Theater shooting funds: Money suggested for death and physical injury, not psychological kind
Ken Feinberg, the "special master" of the Aurora Victim Relief Fund, stood Thursday night in a suit and tie before a couple dozen theater shooting victims at the Aurora library and explained his idea for doling out the more than $5 million in donations to the fund: The "bulk of the money" to the families of the twelve who died and the half-dozen who were permanently injured in the theater shooting, the rest to those who were shot but not as badly and none, unfortunately, to those who weren't hurt but who witnessed the carnage.
"Currently, the view is there's not enough money for psychological injuries," Feinberg said in response to a question. "There were 400 people in that theater. ... We don't have enough money. The psychologically injured should be eligible. I'm not saying they don't have a valid claim. But you're taking money away from the physically injured, the dead, the life-altering injuries."
The meeting was the first of two scheduled; the next is slated to take place this morning at 9 a.m. Last night's was attended by about thirty people, most of whom were victims.
Mike White, Sr. was in the theater that night with his girlfriend, his daughter, his son and his son's girlfriend. The latter two were injured, with his son's girlfriend, Farrah Soudani, hurt badly. White listened to Feinberg last night and afterward said he likes the direction the special master is going -- with one exception. "Originally, I heard that all victims in theater 9," where the shooting happened, would get some money, White said. "Even if you didn't get injured, something should go to those victims, too."
But as of now, that's not in the works. Feinberg said he thinks 75 percent of the money should go to the families of the dead and those with life-altering injuries, such as paralysis -- and that all of those people should get the same amount. "All lives are equal," he said. "I'm not God. I'm not Solomon. I can't say this person should get more than that person."
Melanie Asmar Ken Feinberg addresses the crowd last night at the Aurora library.
The rest would be distributed among those who suffered injuries such as broken arms and shattered hips. The amount each injured person receives would be based on how long they spent in the hospital; the longer their stay, the more money they would get. For example, a person who spent two or fewer days in the hospital would get x dollars, Feinberg said. A person who spent three to nine days would get x plus y dollars, and a person who spent more than nine days would get x plus y plus z dollars, he explained. "Hospitalization as evidence of seriousness of injury," Feinberg said repeatedly.
Continue reading for more on last night's meeting.