Saturday, January 25, 2014

If society had lapels, I'd be grabbing them.

click to you know the drill
Sean at NC Gun Blog had a response to the reports of Purdue University students complaining that their professors did not lock doors and turn off lights in response to the report of a gunshot on campus, instead choosing to keep calm and lecture on. Sean rightly points out:
If your teacher is not locking the door, get off your fat ass and lock it yourself. Every person sitting in that class (bar the occasional child prodigy) is an adult. Yet instead of getting up and making the right things happen, they allowed a teacher to tell them to do something stupid.
I do question whether not doing so was "do(ing) something stupid", however.

See, a lot of these students doing the complaining? They weren't even in the building where the dude got shot. Purdue is a big campus. Thirty thousand undergrads. That's the population of a decent-sized town, and the campus is physically larger than Broad Ripple proper.

The EE building is farther from the Life Sciences building than I am from the nearest crack house, or the nearest convenience store that's been held up within the last month. If I locked the doors, cut the lights, and crouched in a dark corner clutching an improvised weapon every time someone got shot within a mile of where I'm sitting, I’d never get anything done around here.

Get a grip, people: If this guy shot a coworker at Jake's Action Comics, you never would have heard about it, but because he shot a fellow TA at the Special Snowflake Warehouse, it bumped the unfolding Ukrainian civil war right off of CNN.

So, kudos to the sensible profs who were able to distinguish between “Bang!*thud*” and “Bangbangbangbangbangbangscreambangshriekbangbangbangtramplebangbangbang!” I'm glad to see that there is a vestigial amount of stiffness left in our cultural upper lip.

(Although the university is trying to apply some solvent in the form of grief counselors and suspended classes to get that stiffness out. Because that's totally how it's going to be in the real world, kids: Every time some total stranger gets killed here in Indianapolis, we don't have to go to work the next day and can totally scam a free Xanax scrip to go sell off down on fraternity row if we play our drama cards right.)


Alan J. said...

Great commentary, Tam. Reminds me of an earlier blog of yours about the growing number of citizens without any courage or common sense. And a shout out to Kim du Toit for his thoughts on the same topic, back in the dinosaur days of 2003.

More people should hear what Jock told Indy after he found the snake on the plane "Come on, show a little backbone, will ya?"

Randy said...

A couple years ago they had a shooting "at" Old Dominion University and went in to lock down mode. The campus is intertwined with Norfolk Virginia, a good sized city. Then they discovered it was essentially a fight between two non-students who were getting an early start on getting drunk at a bar. That was a very normal event for that part of town, so the lock down was turned off and everybody was safe again.

So my question is this: If lock downs are the way to ensure the safety of students spread out around a city, why don't they lock down the entire city? Everybody would be safe, right?

staghounds said...

But it's NOT one of those total strangers, they are dark poor illiterates in bad neighborhoods. It's someone who looks sort of like the news editor, in a place where the newspaper staff have been and might go again!
And of course journalistic professionals never make bad relationship choices, so this isn't CNN material either...

Firehand said...

Much like some kid gets beaten or stabbed to death in school, local news: someone brings an unloaded gun, national news. So some poor bastard gets killed, no big deal: someone the editors can feel kinship with gets killed, NEWS!

Aaron said...

I think I understand why the students acted as they did, complaining that there was no lock-down when the shooting happened about a mile from their classroom.

It's due to their conceptual framework as to how the world works.

Purdue University is a gun-free zone with no firearms allowed. Indeed their very policy boldly states: "The possession, use, or distribution of any explosives, guns, or other deadly or dangerous materials or weapons reasonably calculated to cause bodily injury is prohibited in University Facilities

As such, the shooting was simply un-possible.

Could not have happened.

But it happened.

Thus a bit like Schrodinger's cat, and after all they're very fuzzily educated these days, the students had to face the possibility that the event both had occurred and yet could not have occurred at the same time.

After all, if the iron laws regarding the banning of weapons were disobeyed, the laws of physics very well could be next and the shooter could theoretically be both a mile away doing the shooting and then simultaneously outside their classroom ready to commit mayhem.

No wonder they wanted to go into a dark corner and cry.

Scott J said...

I am so stealing "special snowflake warehouse" and tucking it in my mind.

Hope I find a good chance to use it.

Stephen said...

Excellent, Tam...just friggin excellent.

Buzz said...

Not the same place it was when I was there.
The pivotal moment was when Engineering fell to liberal arts, "HSSE" at the time, as the largest school. (happened my junior year)
The other formerly big school was Ag, full of self-capable country boys and girls.

When the majority of your population is no longer logical, intelligent people searching for ways to make the world a better place, but rather those that have lived sheltered lives and go to "discover themselves" and/or "study" the easiest "major" because dad and grandma said "you're getting a college education," it dramatically changes the average mentality.

Yes, I am an engineering snob.
Quit ruining my alma mater, damn it.

Mike James said...

Buzz: As a Purdue Alum (Ag. Econ, Class of '69) I can testify to the fact it is already ruined. The faculty and staff at Purdue now are more politically liberal anc correct than IU was back in the Sixties.

And having Ditch Manuels as President will only make the situation worse because we all know what an enlightened figure of higher education he is...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

fillyjonk said...

If I prophylactically (snerk) locked and shut my classroom doors at the start of every class, I'd have people bitching at me about how I was unwelcoming to the "promptness challenged."

(And I'd have to do it that way. The doors are actually pretty hard to lock quickly, and the prof would have to step OUT of the classroom and use their key: a real design flaw.)

IF there were a shooter in my building, I'd damn sure do something. If he's a mile away, meh. He'll be taken care of before I or my students are in any danger.

Steve C said...

When I was at Purdue, one of my friends in the School of Dirt had an M2 carbine in his dorm room in case of trouble. (Yes, M2 not M1) Never scare a farm kid, you'll end up buried in the back 40.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

For the most part I agree. It's a big campus and most places would be unaffected. However, looking at the map they did point out the following.

"The indifference was not unique to one department or building. Professors teaching in the Physics, University, and Armstrong buildings paid no heed to the warnings."

Since the shooting happened in the Electrical Engineering building, the Physics and Neil Armstrong Engineering buildings are very close by.

I share your confusion as to why turning off the lights and huddling in the dark represents some useful tactic. I can't imagine how sitting in the dark could help anything. But I think that it is reasonable to shut the door and lock it. It does not interfere with the class and it does put a barrier between you and the potential for harm.

It would be nicer if the teachers would have the ability to say, "well, we always keep our door closed and locked, so that's handled. Now, if anyone comes in looking to hurt us, please use your lawfully carried concealed handguns to make that as difficult for him as possible. Now back to Physics."

Graybeard said...

(Stand and clap slowly). Just very well said - as always.

Tam said...

"Since the shooting happened in the Electrical Engineering building, the Physics and Neil Armstrong Engineering buildings are very close by."

The problem is still that a single homicide-by-gunshot (by a perp who then set the gun down and walked outside to await the po-po) is being conflated with "zomg Lockdown! Mass shooter! Prepare to repel boarders!" merely because it took place on a piece of turf designated as "campus".

Overreaction to events is unbecoming, even if it's tactical preparedness combat overreaction.

When I was much younger we had a homicide occur a few buildings away in the same apartment complex, and I don't recollect it disrupted the D&D game.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

Fair point.

Buzz said...


Mitch has been such a good cause for howling and hand-wringing by the socialists, though. It warms my heart when Targ gets all red-faced!

RevolverRob said...

Having been on a university campus during an active shooter event, including a lock down, subsequent building search. I did the same thing this professors did. Asked the students to stay in the room, kept them talking, kept going. The shooter was reported a 1/4 mile away. We went into "lock-down mode" which translated as faculty members standing at entrances and exits, after physically locking the doors and manning them.

You could leave if you wanted but you should be prepared to deal with the police officers outside if you did.

If Purdue is anything like my campus, however, there is not a way to physically lock classroom doors, only building doors. Which I'd bet was actually done. Universities have designated and redundant faculty and staff assigned to close and lock exterior building doors during emergencies like this.


Kristophr said...


Math is hard.

The liberal arts people can get more stupid special snowflakes to indenture themselves with huge student loans in return for being taught transgendered Bolivian underwater basketweaving.

University board members are all prostitutes at heart.

rickn8or said...

"So my question is this: If lock downs are the way to ensure the safety of students spread out around a city, why don't they lock down the entire city? Everybody would be safe, right?"

Boston, last spring when they were looking for the remaining Marathon Bomber comes to mind.

Buzz said...


You forgot: "then scrawl angry words on their parents' basement walls and stage violent protests against the job market's laws of supply and demand."

Goober said...

Tam, I agree wholeheartedly.


Since the campus has rules to disarm students and remove any chance of defending themselves, what is you take on the statement that they then have a higher duty of care to the people they've effectively disarmed?

I'm not saying I buy into this, but it is an interesting argument that I read somewhere to that effect.

Goober said...

Tam, I agree wholeheartedly.


Since the campus has rules to disarm students and remove any chance of defending themselves, what is you take on the statement that they then have a higher duty of care to the people they've effectively disarmed?

I'm not saying I buy into this, but it is an interesting argument that I read somewhere to that effect.

Expatriate Owl said...

The last time we had a fire drill on campus, the class I was teaching was on the second floor of a 3-story building. As the professor, I was the last one to leave the classroom (and I shut off the light switches).

Going down the stairwell, I saw that the students were all passing the emergency exit (clearly marked as such) at the bottom, and going into the hallway of the first floor, into the crowd to exit via the main entrance to the building.

I opened the emergency exit (which set off yet another alarm) and held the door open for the students, but only about one-third took the hint. The other two-thirds kept on going into the crowded hallway of the first floor instead of exiting the building directly through the emergency exit.

Now, it is easy to blame the college administration, whose idea of a fire drill consists of pulling the fire alarm switch and putting a stop watch on the students as they exit (instead of training the university community on the procedures). But, in the end, the primary responsibility for knowing how to get out of a building rests upon the individual.

In such regard, I counted three moms and 1 dad who had brought their young children along with them to class (if the child behaves reasonably well, then I have no problem with the practice -- it sends a very powerful positive message to the kids; my dad once took me along to his class when I was 6 years old and it helped impress upon me the idea of getting a good education). All four of them took advantage of the open emergency side exit I had provided, so that they and their young children could safely and expeditiously exit the building.

I'm grateful that it was only a "drill."

Anonymous said...

"I share your confusion as to why turning off the lights and huddling in the dark represents some useful tactic. I can't imagine how sitting in the dark could help anything."-Sean D. Sorrentino

What's confusing about it- it's the 18-24 y.o. child's version of hiding their head under the covers that worked so well on the monsters under the bed when they were 6 years old...

... and they ARE just children of advanced age: They are responsible for nothing, pay for nothing, and if things do not go their way, they shriek, "That's not FAIRRRRRR!" to anyone who will pay the slightest attention.


Anonymous said...

Things sure are different these days. Maybe my perspective is a bit...dated, but what a bunch of wankers students are these days. Active shooter? In the singular? I was attending the U-Dub when the shah of Iran was deposed. For a period of almost two weeks we had multiple anti/pro-shah disagreements both on and off campus, many of which either threatened to, or did generate shootings. I distinctly remember sitting in the ME building trying to concentrate on really *hard* stuff one sunny afternoon while the local po-po were tearing back and forth outside the building in their door-slammers like Keystone Kops in a Harold Lloyd silent movie. After a simple look-out-the-window threat assessment, we closed the windows to minimize the noise, and went back to concentrating on the lecture. The overall class attitude was one of aggravated annoyance, not fear.

What pissed us off the most about the whole gun-battles-on-campus crap was that the Iranian TA for our ME 469 class, who had been doing yeoman's work teaching the class, in spite of the fact that English was a third language for him, disappeared, reason being, he was in fear of his life, and his funds from home had been cut off. This was a disaster for everyone in both sections of the class, because ME 469 was a required senior-level dynamics class, the professor of which was the most useless POS I experienced in my entire university "experience", and that Iranian TA was our only hope of getting anything out of that class. We never did get anything out of the class. In spite of a unanimous class petition to have the professor summarily removed, nothing happened. Every single person in both sections got a 'B'.

And yeah, I paid my own way. Funny how having to work one's way through school lowers one's tolerance for incompetence and outside interruptions, even of the shooty kind.


I am not bitter. Really, I'm not. Honest.

Anonymous said...

I was a grad student at Purdue during the 1996 shooting, and was teaching on 9/11. The 1996 shooting was in the dorm, and they didn't "lock down" the campus or cancel classes. And yes, I taught class on 9/11. Interestingly enough, the topic for that day was supposed to be the capacity for people to be evil. Turned out to be quite timely.

Greg Tag said...


We are creating a nation of wimps.

The the social strata who populate the elite universities are producing a cohort of graduates who are devoid of guts, gumption and grit, and many are mindlessly stupid to boot. Intellectually and operationally they remain children; they have no understanding or knowledge of real world truths. A large number are fit only to be community organizers or some other make-work job, and for the most part they are narcissistic, self-centered , entitled and cowardly.

They are self-hating, incapable of defending themselves, and are openly disdainful and resentful of those "..who guard them while they sleep..."

You get my drift.


Stan said...

These lock downs always seem rely on the thought that nobody ever has used a firearm to breech a door.

Given that most actual spree shooters seem to have large quantities of ammo and or multiple firearms coupled with that they usually have a leisurely amount of time while waiting for police to arrive and stop wringing their hands over whether or not to make entry it would seem that just locking the door is not a great impediment.

Rob K said...

A nation of wimps and cowards is a nation that can be ruled.

Buzz said...


Even those of us not disdainful have a growing sense of distrust.
The tentacles of the executive branch are increasingly being used against citizens that disagree, with more than the armed forces tentacle being well armed.

Sean D Sorrentino said...

"These lock downs always seem rely on the thought that nobody ever has used a firearm to breech a door."

Stan, don't be silly. The fact that something *can* be countered doesn't mean it's a bad strategy.

Let's do a thought experiment. You're standing in your house. Some person comes up your driveway with obvious intent to do you harm. Do you A) stand there like a lump or B) close the door in his face?

A closed and locked door represents an impediment, not a permanent barrier. To complain that a door is not a permanent barrier is to make the same silly argument that the anti-gunners make, "well, the gun doesn't GUARANTEE your safety." Well no kidding!

In a mass shooting situation there is generally more than one room. Your job is to get him to pick another room. It's not your responsibility to get shot down in your room to save someone in another room.

And if he's stupid enough to shoot up a door in order to come through it then every shot into the door is a shot that isn't aimed at a human being. It's time wasted for more humans to escape, to fortify, and to generate plans and find weapons to fight back.

The critical element in a mass shooting is not people, it is TIME. You wish to deny him time to make his goal while giving yourself as much time to run, hide, or fight. And a locked door buys you some critical time.

Firehand said...

Ran across this the other day:

Some good ideas, but I guarantee that a lot of administrators, when they found out a teacher had those materials there to block the doors, would crap bricks. "How dare you have unapproved ways of protecting these kids!", etc. I swear to Deity a lot of these idiots would rather see kids dead than someone actually DO something to prevent it that didn't have eight layers of forms approving of it.

Formynder said...

Just think how it would work if it were standard policy that the door locked when class started and unlocked when it finished. Students would have to learn to arrive on time, if not early. And it would provide a small modicum of deterrence to a rampaging shooter, if his goal was just mass trauma. I assume that if he had a specific goal in mind he'd be a bit more determined and willing to solve problems. It might also delay him just long enough for a guard to get there.

None of this is to say that I approve of disarming all adults who happen to be taking classes.

Formynder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.