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In my book, I quote a Virginia mental health official advising his colleagues, "Don’t become complacent …and don’t forget that the eyes of the world are now on you all the time." Q: How has Virginia Tech (the university) balanced the need to memorialize the dead, and to promote the normal functioning of a large university?
A timely notice when there is a threat -- which was delayed at Virginia Tech -- would now seem to be a given.
Likewise, the establishment of threat-assessment teams gives colleges and universities an organized way to intervene before a problem becomes an emergency.
On April 16, 2007, a gunman murdered 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech.
Other mass shootings (including on college campuses) have followed, but the words "Virginia Tech" evoke a particular sense of the shock of what happened there in 2007.
(University of Virginia Press) tells the story of what happened after that terrible day.
Thomas Kapsidelis, the author, is a journalist and a fellow at Virginia Humanities.
The memorial grew from a tribute started by a student group, Hokies United, in the days after the shootings.
A survivor of the 1966 University of Texas tower shootings told me the memorial at Tech helped drive interest in dedicating a larger memorial at UT, which took place in 2016. Renovations on the second floor, where the attack took place, included space for a new Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, founded by a professor whose wife, a French instructor, was killed.
Why do you think that the efforts of Virginia Tech survivors haven't been effective in preventing this?
A: Virginia Tech survivors spoke out against this in the immediate aftermath of the shootings, and I sense the movement for campus concealed carry in Virginia has waned over the years even as other gun rights have expanded nationally.