Colin Goddard, a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting resulting in the death of 32 people, talked to the CU Independent about his personal experience with gun violence in America and what he’s doing to prevent it.
What has helped you move past the Virginia Tech shooting?
Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard spoke to students, faculty and community members on Tuesday, on the CU Boulder campus. (CU Independent/Amanda Good)
Looking back, there were three things that helped me recover from the shooting. The first would have to be recovering back in a familiar setting. I had people around me all the time, and I was able to talk about what happened. That same summer, I got out of Virginia and went to Madagascar and surrounded myself with an entirely new setting where nobody knew what had happened to me — that would have to be the second thing. The third thing I did was go back to Tech and graduate. I felt as if I had to, that if I didn’t go back and finish what I started that somehow I would have let [the shooter] beat me. All of the survivors of the shooting were actually able to go back and graduate.
How did the shooting affect your day-to-day life?
It was really hard to go back. Everybody thought that I would transfer to a different school after what happened. Things like people running into the classrooms and slamming the door would take me a while to get used to, but I had a great support system.
What are your thoughts on the Aurora shooting?
The last time I was in Colorado was actually to speak about the Aurora shooting. It’s the perfect example of why we need tougher laws on gun control in America. When the Virginia Tech massacre happened, I didn’t know anything about gun control policies in America. Now I’ve gone around the country and tried to get laws passed that make it tougher for people to obtain weapons.
On campus we now have a Concealed Carry Act that allows students who are of age and who have obtained a permit to carry a gun on campus. What are your thoughts?
I don’t think having guns in campus is solving the issue of gun rights. If it was the case that more guns made people more safe, then America would be the safest place in the world.
How are you helping stop gun violence in America?
In addition to speaking at events, I go around the country and try to get individual states to pass stricter gun control laws. As you can imagine, my opinion isn’t very popular, but we’ve seen results. Colorado is a great example of the public getting involved to pass laws that make it harder for an individual to get a weapon. After Columbine, a huge movement arose; that goal was to stop the purchase of weapons at gun shows. Instead of addressing a huge issue like gun control in America, I try and get specific laws passed like making it mandatory for individuals to have a background check before purchasing a weapon. Specifying these issues makes people more receptive, and I find that we can get more done.
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