Virginia Tech Five Year Anniversary Reflections

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    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    On the eve of the five-year anniversary of the worst mass shooting in United States modern day history, I am asking for your help.

    I am the mother of one of the students who, by a miracle of less than ½ an inch, survived gunshots wounds to the back of her head.   My daughter told me that with head wounds bleeding, she played “dead” by consciously going limp, face down on the floor while her Virginia Tech classmates were killed all around her as the gunman visited her classroom in Norris Hall three times and eventually killed himself there.

    Having a front row seat to the devastation and pain suffered by so many families and communities inflicted that day by a person who should not have passed a background check, has propelled me head first into the fight to prevent gun violence.   I break down still when I allow myself to imagine what almost happened to my daughter . . . .  and what so many face every day in this country.

    How sad that five years later and after countless additional tragedies  –  Northern Illinois,  Tuscon, Chardon High School, to name a few  –  and daily carnage that doesn’t make the media reports,  we are still debating whether we need background checks on all gun purchasers.   How can a civilized society with the technological means to easily implement background checks on all public firearms transactions continue to ignore the day to day killings, the multiple and mass shootings that add up to more than 30,000 annual gun deaths.

    While I am often met with disbelief and resistance when I suggest that the gun lobby’s goal is an armed society – any gun, anywhere, to any one,  after the Trayvon Martin shooting many are now becoming aware that this is in fact the gun lobby’s goal.  Consider:  

    1) the many places the gun lobby is trying to normalize carrying of firearms:  colleges, churches, schools, businesses, coffee shops, government buildings, parks, trains, emergency shelters –  to name just a few  

    2) the many persons the gun lobby is attempting to arm:  There are no background checks on firearms transactions by individual sellers to the general public at gunshows, flea markets, and through classified ads in the papers and on-line.  It is a cold fact that 40% of firearm transactions are not regulated, allowing many dangerous persons (felons, terrorists, mentally ill) to purchase whatever weapons they so desire

    3) the many circumstances where deadly gun use is no longer a crime,  for instance, stand your ground laws that promote killing a person instead of safely retreating;  expanded Castle doctrine and immunity bills that prevent meaningful judicial review in both the criminal and civil justice systems.

    4) the easy access to high capacity magazines, used by both Cho at Virginia Tech and Loughner in Tuscon and other high powered weaponry once exclusively limited to highly trained military and law enforcement

    5) the fact that law enforcement officers are being shot in record numbers

    The national reaction to the latest wave of shootings is, hopefully, the beginning of society’s demands for improved, responsible gun laws that will put a stop to the gun lobby’s agenda and push for background checks on all firearms purchasers.   In Virginia, even in the conservative districts of southwestern Virginia, polling shows that 92% of gun owners (and almost everybody else for that matter) support background checks on all sales  –  an astounding number that reflects a cosmic shift in attitudes.  

    Most people now understand that while possessing a gun in the home is a right, once firearm proliferation threatens the freedom to be safe in ones own community something must be done . . . my fight is about the responsibility to ensure the right to life and liberty for all of us.  

    Let our representatives and legislators beware . . . your allegiance to the gun lobby is injuring and killing our children, neighbors, friends, colleagues, coworkers and law enforcement.  Voters will no longer stand for the thoughtless support of the gun lobby’s agenda.  

    Today, I ask for your thoughts and prayers for those whose family members were killed or injured five years ago at Virginia Tech and from today forward, I ask for your commitment and support for responsible gun laws.

    • kindler

      The problem is politicians putting special interests like the NRA above common sense and rationality. It’s really a matter of the whole system being broken — campaign finance in particular.

      Thanks for this powerful testament and please keep on raising your voice until common sense prevails.  

    • TIM KAINE STATEMENT ON 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF VIRGINIA TECH TRAGEDY

      Richmond, VA – Tim Kaine released the following statement marking five years since the tragedy at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.

      “Five years ago today, the Virginia Tech community was touched by an unimaginable tragedy. Since that terrible day, my thoughts have often returned to those we lost, those who were injured, their families, and the broader community. They have shown remarkable grace and courage in the face of a terrible tragedy and set a powerful example for our Commonwealth. In Virginia, we look out for one another in our time of need.

      “Even in the emotional and confusing first hours, I sensed a spirit of resiliency and determination in the survivors and in the Virginia Tech community. There was sadness and grief and confusion, but there was also a sense that by leaning on one another, we would make it through those dark days.

      “Humans can never fully understand why tragedies occur. We cannot grasp what 32 Virginia Tech families lost on April 16, 2007. But, we can feel what the world lost as we reflect on the remarkable things that these 32 talented people had already accomplished. Today, we stand united as a community in honoring the memory of those we lost.”

    • On this fifth anniversary, I join the entire Virginia Tech community in pausing to reflect upon and celebrate the lives that were lost and those that have been forever changed.

      We salute the strength and resilience of the entire Hokie community, and we celebrate Tech’s positive and continuing commitment to public service as an appropriate way to honor all of those who were touched by the April 16th tragedy.  

    • Statement of Virginia Senate Democrats on the

      5th Anniversary of the Tragic Shooting at Virginia Tech

      On the 5th anniversary of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, Senate Democratic leaders made the following statement:

      Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said, “Today, we mourn the senseless loss of life that occurred at Virginia Tech five years ago. We grieve with the families of those whose lives were taken, leaving an emptiness that cannot be filled. And we honor those who were wounded that day, and keep them in our prayers.”

      Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) said, “In the face of an immense and senseless tragedy, the resolve and strength of the families, students, and staff to persevere through tragedy inspired our state and the nation, and planted seeds of healing in our hearts.  Today, those seeds of healing are sending up green shoots across Blacksburg and across Virginia, and we hope for every day to come.”

      Senator Saslaw continued, “On this day it is important to remember the groundbreaking steps Virginia’s leaders took five years ago to ensure such a tragedy could never again occur. Unfortunately, 26 states have yet to follow Virginia’s example and place mental health records into their background check database.”

      “We call on every state to join Virginia’s historic effort to curb needless violence by ensuring that mental health records are properly listed in the NICS database. The background check database is a national project, and every state must take steps to ensure that the senseless loss of life that occurred at Virginia Tech will never occur again,” said Senator McEachin.

      Since 2007, Virginia has added more than 100,000 mental health records to the background check database, protecting our communities from violence. However, more than half of states are not yet in compliance with the law, passed by Congress in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting, that requires them to add mental health records to the national background check database to prevent them from buying weapons.

    • Statement on Fifth Anniversary of the Tragic Shooting at Virginia Tech

      Richmond-Today, marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech. The gunman took the lives of 32 individuals-25 were left wounded. Because April 16, 2007 should always be remembered, the Virginia House Democrats offered the following statement:

      “The tragedy of April 16, 2007, is never far from our hearts or our memories,” said Delegate David J. Toscano, House Democratic Leader (D-Charlottesville). “The violence that day shook the world, taking the lives of both promising students and inspired faculty. It is a reminder of how precious every day is, and how suddenly our loved ones can be taken from us. Every member of the House Democratic Caucus extends our most sincere and heartfelt wishes for peace and grace for the victims and survivors. Today, we are all Hokies.”

      “As we take this time to reflect on how to prevent similar incidents on other campuses, we must acknowledge the need to make sure that mentally ill individuals are never able to purchase and possess firearms, especially the kind that can do so much damage in such a short period of time,” said Mark Sickles, Caucus Chairman (D-Franconia). “Governor Kaine took the first step by adding outpatient mental health commitments to the handgun background approval process. We implore every state to do the same. We cannot undo the past, but we can prevent future tragedies by recognizing, and properly treating, individuals with mental illnesses and ensuring that they do not have easy access to semi-automatic weapons.”

      “For the last five years, we have fought hand in hand with the survivors and their families to close the gun show loophole,” said Delegate Jennifer McClellan. “Closing this loophole will ensure that a rigorous background check is done, and will help prevent individuals who have mental illnesses from obtaining weapons. Together, with the survivors of this catastrophe, I will continue to seek this legislation.”