Va. Tech plates important

Published 11:03 pm Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nearly four years ago, a Virginia Tech student took the lives of 32 students and professors in a shooting rampage at the Blacksburg university.

This month, the General Assembly began consideration on a bill that would authorize a special license plate to commemorate the shootings and raise money for the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, which helps school shooting victims and their families and works to prevent campus violence.

Special plates in Virginia cost $25 a year more than regular plates. Of that amount, $15 go to the charitable organization they support — in this case, the VTV Family Outreach Foundation.

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The program only starts getting the money after the first 1,000 plates are sold.

Many thousands of people were affected by the Tech shootings. They were the worst school shooting in U.S. history. For Virginians, the event hit home perhaps more than any other school shooting. It’s rare to find a Virginian who didn’t graduate from Virginia Tech or doesn’t know an alumnus or current student.

The Tech plates are important for a number of reasons. Most tangibly, they would provide money for the worthwhile organization working to prevent future school violence events and support the victims and their families.

They have many other benefits, though — not the least of which is that they may provide some small measure of healing to people who purchase them for their own cars or see them while riding down the street. It lets those who were most victimized by the shooting know that they are not alone in remembering.

The plates, however, are in danger of not actually being produced. Few orders have been placed so far, and at least 350 orders are needed for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to create the plate.

Those who have been considering getting this special plate should place their order now. Otherwise, the move may have to wait until the next General Assembly session.