Virginia Tech Shootings Panel Seeks Reforms

Forbes’ headline, “Va. Tech Shootings Panel Seeks Reforms to an AP report jumped out at me. Not because I much cared about the recommendations that the panel issued to ward off a more-or-less unpreventable, one-off tragedy but because of the sheer foregone conclusion that it represents.

Has ever a panel been assembled to investigate anything that didn’t recommend reforms? Even if everyone involved had done the most admirable job imaginable — which, admittedly, is seldom if ever true — the mere empaneling of a study group virtually demands that they find some flaws that must be corrected.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    This reminds me of some advice an accountant who specialized in IRS audits gave. He said always leave something small for the accountants to find. Otherwise they will have to keep digging until they find something.

    The only way the panel could really be surprising would be to commit political suicide and say “cost benefit analysis for preventing another attack says we are better off the way we are” or if they provided some common sense “right to carry on campus would have probably reduced death toll significantly”.