Wednesday, April 16, marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech, where 32 people were murdered and 17 wounded by an individual who never should have gained access to guns.
Survivors and family members of those killed and injured in that shooting joined students, parents, and concerned citizens across America to remember the lives lost on April 16, 2007, and to comfort those who bear the scars, both physical and emotional, of that day.
In remembrance events across the country, groups of at least 32 people lay silently on the ground (following the example of Abby Spangler, founder of ProtestEasyGuns.com), rang bells, read names, or said prayers to remember the victims and to demonstrate their outrage at weak gun laws in America. Virginia Tech family members and survivors like the Samaha family, the Read family, the Goddard family, the Habtu family, the Pohle family, and others were an integral part of these events.
In almost 32 states, and on at least 32 college campuses (including Virginia Tech), Americans remembered the lives lost one year ago, and then expressed their dismay over our unwillingness to do something more to reduce the toll of 30,000 gun deaths in this country.
From Portland, Maine to Phoenix, Arizona; from Los Angeles, California to Washington, DC; from Dallas, Texas to Duluth, Minnesota and many points in between - in cities like Bloomington, Cincinnati, Colorado Springs, Kalamazoo, Tuscaloosa and Winston-Salem - Americans sent a message to their elected officials:
We need to make it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons by doing things like strengthening our background check system and closing the gun show loophole.
America is turning a corner on the gun issue, and Wednesday was another example of that.