I have listened to two of your telephone forums recently. You repeatedly raise the point that we have to bring government spending under control and spend our resources wisely. I assume you also mean that for the federal government and the state of Virginia. Therefore, I would like to call to your attention that Virginia Tech spent around $700,000.00 on a public relations firm to spin the story of the April 16, 2007 shooting tragedy.
You are a graduate of Virginia Tech, and I am sure you are appalled by this waste of taxpayer money. The university has a public relations office; the school has some of the best minds in the country. To spend a small fortune in an attempt to manipulate the facts surrounding the worst mass shooting in this country’s history is not just inexcusable, it is unconscionable.
Virginia Tech receives federal funds. Would you be willing to launch an investigation of why and how this public relations firm was hired, and who authorized this waste of taxpayers’ money?
In both the school shootings at the Appalachian School of Law on January 16, 2002 and Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, the police refused to cooperate with either the victims’ families or in the case of Virginia Tech, the governor’s investigative panel.
Would you be willing to sponsor legislation making it a crime for police documents to be withheld from victims’ families and any investigative body looking into mass killings?
Would you also be willing to sponsor a group of volunteers made up of victims’ families representatives and individuals selected by the state of Virginia to review what information was withheld from the law school and Tech shootings, and why? The group would need subpoena power, should not include any individual who has had, or currently has, business dealings with the state, and should be headed by someone selected by the victims’ families. Congressman Wittman, given your professions—a lawyer and a politician—you are well acquainted with the principle of “limiting information in order to guide or obscure the conclusions.” That is what happened in the case of both shootings here in Virginia.
The preliminary findings of the Department of Education’s investigation into the shootings at Virginia Tech conclude the school violated the Clery Act, and Virginia Tech may be liable to penalties and fines. If there was gross negligence on the part of school President Charles Steger’s administration, would you support the removal of those individuals who were grossly negligent?
Congressman Wittman, it is my sincere hope that your are not one of those politicians who believes that the primary goal of politics is to keep from the electorate the information they most need to know—particularly when that information concerns the murder of our children and loved ones.
David S. Cariens, Jr.