How much is your child worth? In Virginia, apparently not very much.
The cards are stacked against parents if their child is wounded or killed on a campus or school grounds in Virginia. In fact, if your child is the victim of a crime, any crime, it is hard to get justice in the Virginia legal system.
First, you begin with the points I discussed earlier; most Virginia judges and justices take the position that no one can be held accountable for anyone else’s actions. And the laws are written to reflect that bias. Second, politicians on both sides of the aisle in Richmond appear unwilling to tackle the multiple problems that have led to campus gun violence—the nearly unrestricted access to guns, the sharp decline in the availability and quality of mental health care, and the willingness of people to play fast and free with the truth.
Following the murder of Angie Dales, the mother of my oldest grandchild, fourteen years ago, we tried, and eventually got, compensation for our then seven-year-old granddaughter. Virginia has sovereign immunity, meaning you cannot sue the state for more than $100,000. The Appalachian School of Law, however, was not a state school; it was not protected by sovereign immunity.
An out of court settlement was reached between Angie’s parents and the law school. The school agreed to pay $1 million to the plaintiffs. Angie’s mother and father had joined forces with the three wounded students, so the money was split four ways. Our then seven-year-old granddaughter got the lion’s share, over $300,000, thus ensuring her education.
The Virginia Tech families got $100,000 each for the murder of their children or loved ones. On the other hand, the state of Virginia spent around $1 million on public relations firms to spin the story and cover up incompetence. The troubling fact is that in all the mass shootings I have looked at, only Virginia felt the need to spend a small fortune on spin-doctors. You don’t spend that amount of money because you have it lying around and it is burning a hole in your pocket—you send that money on public relations firms because you have something to hide.
A question parents should ask is, do you want to send your children to school in Virginia, a state that covers up deceit and incompetence in the murder of 32 people on a major state university? (To be continued)