Overheard on CNN.com: Virginia Tech shooting saddens devoted Hokies
Virginia Tech has posted on its website that the campus is on lockdown after reports of shots fired.
December 8th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Virginia Tech shooting saddens devoted Hokies

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

News of a shooting incident at Virginia Tech today, in which two people - including a Virginia Tech police officer - were killed, brought out a spirited debate about violence in educational institutions, as well as gun use. Some people were critical of Virginia Tech, but many were supportive. Among these comments were several passionate notes from the Virginia Tech community, with scores Hokies and their families expressing sadness over the deaths and support for the school.

2 dead, including police officer, after Virginia Tech shooting incident

One student posted the following comment while waiting in lockdown.

Ryan: "I'm currently a student at Virginia Tech, and I am currently locked in Pamplin Hall which is near where the events have taken place. This school is an amazing place with an amazing community, and nothing could happen here that would convince me to go to a different school no matter what anyone says. I feel extremely safe at this school, and I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else. To everyone that is being disrespectful, I'm praying for you that you can recognize how tragic some of the events that have happened here are."

Students shared their feelings and fears with the community:

Carol: "I am a Hokie and will go for my Ph.D. to Blacksburg and I really feel we do not deserve this. My prayers with all the Blacksburg students."

Valkyria: "It's reading day! (Our exams start tomorrow!) I don't feel like studying physics right now. (I've got that exam tomorrow.)"

Several iReporters shared images of what was going on at the campus. Boden Fuller posted a photo taken from his dorm room showing officers outside, nearby. Another photo from student Michael Cabrera shows students watching the news inside a dining hall called the Hokie Grill If you're in Blacksburg, Virginia, and would like to share your story, visit CNN iReport. Please remember to stay safe.

There was a sizeable contingent of commenters, as in the next example, who wondered what was going on at Virginia Tech that so many incidents would occur.

Firewall: "VT is the deadliest college in the western world. People to to stop making excuses for the college and start holding the people in charge if it accountable. I went to school in a very bad area, but the campus had police at every turn and kept a very close eye of who was walking on campus. There should be an investigation done at VT to make sure the proper measures are in place to prevent this from ever happening again."

Ayanna: "There is no way of ensuring it never happens again. Your campus had police, as does this one, hence why an officer was shot and killed. College campuses for the most part are open and free for people to visit...even if they lock them all down they are still pretty much open to get on...crazies exist everywhere..unfortunately until people do better this sort of tragedy can and will happen. My prayers are with my fellow Hokies and the victims."

Several parents and area residents also responded to some commenters who were critical of the school, and said they are proud of Virginia Tech:

VT mom: "I've been reading some of the comments on this page,first and foremost prayers to the officer's family. Second, to the mom who said she was 'glad her kid changed to a better school,' more power to you girl. My son is a senior at VT, will commission into the military on graduation, and is getting the best education he could possibly want or desire. One of his friends was killed in April '07 incident, and even though it happened he still decided to go there. I am a native Virginian but live out of state, and it doesn't matter where you are, there are people who respect laws/people/life and others who don't. Chicago, New York, any large city has gun crimes committed daily. Some person decides to take the law into their hands and do what they want to do and suddenly we're flipping out again. Students at VT, good luck on your finals, ignore the craziness, get your education and bring some good to this country again...please."

Dr Nickkk: "[...] As a Blacksburg resident, I can say that there is nothing wrong with 99.9999% of the people here, so everyone needs to stop reacting like this place is worse than South Central LA."

Hokie Dad: "My son is a senior at VT and just called to say he is OK and campus on lockdown. ... Sad to see some of the comments from those who truly are not connected to VT/Blacksubrg/Hokies. Where is the compassion anymore for fellow human beings regardless of what school you go to/or what part of the country you live in?"

One commenter who says she was on campus during the April 2007 shooting incident wrote in and shared support for the school.

Erin: "As an alum of VT and someone who was there for the Virginia Tech Massacre and went through the terror of that event personally, I think I can speak for many in the community who take offense to these broad statements about the VT community and applying the acts of a few to the community as a whole. I am a proud Hokie, forever and always, and my thoughts and players are with the victims, their families, and the VT community.

Donna: "Well Said Erin! I have lived in this area my entire life and by no means is this a high crime area. There are sick people all over this planet. VT just happens to be in the spotlight for various reasons, one being the massacre. Therefore any and all violent crimes on campus will be top rate news. This stuff happens all over the globe! Can we just pray for the victims and their families!! Also, pray for those that are on the campus locked down having flashbacks!!!!!! I have family their and right now they are very scared!"

Some commenters debated the ethics of allowing concealed weapons to be carried on campus.

kb: "There was just a campus carry rally at Virginia Tech recently, and if this had happened on that day, you'd have about 100 law abiding armed citizens on site protecting the student body who is at the mercy of criminals - as was shown today. If you allowed campus carry for students then every student would be able to protect themselves too. The answer is not run and hide, the answer is not ban guns, the answer is not to let the police do all the work. Everyone has the inalienable right to defend themselves and since a police officer isn't always around to protect you, you should plan ahead, be responsible and be prepared. Unfortunately today we lost a law enforcement officer in the line of duty and he is worth more than all of you who've joked about this tragedy combined."

Laurie: "You can't arm a bunch of students that have no experience with a gun. Have you ever had to shoot someone? Not everyone can do it. Police go through months of training and many hours every month to keep their skills up. What if you were shooting at the suspect, missed, and shot someone far behind him? Would all the students think to look for that? Sorry, but stupid idea! Besides, how do you know you wouldn't be giving a firearm to someone who ends up being the suspect later?"

Other commenters shared their own experiences at other schools.

Emily: "I worked at a community college that had a shooting, and after the initial shock wore off, there was a massive discussion about how best to keep everyone safe going forward. It was eventually decided that protocols would be put in place to be ready if events ever occurred again, but that aside from increased security, no other measures would be taken. They found that students would feel more afraid if the school felt like a maximum security prison. And that it was less likely to create an atmosphere of learning. Really, we just prayed that we would never need to use the new protocols. I was there that day, and I'm praying for everyone at VA Tech. It's unnerving, and it stays with you."

Some said more people need to arm themselves for protection.

NoTax: "We need a federal program to assist the average American to buy personal firearms to protect themselves. Use Florida Gov Scott's law as the model for this, where those with permits for concealed carry can enter into any building in the state without being denied, even the state capitol buildings. With more people packing and trained, the intent of the 2nd Amendment will be supported in our current society."

Others said guns are not good to have in schools.

Ethan: "I'm a student here and I can assure you that more guns aren't the solution. Just imagine a campus full of armed college students on the night of a huge football win or some other such event."

Kevin Smith: "Guns at home, fine (I have one). Not at school though, even college. 18-22yos are still 'kids' with quick tempers, and for every situation like this that a gun prevented, there would be a tenfold increase in student deaths because someone was mad that someone stole his date, left the dorm room without washing the dishes, etc."

What do you think about the incident? Are you a Hokie as well? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Crime • Overheard on CNN.com • Virginia
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. hokie alum

    Virginia tech is more than a school. It's my home and family. Blacksburg is a little piece of heaven ... I LOVED every second I spent in one of the most beautiful towns in Virginia with the most friendly and school spirited group of people I have ever met. Regardless of all the sad events that have unfolded today, and past years, Virginia Tech is still one of the best places on earth. Thinking and praying for all my fellow hokies, their families and the entire blacksburg community.

    For those making comments about the safety of the school, please have some compassion and respect for the people who lost their lives today. Regardless of our opinions, we should be praying for those we lost today.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We appreciate your comment.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Virginia Tech Alum (Molly Schultz)

    I currently live in Wisconsin and attended Virginia Tech in the late 90s. I loved it there! I remember being a Hokie with pride and wear the VT symbol on my ankle everyday. (a tattoo). I share with everyone that I went to college there. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families effected by this tragedy. Tech is a wonderful place and I would send my daughter there without fear! Please keep the students, staff and families in your prayers. Recognize that this could happen anywhere. It is not exclusive to Virginia Tech. Long live the Hokie Nation!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HokieForLife

    I was in Blacksburg having lunch with my friends when we got the vt alert that there was a shooting, we were fortunate to find a safe place in someone's home.
    To those who think that our campus is dangerous: I feel far safer here than I do anywhere else. I am female and I am not at all afraid to walk around on campus after dark, I've never had anything stolen from me, and I have never been assaulted. Many of my friends go to different colleges and they can not make the same claims. I love VT and have never felt safer.
    My thoughts go with the families and the VT Police Department.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sizemore4Prez

    For all those pro-gun advocates calling for more guns: Didn't the officer killed have a gun?

    December 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hokie 80

    Its been years since I lived in Blacksburg, but I too LOVED every moment there. It is beautiful; the people wonderful and thoughtful. I always felt safe anytime, anywhere and I am angry that two obviously emotionally damaged people have given outsiders the impression that Virginia Tech is not a safe place to be. My prayers are with everyone affected by this. And I also pray that concealed carry is never allowed–way too many opportunities for drunken celebrationsto become deadly.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rooney

    Condolences to the families and friends of the victims. I'll be keeping the Virginia Tech community and all affected in my thoughts.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Portland tony

    This incident could have happened anywhere and sadly does. There should no singling out of VT as the epicenter of collegiate violence.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. student

    Are all VT students that violent?

    December 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • la

      If there was more to do around that area maybe people wouldn't be so bored that they felt the need to walk around shooting people. In my experience, many VT students that I know are elitist and downright annoying. But that has nothing to do with what happened yesterday which was a tragic loss of life.

      December 9, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. student

    People need to stop overreacting. There are schools in this country that have shootings going on everyday around the surrounding areas of the campus (sometimes on campus). Example: temple university in north philadelphia. its in one of the worst areas in philadelphia and shootings happen around that school almost once a week. Stop overreacting

    December 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    My condolences to the families of the victims who died.
    I am so very sorry.

    I think this is getting so much press because if the other shooting at VT not so very long ago.
    I do not believe this is a commonplace thing at this particular school, but it is in our awareness because of the length of time that has elapsed between the two incidents.

    My heart goes out to the entire staff and the student body of VT.

    December 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gung hoe

    This has gotten beyond stupid,my heart is broken for thefamilies!

    December 9, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Francis Ayepah

    I suggest the leaders of the school must help in the protection of the

    December 9, 2011 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Foster

    God Bless Deriek Crouse and family


    December 9, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. mike

    go marine corp whoraaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 9, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Karen

    If you want to read an incredibly poignant blog regarding what it means to be a Hokie and what the Hokie Nation is all about, please check this out!
    The Hokie Nation is truly an AMAZING group, and I am proud to be a Hokie Mom!

    December 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |