Friday, April 20, 2007

In Defense Of Courage

The loonies at Media Matters--the ones who have announced their McCarthyite list of talk show hosts to take down ala Imus--have got me in their sights yet again. They're apparently upset (I say "apparently" because their confused, incoherent blog post about me is so difficult to decipher) because of the conversation we've been having on the air about the behavior of the hundreds of Virginia Tech students who encountered the shooter during his rampage.

Is it significant that not a single student, or group of students, confronted the shooter? Is it significant that, when he was outnumbered 25 to one in a closed classroom, he was able to walk out and kill still more students elsewhere--leaving 21 dead or injured students behind?

These don't strike me as odd or noteworthy questions to ask. Indeed, many of you have emailed to say you've asked the same thing.

Now, let us enter the world of the Angry Lefty, straight from this morning's email:



"You filthy worthless sonofabitch. God----you. Piece of s---, you should have your brains beat out you p----...what a god---- moron you are....take THAT you worthless a--hole."

I'm such a meanie. At least we have these fine folks to take me to task on behalf of a more civilized discourse.

Well, I'm not going to back down. I have to ask these questions because there are brave students who deserve to have them asked. Unfortunately, none of the brave students I'm speaking of were on campus at Virginia Tech on Monday.

No, I'm talking about the students Appalachian Law School just a couple of hours down the road from Blacksburg, VA.

Here's how Time Magazine describes what happened in 2002:

A distraught law student on verge of flunking out went on a shooting spree in Grundy, Virginia Wednesday, killing three people and wounding three others before he was subdued by students, witnesses and officials said.

The victims included the dean of the Appalachian School of Law, L. Anthony Sutin, who was a former acting assistant attorney general, and an unidentified professor, both of whom were "executed" at point-blank range,according to Dr. Jack Briggs, a Buchanon County coroner who raced to the scene from his family practice a half-mile away. Briggs said a female student was also shot dead after the gunman opened fire on students outside the dean's office.

"There were four bodies on the floor and bodily fluids seeping out on the floor," said Briggs, who arrived on the scene within minutes of the shootings. Briggs said the student shot the dean and the professor, then "executed" them as they lay on the floor. "He put the gun barrel to their backs and shot," said Briggs, who observed "powder burns" on the victims' shirts indicating they had been shot at close range. "Then he went down to a common area and started shooting at random," Briggs said. One female student was killed and three others were critically wounded before the gunman apparently ran out of bullets.

Briggs said four students wrestled the gunman to the ground as he ran from the building and held him until the police could arrive.

That's right: One guy with a gun. Four unarmed students. That's how Time magazine reported it. Not surprisingly, they got it wrong.

What really happened is that at least two students went out to the parking lot. But instead of getting into their cars and fleeing for their lives, they grabbed their own guns...and went back into the building.

Think of all the things that could have happened to these two men. They could have been shot and killed themselves. They could have accidentally shot an innocent bystander and, thus, ruined their own lives.

If they had done the "smart" thing and played dead, who knows how high the body count from this random shooter's rampage could have been. But by confronting the killer, they could have been killed themselves. What if they had been? Would that mean they made the wrong decision?

You and I are now confronted by these two different sets of decisions. One group of Virginia students chose not to act. Another group chose to risk their own lives. Who did the right thing? It cannot be both.

I owe it to the young men at Appalachian Law School to ask these questions and, thereby, honor their heroism. If that means that the students who stood around taking pictures on their cell phones during the shooting are going to feel uncomfortable...