I’ve been following every detail of the timeline of events at the Virginia Tech massacre.

Yes, like everyone else, I’m appalled that a double-homicide on campus, with no suspect in custody, was treated so lightly, so cavalierly, that assumptions were made that the perpetrator had not only left the campus but probably the state as well!

I’m shocked by this two-hour gap of time between the first murders and the ultimate bloodletting that would take place a half-mile away at Norris Hall. In this time period, the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui, had time to go to his own dorm room and scrawl what is described as a “disturbing” letter, ranting and railing against rich students and other grievances.

He also had time to reload, restock his ammunition supply and walk across campus calmly to Norris Hall, where he chained all the doors shut and began systematically killing as many people as he could.

To the best of my ability, by piecing together the most comprehensive timelines from eyewitness reports, it appears Cho began shooting in Norris Hall about 9:30 a.m. By 9:45, a 911 cellular call was placed by a student inside the building. More police arrived at the scene by 9:55. Shortly after 10 a.m., the survivors in Norris Hall began to pour out of the unlocked building, many of them with their hands up in the air as police were still apparently unaware that Cho had taken his own life.

Now, I don’t know about you, but this second time gap – one that appears to be up to 35 minutes – is the one that really troubles me. And nobody else is talking about it.

It is this period of time – 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 30 minutes, or even up to 35 minutes – that students and faculty members were locked inside a building while one gunman hunted them down and executed them in cold blood. They had no defense. They had no escape.

I want to you to visualize this and think about this: More than two hours earlier, a double murder takes place on campus. Authorities wrongly “assume,” for whatever reasons, that the perpetrator has fled the campus. I would like to know whether an all-points bulletin was issued. Our direct and pointed questions to police and campus officials have gone unanswered.

In any event, we should presume that two hours after this unsolved double murder police are still well-mobilized on campus when shooting breaks out just a half-mile away at Norris Hall.

What’s the response? Do police immediately break into the building and engage the lone shooter? No. There’s another unexplained gap of time. In fact, police never engage the shooter. He takes his own life after killing 30 more and wounding 15.

That’s a lot of shooting. Most of the victims, according to eyewitnesses, police and medical sources, had multiple gunshot wounds. I think if and when this investigation is ever complete we will learn that Cho got off more than 100 rounds with his two handguns.

I would further speculate that he took his own life only when he was nearly out of ammunition. Only then, when the shooting stopped, did the police enter the building in time to clean up the carnage.

Have you noticed the details released by police and campus officials are “spotty” to say the least? There’s a lot of posterior covering going on at Virginia Tech. The official timelines are meaningless and vague.

The best single timeline is offered by 20-year-old Derek Scheidt, who, apparently unlike the police and university officials, actually glanced at his watch as events unfolded.

The sophomore woke up in his dorm room around 7:15 a.m. Monday, just about the time the double homicide was taking place two buildings away.

“I had a class to go to at 9:05 a.m., and like everybody else, I didn’t know that anything was wrong,” he told the Herald Times Reporter in Manitowoc, Wis. “I didn’t even really notice any police at all when I went to class.”

Around 9:30 a.m., a young woman who had brought a laptop to class raised her hand and announced she had received an e-mail about the first shooting. Only a few minutes later, Scheidt said she raised her hand again to report the second incident.

“I guess our professor just didn’t understand what was going on, so he just kept lecturing,” Scheidt said. “We were all kind of confused and we couldn’t really see what was going on, so we finished class.”

As class was nearing an end, Scheidt heard sirens. When he walked out of the building at 9:55 a.m., he said police were swarming the campus.

“I walked across the drill field about 10 a.m., and there was just police everywhere and people were stopped, looking at Norris Hall,” Scheidt said. “I stopped in the middle of the drill field and looked, and that’s when a bunch of people started running out with their hands up.”

Now, 200 yards away from Norris, where the second and deadliest shooting occurred, Scheidt and other onlookers were approached by police and told to head to their dorms or houses.

Clearly, several minutes after 10 a.m., police were still unsure the gunman was dead. The shooting starts about 9:30 and ends shortly after 10. We shouldn’t have to guess about such matters. It should be part of the public record at this point. But the police and university administrators seem to have their own agenda, perhaps called self-preservation in the face of extreme incompetence.

Can you imagine what it was like in Norris Hell, as I call it now, for those defenseless students and faculty members to be padlocked inside a building dodging the bullets of the lone maniac? They could hear sirens outside for what must have seemed like an eternity.

Where was their help? Why weren’t the police coming? Why weren’t they already there given the murders that had already taken place on campus two hours earlier?

Trey Perkins, a sophomore attending a German class in Norris Hall when Cho burst into the room, said some 30 shots were fired just in that location, where some 15 students were gathered.

“And the shots seemed like it lasted forever,” he said.

I can imagine they did.

They didn’t need to last so long, however. If those same university administrators who so badly bungled this matter at Virginia Tech had not worked hard to disarm innocent students and faculty members a year earlier, perhaps one or more of them might have been carrying a gun Monday.

That one firearm would have proved a great equalizer and undoubtedly saved many lives.

But the universities and many police officials say responsible people don’t need guns. You’ll only shoot your eye out, they say. The answer to gun violence is to ban firearms. So that’s what they did at Virginia Tech and other campuses throughout the commonwealth from which sprung the Second Amendment.

This deeply troubling 35-minute gap at Virginia Tech may have been the result of bumbling incompetence by officials. However, it is not unusual in such circumstances. I want to remind you of exactly what happened at Columbine.

The Colorado high school was surrounded by police while two heavily armed students murdered their peers and exploded homemade bombs throughout the building. Again, there, the police did not enter until the shooting had stopped and the two perps had killed themselves.

Had you been a parent of a child locked in that school facing death, the police would have prevented you from entering with your own gun to save your offspring.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of Americans who think the police are there to protect you from every imaginable threat. They are not.

Americans need to learn to protect themselves. They need to understand the limitations of police. They need to be become independent, self-governing, responsible citizens rather than innocent victims.

There will be many shrill cries in the days ahead for more gun control as a result of the Virginia Tech slaughter. What you need to know – and explain to others – is that this slaughter was a result of gun control, not evidence for it.

Wherever the gun control activists win their fight – be it the nation’s capital, gun-free schools or disarmed universities – murder and violent mayhem is sure to follow.

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