Virginia Tech shooting survivor, journalist reflect on loss and healing

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- The Virginia Tech mass shooting nearly 12 years ago remains etched in so many people’s minds. The violent rampage prompted discussions about campus safety, mental health and guns laws. Our Washington Correspondent Alana Austin reports from the nation’s capital on how these debates continue.

Nearly 12 years since the Virginia Tech massacre, a survivor and journalist reflect back on the tragedy and talk about the rise in mass shootings across the country.

“I think that the voices of survivors and survivors who have gone on to be advocates don’t get the attention that they should,” said Thomas Kapsidelis, former Richmond Times Dispatch journalist who went on to write “After Virginia Tech: Guns, Safety and Healing in the Era of Mass Shootings.”

Kapsidelis covered the aftermath of the nation’s most deadly school shooting, highlighting the stories of survivors, including Kristina Anderson, who was shot three times in her French class.

“I think the shooting at Virginia Tech taught us all the vulnerability of life,” said Anderson.

Anderson shared her perspective with Kapsidelis Thursday night at Washington DC’s National Press Club. At the event, they spoke about the years since that painful day, adn some of the changes made since.

Reforms in Virginia and other states include schools installing systems to alert the campus of an active shooter and hiring specialists to investigate troubled students. But, Kapsidelis still thinks there should be tougher gun laws nationwide.

The overall feeling from the panel here – sorrow – that mass shootings followed in Parkland, Orlando and Las Vegas. At the end of the day, Anderson says these eye-opening moments crystallize what’s really important in life.

“Even amongst attacks and horrible things there is always joy and kindness and love: you just have to seek it out,” said Anderson.

This April 16th, the 32 victims whose lives were cut short, will be remembered by their fellow Hokies.

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