Digital tools were potential life savers during Va. Tech massacre

The Mercury News posted an Associated Press package that included a video news story, accounts from witnesses and a disturbing home-made cell phone video that recorded dozens of gun shots and angry and disturbed screaming, presumably from the gunman.

Perhaps most troublesome was that whoever was shooting the cell phone video, actually moved toward the gunfire instead of away from it. Some obvious advice: It’s not worth it. Do not endanger your life for a YouTube moment.

News coverage aside, technology potentially played a key role in informing those most at risk. The way school administrators used their digital tools may even have saved lives. —Mike CassidyDigital tools were potential life savers during Va. Tech massacre (MercuryNews)

My brother is a Va Tech alumnus. At the University of Virginia we enjoyed a friendly rivalry with our larger land-grant sibling.

This time of year I have lots of papers to mark and lots of stressed students who need attention; further, three days this week I’m leaving early to attend to family business (today was a birthday party for both my kids, Wednesday I always leave early so I can watch the kids while my wife prepares for her night class, and Friday my son will be in an art show), so I haven’t been following this as closely as I really wanted to.

Someone else will write a thoughtful analysis of the Wikipedia and Wikinews articles on the events, and someone else will track what the Va Tech students were saying to each other on MySpace and Facebook while the Va Tech authorities wondered how to get in touch with students and what they should say.

I’m glad my kids don’t mind being hugged and kissed in public, since I was doing a lot of that today.

Update: the Roanoke Times has been covering the event on its breaking news blog, changing the title to reflect recent developments, adding time-stamped items to the top of the page.