Kaine on Tech: "The questions will never go away"
Gov. Tim Kaine said today at a news conference that he was convinced that the Virginia Tech report on the 2007 mass shootings needed to be changed to correct the record but that many facts of the crime will never be understood.
"The questions will never go away about this day,'' he said. "The person who committed this horrible crime is gone. A whole series of questions about it -- primarily why -- will never be answered. When you wrestle with something like these revisions, you know that there will never be answers to all the questions and any new development will raise questions."
Kaine released a revised report today that acknowledged for the first time what relatives of victims have been saying for more than a year -- that school officials not only failed to notify the university community about two shootings for more than 80 minutes, but also locked down some buildings and notified their own family members while the rest of the university was kept in the dark.
Kaine said he wanted Arlington-based TriData Corp., the company contracted by the state to write the original report, to revise the document after hearing from victims' families, but he maintains the panel that initially investigated the shooting was correct.
"I think it was important to make the corrections. The family members convinced me and I became convinced that it was important to make corrections for the record,'' he said. "But the fact that the corrections, to me, don't really suggest any different recommendations...is good validation of the work that the panel did."
The company made revisions after speaking to Kaine's original panel and family members.
Kaine said he has received some emails from family members this week. Some were glad that the changes were made. Others said they continue to raise questions.
Kaine said he wanted his original panel to put out a report quickly even though members did not have all the information.
"I did put the original panel under a pretty tight time constraint because I wanted them to produce recommendations that we would use to make legal changes, budgetary changes and make campuses safer beginning in the fall school year," he said.
He said the report has been "improved, corrected, supplemented and added to" but that the final recommendations the panel do not need to be changed.
The company "rewrote the timeline and the narrative based on all the information they have,'' he said. "Some of the timeline elements are changing. They are not huge and dramatic changes but it was important to get the facts right."
Kaine said Virginia Tech held a retreat for victims' family members in the fall in Northern Virginia to talk about grieving. The governor will meet victims' families one more time in January before he leaves office as part of a lawsuit settlement.
December 4, 2009; 3:34 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine , Virginia Tech massacre
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