Blacksburg shootings receive national, international attention
President Bush, Virginia senators, Queen Elizabeth II among those to extend condolences
Courtney Kessler, Cavalier Daily Senior Associate Editor – news source The Cavalier Today
Blacksburg, VA(rushprnews) April 17, 2007 – The gunshots at Virginia Tech not only reached the ears of the immediate Blacksburg community yesterday, but also rang in the ears of politicians in the national and international arenas.
President George W. Bush and members of the U.S. Congress publicly extended their condolences to those affected by the shootings.
Bush, who spoke with Virginia Tech President Charles Steger earlier in the day, addressed the nation from the White House to express sympathy for victims and their families.
“Our nation is shocked and saddened by the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech today,” Bush said in a televised newscast. “Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community. Today our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones at Virginia Tech.”
In addition to the president’s acknowledgement of the crisis, the anticipated Senate hearing of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was postponed until April 19 due to the events at Virginia Tech, The Washington Post reported.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., interrupted yesterday’s session to request a moment of silence for the victims and their families.
“As the Virginia Tech community struggles with the mourning and questioning that is certain to follow, the continued prayers from this Congress are with the students, their families, the faculty and the staff at Virginia Tech,” Pelosi said in a televised newscast from the floor of the House.
Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., and Sen. John Warner, R-Va., both addressed the shootings on the floor of the Senate, requesting that senators pay their respects by holding a moment of silence.
“It’s very fitting for us to pause here for a few moments as we consider all of these other issues that are on the table and some of them which obviously divide us by party,” Webb said. “Certainly, on an issue like this we are all together in extending our compassion and our regrets to the families [of] those who are involved.”
Gov. Tim Kaine, who was in Tokyo participating in an Asian trade mission, made arrangements to return to the Commonwealth today, according to a press release.
Commonwealth Attorney General Bob McDonnell said he plans to travel to Blacksburg today when Kaine arrives back in Virginia.
McDonnell said law enforcement officers from all over the Commonwealth have been sent to aid the Virginia Tech police department in all capacities during this time of tragedy.
“Every dime that we can possibly provide, everything from funeral expenses to lodging … we’re going to do,” McDonnell said.
International figures, such as Queen Elizabeth II, shared similar sentiments, BBC news reported.
A statement released from Buckingham Palace read “the Queen was shocked and saddened to hear of the news of the shooting in Virginia.”
Media sources reported that, upon learning of shootings at a Virginia state university, French President Jacques Chirac expressed his “horror” and “total solidarity” with the United States.
Though the violence at Virginia Tech has touched people around the world, the tragedy still remains particularly painful for those who were most immediately affected.
“It is difficult to comprehend senseless violence on this scale,” Kaine said. “Our prayers are with the families and friends of these victims, and members of the extended Virginia Tech community.”
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