Sunday, April 13, 2014


Below is the Review of Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn't Get Out that appeared in the April 13th edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
In the long and escalating history of gun violence in America, one of the darkest chapters was written in Blacksburg on April 16, 2007, when student Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 students and staff members before killing himself.
In “Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn’t Get Out” (315 pages, CreateSpace, $19.95), Kilmarnock resident and retired CIA officer David S. Cariens Jr. examines the massacre and its aftermath, with emphasis on the events that led up to it.
His goal, he writes, is threefold: “to expose the abdication of leadership and authority by politicians, school officials, and law enforcement personnel … to raise public awareness … and to help all families understand what they can do in insisting that universities and colleges have in place effective security measures and that those measures are understood by faculty, staff, and students.”
Cariens, who teaches intelligence analysis and writing in the U.S. and abroad, paints a disturbing portrait of a devastating tragedy that occurred, he writes, “because people ignored the warning signals.” He concludes: “Nothing will change until all segments of society — priests, rabbis, ministers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, politicians, blue and white collar workers, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, everyone — say enough is enough. Individuals can make a difference by demanding that more money be spent on mental health care, holding people in positions of trust accountable when their actions and inactions result in the deaths of innocent people, and finally, by not re-electing those who are in the pockets of the gun lobby.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Richmond Times-Dispatch Review

FYI, the Richmond Times-Dispatch will carry a review of Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn't Get Out in its book section on April 13, 2014.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Corrections to Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn't Get Out have been made and the book is now available through CreateSpace and on Kindle. The book will be available on Amazon in a few days. My apologies for the delay, but when the changes were made the indexing had to be adjusted--a time-consuming process.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


My apologies to those of you who have tried to buy Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn't Get Out and cannot do so. An interview with one of the families was not updated, so that the initial publication did not have the correct interview. The book has been withdrawn and the correct version of the interview is  being replaced in the chapter. The process will take seven-to-fourteen days. If you would like a corrected copy, please contact me directly for a replacement at no cost. My email is: 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


My book, Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn't Get Out, will be unavailable on Amazon for 24-48 hours while two corrections are being made. The Kindle version of the book should be up and available this coming weekend. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014



Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn’t Get Out, a new book due for publication in the new year, pulls no punches in its investigation of the April 16, 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech that claimed 33 lives. Author David Cariens delivers blow after blow in his look at systemic failures before, during and after the worst school shooting in the nation’s history. In 14 chapters, Cariens hammers away at dozens of key points from different perspectives – his own, drawing on both personal and professional experiences; through the eyes of family members of the shooting victims; in a scathing critique of the Governor’s Review Panel reports of the tragedy, and in discussions on gun control and American culture. He also gives an account of the lawsuit filed by two families, the trial, the verdict in favor of the plaintiffs and the pending appeal.   
There are, regrettably, a lot of points to hammer home. They surface in summary fashion in the timeline of events that introduces most chapters, in more detail in the narratives that follow, and are reinforced by those affected directly by the tragedy.
The book’s first timeline is a sobering account of 35 school shootings; males with guns and mental health issues are all-too-common denominators. The timeline sets the tone for what follows. It also implies that lessons which come out of such tragedies are not learned universally or well, or with any staying power.
The first four chapters of Make Sure It Doesn’t Get Out give a detailed accounting of the Virginia Tech shootings, including the background of the shooter, Seung Hui Cho, and the warning signs that even when duly reported seemed to fall through the cracks – cracks that too many in authority fail to acknowledge. This lack of accountability is the theme for the remaining ten chapters. Recurring issues are how school administrators and law enforcement handled – or didn’t handle – the events that day, how they interacted – or didn’t – with family members, and how the official reports that followed blurred facts and skated around issues central to improving school safety.
During the Virginia Tech tragedy, 2 ½ hours elapsed without a campus lockdown between the double homicide in a dormitory, which was under investigation, and the mass shooting in Norris Hall; two students were even allowed to leave the dorm and attend classes, fatally, in Norris Hall. Cariens notes that a precedent already had been set for a lockdown; that word had gotten out to select individuals, and that some departments had locked down independently. He writes that a flawed timeline covered the failure to issue a warning, and that the official report glossed over pivotal facts, and in some cases erred altogether. Questions of conflict of interest in the reporting, and possible ulterior motives, also abound.
Make Sure It Doesn’t Get Out is Cariens’ attempt to make sure it does. Real improvements to school safety come from honest appraisals of tragedies, he asserts; anything less is a missed opportunity.

New Publishing Date

Due to editing and technical problems, the publication date for Virginia Tech: Make Sure It Doesn't Get Out is now set for between February 28th and March 4th. A Kindle version of the book should be available in 10 to 14 days after the book is published.