Updated 4/17 3:10:
If you've been looking through MSNBC.com's coverage of the massacre at Virginia Tech you may have seen the link asking you to share your story if you were there. I happen to have access to the tool that gathers submissions through that page so I can share a bit of what we're seeing come in. Submissions fall into three classes, jokes/hoaxes/off topic, admonitions for being media vultures, and genuine first hand accounts of being on campus during the shooting. Ignoring the pranksters, the conflict between the two other groups is interesting. I understand the perspective of the people who resent the media for making such a blunt pitch to those most affected by this tragedy, and if I wasn't seeing the sincere submissions of people who experienced the event directly (or peripherally) I'd be inclined to agree. But some people have a need to share their experiences. I won't go so far as to speculate it's a universal human compulsion, but I recognize it in myself, so it's familiar when I see it in others. The need to share experiences is the same thing that makes some people tear articles out of the newspaper for others to read. It's what makes people submit photos to sharing services like Flickr. It's what makes bloggers report audiences of questionable quantity, and it's the spirit that drives much of the participation in the amalgam of social sites and online forums I see in today's volunteer online journalism.
When the Virginia Tech shooting story was breaking I was tinkering with Twitter tools to see if I could watch the story unfold there. Results on that effort were mixed, but elsewhere it was observed that Newsvine beat Digg in getting the story out to users. From the Newsvine link I clicked through to this string of reports from on campus.
Speaking of looking at social networks, there are many Facebook tribute groups that have formed, but this one appears to be the most active.
Via Riehl World View I read about rumors that this all started with a jilted lover and scrolled through the school's sports message board. (It's funny to find myself scrolling through an old fashioned message board when I began the day playing with the new and trendy Twitter.)
I'll be interested to see what the school paper has once they work out their server issues. They've got what appears to be a camera phone picture of what it looks like to be in "lock down." It looks like a lot of the video on TV is from camera phones but I haven't seen this photo. Speaking of camera phone footage, You may have seen this clip on TV but if there was a TV anchor talking over it you missed the point. Listen close to hear the gun shots.
Naturally when there's a high profile shooting, thoughts turn to the issue of gun control. Depending on your view either the tragedy wouldn't have happened if there were no guns or it wouldn't have happened if there were more guns. For some reason I ended up clicking more pro-gun links. This year-old story seemed to come up often. It describes how a pro-gun bill was defeated last year, making the campus a gun-free zone.
I got this research paper (Multiple Victim Public Shootings, Bombings, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handgun Laws: Contrasting Private and Public Law Enforcement) from Glenn.
I hope this blogger has heard from his son by now and simply hasn't posted an update yet. I can't imagine the agony of having to wait this long.
This site is aggregating Virginia bloggers. Speaking of the local perspective, The Roanoke Times coverage is impressive to scroll through even if it's not very media rich. That style of updating a story with times is becoming iconic of emergency news; a visual siren.
For the map heads, here is a big map of the campus.
I'll add more as I find them. Let me know if you come upon anything compelling (that isn't already in the mainstream).
UPDATE: The Virginia Tech radio station crashed my machine a couple times when I tried to play their stream. Understandably they're struggling with the traffic so that one's going to need a little patience.
UPDATE 2: The Web is burgeoning with fake MySpace pages and profile and hoax photos and "not him" pictures of Asian guys with guns. Rather than get in serious trouble associating someone with a horrible crime they had nothing to do with I'm going to follow the mainstream on shooter material - at least until the Web settles down a bit.
Something I don't understand is why they keep saying, "I can't believe it would happen here of all places" if this had already happened last summer: "William Morva, accused of killing a police officer and a security guard, is captured after a day-and-a-half manhunt that prompts the shutdown and evacuation of Virginia Tech. A hectic day unfolds in a series of updates below."
Speaking of past incidents at the school, here's the coverage of the recent bomb threat.
Here's how Wikipedia is covering the story.
It's interesting that we're calling this the worst gun rampage in U.S. history. There were more deaths in the Bath School Disaster but that was an explosion.
Planet Blacksburg is another school paper I think. Veeery slow to load.
Why they couldn't just tackle him while he was reloading.
UPDATE 3: Virginia Killer's Violent Writings (It's Cho's play.)
See the update at the bottom of this entry for an interesting look at a message board posting from a gun shop ower who think he sold Cho the guns. The message board itself is crashed but I'll check back later to see if comes back.