Tuesday, April 17, 2007

VT: Horror and Disbelief


By John M. Broder

Published: April 17, 2007

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 16 — Thirty-two people were killed, along with a gunman, and at least 15 injured in two shooting attacks at Virginia Polytechnic Institute on Monday during three hours of horror and chaos on this sprawling campus.

Skip to next paragraph周一,Virginia Polytechnic Institute陷入三个小时的恐慌之中——32人丧生,持枪人自杀,至少15人遭受两次袭,整个校园都是慌乱而逃的人。

The police and witnesses said some victims were executed with handguns while other students were hurt jumping from upper-story windows of the classroom building where most of the killings occurred. After the second round of killings, the gunman killed himself, the police said.


It was the deadliest shooting rampage in American history and came nearly eight years to the day after 13 people died at Columbine High School in Colorado at the hands of two disaffected students who then killed themselves.


As of Monday evening, only one of the Virginia Tech victims had been officially identified. Police officials said they were not yet ready to identify the gunman or even say whether one person was behind both attacks, which wreaked devastation on this campus of 36,000 students, faculty members and staff.

截至周一晚间,仅有一名Virginia Tech的受害者地身份得到了确认。有警官说他们还未能确认开枪者的身份,或者说他们还不确定是否两起事件均系同一人出于疯狂的报复目的而对校园中三万六千名学生、教职员工采取了极端行为。

Federal law enforcement officials in Washington said the gunman might have been a young Asian man who recently arrived in the United States. A university spokeswoman, Jenn Lazenby, could not confirm that report but said the university was looking into whether two bomb threats at the campus, — one last Friday, the other earlier this month — might be related to the shootings.

华盛顿Federal law enforcement官员说,持枪者可能为一名近期刚刚抵达美国的亚裔男青年。一名大学发言人Jenn Lazenby称无法证实该报道,但大学认为发生在上周五和本月早些时候的两起爆炸恐吓可能与本次枪袭有关。

The university’s president, Charles W. Steger, expressed his “horror and disbelief and sorrow” at what he described as a tragedy of monumental proportions. But questions were immediately raised about whether university officials had responded adequately to the shootings.

大学校长Charles W. Steger表达了他震惊的,不敢相信,和沉痛的心情。他称这次事件为一场难以磨灭的悲剧。不过学校的官员也受到了质疑,认为其应对枪击事件负责。

There was a two-hour gap between the first shootings, when two people were killed, and the second, when a gunman stalked through the halls of an engineering building across campus, shooting at professors and students in classrooms and hallways, firing dozens of rounds and killing 30. Officials said he then shot himself so badly in the face that he could not be identified.


The university did not send a campuswide alert until the second attack had begun, even though the gunman in the first had not been apprehended.


Mr. Steger defended the decision not to shut down or evacuate the campus after the first shootings, saying officials had believed the first attack was a self-contained event, which the campus police believed was a “domestic” dispute.


“We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur,” he said.


President Bush sent his condolences to the families of the victims and the university community. “Schools should be places of sanctuary and safety and learning,” Mr. Bush said. “When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community.”


The Virginia Tech attacks started early in the morning, with a call to the police at 7:15 from West Ambler Johnston Hall, a 900-student freshman dormitory, as students were getting ready for classes or were on their way there.

Virginia Tech枪击案发时间在早晨,学生们都刚到课堂在上课的路上。警方在七时十五分接到West Ambler Johnston Hall——一所住有九百名大一新生的学生宿舍打来的报警电话。

Students said a gunman had gone room to room looking for his ex-girlfriend. He killed two people, a senior identified as Ryan Clark, from Augusta, Ga., and a freshman identified by other students on her floor as Emily Hilscher.

学生们称,持枪者曾一个教室接一个教室寻找他的前女友。他所枪杀的两个人,其一被指认为来自Augusta的大二学生Ryan Clark,另一名被其同楼层的学生指认为大一学生Emily Hilscher。

The shootings at the engineering building, Norris Hall, began about 9:45.

而发生在工学楼Norri Hall的枪袭则始于九时三刻。

One student described barricading himself in a classroom there with other students and hearing dozens of gunshots nearby. Someone tried to force his way into the classroom and fired two shots through the door that did not hit anyone, the student said.


Scott L. Hendricks, an associate professor of engineering, was in his office on the third floor when he heard 40 to 50 shots from what sounded like the second floor. Mr. Hendricks said he had called 911, but the police were already on the way.

工学院副教授Scott L. Hendricks在他位于三楼的办公室中听到了四、五十声枪响,声音似乎来自二层。Hendricks先生说他拨通了911,而警方当时已在赶来的途中。

The police surrounded the building and he barricaded the door to his office. After about an hour, the police broke down his door and ordered him to flee.


“When I left, I was one of the last to leave,” Mr. Hendricks said. “I had no idea of the magnitude of the event.”


According to the college newspaper, The Collegiate Times, many of the deaths took place in a German class in Norris Hall.

校报The Collegiate Times报告说,Norris Hall的德语班中有多人死亡。

“He was just a normal looking kid, Asian, but he had on a Boy Scout type outfit,” one student in the class, Erin Sheehan, told the newspaper. “He wore a tan button-up vest and this black vest — maybe it was for ammo or something.”

“他看上去就是一个正常的年轻人,穿着童子军军装,”一名德语班里的学生Erin Sheehan告诉校报记者,“他穿着一件棕色系扣衫和一件黑色马夹,里边可能装着子弹。”

Ms. Sheehan added: “I saw bullets hit people’s bodies. There was blood everywhere. People in the class were passed out, I don’t know maybe from shock from the pain. But I was one of only four that made it out of that classroom. The rest were dead or injured.”


Heavily armed local and state police officers swarmed onto campus. Video clips shown on local stations showed them with rifles at the ready as students ran or sought cover and a freakish snow swirled in heavy winds. The police evacuated students and faculty members, taking many of them to local hotels. A Montgomery County school official said all schools throughout the county were being shut down.

严阵以待的地方警察和州警察集结在校园中。地方电视台报道了他们手持步枪的场面,学生们在逃离或寻求保护,而天上正有莫名的雪随着狂风打转。警方疏散了学生和教工,并把很多人送往附近的旅馆。一名Montgomery 县的校方官员说全县的所有学校都已关闭。

Many parents and students questioned the university’s response to the two fatal shootings in Ambler Johnston Hall, suggesting that more aggressive action could have prevented the later and deadlier attack.

很多家长和学生质疑校方在Ambler Johnston Hall两起致命枪击中的责任,他们指出如果采取积极行动有可能阻止第二起更严重的袭击。

“As a parent, I am totally outraged,” said Fran Bernhards of Sterling, Va., whose daughter Kirsten attends Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, as it is formally known. “I would like to know why the university did not immediately shut down.”

Fran Bernhards说:“作为一名家长,我十分震惊。我想知道学校为什么没有立即闭校。”他的女儿Kirsten是该校学生。

Kirsten Bernhards, 18, said she and countless other students had no idea that a shooting had occurred when she left her dorm room in O’Shaughnessy Hall shortly before 10 a.m., more than two hours after the first shootings.

Kirsten Bernhards今年18岁。她说在第一起枪袭发生后两个小时,即将进上午十时,她刚刚离开寝室时,她和无数学生都对枪袭毫不知情

“I was leaving for my 10:10 film class,” she said. “I had just locked the door and my neighbor said, ‘Did you check your e-mail?’ ”

“我正锁好屋门,要去上十点十分的电影课, 我隔壁的同学问我:‘看到电子邮件了么?’”

The university had, a few minutes earlier, sent out a bulletin warning students about an apparent gunman. But few students seemed to have any sense of urgency.


The university’s first bulletin warned students to be “cautious.” Then, 20 minutes later, at 9:50, a second e-mail warning was sent, saying a gunman was “loose on campus” and telling students to stay in buildings and away from windows. At 10:16, a final message said classes were canceled and advised everyone on campus to stay where they were and lock their doors.


Ms. Bernhards recalled walking toward her class, preoccupied with an upcoming exam and listening to music on her iPod. On the way, she said, she heard loud cracks, and only later concluded that they had been gunshots from the second round of shootings. But even at that point, many students were walking around the campus with little sense of alarm.


It was only when Ms. Bernhards got close to Norris Hall, the second of two buildings where the shootings took place, that she realized something was wrong.

知道Bernhards走近Norris Hall, 即第二座发生枪袭的教学楼时,她才意识到情况不妙。

“I looked up and I saw at least 10 guards with assault rifles aiming at the main entrance of Norris,” she recalled.


The Virginia Tech police chief, Wendell Flinchum, defended the university’s decision to keep the campus open after the first shootings, saying the information at the time indicated that it was an isolated event and that the attacker had left campus.

Virginia Tech警长说校方没有在第一次袭击后关闭学校是有理由的,当时的情况显示它仅仅是一个独立事件,而袭击者会离开校园。

At an evening news conference, Chief Flinchum would not say that the same gunman was responsible for the shootings in the dormitory and the classrooms. He said he was awaiting ballistics tests and other laboratory results until declaring that the same person carried out both attacks.


He said accounts from students at the dorm had led the police to a “person of interest” who knew one or both of the victims there. The police were interviewing him off campus at the time of the shootings at Norris Hall. Chief Flinchum said officers had not arrested the man.

他说由于来自宿舍楼里的学生的证言,警方逮捕了益明嫌疑犯,他认识那两名受害者,或至少认识其中一人。当Norris Hall的袭击发生时,警方正将他带离学校进行审讯。Flinchum说警方尚未逮捕该人。

“You can second-guess all day,” he said. “We acted on the best information we had. We can’t have an armed guard in front of every classroom every day of the year.”


Classroom buildings are not locked and dormitories are open throughout the day but require a key card for entry at night, university officials said.


Chief Flinchum confirmed that police found some of the Norris Hall classroom doors chained shut from the inside, which is not a normal practice. Some of the people hurt there were injured leaping from windows to escape.

Flinchum证实警方发现了异常情况:一些Norris Hall的教室门从内部锁上,部分受伤的人只能跳窗逃离。

Virginia imposes few restrictions on the purchase of handguns and no requirement for any kind of licensing or training. The state does limit handgun purchases to one per month to discourage bulk buying and resale, state officials said.


Once a person had passed the required background check, state law requires that law enforcement officers issue a concealed carry permit to anyone who applies. However, no regulations and no background checks are required for purchase of weapons at a Virginia gun show.

按照州法律,只要申请者通过了资料审查,都可以得到law enforcement颁发的持枪许可。然而在Virginia枪展上不需要任何限制,也无需任何审查即可购买枪支。

“Virginia’s gun laws are some of the weakest state laws in the country,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “And where there have been attempts to make some changes, a backdoor always opens to get around the changes, like the easy access at gun shows.”

“Virginia的持枪法规是全国各州中要求最宽松的。”“反对枪支暴力联盟”执行官Josh Horwitz说。“虽然该州多次曾试图修改法案,但总有各种途径成为交易的后门,比如枪展。”

Students are not allowed to have guns on the campus.


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