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Virginia Tech Survivor Colin Goddard Says He Had Time to React | July 15, 2010 | by W. Scott Lewis
On July 14, 2010, Colin Goddard, a surviving victim of the Virginia Tech Massacre, testified before the
Crime Sub-Committee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. During his testimony, he recounted the
details of the trauma he experienced in Norris Hall on April 16, 2007. Below is that portion of his
testimony. My comments follow.
Now, the fact is, Congressmen, I wouldnt be sitting in front of you today if it werent for the
events that took place at Virginia Tech on April 16th, 2007. I wouldnt be sitting in front of
you today if it werent for the 10 minutes of hell that I survived on that day.
And I wouldnt be sitting in front of you today if it werent for all the things I have learned in
my search for answering Why and How am I still alive.
What started off as a typical day in a small town school in southwest Virginia, soon further
expanded our definition of the worst mass-shooting in US history. Midway through my
9:00am French class, we began to hear muffled banging noises coming from somewhere
outside of our classroom.
As soon as our teacher went to investigate the sounds, she slammed the door shut and told us
to get under our desks and for someone to call 911. I took out my phone and, as I later found
out, placed the only call to the police by someone in the building. The next 10-minute period
was the longest 10-minute period of my entire life. It felt like hours.
From the floor in the back of my classroom, I took one glance at the front of the room where
my teacher had stood and instead saw a man with two holsters over his shoulders begin to
turn towards me and down my aisle of desks. I never saw his face. I had nowhere to escape
and no time to react or even think. As I turned my head back, I told the voice on the other
end of the phone that he was here, but I still didnt totally understand what that meant. The
only decision that I was left with was to act as if I was already dead.
The force of the first bullet caused me to throw the phone from my hand and it landed next to
the head of a girl named Emily. She picked it up and remained on the call with the police the
entire time. Emily was ultimately able to give the dispatcher his location and help the SWAT
team to get to us.
What was once a set of seemingly unusual bangs had now became a constant thunder of
gunfire. It would pause momentarily while he changed out his extended ammunition
magazines. The intensity of those sounds did vary slightly while he traveled back and forth
between the three rooms. There were also screams in the beginning but generally nobody
really saying anything.
Each time he came back into our room I was shot again. The second and third time in both
my hips and the fourth time through my right shoulder. I dont ever remember thinking I was
going to die however. I just kept thinking that I couldnt believe this was really happening to
me. It was so surreal. There were times I felt like I was almost dreaming.

But this dream was finally interrupted by silence. As quickly as everything started, it all just
stopped. By this point you could hear the police were very close. I thought he was hiding in
our room and waiting to engage them when they entered. But as soon as the police came into
our room I heard them say, Shooter down, and realized that he had committed suicide in
the front of our classroom. I then heard the EMTs begin their triage and they said, This
ones yellow, this ones red then black tag, black tag, black tag. This is when I knew some
of my classmates were dead.
I put one hand up on a desk to let them know I was alive. They marked me as yellow,
dragged me out into the hallway, and it was there that I began the long road to recovery.
Today, I still carry 3 bullets with me and a newly implanted titanium rod in my body.
The fact is, Congressmen, I wouldnt be sitting in front of you today if it wasnt for that 10minute experience that changed my life.
I wouldnt be sitting in front of you today if it werent for the phone call I made and the
exceptional work of the law enforcement agencies that responded.
So, according to Colins testimony, here is the chain of events he experienced:

Colin and his classmates heard banging noises.

The teacher left the room to investigate.
The teacher returned, told everyone to get under their desks, and asked that someone call 911.
Colin dialed 911 and spoke to an operator.
Colin saw the gunman enter the room and told the 911 operator.
Colin was shot the first time (in the leg), and Emily Haas picked up the phone and continued the
conversation with the 911 operator.
7. Colin listened to the gunman continuing to fire and stopping occasionally to reload.
8. The gunman left and reentered Colins room several times, shooting Colin each time he entered.
9. Finally, after 10 minutes, the police were heard outside, and the gunman shot himself.
Now, my question to you, dear reader, is this: How long does it take a concealed handgun license holder
to draw a concealed handgun, take aim, and fire?
The answer: Less time than it takes to dial 911 (much less get a 911 operator on the line), less time than
it takes to reload a semiautomatic handgun, and a LOT less timeparticularly in the example of the 10minute Virginia Tech massacrethan it takes for police to arrive on the scene.
Keep that in mind the next time John Woods or Lori Haas or some other gun control activist with a
secondhand connection to the Virginia Tech massacre tells you that campus shootings happen too fast
for someone with a concealed handgun to react.
Colin Goddard may be an advocate for tighter gun control laws and an opponent of campus carry, but at
least hes not out their parroting the absurd notion that campus shootings happen too fast for anyone to
react. Plenty of students and professors reacted that day. Unfortunately, none of their reactions were
sufficient to stop the killing spree.

Colin Goddard Fails to See How Campus Carry Fits into the Big Picture | January 6, 2011 | by W. Scott Lewis
On April 16, 2007, Colin Goddard walked into his 9:00 AM French class unaware that anything at his
idyllic Virginia college was amiss. A little less than an hour later, SWAT officers dragged him from the
classroom, four 9mm bullets having decimated his left knee, right shoulder, and both hips. His professor
and 10 of his 16 classmates were dead.
Its hard to imagine a more life-changing event, and it doesnt take a Ph.D. in psychology to understand
why Colin has chosen to dedicated his life to campaigning for stricter gun control laws. He is now the
assistant director of legislative affairs for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the subject
of a short documentary titled Living for 32, which is currently making the rounds on the film festival
Colins legislative efforts are largely focused on the controversy surrounding private sales at gun shows
(unlike licensed dealers, private sellers in most states can sell a firearm without first requiring the buyer
to pass to a federal background check). But he occasionally takes time away from his cause clbre to
argue against campus carry. His latest foray into the campus carry debate is an op-ed published on, decrying the campus carry legislation currently pending in Texas.
Ironically, Colins op-ed of almost 1,000 words contains very few arguments against campus carry.
Instead, he spends the first three-fourths of the article suggesting various tactics, from improving mental
health services on college campuses to prohibiting private sales of firearms at gun shows, that he thinks
will do a better job of preventing campus shooting sprees than would allowing campus carry.
The alternative approach suggested by Colin suffers from two glaring flaws: First, nothing he suggests
is incompatible with campus carrythere is no reason states couldnt improve mental health services on
college campuses, prohibit private sales at gun shows, AND allow campus carry. Secondly, the push to
allow campus carry is not about preventing campus shooting sprees; its about allowing trained,
licensed, carefully screened adults (age 21 and above) the same measure of personal protection on
campus that theyre already allowed off campus. Its about ensuring that state laws and school policies
do not needlessly stack the odds against law-abiding citizens who might otherwise be able to defend
themselves and in favor of dangerous criminals who have no regard for either state law or school policy.
Improving things like mental health services, police training, and campus alert systems are all great
ideas, but they dont do anything for a graduate student who encounters an assailant when leaving the
campus library at 2 AM, and they arent much comfort to students and faculty cornered in a windowless
classroom, listening to gunshots grow progressively louder in the hallway. Preventive measures are a
vital part of any schools security plan, but any preventive strategy, no matter how thorough, can still
fall short. And thats why it makes sense to also allow individuals the means to protect themselves, in
case all else fails.
Why should a graduate student be allowed the means to defender herself when studying late at the city
library but not when studying late at the campus library? Why should she be allowed the means to
defend herself when leaving a pre-dawn workout at the local health club but not when leaving a predawn workout at the student recreation center? Why should a professor be allowed the means to protect
himself at a movie theater on Saturday and at a church on Sunday but not in his classroom on Monday?

In the last fourth of his op-ed, Colin offers a handful of reasons why he feels that college campuses are
different from the outside world and should, therefore, remain gun free. All of his reasons fall flat.
Colin writes, It effectively rewrites the book on how police respond to a situation with an active
shooter. The one student with the gun would no longer be the only target that person could be one
among several or more. This is why nearly every campus law enforcement organization also opposes
this measure.
The argument that allowing campus carry would change how police respond is based on the absurd
notion, parroted by gun control activists, that officers responding to an active shooter situation on a
college campus are trained to shoot anyone with a gun. This illogical notion ignores the reality that
all police officers are taught that any tactical situation may involve both armed bad guys AND armed
good guys, from an off-duty or undercover police officer to a citizen who has wrestled a gun away from
an assailant. Police officers are taught to use lethal force to respond to a threatening action; they are not
taught to use lethal force to respond to the mere sight of someone with a gun.
Those who suggest that CHL holders might confuse police or endanger themselves by running around,
guns drawn, looking for an active shooter understand neither the purpose of concealed carry nor the
training required. License holders must keep their weapons concealed until and unless they encounter
an immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm. They are specifically taught not to seek out an
active shooter.
CHL holders carry handguns for personal protection, not so they can act like amateur one-man SWAT
teams. And most police officers know this. The vice president of the Houston Police Officers Union,
the largest police union in Texas, recently dismissed concerns about license holders adding to the
confusion of an active shooter situation and announced that his organization would support the
legalization of campus carry in Texas. And contrary to what Colin and other campus carry opponents
might have us believe, the officers of the HPOU arent the only law enforcement professionals who see
the wisdom in allowing licensed concealed carry on Texas college campuses.
In a May 12, 2009, blog post on the Austin American-Statesman website, Statesman staff writer Ralph
K.M. Haurwitz writes that retired University of Texas Police Lieutenant Ronald Thomas called him, in
response to an earlier article by Haurwitz, to inform him that not all university police officers oppose
campus carry. According to Haurwitz, Thomas favors allowing concealed handguns on campus
because, he said, an armed person could prevent or cut short a tragedy well before campus police arrive
at the scene.
A May 13, 2009, article in The Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin student newspaper,
quotes UTPD Chief of Police Robert Dahlstrom as saying, I know a lot of my employees have views
on both sides of [campus carry]. Chief Dahlstrom goes on to say that most officers are afraid to speak
out on the issue because theyre not clear on what constitutes lobbying, which is prohibited by their
terms of employment.
Colin continues, Proponents of allowing guns on campus have not explained how such a law would be
enforced. Neither can they account for the additional complications created by allowing guns onto
college campuses in everyday situations other than the rare active shooter. Think: The University of
Texas at Austin has a preschool, an elementary school, a hospital and a bar on campus.

Colin fails to explain why he thinks licensed concealed carry should be enforced differently on Texas
college campuses than it is in Texas churches, Texas movie theaters, Texas shopping malls, Texas office
buildings, Texas grocery stores, Texas restaurants, Texas banks, or even the Texas Capitol. If Colin
really wants to know how it would be implemented, he should read the legislation, which specifically
outlines what would and wouldnt be permitted of both license holders and institutions of higher
education (i.e., public institutions would not be allowed to create blanket policies prohibiting licensed
concealed carry on campus, but they would be allowed to prohibit concealed carry at sporting events and
restrict the storage of firearms in dorms).
As for the complications created by allowing guns onto college campuses in everyday situations, Colin
should take a look at the 71 U.S. college campuses outside of Texas30 in Utah, 40 in Colorado, and
one in Virginiathat currently allow licensed concealed carry. To date, none has seen a single resulting
incident of gun violence (including threats and suicides) or a single resulting gun accident. Licensed
concealed carry doesnt complicate college campuses any more than it complicates the rest of society.
Colins comment about the preschool, elementary school, hospital, and bar at the University of Texas
seems to suggest a misunderstanding of Texas law (it also suggests a misunderstanding of the UT
campusthe hospital is located just south of the main campus, and the elementary school is actually
located a couple of miles from the university).
Removing the statutory prohibition against licensed concealed carry on college campuses would not
affect the statutory prohibitions against licensed concealed carry at primary schools, secondary schools,
or bars. Per state law, it would still be illegal to carry a firearm into an elementary school or bar, even if
the elementary school or bar is located on a college campus. And university hospitals, just like any
other public or private hospital, would still be able to post signs prohibiting licensed concealed carry on
the premises.
Its worth noting that Texas state law allows licensed concealed carry in churches, despite the fact that
many churches contain preschools and, in some cases, even elementary and high schools. License
holders must simply ensure that they do not carry their firearms into the portions of the church where
school activities are being conducted. So far, there havent been any reports of children accidentally
being handed revolvers instead of juice boxes.
After making a handful of arguments against campus carry, Colin returns to arguing that we should
focus on keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals and off of college campuses,
proclaiming, Once someone is on campus with guns and intends to kill, weve already lost.
Of course, that statement is never truer than on a college campus where the students and faculty are
completely defenseless. Once a homicidal madman brings a gun onto a gun free campus, the lawabiding citizens are left with no recourse but to hide under their desks and hope and pray that the
madman chooses to walk into a different classroom or look under a different desk or execute a different
Colin seems to want to believe that firearms can be so thoroughly regulated and college campuses so
tightly protected that the violence and chaos of the outside world never finds its way into the hallowed
halls of higher education. But thats not reality. Short of turning college campuses into armed, secured
complexes akin to modern airports, there is simply no way to ensure the level of security he envisions.
Therefore, it simply doesnt make sense to deny trained, licensed adults the means to act defensively
should the need arise.

A review of Colins testimony before Congress reveals that, like many of the other Virginia Tech
students and faculty members who found themselves in Norris Hall on the morning of April 16, 2007, he
did have time to react once the shooting began.
Colin was talking to a 911 operator when the gunman walked into his classroomhe even had time to
tell the operator that he saw the shooter. After Colin was shot the first time, a girl by the name of Emily
Haas grabbed the phone and spoke to the 911 operator for the next five minutes, until she too was shot
(thankfully, Emily also survived her injuries).
Wounded, Colin watched the gunman exit and renter the classroom multiple times. He saw him stop
occasionally to reload. Each time the gunman reentered the room, he shot Colin again. Autopsies later
revealed that, like Colin, 13 of the 30 people murdered in Norris Hall were shot four or more times.
The Virginia Tech massacre was hardly, as opponents of campus carry want to portray it, a blitz attack
that ended before anyone present knew what was happening. The massacre lasted 10 to 12 minutes, at
least twenty times as long as the famed gunfight at the OK Corral (and with ten times as many
fatalities). Plenty of people knew what was happening, and plenty of people took steps to try to mitigate
the tragedy. Sadly, they lacked the tools necessary to do so adequately.
Colin ends his article by quoting NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierres post-Columbine
speech about ensuring that schools remain gun free. Of course, in the full context of the speech, its
clear that LaPierre is talking about small, easily-secured primary and secondary schools populated with
children, not city-size universities populated with adults. But thats a distinction that eludes most
opponents of campus carry.
The opening seconds of the trailer for Colins new documentary Living for 32 feature Colin saying, I
was in the right place at the right time. I was in class. The implication is that he wasnt walking down
a dark alley on a bad side of town or engaging in some other risky behavior; he was someplace where he
should have been safe. That statement stands in stark contrast to the argument, proffered by many
opponents of campus carry, that campus carry is unnecessary because college campuses are already
very safe. The obvious implication of their argument is that licensed concealed carry should be
relegated to those places where danger is imminent (or at least very likely).
Of course, most concealed handgun license holders, like most other sane people, try to avoid places
where danger is imminent (or very likely). They carry concealed handguns in case danger catches them
by surprise in a place where they dont expect it, much the way it caught Colin by surprise in his French
class in the spring of 07.
It may sound like a simple platitude, but danger can strike anywhere. It simply doesnt make sense to
limit a persons ability to protect himself or herself, without good cause. Colins heart is clearly in the
right place, but like all other opponents of campus carry, he fails to show good cause for prohibiting
licensed concealed carry on Texas college campuses.

Dear Members of the 84th Texas Legislature:

As you consider legislation to legalize the licensed concealed carry of handguns on Texas college campuses, I hope youll
take a moment to watch these three video clips from the 2014 and 2011 Students for Concealed Carry national
In this seven-minute clip from the 2014 conference, Holly Adams recounts the pain of losing her daughter Leslie in the
2007 Virginia Tech massacre and explains, If you were in my shoes, you would probably eagerly sacrifice your own life if
only, on that horrible day, someone on campusin the dorm or in the classroomcould have carried a weapon and
stopped the killer in his tracks before he claimed thirty-two precious lives":
Of course, mass shootings such as the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre are not the only reason students, faculty, staff, and
visitors should be allowed the means to protect themselves on college campuses. In this eight-minute clip from the 2011
conference, Amanda Collins bravely recounts how she was sexually assaulted in a parking garage at the University of
Nevada, Reno:
In her address to the conference, Amanda argued that she could have stopped her assailant if only the university and
the Nevada Legislature had allowed her the same measure of personal protection on campus that she, as a concealed
handgun license holder, was allowed virtually everywhere else in the state. Her assailant was later arrested and
convicted for the kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder of nineteen-year-old Brianna Denison
( Amanda believes that if
she had been allowed the means to protect herself in that university parking garage, Briannawho was abducted and
murdered three months latermight still be alive.
In this nine-minute video from the 2014 conference, Dartmouth student Taylor Woolrich tells the story of how she was
relentlessly stalked by a sixty-three-year-old man whoafter meeting her at the coffee shop where she worked
followed her, harassed her, assaulted her boyfriend, repeatedly violated a restraining order against him, and was
ultimately arrested outside her parents home, carrying what police described as a rape kit:
When Taylor asked university officials to grant her permission to carry a concealed handgun for protection against this
stalker, the request was flatly denied with no option for appeal. Taylor explained, The operator at Safety and Security at
Dartmouth College told me that I could call for a security escort if I felt unsafe. I've done this, and I got responses such
as, You can't keep calling us all the time, or You can only call after 9 PM. I'd like to say that my stalker doesn't really
care what time of day it is. He doesn't care if it's light or dark or if I'm on the East Coast or the West Coast or out of the
country. I have an out-of-control situation, and I'm asking for my control back.
The push to legalize campus carry is not a ploy by gun nuts looking for an excuse to play cop or hero; it is about real
people looking for the means to defend themselves against the types of horrors experienced by Leslie Adams, Amanda
Collins, and Taylor Woolrich. SCC is not asking to lower the CHL age limit or to otherwise redefine who can carry a gun.
We're not asking to change the concealed carry laws at bars, off-campus parties, fraternity houses, tailgating events, or
any other location where college students are likely to consume alcohol. We are simply asking that trained, licensed,
carefully screened adults (age 21 and above) be afforded the same right in college classrooms, lecture halls, libraries,
and cafeterias that theyre already afforded in churches, movie theaters, shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants,
banks, and even the Texas Capitol.
Thank you for considering this important issue.
Madison D. Welch
Southwest Regional Director, Students for Concealed Carry

Columbine lawmaker pushing for guns in

schools | By Tim Devaney | 02/02/15 11:56 AM EST
A Colorado state lawmaker who survived the Columbine shooting as a student is pushing a bill
that would allow guns in schools.
State Rep. Patrick Neville, a Republican from Castle Rock, Colo., on Monday introduced gun
legislation that would allow teachers with concealed weapons permits to carry firearms in
Colorado public schools.
Neville, who graduated from Columbine High School and was there on the day of the shooting in
1999, believes that arming teachers is the best way to protect students.
"This bill will allow honest law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed firearm for protection if
they choose to," Neville said. "But most importantly, it will give them the right to be equipped to
defend our children from the most dangerous situations."
Neville's bill is a long shot in the Democrat-controlled Colorado House.
Gun legislation has become highly controversial in Washington, D.C., following the more recent
shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Democrats have rallied around
gun control legislation, but the legislation failed to gain traction in Congress.
Gun control advocates argue that firearms should be kept out of schools, because arming
teachers is more likely to escalate the situation than protect students.
But Neville said that laws blocking teachers from carrying guns put students in harm's way and
make them "sitting targets for criminals."
"As was the case in 1999, criminals aren't deterred by a flashy sign on the door," Neville said.
"The only thing that is going to stop murderers intent on doing harm is to give good people the
legal authority to carry a gun to protect themselves and our children."
"Our teachers and faculty were heroic in so many ways that day," he continued. "That's why I
truly believe had some of them had the legal authority to be armed, more of my friends would
still be alive today."
The Columbine shooters killed 12 students and one teacher, while injuring more than 20 other
people attempting to escape the school

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