Give them a voice
FAIRFAX, Va. -- Relatives of Virginia Tech shooting victims said Monday they felt "ostracized" from a governor's panel studying the killings, and they questioned the use of their loved ones' names to raise millions of dollars for a memorial fund.The panel is eight people, giving one slot on it to the families of the Virginia Tech massacre is the right thing to do. As a parent who lost a child, unless you've been through the experience yourself you'll never understand it. The Reads and the other families have lost too much already, lets not take away their voices too. All the families would be happy to remain quiet, if they could only have their loved ones back. They need to and a have a right to speak up.
Peter Read, whose daughter Mary Karen Read was killed, thanked the eight-member panel for its work and told members that the victims' families could remain objective if included.
"We bring a qualification to the table that we don't feel any of you can match _ which is an intimate knowledge of what Seung-Hui Cho took from us," Read said as his wife Cathy stood by his side.
He then read a statement that was written on behalf of 13 families.
"We are angry about being ostracized from a government-chartered panel investigating a government-sponsored university, and about how the university has used the names and images of our loved ones to raise millions of dollars without any consultation," the families said.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's spokesman said the governor wanted "specialized expertise" when he named the eight-member panel, which includes former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, psychiatrists, educational specialists and former law enforcement officials. The panel was charged to review the tragedy, the circumstances that led to it and the response.
"Family is important to us. It's also important, I think, to the governor that he have a panel that was viewed as being totally objective and not driven by emotions," said panel Chairman W. Gerald Massengill. He is a former Virginia State Police superintendent who oversaw the agency's response to the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon and the 2002 Washington-area sniper attacks.
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Labels: Virginia Tech