Paragraph seven of Justice Powell’s decision to throw out the jury verdict in the Pryde and Peterson lawsuit against Virginia Tech ends with this: “… the shootings appeared targeted, likely domestic in nature, and that the shooter had likely left the campus.” These words are particularly repugnant. Judge Powell combines the false assertion of a domestic crime, with the incorrect use of “targeted” killing, and ends with the indefensible assertion that “the shooter had likely left the campus.”
As I pointed out earlier, there is no way this could have been a domestic crime. Now, Judge Powell accepts the incorrect use of “targeted” killing. In fact, “targeted killing” is a concept used by experts and defined as “people far from any battlefield who are determined to be enemies of the state and are killed without charge or trial.” For a Virginia Supreme Court justice not to know the definition of “targeted killings” is troubling.
Judge Powell twists her logic into a pretzel in order to accept the explanation of Ralph Byers, Virginia Tech’s Executive Director for Government Relations for backing away from the 8:45 a.m. assertion in an email to the Governor’s office: “gunman on the loose….” Judge Powell never explains why the school administration was correct in warning the Governor’s office some 150 miles away, and not warning the campus. The excuse that the school wanted to notify the next of kin before releasing information to the public is specious. You can withhold the names of those killed and still warn the campus. (To be continued)