Sunday, September 6, 2009


Following the state of Virginia’s settlement with 30 of the Virginia Tech victims’ families, a number of people wrote letters to the editor criticizing this use of taxpayer money. They usually argued that no one can be held responsible for anyone else’s actions and that therefore the financial settlement was not justified.

Their assertions are not only contrary to a whole body of legal opinion, but show a lack of knowledge, understanding, empathy, and conscience. To deny a family a miserly $100,000.00 compensation for the loss of a child is disgraceful.

If these writers want examples of wholesale waste of taxpayers’ money, consider the fact that Virginia Tech and the state of Virginia combined spent over one million dollars to spin the tragedy. For example, the state of Virginia hired TriData, an Arlington-based consulting firm, to write the Review Panel Report of the tragedy—TriDate was paid $516,475.50. Does anyone reading this seriously think TriData would point accusing fingers at the school or state when they are being paid over half a million dollars—and may get more contracts from either the state or the school?

Don’t forget that less than six weeks after the shootings, the Virginia Tech signed an agreement with one of the nation’s largest public relations firms, Burson-Marsteller, to spin the story of the tragedy in such a way as to do minimal damage to Virginia Tech and its administration. In other words, the school paid $663,000.00 to a public relations firm, when Virginia Tech has its own an office that deals with public relations. Furthermore, the school has some of the best minds in the country, yet it spent nearly $700,000.00 on public relations.

From my 43-years of work with law enforcement, intelligence, and individuals who investigated other school shootings, I can assure you there are people far more qualified than Tridata employees to write the report. And, they would probably have volunteered to do the work.

This cavalier spending of over a million dollars by the state and by Virginia Tech University in an effort to manipulate opinion following the nation’s worst school shooting, is disgraceful—absolutely disgraceful.


Following the discovery of Seung-Hui Cho’s medical records in the possession of Dr. Millers’ personal papers, Governor Kaine extended the deadline for suggestions for corrections to the Review Panel Report. The following are additional comments from the Pohle family who lost their son Michael on April 16, 2007. I am printing their comments with their permission.

Dear Gov. Kaine,

The following is in response to your time extension granted to the families of the VT massacre based on the release of additional "medical" records on August 19, 2009.

Unfortunately, I have received absolutely no response to the questions I submitted on August 21st (see below) which made this even more difficult.

My reason for sending those questions is because we do not accept as fact the Cook Counseling Center Triage records dated 12/12/05 and 12/14/05, and were hoping for clarity. No response was received. For example, the fact that there are no supervisory signatures, as required, means that these documents could have been prepared or modified at any time. Subsequently, not only do we not accept the authenticity of those documents, we also question whether they are representative of acceptable record keeping policy for any professional in any facility providing medical services.

Those 2 documents are also in contrast to other records, such as the Triage record dated 11/30/05 which indeed has a supervisor co-signature (dated 12/1/05). What is distrurbing about that record, however, is that there is also another entry on the last page that was "apparently" made by Dr. Betzel on 12/12/05. This entry is not co-signed, again meaning it could have been entered at any time following 12/1/05 up to and including the day before the records were returned this summer.

The recent media reports that Dr. Miller had actually been fired from his position at the CCC vs. being "transfered" as had been reported for over 2 years, along with the fact that Dr. Miller was not interviewed by the panel is very disturbing when you add his name to the growing list of key individuals not interviewed by the panel.

For example, in addition to Dr. Miller, other examples include Ms. H. Haugh (whose interview led to the identification of the person of interest), Mr. K. Thornhill (a.k.a. the person of interest), and ANYONE from the Radford University police department where Mr. Thornhill attended class.

When we consider these recently released documents, along with the numerous questions about the panel report itself, we believe that there is a cover-up occurring to prevent disclosure of the complete truth of that horrible day.

To leave it to the families alone to conduct investigations is simply wrong.

Mike & Teresa Pohle