I've been refreshing CNN.com all day today, reading the continuing story about the shootings at Virginia Tech. I'm surprisingly rather calm about it; I think not knowing many people at Virginia Tech is keeping me coolheaded about it. (I talked to Martha online, who happened to be in Blacksburg today, and I saw that Pete was online, so I assumed he was fine. Then there was the guy I went to high school with whom I don't particularly like. I also assumed he was fine, since he was also on AIM today.)
Anyway, it's very troubling to start your day hearing the news that there was a shooting at a large university in your home state and seeing the number of casualties rise from "seven or eight" to the forties.
What's most troubling is that the first shooting occurred at 7:15 AM. The second shooting - the "rampage" in an engineering classroom - happened at 9:15. That means that for two hours, students were still walking around campus to classes, which had not yet been canceled, unaware that there was a gunman walking around, too.
I've never been to Virginia Tech, but I've always heard how big it is. The campus is very spread out. Below is a portion of the campus map (I got it from Thinking on the Margin):
The building in the red circle, at the bottom of the map, is where the first shooting took place. The building in the purple circle is where the second round of shootings occurred.
Those buildings are really far apart.
I think this will eventually reflect poorly on the Virginia Tech administration and campus security, and it will most definitely affect how universities across the country control and release information to students, faculty and staff, families, and the media, not to mention how emergency plans will be put into practice.