Holt Statement on Tragedy at Virginia Tech

Press Release

Date: April 18, 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Guns

Holt Statement on Tragedy at Virginia Tech

Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today released the following statement on the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech:

"There are no words to describe the sorrow and the pain that we feel about the catastrophe that unfolded at Virginia Tech on Monday, April 16th. The most deadly shooting in our nation's history, it is indeed a tragedy of monumental proportions.

"Among the 33 deaths in the attack at Virginia Tech were several New Jersyans: Matt La Porte of Dumont; Michael Pohle from Raritan Township; and Julia Pryde, a biological systems engineering graduate student from Middletown and a resident of the 12th Congressional District. Two other Virginia Tech students killed in the attack - Mary Read and Caitlin Hammaren - had ties to New Jersey, and another - Sean McQuade of Mullica Hill - remains in critical condition.

"Schools, colleges, and universities should be a safe refuge for students and faculty. They are environments that are open to new ideas, encourage learning in all aspects of academics and life, and help young adults to discover themselves and prepare for a career. Like students at colleges all over the country, the students at Virginia Tech are ambitious, intelligent, and community-oriented young people. They chose Virginia Tech, I presume, because of its high academic quality and because of the safe, pleasant community where the university is located.

"I cannot begin to understand the pain and confusion that students must feel about the tragic events that have gripped the quaint town of Blacksburg. I can only begin to understand the panic and terror that parents, family members, and friends must have felt wondering about the safety of their loved ones.

"In times of tragedy like these, it is important for a community to come together to help each other come to terms with the calamity that has occurred. I hope and pray that the friends and family members of the victims, the students and faculty at Virginia Tech, and others find solace and comfort as we deal together with this historic and heartbreaking episode.

"This tragedy should lead other schools to review and develop their own plans for security, emergency response, and communication. Also, Congress and the entire country should reflect on what appears to be a culture of ever-increasing violence, on the psychology and methods of perpetrators of violence, and on the easy availability of guns. If there is a federal role in dealing with these matters, and I think there is, Congress should act.