State Senate observes moment for shooting victims

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:41 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s state Senate reacted with a moment of prayer Monday as they learned of the shootings on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va.

President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, R-St. Louis County, rose to bring the issue to the attention of fellow legislators at about 2:30 p.m. Monday.

“There’s been a school shooting at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. Perhaps as many as 31 people have been killed. The gunman has been killed as well. I don’t know much about the situation beyond that. But obviously it is a horrific tragedy, and I thought that perhaps ... you might lead us in a moment of prayerful silence as we offer our prayers in this terrible event,” Gibbons said.

Soon after, Missouri Senate Chaplain Carl Gaulk led the Senate in a prayer for the victims of Monday’s shootings and their families.

Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, Senate education committee chairman, called the shootings in Blacksburg “a human tragedy of tremendous proportion.”

Regarding the issue of campus security, Nodler said that it is difficult for any large area to protect itself from any act of violence.

“This happened at the University of Texas in the ‘60s, when a student who was a former Marine had a psychotic episode and went up to the top of a tower and shot people as they walked across campus,” Nodler said. “And I don’t know that you can ever wholly secure any place or business or school from an insane act.”

Nodler also cited the school shooting that took place at an Amish school in Pennsylvania last year as an example of a seemingly secure school falling victim to a psychotic individual.

Gov. Matt Blunt released a statement late in the afternoon Monday, asking Missourians to pray for relatives and friends of the victims of the shootings.

“I extend my thoughts and prayers to all those who lost a loved one in this senseless tragedy and to everyone at Virginia Tech,” he said in the statement.

Blunt also said that “today’s horrific events elevate the importance of our continued focus on school safety and homeland security.”

As of 9 p.m. Monday, 33 people had been confirmed dead, including the shooter, according to The Associated Press.

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