As I predicted, the paranoia surrounding the Virginia Tech shooting has come here to Upstate New York. SUNY Cobleskill, a four-year college 45 minutes from Albany, has suspended Tharindu Meepegama, a 20-year-old student at the college for posting photos of himself online holding a shotgun. Meepegama told the Times Union of Albany that he posted his picture on the social networking site Facebook. He is undergoing a psychological evaluation at a hospital in nearby Oneonta.

The college says that it takes threats seriously, regardless of what happened at Virginia Tech, where more than 30 people were killed nearly two weeks ago in the nation’s largest killing.

I really doubt that their claim that the suspension had nothing to do with VT is valid. Clearly, they are avoiding what they see as a possible threat. Ordering the student to go to psychological counseling/evaluation appears to be a part of the insipid paranoia that is circling around this event.

Next week, the New York State Senate, ever the body most hysterical about crime, will hold a hearing on campus safety to address what can be done to prevent another Mr. Cho. Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno is also urging Gov. Elliot Spitzer to join them in efforts to reinstate the death penalty in the state.

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