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In Tiny Blacksburg, Community Says Media Attention Can Miss the Target

Posted April 18, 2007

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— Within hours of the shootings Monday at Virginia Tech, the national media descended on the town of Blacksburg and its university. The spotlight is starting to take a toll on the tightly knit community.

Some students and faculty, working through the grieving process as best they can, say finger-pointing by the media is casting an ugly shadow over a university in mourning. They cite reports about who's to blame and questions about why university leaders didn't do more.

"You can't say 'you would have done, you should have done' if you aren't the president," said freshman Natalie Stapp.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger has taken a lot of criticism for not locking down the university after the first shooting in a dormitory, where two people died.

"I don't think they would fool around with something like this, and they wouldn't intentionally do anything to jeopardize students," sophomore Thomas Clapp said.

David Miller is an alumnus. "I think, under the circumstances, they held up pretty well and probably did the best with the information that they had," Miller said.

Alumni especially say the focus on who's at fault for what actions or inactions is taking away from what's most important—moving on.

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