Perhaps scarier than following the news about a university shooting while off campus is following it while on campus. This was the reality of many Virginia Tech students Thursday when a gunman took the life of a police officer and then his own on the school’s Blacksburg campus.
Shawn Ghuman, a Virginia Tech sophomore from McLean, gave readers a student perspective on Thursday’s shooting during a Washington Post live Q&A Friday.
Ghuman first heard about the shooting via a text message from the university, immediately followed by a phone call and an e-mail from the university as well. (Was Virginia Tech’s emergency response system effective?)
“It was a weird feeling,” Ghuman said. “We all sat around in the common room saying what we felt, and if we did come across any information we would blurt it out. [Resident Assistants] weren’t too informative, but they did come and check on us.”
During the live Q&A, readers asked a variety of questions, from why the campus was on lockdown for so long to rumors circulating the university’s student body.
Even Virginia gun laws were brought into the conversation.
“Guns are way too easy to get in Viginia,” Ghuman said. “Gun shows, etc. are literally allowing these kinds of people to empower themselves without any restriction.”
One chatter identified himself as a high school student and Virginia Tech prospect. After Thursday’s shooting, the potential student was having second thoughts about applying to the university.
In response, Ghuman said he hoped Thursday’s events wouldn’t be a negative reflection on the school.
“I have never felt unsafe here ever whatsoever,” he said. “Tech is an amazing place and has some of the nicest people in the world. What one individual does, this event could have happened anywhere, is not a reflection on the student body at all. Give Tech a fair chance, I have a feeling you would love it.”
After the campus lockdown, students held a candlelight vigil for the police officer who was killed, and Friday exams were canceled. The university has offered counseling to those who need it, and even some of the professors have reached out to students who feel they need a shoulder to lean on.
“Hokies truly get through everything together,” Ghuman said.
Find out what else Ghuman had to say about Thursday’s Virginia Tech shooting by reading the chat transcript.
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