On April 16, 2007, a disturbed individual walked onto the campus of Virginia Tech and killed 32 innocent people. Ten years later, I can still remember exactly how the hours after learning what happened played out.

I was a college freshman at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I was in the basement of the dining hall working my on-campus job as a designer for the school’s Design Services department. My cell phone rang and I thought it was odd that a family friend in Mississippi would be calling me out of the blue.

I answered the phone and he immediately asked, “What school do you go to?” I answered him, and he replied, “Oh, thank God.” I asked him what was going on and he gave me a brief rundown of what he knew. I thanked him for the info, ensured him I was safe, and hung up the phone.

Immediately, I told my two bosses what had happened; they both stared at me in disbelief. Completely distracted and unable to work, they told me to pack up and stop for the day.

I walked up the stairs into the main dining hall, grabbed a cheeseburger and fries, and sat down to watch the news stories rolling in, which were now being broadcast of every single flat-screen TV that had been recently installed in the dining hall. I have always been pro-gun, but I can confidently say, ten years later, that the shooting at Virginia Tech is was truly set me on the gun rights path I follow today.

I got back to my dorm and took my first small step toward advocacy. While all my friends were changing the profile pictures on their Facebook pages to remembrance ribbons for VT, I changed mine to a logo I made myself. It read: “VIRGINIA TECH Was a GUN-FREE School Zone … Still Think They Work ???”

Some of my friends gave me shit over that, but I didn’t care.

Four days later, on April 20, our campus organized a human chain solidarity memorial. Students and staff alike gathered on the mile-long campus walk and held hands while wearing ribbons of VT’s colors – maroon and orange. Balloons of those same colors were strung up everywhere and our campus fountain was dyed orange. I remember it being a moving – if somewhat empty – experience. While people around me sulked and cried, I felt determined and vigilant.

In the coming weeks and months, I found more advocacy outlets. I became the Campus Representative for an organization called “Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.” With the help of SCCC, I organized empty holster protests to signify that disarming students and faculty made us sitting ducks.

Just over a year later, in April 2008, I arranged for a staffer from the NRA’s ILA Grassroots Division to come and talk on campus as part of an SCCC awareness program. We didn’t draw a big crowd (not that I really expected to), but it did draw in a local reporter, the school’s police chief, and an armed member of the public. I was really glad he showed up, because it contrasted the odd reality that members of the public could carry guns on campus and in buildings, but students and faculty could not. I posed for a photo with the armed citizen, drawing contrast between his gun and my empty holster, while the police chief looked on.

After I graduated, I still lived in the area. I recall multiple occasions where I carried concealed on campus, but one open carry occasion sticks out. During an end of year picnic on the quad, I was hanging out with former faculty and friends who were still attending class. I just sat down with a plate of food when two campus police officers approached me and asked to talk.

They asked me why I had a gun on me, and I explained that I was carrying simply because I could. He asked me for my permit, which I produced, but reminded him that Virginia does not require a permit for open carry. He scoffed, told me that he knew the law in Virginia, and that I would have to leave. He even went so far as to tell me I was lucky enough that he was letting me walk away on my own accord, because he could have me arrested and my permit revoked for “pulling this kind of stunt.” I didn’t want to make a scene, so I got in my truck and left.

Once home, I wrote a scathing email to the police chief, calling out the ineptitude of his officers. He called me shortly after and apologized for the actions of the officers, admitting that they were in the wrong. He then sent me a letter in the mail stating the same. I still have the letter.

Within a couple years, my university became one of many in Virginia to alter their firearms policy. Now no one is allowed to carry on campus except for police (and the university changed the name of the campus paper from ‘The Bullet’ … because guns).

So, here we are, 10 years after Virginia Tech. An unfortunate number of school shootings have happened since then and the majority of our lawmakers refuse to acknowledge the common denominator in all of these shootings.

As I stated at the beginning, I was a college freshman when the shooting at VT happened – just like eight of the victims. Ten years later, I’ve graduated college, am happily married, and gainfully employed – by the NRA, no less – in the field in which I received my degree. I try not to take any day I have on Earth for granted, but the anniversary is an exceptionally poignant reminder not to do so. The victims at VT had their lives cut tragically short because of our pie-in-the-sky gun laws.

For the victims at Virginia Tech, I refuse to stop advocating for the revocation of gun-free school zones. Gun-free zones make for target-rich environments. Until this policy is changed, those victims will never be fully vindicated.

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36 Responses to Ten Years Later: Reflections on the Virginia Tech Massacre

  1. The event is a painful reminder of the gun rights movement failure. A decade later and these deadly “gun free zones” are nearly synonymous with schools.

    • You can look at it that way. Or you can look at it like this. After VT and Sandy Hook nothing happened in the anti gun arena. And now we have Trump instead of hillary.

      • Not sure if “hillary” in your comment was a typo or intentional – either way, I LIKE it. In all further instances where I am forced to include that word I intend to decline the initial capital. I also intend to do this when forced to refer to o’bama. Very passive-aggressive, but I like it.

        • Intentional. barry for the ex press. kapo bloomberg for the short one. You see the pattern.

    • In any massacre the law-abiding are violated twice. The dead, by the psychos who kill them. The living, by the politicians who try to disarm them for the next psycho

  2. I attended VCU in Richmond. Once I got my concealed handgun permit I was never unarmed in class or on campus unless I was drinking. Concealed meant concealed in my case, and I would rather have faced the consequences of being caught with it then being caught unarmed should a similar event had occurred on campus.

  3. The victims at VT had their live cut short because of a gunman, not any laws. While i agree gun free zones prevent law abiding citizens from defending themselves, we cannot say for sure whether or not someone carrying would have ended the situation.

    • “we cannot say for sure whether or not someone carrying would have ended the situation.”

      That’s true literally anywhere you go. But that’s no justification for preventing someone from trying to defend themselves in the first place.

      • Bingo.

        The insanity of their logic baffles me.

        I’d rather have the opportunity (and for others to have it to increase the likelyhood) off fighting back threats on more even ground to create a positive outcome with reliable self defense tools than to have that option removed or diminished entirely.

        There are zero positive reasons to disarm law abiding citizens. But there lots of immoral, controlling, political reasons to disarm the public.

      • I’m pretty sure you missed the point of my post. Simply put, the authors phrasing and blaming a law for the deaths is the same type of propaganda in use by gun control advocates. Unnecessary since most readers of this blog are die hard 2A advocates. In no way did i make any justification for gun free zone. In fact just the opposite.

        • Blaming laws for harm is not the same as blaming inanimate objects for harm. An inanimate object has no will. Laws, on the other hand, are an expression of will. They are an act. See Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, II, 6.

    • TommyinKy says:

      “While i agree gun free zones prevent law abiding citizens from defending themselves, we cannot say for sure whether or not someone carrying would have ended the situation.”

      Yup – that is true. So is this:

      We cannot say for sure whether or not an armed rent-a-cop would have ended the situation.

      A very important point here is the phrase “ended the situation”. Armed students may have prevented the “situation” from beginning in the first place.

      Perhaps the word “situation” would be more appropriate if changed to “murders”.

  4. I was teaching college when this happened back in 2007. I had my carry permit but AZ differed (and still does) to the schools on whether guns are allowed on campus. In short, VT changed my mind on whether or not to leave my gun at home.

  5. The best way is to carry everywhere despite the laws, despite the cops, despite the school or workplace administration. Yes, there are consequences if you get caught but better judged by twelve than carried by six. Demand that the Trump Administration act immediately to put to bed all gun-free zones in the entire USA. No exceptions. No equivocating. No nonsense.

  6. Sorry but to heck with your more guns on campus BS.

    The myth of the “armed good guy” stopping a bad guy is what it is. A myth.

    More guns would’ve made the situation worse.

    If the laws were stricter requiring mental health check, Cho would not have been armed and he’d been in a mental hospital getting the help he needed. But instead innocent people are dead cause you think that making a sure the police can check and make sure a person legally is not a threat to public health and safety is “tyrannical”. The only thing I can agree on is that the law should’ve done something instead of letting Cho wonder around where he could eventually harm others.

    I met Colin Goddard years ago and sympathies with his plight. No one should’ve have to suffer being gun-downed by some paranoid gun-loving maniac who thinks the government is after them at every corner.

    Next thing you know it, You bigots will claim you need a gun to protect yourself from hostile non-existence alien threat.

      • They can’t even produce a single example of when more guns have EVER made a mass shooter situation worse.

        Because it’s insane.

    • we could make our whole country GFZ. civilian disarmament worked so well in France they’re about to elect Le Pen.

    • I’ve said this before and it bears repeating. The Resistance is an amazing guy. Innocent people are dead because of what we think? That’s some next level Onion writing right there. I love how he cements pro gun people together with just a few outlandish sentiments. I know people think he’s a Bloomberg troll, but there’s no way. He’s awesome =)

      • Lol, “Next thing you know it. You bigots will claim you need a gun to protect yourself from hostile non-existent alien threat.” Here’s all the proof you need that this guy is an anti gun parody. Ad hominem attacks filled with punctuation errors. He’s clearly just trying to make anti gun people look stupid (not that I think they’re very smart to begin with) with his clearly outrageous statements so unconnected from reality.

        “No one should’ve have to suffer”! That’s just a fun time right there.

        • The Resistance actually told me a few weeks ago that RF edits The Resistance’s posts to replace good grammar, syntax and spelling with errors in an effort to discredit him.

          At that point I just stopped interacting with him. He’s either crazy, a liar or both. His posts are riddled with language and factual errors to the point that every claim he makes is *eyeroll* worthy, and that’s me being as generous as a Progressive with someone else’s money.

        • I’m telling you, he’s not here to pose a reasonable argument. He’s here pretending to be a “representative” of the anti gun movement. Only, by pretending to be retarded, he discredits the whole movement.

    • “More guns would’ve made the situation worse.”

      And by “worse” you mean “fewer dead gays”?

      Can’t let the homosexuals have guns you know. You wouldn’t be able to throw them off of buildings, THEN where would we be?

  7. The campus carry issue is one facet of many in the Virginia Tech massacre. Another is that Cho was strongly suspected to be both deeply disturbed and violent. State employees, both professors and police, became aware of this. Students wondered if Cho would become another “school shooter.”

    But the left wants to cast any of these incidents as battlegrounds for gun control. So, that’s the only debate we have.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/17/vtech.shooting/

    “It was like something out of a nightmare,” MacFarlane wrote in a blog. “The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldn’t have even thought of.

    “Before Cho got to class that day, we students were talking to each other with serious worry about whether he could be a school shooter.”

  8. I was a junior when this happened.

    Certainly was an interesting time on campus. Suddenly out campus police department wanted AR’s, body armor, NVG’s and all other manner of toys. Their scrutiny of those they knew owned firearms skyrocketed, as if any of us were an actual threat or something.

    Nothing good came out of it at my University. Just more stupid rules that were ruthlessly enforced for no reason.

  9. I carried a small concealed S&W Model 66, .357, every day while in college and law school. Like many others, I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.

    Over time, once I got to know them, I shared that info with a couple of professors as well as the rent-a-cops–who themselves were prohibited from carrying a sidearm. No one objected, and the security drones actually sought me out when they had a sticky situation arise.

    FYI, my revolver never jumped out of its holster or otherwise misbehaved. Not once.

    While I deplore school shootings and all other murders of innocent victims, I will never give up my God-given, Constitutionally protected, human and civil right to defend myself and, if need be, others. Period.

  10. Schools are already gun free and it’s proven to not stop someone with a gun from entering campus. Making them even more ‘Gun Free’ makes Zero Sense. The halls of academia are bound to double down and make schools even for gun free than the are now.

  11. My prevailing memory of the VT massacre is the media images of cops hiding behind trees while the killer roamed around shooting people inside.

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