least likely:

1) he played a lot of first person shooter videogames, which are known to desensitize to violence;

2) he was trained in some secret op;

3) he wasn't the real shooter, or there were more shooters, and they are still at large.


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