So many have said so much about the horrid events at Virginia Tech. One important fact I want to focus on is the information that has emerged about the gunman having stalked female students in the past. We need to learn from this tragedy that people who stalk other people need to be viewed as serious threats to society. Esta Soler, the founder and president of our client the Family Violence Prevention Fund , explains it better than I can in a statement on their website today.
"The Murders at Virginia Tech
April 17, 2007
"There are still many unanswered questions about the horrific violence Monday at Virginia Tech," Family Violence Prevention Fund President Esta Soler said Tuesday, "and troubling indications that the shooter had stalked women and that the first murder may have been a domestic homicide. That would be no surprise; the Justice Department tells us that, on average, three women are murdered each day in this country by their husbands or boyfriends. We saw a brutal domestic homicide of a pregnant woman at the CNN Center in Atlanta just this month. We aren't doing nearly enough to stop domestic violence, which frequently escalates to homicide and often involves bystanders and children."
"We need answers about what happened at Virginia Tech," Soler continued. "We need to know whether the shooter had stalked or committed violence in the past, if he had a legal right to have a gun, and whether the police discounted the danger because they thought the first murder was a domestic homicide. Whatever the answers, there is no question that we need more research and more prevention, to keep guns out of the hands of batterers, to understand what causes violence against women to occur and to escalate, and to change attitudes."
"The last Congress failed to fund the new programs in the Violence Against Women Act -- campus-based initiatives, support for children who witness abuse, programs to train health care providers to recognize batterers and victims and intervene to help them, and prevention programs aimed at changing attitudes toward women," Soler concluded. "The new Congress must do better. We need full funding for the Violence Against Women Act, and to do much more to stop violence and change attitudes."
Well said. Let's tell Congress that one way to honor the lives of those that died at Virginia Tech is to step up and fully fund the Violence Against Women Act.