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Kaine on Tech: "The questions will never go away"

Anita Kumar

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 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.

By Anita Kumar  |  December 4, 2009; 3:34 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine , Virginia Tech massacre  
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So what if a campus-wide lockdown had gone into effect sooner? The shooter would have been locked into some other crowded building and he would have simply murdered those people instead. His victims were not specific. Granted, security procedures were certainly lacking and they need to be addressed, but the main issue here is that the students, faculty and staff at Virginia Tech were not allowed to arm themselves before the fact and defend themselves in the midst of a slaughter. Since this totally avoidable massacre, more than a dozen major universities across America now allow students who meet their state's guidelines for the carrying of concealed weapons to do so. I am surprised that Virginia Tech has yet to do so. I have to suppose that it goes with the well known timidity of the Blacksburg/Virginia Tech community. Just remember that according to the Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, where there are armed law abiding citizens, there is less violent crime, yet where useless gun control still lingers and where there are so-called "gun-free zones" on college campuses, shopping malls, elder and child care centers, offices and places of employment, and more recently, military bases, there is a greater opportunity for mass shootings against large numbers of unarmed victims. Fort Hood is a recent example. Until the Clinton Administration, personal firearms were allowed on military bases; at least in the glove boxes of personal vehicles. Now they are forbidden. That is another so-called gun-free zone that needs to be cleaned up.

Posted by: OIFVet06 | December 5, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

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