Sunday, February 21, 2016


School shootings are a form of domestic terrorism; there is no doubt of that. What else would you call it when professors and instructors step in front of a class wondering, Will this be the day someone brings a gun in and kills us all? One of my sons is a professor and the last time I saw him, he expressed that concern—he said he wonders will a shooting happen in his classroom.

How can such fear of a domestic terrorist attack on our school grounds lead to an atmosphere of learning? How can anyone concentrate when he or she is looking over his or her shoulder?

The sad truth is that the parallels between foreign terrorist attacks and school rampages predate the acts of violence.

George Tenet, the former head of the CIA, in his book At The Center Of The Storm, wrote that one of his frustrations is that elected officials ignored repeated warning throughout 2000 and 2001 of a terrorist attack. Tenet says that in 1998 he wrote eight letters to Presidents Clinton and Bush warning of a terrorist attack. As far back as 1995, a National Intelligence Estimate (the most prestigious U.S. intelligence publication) warned of a foreign terrorist attack. And then there is the infamous CIA article in The President’s Daily Brief in August 2001 asserting that Osama Bin Laden was determined to strike in the United States. Decision-makers downplayed or ignored all the warning signs.

In the case of the Virginia Tech massacre, the warnings too went unheeded. Six professors complained about Cho’s odd behavior and the violence in his writing. One, Nicki Giovanni, threatened to resign (she feared for her safety and the safety of her students) unless Cho was removed from her class. Cho was taken to a mental health facility for evaluation after he was deemed a threat to himself and others. That facility released him without talking to the counselor who warned he was a threat—or even reading her report. Then-Virginia Tech police chief Wendell Flinchum, did not warn the campus that a shooter was on the loose after the double homicide in the middle of the campus. Two and one half hours later, 30 students and faculty were slaughtered in Norris Hall and another 17 were wounded.

Sadly, the parallels between foreign and domestic terrorist attacks on this country are strikingly parallel in everything from failure to heed warning signs, to cover-ups after the fact.


Saturday, February 20, 2016


People ask me why keep reviewing and analyzing the Virginia Tech tragedy? It is now almost nine years later; what is the point? The answer is really quite simple. A cover up of massive proportions took place; the shooting was investigated with an idea of preventing litigation; and the law has been broken in connection with the lawsuit filed by the parents of two of the dead students.
To paraphrase a high-level retired CIA official’s response to the question of why the Agency continues to go over past mistakes: Because we are looking to the future and need to understand the past. If we are going to prevent these shootings, we need to know what went wrong, what went right, where the missed signals were, what the pressures were like, and how people’s biases, prejudices, and desire to protect their careers played into what happened. If you do not know where you have been, you cannot know how you got to where you are. And you cannot prevent future mistakes or rampages.

There is another reason for revisiting the Tech tragedy; to help the friends and families of those killed or wounded to find the truth. It is impossible for anyone to begin healing from one of these school shootings when he or she knows the truth is shrouded in lies.

How can any parent or spouse move on from the murder of a child or mate, when people in positions of trust and authority spout half-truths and gloss over the incompetence that led to the deaths of 32 people and wounding of 17 others?

The Virginia Tech cover-up has been of such monumental proportions that it may take a lifetime to get at the truth.

Friday, February 19, 2016


           Following the terrorist mass killings in San Bernadino, California in December 2015, Jerry Falwell, Jr., the president of faith-based Liberty University, urged his students to get concealed carry permits and buy guns. In his comments he said, “If more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walk in.”
            What happened to the commandment “thou shalt not kill?” To urge young people, with their raging hormones, to get guns is asking for a bloodbath. If people are shooting each other on school grounds how will the police to know who is the killer and who is defending himself or herself?
            In my research on school shootings I have interviewed campus police. All are adamantly opposed to arming students. What does Falwell know that police and security specialists don’t know?  The answer is nothing.
            Then there is the problem of discrimination against a group of people with a different religion. Reverend Falwell seems to forget (or not know) that Muslim-Americans are fighting and dying for this country. Muslims Americans have served in the U.S. military for over 200 years and currently there are over 5,000 Muslim Americans in the various branches of the U.S. armed forces.

Yes, we are targets of both domestic and foreign terrorists, but mindless, emotional responses to these tragedies from leaders only make the situation worse and do not do anything to prevent these killings.