Karmic Relief

Looks like there's going to be a substantial payout, state-financed, to the VT shooting victims' families. A private fund set up in the wake of the shootings, the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, has already received $7 million, but apparently, this is not enough.

The administrator of the $7 million Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, which Virginia Tech created to receive donations from the public in the days after the shootings, has drawn up recommendations to pay each of the families of those killed at Virginia Tech $150,000. Injured students could receive between $25,000 and $75,000.

Last week, more than a dozen family members of slain students issued a joint statement saying, "The university and the commonwealth will need to address the ongoing needs of victims and families, which will exceed the resources of the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund."

I don't see the justification for a state-financed award. The only way it might make sense is if the state was culpable for the deaths of the victims, and this payoff would represent an out-of-court settlement. Based on my evaluation of what happened on 4/16, the state acted appropriately. But the reasoning doesn't seem to be based on culpability.

Andrew Goddard, whose son Colin survived after being shot four times in Norris Hall, said, "We would like to see Virginia Tech step up in some way to recognize the suffering."

"My son is carrying metal in his body for the rest of his life. He has a rod in his leg and is carrying around three of the four bullets," Goddard said. "A lot of people don't know the full extent of their injuries. . . . I don't want to be fighting something [in court] for five years."

(bold mine)

In other words, karmic justification: "Something bad happened to us. We deserve money." From where I sit, this is a bogus excuse. The VT shootings were a discontinuous event. Nobody could have reasonably predicted something like that would happen. Forgive me for sounding heartless, but sometimes, bad things just happen. The only person to blame is already dead.

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Isn't this what life insurance is supposedly for?