Virginia Tech shooting
Virginia Tech shooting, also known as the Virginia Tech massacre, occurred on April 16, 2007, when Seung-hui Cho, a South Korean college student, shot and killed 32 people at Virginia Tech before killing himself. It is the deadliest massacre at an American university to have been perpetrated by a single person.
- Shot for shot, either a .45-caliber Colt 1911 or a .44 Smith & Wesson revolver will do more damage than a Glock nine-millimeter.
Still, a Glock, or another large-capacity semiautomatic, can make a very bad situation even worse. During a mass shooting, such as the Luby’s massacre in 1991, a deft gunman can fire more rounds and reload more quickly with a modern pistol equipped with hefty magazines. When Seung-Hui Cho slaughtered thirty-two classmates and professors at Virginia Tech in April 2007, he used two pistols: a nine-millimeter Glock 19 and a smaller .22-caliber Walther. Considerable media attention focused on the fifteen-round compact Glock and the fact that it enabled Cho to unleash a greater volume of rounds in less time. Whether his choice of the Austrian brand raised the horrific body count remains a matter of speculation. It probably did.
There is no question that Jared Lee Loughner created more carnage in January 2011 because he brought a newly purchased Glock19 to a political gathering in a shopping mall in suburban Tucson, Arizona. On a sunny Saturday morning, Loughner, a deranged twenty-two-year-old, opened fire at a constituent meet-and-greet hosted in front of a Safeway supermarket by his congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. In just minutes, the gunman sprayed thirty-three rounds, killing six people and wounding thirteen others, including Giffords, who suffered severe brain damage from a point-blank shot that passed through her head. Among the dead were a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl who served on her elementary school student council and wanted to shake hands with the vivacious politician. Loughner used a special oversized magazine, making it possible for him to do much more damage in a matter of minutes than he otherwise might have. He did not stop firing until he had to pause to reload and attendees at the event tackled him.
Since the expiration in 2004 of the ten-round ammunition cap, Glock has led the charge back into the large-capacity magazine business. Sportsman’s Warehouse, the Tucson store where Loughner bought his Glock, advertises on its website that “compact and subcompact Glock pistol model magazines can be loaded with a convincing number of rounds—i.e.… up to 33 rounds.”
The scale of the bloodshed in Tucson, like that at Virginia Tech and Luby’s, presents the strongest possible evidence that a restriction on magazine size makes sense. Such a limit would not stop a Loughner or Cho from attacking, but it could reduce the number of victims. Only six states—California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York—have their own limits on large magazines. A national ten-round cap seems like a logical compromise that lawful gun owners could easily tolerate. The NRA has concluded otherwise—and pushed the issue off the legislative table.
- Barrett, Paul M. (2012). Glock: The Rise of America's Gun. Broadway Books. ISBN 9780307719935.
- It will be very instructive to Koreans to watch the reaction of Americans [to the Virginia Tech shooting]. They know it's more gracious than their own reaction would be.
- Michael Breen, as quoted in "South Koreans balance sympathy and shame in delicate response to U.S. rampage" (20 April 2007), Associated Press
- Koreans can often view the world through a nationalistic lens and they will feel a sense of responsibility.
- Michael Breen, as quoted in "South Koreans Told To Fast Over Massacre" (20 April 2007), Telegraph, United Kingdom
Our nation is shocked and saddened by the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech today...
Schools should be places of safety, and sanctuary, and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community. Today our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones at Virginia Tech. We hold the victims in our hearts; we lift them up in our prayers; and we ask a loving God to comfort those who are suffering today...
Laura and I have come to Blacksburg today with hearts full of sorrow. This is a day of mourning for the Virginia Tech community; and it is a day of sadness for our entire nation. We've come to express our sympathy. In this time of anguish, I hope you know that people all over this country are thinking about you, and asking God to provide comfort for all who have been affected...
Yesterday began like any other day. Students woke up, and they grabbed their backpacks and they headed for class. And soon the day took a dark turn, with students and faculty barricading themselves in classrooms and dormitories; confused, terrified, and deeply worried. By the end of the morning, it was the worst day of violence on a college campus in American history; and for many of you here today, it was the worst day of your lives...
It's impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering. Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they're gone; and they leave behind grieving families, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation.
- George W. Bush, statement on the massacre at Virginia Tech University from the Diplomatic Room of the White House (17 April 2007), Washington, D.C.
- As a South Korean, I can't help feeling apologetic about how a Korean man caused such a shocking incident.
- Jin-suk Cheong, as quoted in "South Koreans Told To Fast Over Massacre" (20 April 2007), Telegraph, United Kingdom
- You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life. Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can just because you can? You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn’t enough, you brats. Your golden necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs. Your trust fund wasn’t enough. Your vodka and cognac weren’t enough. All your debaucheries weren’t enough. Those weren’t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.
- Seung-Hui Cho (Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne (November 10, 2017). "Inside the minds of American mass shooters". The Guardian. )
- On 16 April 2007, a new record was set for mass shootings, with 32 dead and 23 wounded on the Virginia Tech University campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. The shooter was 23-year-old senior Seung-Hui Cho, using Glock 19 and Walther P22 pistols, and stocked with four hundred rounds of ammunition....
The Virginia Tech shootings were described in 2007 as the worst “mass killing”, the “worst massacre”, in US history....
The Virginia Tech shooter, born in South Korea and brought to the United States by his parents at eight, was himself a child of colonial war: the US war in Korea and the continued presence of tens of thousands of heavily armed US troops on the Korean peninsula. He had been diagnosed as depressed but was likely bipolar.
He appeared to be overwhelmed by wealthy, white students, who made up 75% of the undergraduate student body.
- Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies at California State University (Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne (November 10, 2017). "Inside the minds of American mass shooters". The Guardian. ; Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne (2018). Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. City Lights. ISBN 9780872867246. )
- American society, composed of diverse races and ethnicities, has a lot of tolerance of different kinds of people and can embrace them all as Americans. Korean society, however, is composed of a single ethnicity. It is more intolerant to people of different ethnicity and skin colors. Koreans have a strong bond to people of Korean ethnic origin even when, as in the case of the gunman, a large proportion of their upbringing took place in a different culture. That's why there is widespread mourning and collective guilt over the gunman's behavior and its consequences. It's doubtful whether the South Korean reaction will really help anyone... In its guilt-laden reaction to the Virginia Tech massacre South Korea may be muddling America's healing process. The American reaction is that the crime was committed by a single isolated individual who happened to be South Korean, and that it's not South Korea that committed the crime. But South Korea doesn't seem to make a distinction in this sense... Koreans are in shock and concerned that this incident will have a negative impact on South Korea's well-built reputation and the future treatment of all Koreans... But it's solely Korea's perspective, and it's an over-reaction.
- Sae-jung Kim, "South Korea's Reaction to the Virginia Tech Massacre: Koreans view American feelings through the lens of their own culture" (19 April 2007), OhMyNews: International
- The Glock 19 Jared Lee Loughner allegedly used to try to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is a popular firearm around the world....
Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, ...said the Glock 19 has been used in other mass killings, including the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007. In that incident, Seung-Hui Cho used a Glock 19 and a Walther P22 rifle to kill 32 students and take his own life....
Loughner was allegedly able to fire at least 20 rounds from his 33-round clip, according to [Paul] Helmke [president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence].
- Kim, Susanna (January 11, 2011). "Glock 19: How did Unemployed Jared Loughner Buy Popular, Expensive Pistol?". ABC News.
- Investigators say that on Nov. 30, Jared L. Loughner went to a Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson, Ariz., and bought a Glock 19, which sells for roughly $500. He is accused of using it during a rampage on Jan. 8 that left 6 people dead and 13 wounded, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, who also owns a Glock....
The guns are popular with law enforcement, consumers and, apparently, some young men intent on massacre. Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 at Virginia Tech University in 2007, and Steven Kazmierczak, who killed five at Northern Illinois University in 2008, were armed with Glocks.
- Martin, Andrew (January 14, 2011). "Tucson Shootings Add to Glock's Notoriety". The New York Times.
- As you all know 33 people lost their lives today, this morning. Most of them were of the age of many of the young people in this audience, they were going to class, they had their lives in front of them, their parents were proud of them and looking forward to having them home for summer or visiting them on campus and their lives were cut short in a tragic and random fashion. And so it makes all of hearts ache, particularly those of us who are parents. I have an eight-year-old daughter Maila and a five-year-old daughter Sasha and they describe all that I hold dear in the world and so when I hear stories like this I think from the perspective of a parent and I try to imagine what that must be like - not even just the parents of those that were killed or wounded but a parent who knows their child is there and is uncertain as to whether they were in that class or participated in one of the venues that was struck. And it makes us think about violence in this society.
On the way up I asked my staff to pull a quote, or pull the speech that Robert Kennedy delivered after Dr. King had been assassinated. Riots were taking place all across the country. This is a famous speech that Bobby Kennedy delivered at the City Club in Cleveland. And he said:
Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.
And he goes on to say:
Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.
That was written in 1968, almost 40 years ago. What's striking obviously is that when you read that passage you have a sense that in a lot of ways we haven't made much progress. That this society is still riven by violence, that we continue to be degraded by murders and crime and all manner of abuse perpetrated on our children and Bobby Kennedy is right: we tolerate it. Obviously what happened today was the act of a madman at some level, and there are gonna be a whole series of explanations or attempts to explain what happened. There is gonna be discussion about how did this person get the firearms that he used. And there are already reports that potentially the semi-automatic weapons he used would have been banned under an assault weapons ban that was allowed to lapse. There'll be discussion about security on college campuses. There will be speculation as to what caused this young man to snap. But I hope that it causes us to reflect a little bit more broadly on the degree to which we do accept violence, in various forms, all the time in our society. We glorify it, we encourage it, we ignore it, and it is heartbreaking and it has to stop.
- United States President Barack Obama, April 16, 2018, at a rally in Milwaukee ("Obama on Virginia Tech, Violence in Society". RealClearPolitics. April 18, 2007. Retrieved on December 8, 2018. )
The Lord sent a world-class whopper of a massacre to Virginia Tech, killing thirty-three, drawing headlines like 'Shocked!', 'Horrified!', 'The worst massacre in U.S. history!'. Well, we wish you were thirty-three thousand killed, but we are thankful to our Father for thirty-three.
President Bush and thousands of others, politicians and preachers, are making speeches and lying in their teeth, all agreeing that they can't explain such tragedies, but they're just certain a loving God had nothing to do with the massacre. They say, evil did it, like Star Wars, some evil force.
Bush said, in a big memorial service the other day, we've come to mourn and grieve and try to make some kind of sense out of this senseless tragedy that makes no sense. Well, wrong, President Bush. It makes perfect sense, to those who believe the Bible...
God is punishing America for the way they have persecuted us..
For sixteen years, America has conducted a crusade of terror against Westboro Baptist Church: bombing and vandalizing our property, raiding our church with lying search warrants, seizing and destroying our goods, assaulting and battering us, putting our people in the hospital, slandering, threatening us with death, suing us, prosecuting us, arresting and jailing us, blaspheming, mocking and scoffing at our message from God, vilifying us, demonizing and marginalizing us, a technique that they hope would silence all those who are trying to preach, saying that we're just a bunch of kooks... Only brute beast blindness explains America's conduct against Westboro Baptist Church. By refusing to heed Westboro Baptist Church, that God hates fags, and by continuing to persecute Westboro Baptist Church, America is pouring gasoline on the raging fires of God's wrath. America may expect many more dead and maimed bodies from Iraq, many more Katrinas and other natural disasters, and many more Virginia Tech massacres. Westboro Baptist Church rejoices, not grieves, when we see God's vengeance... Think, America. Think Iraq. Think Katrina. And think Virginia Tech massacre, because worse and more is on the way.
- Fred Phelps, "Virginia Tech Massacre: God's Wrath", WBC Video News (23 April 2007), Westboro Baptist Church
- The Korean people and I were horribly shocked and deeply saddened at the tragic incident two days ago at Virginia Tech in the United States. I pray for the repose of the souls of the victims and express my wholehearted sympathy to the wounded, the bereaved families and the American people. In addition, I hope that Americans will overcome this great sorrow and difficulties and will regain peace of mind as soon as possible.
- Moo-hyun Roh, "President Says His Heart Goes to Victims, Families" (18 April 2014), The Blue House, South Korea
- High-capacity ammunition magazines are the common thread that runs through most mass shootings: giving attackers the ability to fire numerous bullets without reloading....
Here are just 10 of the U.S. mass shootings that involved high-capacity ammunition magazines.
1. Hartford Distributors
On August 3, 2010, concealed handgun permit holder Omar Thornton, armed with a Sturm, Ruger SR9 semi-automatic pistol and high-capacity ammunition magazine, opened fire on his co-workers at beer distributor Hartford Distributors in Manchester, CT, killing eight and wounding two before taking his own life.
2. Fort Hood
On November 5, 2009, Nidal Hasan, armed with an FN 5.7 semi-automatic pistol and 30- and 20-round high-capacity ammunition magazines, killed 13 and wounded more than 30 at the Fort Hood military base in Fort Hood, TX.
3. Virginia Tech
On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, armed with a Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol, Walther P22 semi-automatic pistol, and 15-round high-capacity ammunition magazines, killed 32 and wounded 17 on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, before taking his own life.
4. Xerox Office Building
On November 2, 1999, Byran Uyesugi, armed with a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol and three 15-round high-capacity magazines, opened fire at the Xerox Office Building in Honolulu, HA, killing seven.
5. Wedgewood Baptist Church
On September 15, 1999, Larry Gene Ashbrook, armed with a Sturm, Ruger P85 9mm semi-automatic pistol and three 15-round high-capacity magazines, opened fire at Wedgewood Baptist Church, killing seven and wounding seven before taking his own life.
On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, armed with an Intratec TEC-DC9 semi-automatic assault pistol, Hi-Point 9mm semi-automatic Carbine, two Savage shotguns, and high-capacity ammunition magazines, killed 13 and wounded 23 at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, before taking their own lives.
7. Long Island Railroad
On December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson, armed with a Sturm, Ruger P89 9mm semi-automatic pistol and four 15-round high-capacity ammunition magazines, opened fire on Long Island Railroad commuters, killing six and wounding 19.
8. Pettit & Martin, 101 California
On July 1, 1993, Gian Luigi Ferri, armed with two Intratec TEC-DC9 semi-automatic assault pistols, a 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, and 40- to 50-round high-capacity ammunition magazines, opened fire at the San Francisco, CA, law firm of Pettit & Martin, killing eight and and wounding six before taking his own life.
9. Luby's Cafeteria
On October 16, 1991, George Hennard, armed with a Sturm, Ruger P89 semi-automatic pistol, Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol, and 17- and 15-round magazines, killed 23 and wounded 20 at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, TX, before taking his own life.
On January 17, 1989, Patrick Purdy, armed with an AK-47 semi-automatic assault rifle, Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol, an unidentified semi-automatic pistol, and a 75-round high-capacity drum magazine, opened fire on grade school children at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, CA, killing five and wounding 30 before taking his own life.
- Sugarmann, Josh (January 13, 2011). "10 U.S. Mass Shootings Involving High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines". HuffPost. Retrieved on October 17, 2018.
- The two handguns used in the Virginia Tech shooting—a 9mm Glock 19 pistol, and a 22 caliber Walther P22 pistol—stand as stark examples of the trend toward increased lethality that defines today’s gun industry. Since the mid-1980s, the gun industry has embraced increased firepower and capacity to resell the shrinking base of gun buyers in America. In the 1980s, a very significant shift in gun design and marketing occurred: high-capacity semiautomatic pistols became the dominant product line. Formerly, the most popular handgun design was the revolver, most often containing six shots. In 1980, semiautomatic pistols accounted for only 32 percent of the 2.3 million handguns produced in America. The majority were revolvers. By 1991 this number had reversed itself with semiautomatic pistols accounting for 74 percent of the 1.8 million handguns produced that year.
- In the last nine years, Glocks have figured prominently in at least five mass shootings. In 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech University, used a Glock 19 and Walther P22 to kill 32 people and wound 17 others in two separate attacks on campus. The Glock 19 is a smaller pistol that is easier to conceal. Three years later, Jared Lee Loughner used a Glock 19 to shoot 20 people in Arizona, gravely wounding US Representative Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others, including a nine-year-old girl.
In 2013, Pedro Vargas went on a shooting rampage inside his apartment complex in Hialeah, Florida. With his Glock 17, Vargas murdered six people and held two neighbors hostage during an eight-hour stand-off until a SWAT team stormed the building and killed him.
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof killed nine people with a .45-caliber Glock pistol at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Two months later, Vester Lee Flanagan II shot and killed a Roanoke, Virginia, television reporter and a cameraman with a Glock 19 during a live news broadcast.
- Alvarado, Francisco (June 21, 2016). "Glock pistols are the overlooked weapon in American mass shootings". Vice News.
- Examples of Mass Shootings in the United States Involving Glock Pistols
Mass Shooting Incident
April 16, 2007
Shooter: Seung‐Hui Cho
33 dead (including shooter), 17 wounded
Glock 19 pistol
Walther P22 pistol
- "The Glock Pistol: A Favorite of Mass Shooters". Violence Policy Center. November 2018.
- Investigators said Cho procured one of the guns he used in the rampage, a Walther .22-caliber pistol, Feb. 9 from a pawnshop on Main Street in Blacksburg near the Virginia Tech campus.
On March 16, he bought the second gun, a 9mm Glock 19, from Roanoke Firearms, a gun shop on Cove Road in Roanoke.
He used his driver's license as identification and had no problem buying the guns because he was complying with Virginia law, which permits the purchase of one gun a month, investigators said.
The Glock was used in two shootings, first in a dormitory and then in Norris Hall more than 2 1/2 hours later, officials said. A surveillance tape, which has now been watched by federal agents, shows Cho buying the Glock, sources said. Both guns are semiautomatic, which means that one round is fired for every finger pull.
Cho reloaded several times, using 15-round magazines for the Glock and 10-round magazines for the Walther, investigators said...
- Shapira, Ian; Ruane, Michael E. (April 17, 2007). "Student Wrote About Death and Spoke in Whispers, But No One Imagined What Cho Seung Hui Would Do". The Washington Post. ; winner of the The 2008 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Breaking News Reporting
- Police revealed other new information yesterday, including that 9mm and .22-caliber guns had been recovered from Norris Hall, the scene of the second round of shootings, and that ballistics tests showed that the 9mm Glock had been used in both incidents.
- Shear, Michael D.; MacGillis, Alec (April 18, 2007). "Kaine Orders Independent Investigation". The Washington Post. ; winner of the The 2008 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Breaking News Reporting
- Virginia Tech. Gabby Giffords. Now Aurora, Colo.
The names and places are linked by tragedy, death and the Glock semiautomatic handgun.
The young men who carried out these mass shootings — and analysis says such killers are almost always male and most often young — all counted at least one of these versatile, easy-to-fire pistols in their arsenals....
Like other mass shootings, Friday’s attack sparked calls for more gun control.
- Horwitz, Sari (July 20, 2012). "Glock semiautomatic pistol links recent mass shootings". The Washington Post.
- Encyclopedic article on Virginia Tech shooting on Wikipedia