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UNCP students respond to Virginia Tech shootings

By Adam Fenwick
Around the Campus Editor

On April 16 one of the most shocking incidents in recent memory took place as a gunman opened fire at Virginia Tech University killing a total of 32 people.  At least 29 more people were transported to local hospitals with injuries related to the shooting.  The gunman was killed at the scene bringing the total number of people dead to 33.  This is the largest mass shooting in American history.  UNCP students were randomly asked to give their reactions to the shootings.  Here are their responses.

Dwight B. Humphrey, 20, New Bern, UNCP Sophomore (SGA President Elect)
“I send my heart felt condolences to the families who had to suffer through this tragedy.  This was truly a horrific event.  I feel that this has opened students’ eyes on how we can never be too safe.  We need to preserve and keep living every day to its fullest.  Students will be able to contact me through email at”

Barry Burch, 20, Raleigh, UNCP Sophomore (SGA Vice President Elect)
“I feel that this will be considered to be one of the most horrific acts of violence in American history.  I am sure that this act will lead to tighter security on school campuses.  If school is not a safe place to be then what is?”

Tashieka Hammond, 21, Asheboro, UNCP Junior
“I think this will definitely be an eye-opener for campuses around the U.S. I believe that more safety precautions will start being enforced here at UNCP.  It’s definitely a scary thought because VA Tech is a big campus and that many people were killed and injured it makes you wonder what something like that would do UNCP, so we need to have some type of security and safety precautions.”

Courtney Chavis, 20, Pembroke, UNCP Junior
“I feel sympathy for the campus of Virginia Tech as well as the families of the deceased and injured.  This event which has ended in tragedy makes me realize that our safety can be tested at any time.  Being a college student, I’ve never felt at harm on my campus but after today, the thought is going to linger in my mind.  It’s sad that those trying to better their education have to now be concerned with their safety.  As far as UNCP, I feel that school officials will place a lot of emphasis on this type of event.  They should enforce guidelines on the reaction of task forces seeing how small our campus is.”

Colette Pond, 21, Laurel MD, UNCP Senior
“This is such a scary incident for all those students and families involved.  It also makes me feel blessed to go to a school where this doesn’t happen.  There was information on the news saying that other incidents have happened in the past year that forced them to shut down the campus for security reasons.  And this has never happened on our campus in the four years I have been here.”

Margaret Damghani, 23, Fayetteville, UNCP Senior
“My main feeling is that it’s a tragedy because there is no justifiable reason that the family of the victims will be able to come up with.  The killer is dead so there is no telling if a motive will be found out.  There is just no reason for the pain that has been caused.”
“As far as affecting UNCP, people will feel bad, we will be saddened by such an event because we are human, but it will fade into the background after a few weeks.  I doubt that people would be afraid of something like this happening here, unless some larger conspiracy were unconcerned—and it was probably just that one guy.”
“I can’t imagine being the mother of a student at this university.”

Lauren Allen, 21, Clayton, UNCP Junior
“This is just another tragedy for our society and our generation to see and deal with.  What’s happening now, with the multiple school shootings, terrorist attacks and increase in violence worldwide, is what our children will be reading about in history books.  What happened today is unforgivable.  There’s an obvious problem that needs immediate attention.  So far, all of these problems, have happened in other places, other cities, other schools.  IT’s only a matter of time before a tragedy strikes at home and we’re the ones on the T.V. and people are watching us and not the other way around, which we’re so accustomed to.”
“As far as affecting UNCP, I’m sure only a limited amount of protection will be done.  School shootings have happened numerous times before and nothing has changed since. Why would anything be done now?  I think something should but am not real sure what.”

Deanna Rooths, 20, Reston, VA, UNCP Junior
“This news is shocking and crazy to hear.  I’m from Virginia and have several friends that attend the university.  I’m really worried and concerned that friends of mine may have been injured and killed.”
“It makes you realize just how easy it is for a shooting or similar incident for it to occur on any college campus.”

David McGee, 22, Winston-Salem
“The fact that the individual was able to achieve such a high number of fatalities, in two locations with such a large amount of time between incidents is deplorable.  It is very unfortunate that so many were hurt and killed.  A friend of mine has a brother at Va Tech who has been cleaning up today and is personally involved.”
“I hope that UNCP and local enforcement has an emergency system or network set up in case of a similar incident should occur.  It does seem possible considering the prevalence of weapons being carried in our area.”

UNCP Senior, 23, Laurinburg
“This was a very big tragedy.  It is scary because this just shows that this can happen any where at any time and you have no way to defend yourself against it.  We have had shootings at UNCP, or in Pembroke, so you never know what may happen.
Colleen Griffiths, 21, Havelock, UNCP Senior
“I have a friend who goes to school at VA Tech.  She was here at UNCP for a semester, then went back.  I am worried about her because I don’t know if she is safe or not.  I am going to try to call her.”

UNCP Sophomore, 20, High Point
“It is scary.  It could start up here in no time.  I’ve heard other incidents where people had guns on campus.  I have a friend who knows some safety procedures, so I need to unfortunately start learning.”

UNCP Freshman, 19, High Point
“I feel that this brings up forgotten memories of how quick a normal day can change.  You always think never here, never me and as events unfold you learn that many people 50 yards away could have been killed had they just been a bit closer.  It’s all a really scary thought.”

UNCP Freshman, 19, Raeford
"I just feel blessed that it did not occur here and I know now to be more aware of my surroundings and not go out at nights on my own.”

Kajarra Caldwell, 18, Concord, UNCP Freshman
“My heart just drops to feel that someone would take the life of others to prove whatever he was trying to prove.  This should open UNCP eyes and have a fence that encloses the campus from the community.  I feel that this campus is in a big risk for something that happened up there to happen here because of the campus being open to letting cars come in and out and letting anyone come on campus using computer labs for non-school reasons and having access to the same things that students do. 

Nuchelle Hazlett, 22, St. Pauls, UNCP Senior
“I feel that this tragic event will affect UNCP students in a negative way.  An event of this proportion, being one of the biggest of its nature in the U.S., causes me to feel partially nervous about being on a college campus.  My biggest fear is a copy-cat killer so close to the initial area.”

William, 19, Statesville, UNCP Freshman
“It makes me feel uneasy about my safety.  If something like that was to happen here I wouldn’t know what to do.  It’s scary to think that at the drop of a dime something that tragic can happen.  I hope that this will make our campus security take a bigger affect on our safety here at UNCP.”

UNCP Sophomore, 19, Wilmington
“It scares me because I have a lot of friends that attended Virginia Tech.  Just to know that it was that easy to get into the school and kill people makes me feel a bit nervous.  I know that our school is a safe school but it could happen anywhere.”

Maggie Cleary, 18, Virginia Beach, V.A., UNCP Freshman
“I think this is terrible.  How can a person get so mad that they have to shoot a bunch of people?  What’s more scary is my sister goes to Radford, not 20 minutes away from Virginia Tech.  Once I heard the news I called her to make sure she was okay.  She said she was but that there were a whole bunch of police there.  I don’t understand how a person can take someone else’s life.  I hope to god that he is punished 100 times more than what he did to those people.  It takes a really sick mind to take a life.”
“I think that UNCP is safe.  This should just be a forewarning that we need to be safe and shouldn’t be mean to someone just because they’re different.”

Jenilee Pike, 23, Plainville, M.A., UNCP Senior
“I think that if schools had better security then guns would have been discovered on campus.  Where were the police when the shootings were going on?  If dorms had metal detectors then items like guns might be able to be discovered before they are used.  After the first series of shootings you would think that the school would have a state of heightened security.”
“At UNCP I doubt any changes will be made.  It would be nice to think that our school would take this as a sign that it needs to be more aware of what its students are doing, but I doubt this event will change anything here at UNCP.”

Daniel Armstrong, 21, Norfolk, V.A., UNCP Junior
“My feelings on this are of shock and awe.  It surprises me that this could actually happen again…a school shooting.  Bering from Virginia I am surprised that it could happen in such a relaxed area.  I think security will be supervised and upgraded, not just in UNCP, but around the country.”

UNCP Sophomore, 20, Jacksonville
“The incident is crazy, crazy that someone would do something like that.  It kind of makes me feel like you are never really safe because if something like that can happen there it could happen anywhere.  I really feel bad for the families that were affected and I think that there might have been away to prevent it but it just didn’t happen like that.”

DJ Davis, 19, Fayetteville, UNCP Freshman
“It never should’ve happened.”

Leonard Sampson, 19, Roxboro, UNCP Freshman
“I’m sure it’s obvious how many people about this.  It is after all horrible.  The bigger question on my mind however is why?  Why did this man feel compelled to kill a mass of his fellow man?  What did this to him?  Could we all be facing the same in our futures?  Why Why Why?”

UNCP Freshman, 18, Plainville, M.A.
“I think this incident is devastating.  My heart goes out to those at Virginia Tech and the victims families.  I hope this affects UNCP by increasing police enforcement that is needed.  I fear for not only UNCP student’s safety but other student’s safety across America.  This incident shows how unsafe campuses and school really area.  I’ll pray for future school safety and those involved in the April 16 shooting.”

UNCP Freshman, 18, Wilmington
“I think this whole incident is sad and should have been avoided.  Hopefully the reason this happened will be figured out and we can prevent this from happening again to any other schools like UNCP.”

UNCP Freshman, 18, Raleigh
“It’s rather scary because we are a campus just like Virginia Tech and it can happen anywhere.”

UNCP Freshman, 19, Fayetteville
“I think it will affect students dramatically because the same thing could happen anywhere.”

UNCP Senior, 22, Goldsboro
“I think that maybe people will watch how they treat other people so that things like this won’t happen due to the treatment of other people.  If it had nothing to do with that then I don’t think much will change.”

UNCP Junior, 21, Baton Rouge, L.A.
“I think this is a devastating tragedy.  This truly scares me.  I never know how people react to their feelings, that’s why it’s always good to try to be a friend who will listen to problems of others to try to avoid these things.”

UNCP Freshman, 18, Pembroke
“This is crazy.  The news has spread so fast I don’t know how it’s going to affect UNCP, but there are people here with family at Virginia Tech so lives will be affected in some way here at UNCP.”

UNCP Senior, Raleigh
“It is certainly scary because it could happen anywhere.  Makes you realize the urgency of keeping oneself behind locked doors especially in the dorm rooms.  Maybe it would be helpful to have anger management classes in schools because being so close to the end of the semester people are loaded with a lot of work which could cause irritability, leading to actions such as this one.”

Sabrina Leshore, 18, Charlotte, UNCP Freshman
“I feel that this tragedy was devastating and it will affect UNCP by showing Campus Police that they may need to be a little more effective and responsible.”

Wendy G., 21, Fayetteville, UNCP Senior

“I’m wondering who the gunman was and why he might have done this.  I think campus security was probably not as good as it could have been if the gunman got away with so many murders.  This will probably affect UNCP by an increased concern in campus security from students, parents, faculty and administration.  Also the policy against guns at events will probably be enforced more strictly and more often.  Hopefully a tightening of security will not impede on students’ privacy.”

Jessica Terry, 19, Henderson, UNCP Freshman
“I feel that if it had happened at UNCP that it would be a tragic event although I feel that since our campus is so small we would be able to have seen it coming.  I guess that it may be kind of hard to say since we haven’t been through it.”

Around the Town Editor Kelly Freeman and staff writer Hannah Simpson also contributed to this story.

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The University of North Carolina at Pembroke The print edition of The Pine Needle
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Updated: Monday, April 16, 2007
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