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Virginia Delegation Heading to Blacksburg

The entire Virginia congressional delegation is expected to trek to the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., tomorrow to show support and assess needs at the site of today's mass murder, aides said.

Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and James Webb (D-Va.) will lead the delegation to determine what sort of federal help may be needed as the university recovers from the murder of more than 30 people at the southwestern Virginia campus.

In addition, the Senate on Monday unanimously passed a resolution of sorrow offered by Warner and Webb, expressing "heartfelt condolences" for the tragedy and a hope for a "shared national commitment" to prevent such tragedies in the future. [Full text, as well as remarks by the Virginians follows this post.]

Also, the Senate Judiciary Committee put off until Thursday morning a planned hearing to grill Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about his role in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys that has threatened his hold on the job as the nation's top law enforcement officer. Without saying so specifically, it appears the committee and Gonzales decided it would be unseemly to have such a contentious hearing tomorrow over law enforcement issues during such a criminal tragedy.

"We have consulted with the Attorney General and all understand it is appropriate to postpone Attorney General Gonzales's appearance before the Judiciary Committee until Thursday, in light of the tragic events," said Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee chairman, and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking member.

The resolution, which was cosponsored by all 100 Senators and was adopted by the Senate this evening by unanimous consent, reads as follows:

Be it Resolved by the Senate that the Senate -

(1) offers its heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families, and to students, faculty, administration and staff and their families who have been deeply affected by the tragic events that occurred today at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia;

(2) expresses its hope that today's losses will lead to a shared national commitment to take steps that will help our communities prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future

(3) recognizes that Virginia Tech has served as an exemplary institution of teaching, learning, and research for well over a century; and that the University's historic and proud traditions will carry on.

Warner issued the following statement:

"All Americans join the citizens of Virginia in grieving over the tragic loss of life at Virginia Tech. We mourn the young students and faculty whose lives of promise have been cut short, and those who have been injured, by this incomprehensible act of violence.

"In time, Americans will learn more about the circumstances of this senseless tragedy. For now and forever after, our hearts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the other students, faculty and staff of Virginia Tech, and their families.

"Virginians are proud of this historic university, and how it has served our state and nation for nearly a century-and-a-half as an exemplary institution of higher learning. That tradition will carry on."

Webb gave the following remarks:

"I want to express my profound sympathies to the entire Virginia Tech community for the tragic shooting that occurred on the campus earlier this morning. My heart goes out to the parents and families of the victims of this senseless act.

"Virginia Tech is a great institution. The young people who were lost today had demonstrated an enormous amount of promise. There is very little that I can add in terms of describing the depth of our feelings and our regret that this incident has occurred. It is an incredible human tragedy.

"Hopefully once the grieving is done, we can find ways that will prevent these sorts of incidents from happening in the future."

By Paul Kane  |  April 16, 2007; 9:50 PM ET
Categories:  House , Senate  
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Comments

Shooter used a 9mm, the same caliber Senator Webb carries.

Posted by: Ralph | April 17, 2007 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Dear Ralph,
The polce in Prince Georege's County carry 9mm Berettas.
What is your point?
(I ask as you did not identify who else carries a 9mm. Also, did you check the concealed carry permit list that the state of Virginia used to make available?)
GB

Posted by: Ted | April 17, 2007 6:36 AM | Report abuse

To be accurate, ralph, the shooter used 2 weapons - a 9mm handgun and a .22 caliber handgun. Your attempt to connect these shootings to Senator Webb is both outrageous and pathetic.
As it turns out, the shooter is not a citizen of the US, but a South Korean. How was a non-citizen permitted to buy these guns? The second amendment certainly doesn't give non-citizens the right to bear arms.
One more thing, to the multitude of media outlets that keep referring to this as the worst massacre in American history, I ask - haven't you ever heard of Wounded Knee? The Trail of Tears? Or, don't those count?

Posted by: Patrick Huss | April 17, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Patrick that the lame attempt to point out that Sen. Webb carries a 9mm seems irrelevant to the tragedy that occured. However, I also remind Mr. Huss that the shooter was a legal, permanent resident to whom constitutional protections (such as the second amendment) also applied.

Posted by: JK | April 17, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

According to Sue Lindsey's article (of the Associated Press), the first statement the White House made after the VT shooting was to affirm his support for guns:

"A White House spokesman said President Bush was horrified by the rampage and offered his prayers to the victims and the people of Virginia. "The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed," spokeswoman Dana Perino said "

Why aren't journalists jumping on this? Doesn't this show how special interest oriented he is and how he is out of touch with the main stream and reality?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I like Webb's statement better than Warner's. Webb's is more personal, wehereas Warner's is more collectivist (is that the right word?).

Posted by: NoVA Dem | April 17, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

One might hope that the grief we are feeling in response to the horrendous, senseless massacre at VA Tech will cause us to look beyond our own borders and reflect on the pain suffered daily by the Iraqi people as they observe the senseless slaughter of innocents in Baghdad and throughout Iraq. With a population of just 8% the population of the US the proportional daily toll in Iraq would be nearly a thousand. Tragedies like yesterday's massacre, or worse, are suffered by Iraqi's every day yet we seldom read or hear of compassion expressed by our political leaders, the media, or plain Americans.

Posted by: B. Gonzalez | April 17, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

NoVA Dem: Please, go no further in comparing which statements of grief is "better". In times of national tragedy, and this surely is one, we should all put aside party labels.

Posted by: Edison | April 17, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

To JK,
Was he a legal, permanent resident? I've heard that he was a resident alien, which, if I understand correctly, is not a permanent status. He was not a citizen of the US.
If, in fact that status does entitle him to own weapons, as it certainly appears that it does, then my point is that it should not.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | April 17, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I've just learned that I was relying on incorrect information regarding the shooters legal status. I thought that the shooter was only here to study on a temporary student visa. As he has actually been in the country since he was 8 yrs. old, and did indeed have permanent legal status, my previous statements to the contrary were both misinformed and innacurate. Sorry.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | April 17, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Was there a financial motive for Virginia Tech or the Administration to leave the Campus "OPEN" after the 7:15AM shooting and the shooter was still on the loose?
What is the size of the VT Campus Police Force? Was it large enough to dispatch an Officer to every building on Campus?
Should the ID's, backpacks, etc of everyone entering buildings been checked starting at 8:30?

This proves once again what happens when you ASSUME!

I just can not wait for the Law Suits to start rolling in!

Jim Frego
Grants Pass, OR

Posted by: Jim Frego | April 17, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Jim Frego,
You clearly have never had the level of responsibility that the president of a large university must shoulder.
You're looking forward to the lawsuits, are you?!? What kind of sick loser does that make you?

Posted by: Patrick Huss | April 17, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

It's sad to see how many people are dealing problems with violence.
Some religions encourage people to take revenge on others; some regimes use violence to control their people. While some media teach kids how to be violent; some adults show to kids how to solve problems with violence without noticing what influence they might give.
It happens not only between people and people, but also between nations. As one of the leading country in the world, the U.S. government should not show their leadership in a violent way. Bush's "War on Terror" is one of the great examples.
It is clear that the military solution is continuing to worsen the situation in Iraq, so now is time to reinforce a humanitarian aid to bring peace to the world.
Instead spending $522 billion on U.S. military budget and wasting our precious lives by sending more troops, we can use the money to save so many lives by providing food, water access and sanitation. According to The Borgen Project, it only costs $19 billion to eliminate global hunger.
I hope our next political leader will make a commitment to the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals to stop the global poverty and make the world a better place.

Posted by: Eliakim | April 17, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I send out my condolences and heartfelt prayers to the families and loved ones of my fellow 32 Hokies who lost their lives on Monday. It pains me to see yet another mass murder take place because of the easy availabliity of guns. Why does Va permit a person who has the money purchase one gun a month. For those who talk about personal protection, I say that one gun will do the job adequately. Why, if guns are thought of as contributing to safety, is the United States of America the most violent society on earth. We loose more people to accidential gun deaths and gun suicides each year than almost every war we have fought in as a country. Why do we as a society allow this to continue. I know all the pro gun folks will denounce me as an opponent to the Second Admendment and life, liberty and the persuit of happiness, but so be it. I do not own a gun. I will not own a gun. I lost my momma in 1965 because she killed herself with a gun. Granted, she could have killed herself with something else, but she used a gun. So feel free to call me anything you want. Guns kill people.. And I am tired of the buzzwords that "guns dont kill people. People kill people. Dont tell me that because I lost my momma to a gun. Dont tell that to the 33 students who lost their lives to a gun. Dont tell that to the students and faculty who are in hospitals because they have been maimed and wounded by a gun.

Posted by: Dave(class of 82) | April 18, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Hand out bibles and guns to all the students. That would make for one holy mess!

Posted by: Cocked Boehner | April 20, 2007 12:32 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON, DC 04-25-2007 today at Walter Reed things has not change at all just a simlpe white wash..It began as brief hallway encounter between a soldier at DC's Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, but turned into an emotional exchange about the medical mistreatment of reservists. It was when Cummings and his staff were attempting an early exit from a special congressional field hearing at the Center that Sgt. Charles Eggleston introduced himself

TAPE: (7 SECONDS):
IC: I served 14 months, in Mosul Iraq, I got blown up in by an IED and multiple mortar fire.

Sgt. Eggleston, an army reservist from Bowie, Maryland who walks with a cane and a noticeable limp, reminded Cummings that he was still waiting for a reply to the letters he had sent. Almost immediately Cummings insisted they talk in private.

TAPE: (XX SECONDS)
IC: He doesn't want you to record him

But Sgt. Eggleston said he had no problem with talking on the record

TAPE: (XX SECONDS)
IC: I don't care, listen

Cummings smiled and nodded his head but continued to edge away, but the soldier followed him and leant in close to speak...

TAPE: (XX SECONDS)
IC: " Eggleston, we bounced into each other in the Safeway out there in Columbia.
CUMMINGS: I'll take a look at it. [inaudible].
The way the system is set up here, it takes us back to 40's and 50's with segregation. The active duty and reservists and guard get treated in two different deals. If you are active duty, they'll stick you in front. And if you are reservist and guard, they'll stick you in the back. And that was pushed down by the damn command.
CUMMINGS: No doubt about it. What the army tells us is that it's not on our dime that you went over there and got messed up. The VA is in place to take care of that. And that's not the way it goes."

Even with permanent injuries to his back, legs and jaw, Sgt. Eggleston planned to continue his military career, perhaps behind a desk. But the red tape and delays in receiving treatment have forced him toward premature retirement just so he can access medical care at Veterans Administration facilities.

Prior to his resignation, Lt. General Kevin C. Kiley, the Commander of Army medical acknowledged concerns like those of Sgt. Eggleston at a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing...

TAPE: (11 SECONDS)
IC: There clearly has been a concern among reservists and National Guard soldiers that they perceive they are not getting timely enough care quickly enough.

In response, Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia challenged military brass with a government report identifying a disparity of care between reserve and active duty soldiers....

TAPE: (14 SECONDS)
IC: We have relied upon the guard and reserve to a greater extent than I suppose ever before in the contemporary history of our military. A wound is a wound, weather it is borne by a guardsman, reservist or regular army soldier.

Warner promises to investigate the matter further. For his part, Congressman Cummings said he would look into the Sgt.'s situation. Last week, Cummings visited The Baltimore Veteran's Affairs Medical Center. He told reporters that he was impressed with the facility and the quality of care in Baltimore. But he left with concern that greater numbers of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could add pressure and crack apart the fault lines that the Walter Reed scandal has uncovered in the military medical system.

TAPE: (8 SECONDS)
IC: I am going to be touring my own veteran's hospital in my district and] I am going to urge every member of Congress to do the same so we can figure out how systemic these problems are.


Back in the Hallway at Walter Reed, as Sgt. Eggleston and Congressman Cummings continued their discussion, Walter Reed staff wearing civilian clothing observed the two, listening carefully and conspicuously taking down notes...

TAPE: (18 SECONDS)
IC: The Command constantly threatens you. You talk to a reporter and you say the wrong word, that means we'll take some money out of your pocket. I will speak up for the NCO corps. What the Generals decide to do, that's their personal thing.

I'm Ben Shaw, on Capitol Hill for 88-1, WYPR.

Our reports from Capitol News Connection in Washington are made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and PRI - Public Radio International.

© Copyright 2007, WYPR

This problem has not change at all


Contact this soldier at charles777@starpower.net for more infor and interviews

Posted by: make a change now!! | April 25, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

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