When someone is shot with a firearm, whether they survive or die, someone inevitably says, “They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.” But when Colin Goddard was shot in his Virginia Tech classroom April 16, 2007. He was exactly where he was supposed to be: in class. So were the 32 other students and professors who died and the 17 others who were injured. They were exactly where they were exactly where they were supposed to be.
What was wrong was that a mentally ill person had a firearm on a campus. What was also wrong is that firearms are easily acquired at gun shows and privately in many states without any background check whatsoever.
Recently, Saint Sam and I, along with other members of the community concerned about the ongoing proliferation of gun violence, attended a screening of Living for 32, an award-winning documentary featuring Colin Goddard’s recollection, recovery, and response to the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. It was sponsored by: Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence/Sacramento Chapter, League of Women Voters of Sacramento County, Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California, Physicians for Social Responsibility/Sacramento, Sacramento Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Sacramento Chapter Organizing for Action (OFA). Members of the Sikh community, honoring the one-year anniversary of the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting, were present as well as state and national congressional leaders. Colin Goddard was there.
I assumed all states required background checks for purchasing any firearm. I had no idea that only a handful of states require any background checks at all! The majority of states do not require any background checks. Most employers require some sort of background check prior to hiring, but there are no background checks for firearms?!? Something is seriously wrong.
I don’t know about you, but I think the right places for people to be safe from gun violence is in their school, on their campus, in their sanctuaries of worship, in the home, in their neighborhood, on the road, at a parade, in their places of employment, at a movie theater or any other place where they deserve to be.
It’s time to rethink what we say and not re-victimize someone who was right where they we meant to be. It’s time to consider that the wrong person with a firearm is in the wrong place. Period.