- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
- Holiday cheer: Airline grants Christmas wishes for 250 unsuspecting passengers
- U.S. vet held in North Korea says statement was coerced
Tech families hope for answers
RICHMOND (AP) — The report due out Friday on the Virginia Tech shootings must explain how a student so troubled that he terrified teachers and students slipped layers of institutional safeguards and killed 32 persons, the governor and families of the slain said.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and victims’ relatives said inconclusive findings about a shooting spree unprecedented on an American college campus won’t do.
“It should say where things went right and where things went wrong. And that’s what I expect that it will say,” Mr. Kaine said.
Mr. Kaine, who created the panel, said he expects answers on why the mental health system failed to intercept gunman Seung-hui Cho despite menacing and bizarre behavior that alarmed university faculty and police. A court even found him a danger to himself and ordered him evaluated.
Why did the police assume the first two students slain in a dormitory were the victims of a domestic dispute? Why was a handwritten bomb threat found in Norris Hall before 30 persons were killed there handed to a janitor and not to an authority figure? Why wasn’t the campus locked down after the first shootings? Why was Cho, who was clearly unstable, allowed to continue attending Tech?
“We are not a social service agency,” he said. “We are not a psychiatric institution.”
W. Gerald Massengill, the retired head of the Virginia State Police, whom Mr. Kaine appointed to head the eight-member panel, said he knows people expect blame to be assigned.
“From where the facts have taken us, if somebody wants to take it and assign blame, then that’s up to them. We’re going to point out what was done correctly, what maybe could have been done differently — and, of course, what we think absolutely should have been done differently,” Mr. Massengill said.
From the start, Mr. Kaine kept close to the families of those killed and the survivors. For months, he said, their demand has been consistent: no whitewash, no cover-ups.
“When there’s 32 dead, one suicide, 25 or 26 injured and many dozens or hundreds traumatized, I think that presents a situation where pointing of fingers is necessary,” said Roger O’Dell, whose son Derek was shot but survived.
Some families are suspicious the report will minimize fault by the state or other institutions for fear it could provoke lawsuits.
“They’re so worried about the liability that they’re losing their focus on the prize — and the prize is the truth,” Mrs. Sherman said. “Forget the liability thing. Just tell us what we need to fix, but be specific because a broad brush is not going to help me sleep at night.”
The panel will finish its report behind closed doors tomorrow. Mr. Kaine said family members will have the opportunity to see the report before it’s presented to him at 11 a.m. Friday and is made public.
n Associated Press writers Kristen Gelineau in Richmond and Sue Lindsey in Blacksburg, Va., contributed to this report.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Global economy, the civilizing power of markets and public morals.
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Notes from a running nerd: musings and more on all things running.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow