A group of 64 individuals who had family members killed or endangered by school shootings and other mass murders have banded together to call for the creation of National Compassion Funds to assist victims of future disasters.
The purpose of the funds would be to “create a centralized infrastructure for donations to be collected and for 100 percent of the monies to be distributed to victims,” the group said in a news release.
The proposal calls for a separate fund to be created for each specific future tragedy.
Eric Mace, whose 19-year-old daughter, Ryanne, was killed in the Feb. 14, 2008, Northern Illinois University shooting, said he believes potential donors deserve to have a fund where they can be assured all the money they give will be directly used to assist survivors and families of murder victims.
Historically, mass tragedies have been followed by grassroots fundraising efforts, he noted.
“In our case, we saw a lot of that,” he said. “We never heard where any of that money went. ... The time of making money off the tragedy and sadness felt by other people and without their input about how any of this money gets used — that's got to stop.”
Joe Samaha, who lost his daughter, Reema, in the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech University mass shooting, agreed that National Compensation Funds are a good idea.
“Inclusion of the victims and the survivors, themselves, in decision making about what happens to the funds is very essential to the process,” Samaha said. “They know their priorities and they know their needs and they know their short- and long-term needs.”
The group has recommendations on how funds might be distributed, but a number of details still must be worked out, group members said.
Asking for creation of National Compassion Funds are some family members of individuals killed in the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting; the July 20 theater massacre in Aurora, Colo.; April 20, 1999, Columbine High School mass shooting; Aug. 5 Oak Creek Sikh Temple mass shooting; April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech mass shooting; Feb. 14, 2008, Northern Illinois University shooting; and Sept. 11, 2001, New York terrorists' attack.
Oklahoma City bombing
Although there were no names of survivors of the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing on the list of 64 calling for creation of the funds, some told The Oklahoman they support the concept.
“It sounds like a good idea,” said Gloria Chipman, who lost her husband in the bombing. “But you've got to know the details.”
“That's a great idea,” agreed Jim Denny, whose son, Brandon, and daughter, Rebecca, were severely injured in the bombing.
Denny said he had no personal problem with the way local charitable organizations handled bombing donations but believes creation of such compassion funds would be reassuring to donors.
“People anymore, after everything that has gone on around the world and the United States, are just kind of tired of sending a check in an envelope to somebody and hoping it gets to the right place,” he said.
Like Chipman, Denny said he would want to know all the details about the proposed funds before offering a complete endorsement.
That's a great idea. People anymore, after everything that has gone on around the world and the United States, are just kind of tired of sending a check in an envelope to somebody and hoping it gets to the right place.”
His son, Brandon, and daughter, Rebecca, were severely injured