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RE: Virginia Tech

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REPLY
April 19, 2007 
 
Just as a quick reply, CNN reported that the Police had reason to focus
their attention on the boyfriend of the girl killed in the dorm prior to the
shooting in the engineering department. The boy had guns on campus
previously  and photos were shown of him target shooting with the girl that
was killed. The police acted appropriately to focus on the boyfriend and to
seek the young man who was helpful in their investigation. Unfortunately,
while this was happening, the young man who fired upon the dorm was on his
way to the engineering department to create the havoc and killings that were
reported. I would not hold the police or the University with responsibility
based on the lack of manpower and the strong leads that it was an isolated
incidents responsible for failing to respond.
I understand Jordan's comments, but I don't think my comments were based on
anger or intended to point blame. Every news outlet is handling some sort of
speculation on what has happened and all I wanted to do was to bring the
discussion to the surface while it was fresh in everyone's mind. I expect
that the media will polute the information as much as possible in the next
few weeks, but the basic issue of gun "control" rather "elimination" is the
root of the issue. I don't believe this event was an anomoly following the
reports of the killers methodical plan and the mailing of the video
manifesto he sent to NBC that was released today. Even this event is not
unique in the overall discussion that seems to be as difficult as
discussions of politics, religion or sexuality in this country. As engineers
we should be able to provide useful suggestions as how to make weapons such
as guns safe in our society using physical methods rather than relying upon
information databases to control the sale and permitting. I saw a commercial
the other day for Volvo that provided a sensor on the keychain door lock
that could alert the driver through sensors within the car if there was a
heart beat detected in the automobile so that the driver does not enter if
the presence of another human being is not expected.
Why is it so hard to discuss these issues without some on making it a
political statement? If you did not know me, then nothing in my posts would
point to political leanings except on comment I made about being liberal
leaning and even this was stated in such a way as to dismiss the idea that I
was speaking from a political view. 
I don't feel I have a bias here any more than if I was discussing how to
deal with the design of automobiles to prevent someone with a high alchol
level from engaging the ignition.
Please don't feel that originates from a horrible tragedy, but rather that
the event being fresh in our memories keeps people focused on mitigating a
threat while motivated to do so. I've never intended to attack the gun
lobby, but to look at the mechanism and to develop some additional safety
mechanisms that can help reduce the number of accidents or worse, the
ability to fire by one who ones a gun based on bio signs or heart and stress
related sensors. I'm sure there are more technology already available that
can be engaged that may assist gun manufacturers in providing a responsible
solution to the problem and what better audience to discuss this with but
intelligent engineers.

I promise not to pose further questions and apologize if, in fact, I have
insulted anyone - it was not my intent to do so.


 
 
Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
Structural Engineering Consultant
C-41250 (Exp. 3/31/09)
dennis.wish(--nospam--at)verizon.net
http://structuralist.spaces.live.com
 
 
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-----Original Message-----
From: Jordan Truesdell, PE [mailto:seaint1(--nospam--at)truesdellengineering.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 4:59 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Virginia Tech

Thank you to everyone on the list who has expressed their sympathies 
over the shootings at Virginia Tech. It has been a combination of grief 
and insanity here the last couple of days. Most of the people I know 
have been on the net - trying to get information on what has happened, 
if friends or loved ones were involved, finding out what will be 
happening over the next days and weeks. We have also had to defend the 
actions of our president and police force, and I have never been so 
disappointed in the media. The whole community will be relieved when the 
spotlight is turned off.

I did not know any of the victims personally, though I knew of some of 
them. As you may know, one of the classes involved was a graduate class 
in Civil Engineering, and the professor and at least four of the 
students are known to be dead. I have not spoken to anyone at Virginia 
Tech in the CEE department except a student who was helping me on a 
small project, and only briefly. I'm certain they have been inundated 
with emails and phone calls; I do not need to add to that burden. At 
least one of the professors lived in my small neighborhood on the south 
side of town.

Please do not use this to frame the firearms debate, for or against. 
Here in Blacksburg, arguments from all sides ring hollow in the 
aftermath of the loss we have suffered. Please take your anger and 
posturing elsewhere. If you should have a chance, there is a rebroadcast 
of the convocation held at Tech on hokiesports.com, and I suspect it 
will be on youtube in fairly short order. The words spoken there were 
timely and heartfelt. It is difficult to condense the range of emotions 
and feelings into a single hour, but I believe that is exactly what was 
done yesterday.

Again, many thanks to all who have offered their support over the past 
couple of days.

Jordan Truesdell, PE
Virginia Tech Aerospace & Ocean Engineering
Class of 1992


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