The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Today's winner are Virginia Tech University President Charles Steger and Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine. Kaine gets the award for the following.
RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Tech officials could have saved lives if they had quickly warned the campus that two students had been shot to death and their killer was on the loose, a panel that investigated the attacks said.They're all torn up? How about the families of the ones who died Governor. They've lost their family members forever.
Instead, it took administrators more than two hours to get out an e-mail warning students and staff to be cautious. The shooter had time to leave the dormitory where the first two victims were killed, mail a letter, and then enter a classroom building, chain the doors shut and kill 31 more people, including himself.
Even before the killings, the university had failed to properly care for the mentally troubled student gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, the panel found.
One victim's mother today urged Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to "show some leadership" and fire the university's president and campus police chief for their lack of action during the April 16 attack. Others demanded accountability for errors that were made.
Kaine, however, told The Associated Press that the school's officials had suffered enough without losing their jobs.
"This is not something where the university officials, faculty, administrators have just been very blithe," Kaine said. "There has been deep grieving about this and it's torn the campus up."
The report clearly says the University failed in its job. 32 people are murdered and no one is going to get fired? How many students and faculty need to be slaughtered before a President is held accountable? 100? 200? Tell me.
An eight-member panel appointed by Kaine spent four months investigating the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history and issued its report late Wednesday.My heart goes out to the Reads who lost so much that April day and to the rest of the families.
"Warning the students, faculty and staff might have made a difference," the panel. "So the earlier and clearer the warning, the more chance an individual had of surviving."
The first victims were shot shortly after 7 a.m. It wasn't until 9:26 a.m. that the school sent an e-mail to students and faculty warning: "Shooting on campus. The university community is urged to be cautious and are asked to contact Virginia Tech Police if you observe anything suspicious or with information on the case." Cho opened fire inside Norris Hall about 20 minutes later.
"The alert should have been issued and classes should have been closed," the panel's chairman, Gerald Massengill, told the AP Thursday.
But the panel also concluded that a lockdown of the 131 buildings on campus would not have been feasible. And while the first message sent by the university could have gone out at least an hour earlier and been more specific, Cho likely still would have found more people to kill, it said.
"There does not seem to be a plausible scenario of a university response to the double homicide that could have prevented the tragedy of considerable magnitude on April 16," the report said. "Cho had started on a mission of fulfilling a fantasy of revenge."
The report detailed a breakdown in communication about the gunman, who had shown signs of mental health problems for years.
His middle school teachers had found signs of suicidal and homicidal thoughts in his writings after the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. He received psychiatric counseling and was on medication for a short time. In 2006, he wrote a paper for his Virginia Tech creative writing class about a young man who hates students at his school and plans to kill them and himself, the report said.
The university's counseling center failed to give Cho the support he needed despite the warnings, including his referral to the center in 2005 because of bizarre behavior and concerns he was suicidal, the panel said. It blamed a lack of resources, misinterpretation of privacy laws and passivity.
Individuals and departments at Virginia Tech were aware of incidents that suggested his mental instability, but "did not intervene effectively. No one knew all the information and no one connected all the dots," the report said.
The report said the response by university and Blacksburg police to the dormitory shootings was well coordinated, and said the police response at Norris Hall was "prompt and effective," as was triage and evacuation of the wounded. But it also noted university police may have erred in prematurely concluding that the first two shootings were the result of a domestic dispute.
"As you read the report, it's clear that so many of the mistakes that were made result from a failure of leadership at the very top levels of the university," said Cathy Read, stepmother of slain freshman Mary Karen Read.
Thirty two people didn't have to die if the University would have acted. Instead they took the course of least resistance, and people died for it. The very least that should happen is Steger being shown the door. For not doing that Governor Timothy Kaine you are the first Knucklehead of the Day.
Also note- Now its pretty clear why Kaine didn't want any family members on the investigation panel. He wasn't going to do shit for these people.
As damning as the report on Steger was, his press conference yesterday shows to be an unfeeling, unrepentant idiot.
RICHMOND, Va. - With anguished parents demanding his firing, Virginia Tech's president bristled at suggestions Thursday that he bears responsibility for the bloodbath on campus, calling it a crime "unprecedented in its cunning and murderous results."Read that again, if he could have done anything, Steger wouldn't have done it. In other words he'd let 32 people die again. What kind of fool is this man? For being an unrepentant accomplice to murder, Charles Steger is our other Knucklehead of the Day.
At a news conference where he was grilled about an independent panel's conclusion that lives could have been saved had the school warned the campus sooner that a killer was on the loose, Charles Steger suggested there may have been nothing anyone could have done to stop the rampage by gunman Seung-Hui Cho that left 33 people dead.
"No plausible scenario was made for how this horror could have been prevented once he began that morning," Steger said.
He said he will neither resign nor ask the Virginia Tech police chief to quit, despite bitter demands by some of the victims' families that he and others be held accountable for the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
"In my view of the world, the buck stops at the top," said William O'Neil, whose son Daniel was among the students slain. "I think that in this case, his lack of leadership and his lack of compassion for the families is just astounding."
It took administrators more than two hours to get the first e-mail warning out after Cho killed two people in a dormitory. In the interim, Cho mailed off a video confession to NBC and then made his way across the Blacksburg campus to a classroom building, where he killed 30 more victims and committed suicide.
Steger said that during those two hours, administrators carefully considered how to deal with the first burst of gunfire, including a warning or a complete campus lockdown.
In the end, according to the report, administrators concluded that the shooting was a boyfriend-girlfriend dispute and that the gunman had probably left the campus. Also, the report noted, they were afraid of causing panic, as happened at the start of the school year, when the first day of classes was called off because an escaped murder suspect was on the loose near campus.
Asked whether he would have done anything differently that day, Steger said no.
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