The U.S. suffered more than 36 mass killings last year, where four or more people were killed not including the shooter. One was in a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., where six people were fatally shot and six were wounded in November. Nationwide, according to a database maintained by USA Today, the Associated Press and Northeastern University, 186 people died and 91 wounded in mass killings last year. The aftermath of such shootings is a chaotic jumble of grief, vigils, funerals and financial upheaval. Donations flow in, but who gets the money? Insurance covers some costs, but often runs out. Who qualifies for financial help after such a sudden, horrific tragedy? Virginia has taken steps to answer those questions, reports the Washington Post.
Legislators approved a $10 million, one-time appropriation to create the Virginia Mass Violence Care Fund, which experts said is the first of its kind in the nation, designed to provide prompt assistance to victims, survivors and their families when other sources of financial help dry up. After the budget process was delayed for months beyond the end of the legislative session, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed the budget, and the fund, into law on Sept. 14. The driving force for the creation of Virginia Mass Violence Care Fund was Joseph Samaha of Centreville, Va., whose daughter Reema was slain in the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings. Samaha has helped oversee the VTV (Virginia Tech Victims) Family Outreach Foundation and its VTVCare endowment fund and has learned about the long-term impact of major shootings over the past 16 years.