Media Coverage of VT Tragedy Irresponsible

Following the massacre that occurred at Virginia Tech University on April 16, many have come to question their own safety at universities across the country. The profile of a school shooter, once narrowed to a lonely white male high-school student with a fascination with and open access to guns, was quickly re-examined as we discovered the shooter to be 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui. But before the news had been released that the shooter was Asian, the question on everyone’s mind was whether this catastrophe could have been prevented. This question is a good one, and should be debated, but reflecting on the length of time the press devoted to this subject was unsettling for me.
I remember going to class the morning of the shooting and hearing news reports that two people had been shot at a Virginia Tech dormitory. Upon my return five hours later I was shocked to see the death toll had escalated to 33. Immediately, I wanted to know what had happened and if the killer had been caught. Watching the news, all I could find were reporters asking questions like, ‘Why wasn’t the school placed on lockdown? What time was the first e-mail sent to students? Why wasn’t more done to prevent this tragedy?’
It became clear that I would not learn anything about what actually took place on the campus that could account for the casualty numbers rising; I had to resort to the Internet to try to make sense of all that was happening. After getting a clear account, I was upset at the amount of time the network news channels devoted to placing blame on officials at Virginia Tech