As Americans, we rely heavily on the feeling of security we usually have while at work, school or in other public places in order to succeed and prosper in a our daily lives. It is not until a serious incident occurs that we are left stunned and begin to question our safety. This is the feeling that occurs after we learn about horrifying incidents, such as the mass shooting that occurred in Colorado at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in July.
Recently, another shooting massacre was brought back into the attention of the media when the parents of two Virginia Tech University shooting victims filed an appeal in a wrongful death case that was previously dismissed against the President of the university, Charles W. Steger. The parents of the two women that were killed are claiming that Steger failed to alert the staff, faculty, and students about the first shootings that occurred on campus during the 2007 massacre.
In March, the parents of the two students successfully sued the state after a jury found negligence caused the deaths of the students. Each family was awarded $4 million, a settlement that was later reduced by a jury because of damage caps set by state law. Steger and other campus officials were originally dismissed from the case, but representation for the plaintiffs have argued that the university’s President was responsible for maintaining a safe campus.
During the first trial, Steger and other officials stated that the first shootings that occurred on campus followed the evidence of a domestic violence claim and not a mass shooting. They waited to inform the rest of the campus, even though the gunman was still at large. Steger stated he was advised to wait by police officials who were on the scene at the time.
A full alert was then issued 2 and half hours after the first shooting, but the shooting spree in Norris Hall was already over. Thirty-two faculty members and students were killed on April 16, 2007 and the incident is now considered the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.