Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches


Madam Speaker,yesterday marked the 1 year anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre. One year ago, students on the campus woke up and went to class. It was another seemingly ordinary day. But a mentally-ill coward, hungry for control and infamy, followed through on his premeditated rampage.

On April 16, 2007, there were two separate attacks, 2 hours apart on the campus of Virginia Tech. The murderer, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people and wounded many.

The first attack occurred at West Ambler Johnston Hall. Cho entered the co-ed dormitory, home to 894 students, at 7 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, he murdered two victims before returning to his dorm room. Nearly 2 hours later, Cho went to a post office to mail writings and video footage to NBC News. He was sure to inform the press because he wanted the infamy and power. This coward carried chains, locks, a hammer, a knife, two guns, nineteen 10- and 15-round magazines, and almost 400 rounds of ammunition. He was on a murderous mission.

Two hours after his first killings, Cho continued his murder spree at Norris Hall. He chained the three main entrance doors shut, placed a note on the doors that said if the door was opened a bomb would explode, and then went up to the second floor to begin the massacre. Cho peeked into the classroom twice, to view his prey. He entered Professor G.V. Loganathan's classroom, killing the professor and then killing 9 of the 13 students. Two other students were injured and only 2 students survived unharmed. Cho then walked across the hall to Christopher James Bishop's classroom where he killed Bishop and 4 other students. Cho wounded 6 others. Cho continued down Norris Hall, shooting students and professors. He returned to the classrooms several times. Cho's spree continued for 10 to 12 minutes. He fired at least 174 rounds.

The 2 hour murderous massacre taught us that universities must have a coordinated, quick system to notify students, staff, and the entire university community of a pending danger. I'm an original cosponsor on the Virginia Tech Victims Campus Emergency Response Policy and Notification Act, which would require universities to notify students and employees within 30 minutes after campus security or law enforcement determines that an emergency exists on campus. It is unfortunate that it took a tragedy to teach us this lesson.

This country continues to mourn the lives of the 32 victims from Virginia Tech. We will never forget them.

And that's just the way it is.