My short bio: I was a senior about 7 weeks away from graduating when 4/16/2007 happened. I knew several people that were either killed or injured. There isn't a single week that goes by since that day when it doesn't cross my mind.

EDIT: Some additional insight so you don't have to dig through comments:

  • I was not in a classroom, and I was not shot. I was on my way to an unaffected class room.

  • I was good friends with one person that was killed, acquaintances with a few who were shot, and knew several others affected.

  • The top takeaways from the incident for me were:

  1. The media is an extremely sharpened double-edged sword. The same vehicle that generated a global outpouring of support also arm-chair quarterbacked their way into criticizing our school, and stalked students around campus trying to generate tears-on-camera. I was set to graduate with a degree in mass communication, but abondoned the media industry altogether after that incident.

  2. Virginia Tech is one of the most resilient, kindest communities I've ever known. Everyone parents asked us to "leave and come home," but not a single person I know did. We all stayed. Even the 20-or-so injured students all came back to school as soon as they could. Everyone wanted to be at school to help each other and not let something like this define who we were. One guy who was shot in the leg left his hospital bed against doctor's order on crutches, just so he could walk across stage at our departmental commencement ceremony. People gave him a full five minute standing ovation.

  3. I remember being rather hurt/upset that it can branded as "the Virginia Tech massacre." No one asked us (the students) if that was okay. I realize that's not historical labeling works, but it just always bothered me.

My Proof: http://imgur.com/a/XuFRS

EDIT 2: The intent here was to simply give folks a personal perspective on how a school/community is impacted beyond what you may recall hearing from the media. I care about my school and wanted awareness for my 32 heroes to live on a decade later. Even though I created a throw-away account and remained anonymous, there are redditors here who somehow believe I'm doing this for personal attention(?). There are certainly accounts and stories to be told of those "closer" to the incident itself, but I never claimed to be one of those accounts, so I'm having trouble reconciling some of the outrage and hatred in the comments.

With that, I'm going to stop responding to things now. My sincerest apologies if any one found this exploitative or disrespectful, it certainly was never the intent.

neVer forgeT.

Comments: 1891 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

roachezmo1284 karma

What exactly is going through your head when you do think about it? How close were you to the shootings? Are you doing okay these days?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate2271 karma

It's usually the reprocessing of the raw stinging feeling I felt once we all sat helplessly watching the same press conference that everyone else watched, knowing that it was happening just two blocks away. We all knew that a gunmen had fired some rounds off inside a building and had hit some people, but no one had any idea of the magnitude until the police chief--beside himself--said "in the ball park of two dozen fatalities." After that we all sank into an alternate surreal reality of denial and tried to understand how the fuck that was even possible. That stinging feeling, combined with the ensuing panic of everyone trying to scramble and figure out who all was killed/injured is what goes through my head still.

I was about 400-500 yards away from Norris Hall and walking in that direction to class when individual people started sprinting past me in the opposite direction. No one stopped to tell me anything, so it was weird, but at the same time, I was just far enough away that I didn't have any context to know why they were running. Finally I spotted someone I knew that was also running, stopped them, and he told me what was happening, so I calmly went back to my apartment (just on the edge of campus), and checked my school email, which just had a vague "incident lockdown" note.

I'm doing better as the years go on. There all kinds of moments though... pockets of life's accomplishments (weddings, child births, etc.) where I'll find myself reflecting "there are 32 people that will never have this opportunity, and there's absolutely no good reason why I could have end up being one of them."

DoctorKynes1271 karma

Hi fellow Hokie. I was a freshman at the time. It feels so odd that the massacre was 10 years ago.

It was by far the most defining day of my life, as it was for many. At 18 years old I felt myself change from child to man almost overnight. How did you change, on a personal level?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate922 karma

<3

I have to say one of the best things to come out of that was how respectful and mindful future generations have been since we've left Blacksburg. Everyone time I've gone back to visit, there are current students there at the memorial paying their respects, reading the placards. It's nice.

Michcode147 karma

Did you know the shooter? If so, what were they like?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate428 karma

I had one class with him, but it had 300 other people in it so I never met him.

I knew two close friends (one was a roommate) that had small classes with him, though. They said he hardly ever spoke, and when forced to speak, seemed "angry but restrained."

Scootsies865 karma

Hi, currently a junior at VT. Wanted to ask a more happy question. What was your favorite dining hall?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate772 karma

Great question! Haha

Day-to-day: Owen's. The philly cheese steak place was always spot-on, and the general tso's was surprinsgly on-point as well.

splurge-day: Of course West-End. I lived in East AJ, so it was all too easy to waste money and get fat there. The London Broil and Buffalo chicken wraps were my jam.

Such a great array of food options there, though. Even when I lived off campus, I still paid for a meal plan for that very reason.

I haven't been to the new dining hall they built behind the drillfield though, how is it?

WredditReader547 karma

How long did it take you before you were comfortable again on campus?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate1112 karma

Everyone was comfortable being on campus pretty much that same night. In fact, for many of us, it was the only place that actually felt comfortable, because it was the only common space we could all grieve together.

The weeks that followed actually became more uncomfortable to be on campus simply because there were reporters doing any and everything you could possibly think of to score an interview or gain a reaction on camera. The Corps of Cadets were ordered to stop wearing military uniforms simply so they would "blend in" while on campus.

The drillfield (where the memorial now is) pretty much became a giant ceremonious visitation gathering spot though, so everyone naturally congregated to it in the middle of campus, despite it only being 100 yards from the building where the shooting took place.

HokieGirl07147 karma

Not OP but I was also on campus and a few weeks from graduation as well that time. The campus shut down for a week and we all went home and when we came back it was sad but we all bonded. However, I will never forget my annoyance with all the PRESS that was on campus for weeks harassing students to do interviews for them etc. They definitely didn't make things comfortable for a lot of students.

deathfaith76 karma

As a current student, I just wanted to add that they did not have class on that day for five years after it.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate49 karma

I also did not know this--amazing. Thank you!

TaterJade509 karma

Im so very sorry for the loss and trauma each of you experienced that day. I want to ask though, how do you feel when you reflect on Cho personally?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate1193 karma

It's hard for me being so close to it, to evaluate him in an unbiased way. Frankly, most of us refuse to even utter his name.

My roommate had a small intimate (12 person) creative writing class with him. He once stood up and basically shared a fictional free writing assignment about how he would murder people. So there were plenty of signs and cries for help that we should have all taken more seriously. My roommate still carries a sense of failure in that regard.

I still feel sorry for his family, and for anyone struggling as an outcast or with a mental illness, but as you can imagine, it's very difficult for me to muster any sympathy for him directly.

andipe220401 karma

How was it going back to the "normal daily routine" after a couple of days/weeks??

ThrowAwaitYesterdate1120 karma

Since I was only in town for 2 months after the fact (I graduated), there truly wasn't enough time to resume a "normal daily routine" for me. I'd be curious to know that from someone who still had 1-3 years left to go, though.

But when the time did come to leave Blacksburg, it hurt bad. It felt like I was being forced to abandon something in need of help that I had no choice but to leave behind. The months that followed were routinely painful as I went to job interview after job interview, and got asked the same exact sequence of questions in the middle of a job interview:

<looks at resume> "Mkay, I see here that you majored in mass communication at Virgin...oh. you were there? Did you know anybody?..."

mrmemo341 karma

Fellow Hokie here, class of '08.

I feel conflicted about this and similar AMAs. On the one hand, I bristle at the notion that my / our experience with the massacre would be of any note to anyone. "Hey look at me, I was near a thing that happened." On the other hand, I think people need to understand what goes on in those kinds of situations. There was so much confusion, so much uncertainty and panic in the hours following, that in the moment I could hardly process what was happening.

So maybe I'll just sum it up here:

Two of my friends died that morning. I was in the building next door, and was able to evacuate the area without incident. I heard the shots but didn't realize at the time what it was. That day will forever suck -- it will never be "okay".

What I remember most clearly, though, is how the community changed. Of course there were big things happening, like organizations coming in to provide services and counseling. But it's the little changes that stuck with me: people offering help to strangers with no expectation of return; drivers waving each other on in traffic jams; offering kind words, and meaning it. I can't be the only one who saw this -- did you also notice the town's transformation?

Blacksburg was always one of the best places to live, but it became much more than that. The community was faced with absolute evil, deep tragedy, loss... and from that loss came perspective, and kindness, and understanding. Y'all can ask me anything as well, but my response is probably going to be the same for most questions:

Just be good to each other, there's nothing more important than that.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate220 karma

YES!! The change is what I'll remember most as well! It was like going from one extreme experience to the other. It was like everyone became an inseparable family overnight.

FWIW, I was conflicted too. I was convinced to do this AMA, but I stayed anonymous because I don't need/want this to be a fame-generating event. I just wanted public awareness.

NotGrog339 karma

Hi! I'm actually writing my dissertation about the Virginia Tech shootings right now. It's a study on how the media portrayed the event in the month following it. How did you feel about the media broadcasting and showing a lot of the videos and images that the shooter sent to NBC News? A lot of what I've read so far has commented on the backlash against it, I'd love to hear what you thought about it.

I'm sorry to hear that you lost friends, I can't imagine how awful it must have been and still is. :(

ThrowAwaitYesterdate750 karma

Finally, a question I was waiting for someone to ask :)

I was a mass communication student set to graduate just a few weeks later. I had a job lined up at a PR Firm, had just finished interning at a news station, and thought for sure I was on my way to a journalism career.

After 4/16 and the loss of my friend, Ryan Clark, CNN contacted the Marching Band for someone to interview about Ryan's legacy. I volunteered and agreed to be interviewed, on the condition that it was to cover and discuss Ryan's legacy.

Jim Acosta showed up with his producer and interviewed me just outside Newman Library about 3 weeks after the incident. I talked with him for 45 minutes on camera about Ryan, all the wonderful things he had done, and what he meant to the Virginia Tech Marching Band. In between topics, Acosta asked me--in a tone that would almost seem to indicate that he was personally inquiring, not interviewing--"Hey, what's it like for you, having to graduate in just a couple of weeks." I responded with something personal and honest to the effect of "It's hard to feel accomplished, to be honest."

That was the only fucking thing that CNN aired of the entire damned 45 minute interview.

I quit my job, started working in a different field other than media, and have never gone back.

The media was such a double edged sword in the days and weeks that followed. The out pouring of support from the entire planet was just incredible and helped way more than I even expected it could have. And we owe that awareness to the media. At the same time, you couldn't walk 50 feet without someone and a camera trying to get you to cry on screen so they could air it in between ads. It was awful.

FootsiesFetish326 karma

Did you or any of your classmates encounter the sides of the internet that were either joking about the shooting, or glorifying Cho? How did you/they handle that?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate772 karma

Yes.

The Penn State ass clown that dressed as a "Virginia Tech Shooting Victim" as a Halloween costume that fall was probably the most faith I had ever lost in humanity, and several us were deeply offended that someone would find that as an acceptable halloween costume (myself included). Which was unfortunate, because Penn State in particular was enormously supportive as a school, and everyone realized that it was not reflective of Penn State as a whole.

Fortunately, he was universally condemned and even lost his job.

There was also someone who created a video game on newgrounds.com where you could re-enact the path as the shooter and murder named victims in the order he murdered them in. Just fucking disgusting.

Several of us emailed newgrounds.com admins but we never got responses. I don't know if it still exists today or not.

I_Enjoy_Beer45 karma

I had just graduated from PSU the year prior, moved to a state and a job with a ton of Hokies, and felt so, so, so goddamn angry and ashamed when that asshole did that.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate52 karma

I would too in your situation, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how much our entire school fell in love with Penn State after 4/16. The support your school gave was just incredible. You gained several thousand Penn State fans for life.

guy_incognito784277 karma

How did you keep your Hokie passport in such good shape after 10 years?

I graduated in 2006 and within 5 years that shit was pretty much completely faded.

I admire your dedication to keeping your Hokie passport.

While I wasn't there since I had already graduated, many of my friends were still students and one was in Norris Hall that day (the one where they barricaded the door with tables and chairs to keep the gunman out as he was firing inside).

It was one of the most stressful and horrific days of my life. Glad you are doing well. I'll never forget checking the news online that morning at work and seeing that 2 people had died and me thinking it was some tragic but contained situation. Then seeing the count go up and up and me just panicking in the middle of work.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate239 karma

Haha, I keep it behind my driver's license in my wallet to avoid exposure I guess.

Also: FREE PASS ON THE BT WHEN I VISIT!! :)

I wonder if they've since changed the design, because they still don't have "expiration dates" on them.

jamal_97109 karma

Current sophomore at VT. Hokie P hasn't change, I would post a pic but mine is literally the worst picture ever taken of me haha

ThrowAwaitYesterdate98 karma

Continued free BT rides it is!! WOO!!

Lexjude263 karma

I am a professor for a community college, and we have gone through a number of trainings and seminars to prepare us for an attack in the campus (gun related or otherwise). However, I find it annoying when I get criticized for coddling "snowflakes" with our safe spaces on campus. Frankly, I would rather have a student vent and talk about their issues with a coloring book and stuffed puppy than come shoot up my classroom.

My question is, what services do you think we should have on campus to help students with mental health issues? What can I do as a teacher to help my students (without being weird about it)?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate250 karma

Great question that I'd like a solid answer to as well, but I'll try to answer it this way:

When I was distraught, shocked and grieving afterwards, I went to the Cook Counseling Center that offered licensed mental health professionals to students. I attended 8 sessions over the course of 6 weeks, was prescribed an anti-depressant, and came out of it much, much better. Once I was there, it was very easy. Everything worked the way it was supposed to: I no longer felt alone and scared, I got help from professionals, and assistance from medicine on an as-needed basis. None of that was difficult.

What WAS difficult, was just showing up. If we could find creative ways to remove the barriers of getting help, I think we'd be far better off. We need to start treating mental health the same way we treat the dermatologist: there's no stigma in going, and it's a small burden to remember to go every 12 months, but you don't feel "weird" for going.

However you can make students feel "normal" for caring enough about their mental health to just show up and ask for help is the solution we need.

Amerphose190 karma

Do you get random bouts of survivor's guilt?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate755 karma

One additional survivor's guilt story: I lived next door to a first responder EMT. Loud jovial lumberjack type, loved everyone and everything. He did not even come out of his apartment for 10 days after that. It was the most broken I have ever seen a human being.

Later (much, much later), we talked about that day. He said he was "walking through a sea of corpses, and it was completely silent, with the exception of cell phones going off constantly, with parents and friends trying to reach someone." He said he can't even hear cell phone ringers the same anymore.

He's gotten a lot better, but he truly hasn't been the same since. I can't process how haunting something like that must be.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate207 karma

Not so much "survivor's guilt" since I wasn't in the class room. I know a few people that were in class rooms that do. I have a good friend who was supposed to be in the French class in Norris Hall the morning that stayed home. She still suffers from survivors guilt--in some ways worse than those that survived inside the class room.

My guilt is more of a "how could we have prevented or seen this coming," but it's not nearly as bad as it used to be. Time has certainly helped in that regard.

pats4patty127 karma

I can't imagine the pain that you carry everyday. In the ten years since this occurred do you feel people for the most part treat you differently because you were there?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate222 karma

Not anymore. Definitely the first 2-3 years afterwards they did. It was impossible to get through a meet and greet without answering the "Yes I was there, yes I knew people questions."

But now that there's been 2-3 generations of Hokies go through the school since then, no one thinks to specifically ask "Oh, were you there?"

I usually don't volunteer the information that I was there, unless the topic of gun control or school shootings comes up, just to allow someone awareness in preventing them from saying anything they'd later regret.

Brittle_Bones_Bishop118 karma

10 years on whats the one thing that still bothers you about the whole ordeal?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate345 karma

The thing that bothers me most is what changes it has resulted in: which is nothing.

Mental health improvements, gun laws... whatever stance you take: fine--just try something. But absolutely nothing has changed, and tragedies continue to happen. That's by far what is the most frustrating. That makes me more mad than anything else.

magicpostit115 karma

April 15th, 2007:

I was struggling through my second semester of general engineering as a freshman at VT, I never planned on going to college, honestly I thought I'd be in Iraq with the USMC by that point in my life, but a wonderful hippy high school girlfriend talked me out of that, and I made it into VT early decision by the skin of my rural Appalachian teeth. I'd snagged a job at West End Market in the pizza shop with a gaggle of hilarious frat boys, community service workers, and some genuinely good people. One of them was Leslie. I remember how excited she was for her soon, oncoming 21st birthday that night, and she also lucked out into working the register that night. The cushy job, way better than the serving lines where students wouldn't listen as you called out their orders and it was a regular 90 degrees behind those catering racks.

We had just entered the evening dinner rush, so pasta, bread sticks, garlic bread, pizza, and calzones were flying off the serving line as fast as we could make them. Except strombolis, no one ever ordered those bready abominations. I felt a sneeze coming on, a pretty wicked one, and I managed to rub it off into my sleeve a few times, but I couldn't hold it any longer. So I had two options, blow aerosolized mucus all over the serving line, or turn and shoot it into the sink. I made the obvious decision.

Unfortunately Leslie also decided that would be a good time to run some pizza orders back to our pizza tossing guy, and, well, world's collided. I sneezed all over that poor girl, to that point she was without words, and I was completely horrified. Then she started laughing, not cursing, not yelling, but laughing. Because that's who she was.

I apologized, our group of misfits survived another dinner rush, and then I apologized again, because what else can you do in that situation? We finished cleaning up, I wished her a happy birthday in absence, and said I'd see her next weekend for our shift. One step closer to finals and finishing the academic year.

April 16th, 2007

Fuck. Fuck. I had an 8am geography exam that I hadn't studied for, thanks Mario Kart. But hey, I could do rocks, walked in, answered some questions, mic drop, time for some DX breakfast. On the walk up towards Dietrich Hall I noticed the unnecessarily large group of police cars gathered around West AJ, didn't think much of it, and got my biscuit and retreated to the comfort of Pritchard Hall, 7th floor. Then the emails, texts, and calls started. It was almost impossible to contact anyone that morning, every cell tower was over loaded. We all knew it was bad, but we just stayed in our lounge, where we could kind of see across the drill field to Norris, and waited and hoped for it to end.

I didn't learn the damage until about 5pm that day, but Leslie was murdered, as well as my friends Mary and Jarrett. I remember feeling numb for the rest of the day, my friends knew I was fucked up, and took me to Hokie Grill to get some dinner. I remember eating a Chic-Fil-A sandwich (no pickles) and losing it. All self control gone, just weeping without end into a goddamn fried chicken sandwich. My friends got me out of there as soon as they finished dinner and I just collapsed in my dorm room on the floor.

Every day I think about them, and every breath I draw I do the most I can for whoever I can. Because everyone likes to push the dead into sainthood, but those three were about as close to perfect as I've ever known. Kind, smart, and driven to help others. And that's how I plan to live and die, for those who had their lifes cut short.

And that's all I have to say about that.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate38 karma

Thanks for sharing this. Really glad that you and your roommates had each other that day (and the impossible days that followed). I didn't know Mary, but several people I've talked to that did seemed to just love the mess out of her.

I can't imagine what all of this would've been like if we had to go it alone. <3

flyinhawaiian58111 karma

Current senior Hokie here, are you going to come up for the 10 year anniversary?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate155 karma

I really wanted to, but I don't have anywhere to stay, and none of the people I was closest to can make it (they're spread all over the country now). I haven't entirely ruled it out, but as of now, I don't think I will.

I made it back for the Spring Game last year and was able to pay my respects, though.

bagel-master109 karma

Hello there. I was a victim of a high profile shooting as well (I did an AMA couple years ago), and just wanted to say I wish you well. I hope you don't blame yourself for the deaths of others like I do at times. It's certainly had a terrible impact on my life in some ways and it's so weird to go through life with this invisible burden on me (or us). I don't really have a question, just wanted to wish you well. I guess my question would be that: how are you now? Are you living as normal a life as possible? Do you have any personal advice to deal with it? Obviously everyone deals with trauma differently, so I'm just curious how you deal with it since you're putting it out there. Thanks

ThrowAwaitYesterdate123 karma

So sorry you've had to witness that :( And I wish you the best as well.

I'm doing very well, all things considered, and I count myself fortunate to not have been in any of the classrooms that morning.

I have a reliable well-paying job, best wife ever, and my first child due in a few weeks, so I certainly count my blessings. This time of year though, as I'm sure is the same for you every year, is just difficult to think "that was another year that friends of mine will never experience."

3FE00154 karma

Gobbles in support Hello fellow Hokie, I am proud to call myself a part of Hokie Nation. I'm a recent grad of 2016, but people I meet in the real world always ask me about the shooting, even though I was only in middle school.

My questions, how often do people ask you about the tragedy and how does the conversation go? Is it the first thing people ask about when you say you are a Hokie grad?

(Thanks for doing this ama).

ThrowAwaitYesterdate40 karma

Hokie Hi!

Hope the real world is treating you well :) I remember wishing I could just live full time in Blacksburg instead of graduating. VT feels like a young adult retirement community by comparison.

It's interesting that you get asked that question still. Since it's been so long, I don't get that question anymore. 2-3 years afterwards, people asked me it all the time though.

Sadly, I think since other tragic shootings have happened since then, it's not as much as a 'novelty,' as messed up as that sounds.

Being the "worst mass shooting in America's history" was both a title that we never wanted, and a title we never wanted to give up. So Orlando's nightclub was almost just as dreadful for that reason.

3FE00123 karma

Well said fellow Hokie.

I get asked about it when I travel to non ACC states most often. I had an intetview in Minneapolis and I was probably the only Hokie they met, so they asked me two questions: one about the shooting and where I was but the other, "But what is a Hokie?"

I went full-freshman on them and said "I am!" It's cheesey, but it was a venue to explain the unique community and sense of respect we have, especially as Hokie that wasn't there at that time.

Thanks for answering!

ThrowAwaitYesterdate14 karma

I still use the cheesy "I am" line too :) haha

shakkajon52 karma

Can you walk us through what it was like on campus that day?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate141 karma

It was winding down to be the end of the school year, but ramping up to be end-of-semester exams. Because of that, there had been a few bomb threats just the week prior because a bunch of ass holes were trying to get out of exams. So campus lock downs were still an inert annoyance, at best.

Legitimate police activity was no stranger to us either though, because an escaped prisoner had recently terrorized the area as well.

So when it was a blustery cold damp morning that Monday and students got another lockdown notice, we all just sort of discounted it as an isolated incident and mild inconvenience.

When details started to break of an early morning shooting in West AJ dorm room, we then felt as though actual facts had been married up to the campus email notice, but still weren't certain on the details.

I felt as though that wouldn't possibly affect my specific classes, so I began walking around 9am towards my class in Squires Student Center, which took me right by the drillfield and Norris Hall. As I was getting closer to Burruss/Norris Hall, I saw people running in the opposite direction. They were running in isolation though, there was no mass exodus or groups of people running. That detail in particular struck me as weird.

I continued walking towards the area, but just remember being mildly confused. It wasn't until I spotted someone I knew running the opposite direction that I knew anything was happening. I stopped him and asked why people were running. He said that someone with a gun was inside Burruss and started opening fire (he mis-heard, mis-saw, as it was actually Norriss Hall, nearby). So I hurried back to my apartment just off campus where my roommates and then patiently awaited information on the University's website and our email inboxes.

We were able to get more information through the grapevine of text messages and student emails emailing one another than we were the university itself. They were wholly unprepared to deal with something like this.

Eventually, around 10am-ish (if i remember correctly), we were told that the entire campus was closed, and that everyone should return to their homes/dorms. From that email until the first press conference that afternoon, it was a massive panic of who was where and "why haven't we heard from person x."

Once the press conference announced "approximately two dozen fatalities" everyone's entire demeanor changed, and the mood shifted from panic to "there's absolutely no fucking way this is real life right now." There was just a constant sound of emergency sirens running about town, empty fields turned into satellite truck farms where news van after news van would just pop up out of no where.

Everyone knew someone. It was like a scavenger hunt from hell trying to piece together who all didn't make it. The student body had pieced it all together before the news had announced anything, but it still stung just as bad hearing their names read publicly.

HokieGirl0751 karma

Wow! I was also there that day. I was a graduate hall director at the dorm next to West AJ where the first shooting was and one of our RAs was killed. My masters's graduation was 3 weeks away and it was the most depressing graduation with all the posthumous degrees. I know victims' families who were upset at how the President handled the incident for not cancelling classes after the first shooting happened and they had no suspect in hand. What do you think about the university's decision to not let him go? Also - I can't believe it's been ten years.! That day haunted me for so many years. I was able to visit campus a few years ago again and they've made permanent memorials that are really great.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate22 karma

Sorry, maybe I'm mis-reading but I didn't understand the "not let him go" question.

I lived in East AJ my Freshmen year and loved the East/West AJ bridge. Many shenanigans were had.

I heard that they renovated both buildings and are spoiled with HVAC now! Can you believe those whipper-snappers??!

eeman020142 karma

How do you feel about that certain cards against humanity card?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate72 karma

Yeah, I discarded that exact card immediately. I knew what I was buying when I bought it, but it hits too close to him, so I just leave that one out.

usernameismyrealname30 karma

What class were you in during the shooting? My friend Leslie was killed and for a long time afterwards I searched obsessively online for accounts of the specifics of how she died but never found more than a brief outline of the sequence of events.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate23 karma

I was on my way to a class in Squires, walking on campus. I wasn't yet inside any class room.

If you know which specific class she was in, it would probably be easier to find out details.

smatpith27 karma

Of the many victims, is there one you knew well or one that sticks out in your mind?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate163 karma

Ryan "Stack" Clark.

I'm sure there the other 31 were just as amazing in their own right, I just didn't know them as well as Stack.

I had a few classes with Stack. I was in the marching band with him. I ate lunch with him. That guy was a beacon of hope in an otherwise uncertain world.

He was just so damn fun I can't even put into words how much his fellow friends cared about him. I never met a single human being that had anything but smiles to say about the guy.

He had a voice that could penetrate and soar over top of an entire football stadium of people. It was a surprise to no one that he died responding to help another person.

He was pursuing multiple degrees, majors, and minors, all as an undergrad. He also decided to work in the dining hall to support himself. He also did countless other charitable work. No one's quite sure how he managed to do so much as a college student that most of us won't accomplish our entire lives.

My first "college party" experience was traveling as a Freshman with the marching band to the 2003 game on the road vs Pittsburgh. After the game was over (we lost) and the band went back to the hotel, stack grabbed me from my hotel room and said "hey, some guys from the Pitt band invited us to a frat party, let's go." (He didn't even know who I was at the time).

We were driven to this basement party downtown, where a naked man was playing Billy Joel's pianoman on a baby grand piano, and a homemade punch of some kind that tasted like cough syrup was being served to anyone entering the basement.

Before I could even ask anyone's name, Stack had me swaying and holding hands with Pittsburgh band members, singing Piano man, and drinking horrible mystery purple drink.

That was probably my favorite of many memories of him, but it was also the first interaction I had with him.

StNic5420 karma

What's up Hokie, Hoo here. I remember our first responders in Charlottesville departing en masse immediately when the news broke, and I often think about what you and your classmates must have been going through and how surreal it all was. What kind of changes were made in your life the moment everything went down, and how have you approached even the smallest tasks in life with the memories you have?

I applaud you for this AMA.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate28 karma

That week was the week I stopped "hating" UVA :)

I still make fun of them whenever I can :), but seeing the response out of UVa brought me to tears more than any other school. Seeing the bridge you guys painted orange and maroon. That was an incredible, incredible feeling. On behalf of every Hokie, thank you.

I'd say the most significant, small change day-to-day is probably just thankfulness. I find myself being more thankful for interactions with people that I would have previously taken for granted.

deathfaith20 karma

I can't imagine what it would have been like. My Geoscience professor was telling my class yesterday about his experience in McBryde 100. I'll be attending the memorial.

As an attempt to lighten the mood,

Are you surprised to hear that we are still suffering with the Empo here at Tech?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate24 karma

The Math Empo was the most frustrating academic experience of my life. I can't believe they reduced human interactions to red solo cups on top of monitors.

I actually dropped my math empo calculus class... while IN THE MATH EMPO TAKING CALCULUS. I was that frustrated.

livelovedrag19 karma

Did you lose anyone close to you?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate72 karma

Yes. I was on my way to have class with the 2nd person that was killed, Ryan "Stack" Clark. He was an RA in West AJ and was killed responding to the first student that was killed.

Even though he was killed very early in the morning and separate from the Norris Hall incident, I didn't learn about it until early that evening, and was pretty much broken for 7 days straight.

Several more people I knew but wasn't that close with were also injured. One of which I walked across the stage with at my departmental commencement. He left his hospital bed against doctor's orders to walk across the stage on crutches. He was the huge guy you see in pictures that wrapped a overhead projector cord around his leg to save his on life.

The standing ovation for him walking across the stage to get his diploma lasted no shorter than 5 entire minutes and there was nor a dry face within a city block.

indigofox8316 karma

I was on campus for one at NIU, a few months after VT. I remember a few people from VT sent messages to people through Facebook, and it meant a lot at the time.

I was fortunate to have not been too nearby (was eating lunch across the street and didn't see more than all the emergency vehicles arriving) and to not know anyone who was injured/killed personally. I did share a class with someone who was killed but did not know them.

But anyway, I know many of the feelings you describe. Every time I see one of these in the news, I'm right back there even though it was almost 10 years ago. I remember what I was wearing, I still have gloves that I spilled wax on during a vigil, I still remember that afternoon of not knowing. I don't think it's something I'll ever fully escape. My heart breaks that anyone ever has to feel the way I do or worse, because realistically, I was not directly affected. So many people have had to feel so much worse, to never really recover, or to not even get the chance to recover. I'm luckier than many, as much as this event still haunts me.

I'm sorry that you and your school and your friends had to go through that, too. I'm sorry that anyone does.

And because I think I have to ask a question and I don't feel like making it related: what's your favorite kind of cheese? I think I'm going to go with smoked gouda.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate18 karma

I'm fond of most soft goat cheeses, I think.

I remember the candlelight vigil we had at our memorial for NIU. It's terrible that these things keep happening. Just awful. It's like you're thankful that other people know the feeling, but at the same time you feel terrible that they even know the feeling to begin with.

redlineok15 karma

I was on campus for a different school shooting. What I found most haunting was the sound of all the helicopters flying overhead. It was just like audio/video from the Vietnam War. What still haunts you about that day?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate15 karma

That, the sirens, and all the field lights for live remote broadcasts, yes. It was like living in a hot zone, I agree.

That part isn't too "haunting" to me, for whatever reason, but yeah, those audio visual cues stick with me as well--hope you're doing okay.

EDMandScience12 karma

I was there as well. Engineering '10. I was in Randolph 2nd floor. I heard all of it. Do you have any remorse over graduating? Do you have any reasons you would have liked to stay? Not for college party like reasons of course.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate12 karma

Yeah, graduating and leaving felt weird at that time. None of us wanted to leave after something like that. It felt like we owed it to the university and each other to stay. It was like none of us wanted that moment to define us or the school.

It was too late to apply/stay for grad school, so I left, but I sure wish I could have stayed a little longer.

ThisBoyIsOnFire12 karma

Hi! Thanks for sharing with us all today. After the shooting took place, was there any negative stigma against asians on campus? I was in elementary school in 2007, and as a korean, my mom didn't send me to school the day after the shooting in the fear that I would be subject to racial prejudice and hate.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate16 karma

None that I witnessed or head of at all, no. That sort of thing never even crossed the minds of anyone I knew.

skeche8 karma

Have you watched the shootings online yourself? What is your attitude towards one of the shooters mother that has been going around doing TED talks?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate9 karma

Not sure what you mean here. Do you mean coverage of other shootings? I'm not aware of any TED Talks, apologies.

skeche5 karma

Apologies, i meant have you watched any of the online footage of the shootings at Virginia tech and also what your attitude towards the mother from the Columbine shootings doing TEDtalks. I know they are totally unrelated but similar ordeal and a brave outcome for her, are your attitudes similarly aligned with hers?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate6 karma

Oh, gotchya.

No, I have not watched any of those TED talks, nor was I aware she did them.

I've watched a lot of footage of interviews of the VT shooting, but I try to avoid anything with the video of the actual shooter.

The airing of his manifesto is exactly what he wanted, and I threw several blunt objects through my television when the news aired that clip. I mean if you can imagine learning that some lunatic murdered your friends, you're searching for answers, and then the killer's face comes on the screen and basically taunts you...

I try to avoid giving him any time of day.

I do enjoy watching interviews of other students, parents, and faculty though, because there's all kinds of heroic details form that day that make me appreciate being a Hokie that much more.

John_Bot6 karma

Currently in McBryde

Caught myself in Norris on the anniversary of the shooting a couple years ago (was working on engineering)... Building was quite. It was just hard to believe.

Anyways, what do you think Hokies should understand/know about that day?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate20 karma

Hokies have already done an amazing job understanding and appreciating that day.

I love everything about that school, the town, and the people in it, and that includes you.

The fact that so many generations of Hokies have come and gone since it happened, and still find time to learn about the heroes from that day, and empathize with folks they'll never meet, tells me everything I need to know why Blacksburg will always be my spiritual home.

And I think it's important to remember: of the 20 or so victims that survived. They all came back. All of them. Every last one of them came back to Virginia Tech to finish.

You can get a college degree anywhere, but they chose to come back there.

HansChr154 karma

Not sure if this was already asked:

How is the race affiliated with the shooting viewed as after such event? I had plans transferring to such school and oddly enough have received backlash from peers because of my similar appearance to the individual that caused the shooting. (No it doesn't bother me)

ThrowAwaitYesterdate4 karma

The race? As in the fact that he was Asian/Korean?

Not at all. Colleges in general--Virginia Tech in particular--is very accepting of multiculturalism and embraces diversity. I never once felt like there was any stereotyping or skepticism based on race afterwards. I don't know anyone who viewed this as a "race thing."

DankWojak3 karma

How are you doing now?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate4 karma

Much, much better. But this time of the year is always more difficult than the rest. Time doesn't heal all wounds, but sometimes it sure can help.

VTCabbage2 karma

Current Hokie here. I've wondered, did they keep having classes in Norris in that final month, or were classes moved/cancelled? I know this sounds flippant but as a senior here I've heard basically any other question that I could think of asking.

ThrowAwaitYesterdate3 karma

From what I recall, every class gave students an option:

  1. Take you current grade in the course, and call it a semester (there was only 6 weeks left), or
  2. Continue the course the best you can and accept whatever grade you earn

Professors were very respectful about offering both. No one judge anyone for either path. Personally, I applied option 1 to some classes and option 2 to others.

Norris itself as a building remained closed through the year, and then was remodeled entirely to resemble nothing of what it was before 4/16/07. I'm not sure how the classes themselves in Norris Hall finished out, but I imagine it was option 1, given the circumstances.

Snowbank_Lake2 karma

If I remember correctly, the shooter here said he would die like Christ. Do you feel that the media makes incorrect assumptions about Muslims being more likely to commit these kinds of acts?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate7 karma

Not sure if this answers the question you intended, but there is certainly a slanted narrative in the media about muslims committing violence, sure. I'm far more terrified about someone's state of mind on any particular day than I am of their religion.

9Lions0 karma

Why did you write the year it happened and also that it was ten years ago? Did you go to SJHS?

ThrowAwaitYesterdate4 karma

...what?

[deleted]-43 karma

[deleted]

ThrowAwaitYesterdate14 karma

Wow?...

Perhaps try asking questions that would generate answers that may interest you?