Monday, August 21, 2006

Armed Escapee Continues to Evade Police: Reactions

"The fact that the guy can blend in so well with campus students is kind of scary," said Josh Burnheimer, 20, a Virginia Tech junior from Ashburn, Virginia, "Everywhere you look there are police snipers on the roof."

Things are a bit surreal here in the Burg. It's not that often we experience risk of armed and dangerous persons. But it does happen. My earlier naive view that small town America is safer has long ago been put to rest though. Over the past twenty years, two female Virginia Tech students disappeared after accepting a ride with strangers. We have an occasional bank or convenience store robbery. Just last week two women were robbed at gunpoint in the downtown restaurant district. And a half dozen years ago or so a student was carjacked and killed only one block from my home. I haven't looked at small-town life the same ever since. We have had other frightening episodes on the trail system in the area. But nothing like today.

Here we sit. As I reported elsewhere, I got a robo-call from the Blacksburg PD this AM saying to stay inside with doors locked. "But I've got to get to work and teach today," said the husband. "Classes have been cancelled," I soon reported. Tech classes were slated to begin. Indeed early classes did begin. But eventually, classes for the rest of the day were cancelled. Blacksburg Transit has reported that all buses are in service transporting students away from the campus and downtown. Dorm students are locked in their dormrooms. Some faculty remain in their offices. Many are still at home.

But it's not the ordinary day off, not a day for a walk or a swim in the neighborhood pool. Lets hope and pray it's not a day for any more shootng deaths. We will already have two here, a hospital guard and also Sheriff's Deputy Erick Sutphin, local hero, now gunned down.

More later.