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COLORADO SHOOTING/ Mother of VT survivor: I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach

LORI HAAS, mother of Emily, who was wounded in the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, describes her thoughts on hearing about the Denver shooting and her work with the VTV Foundation.

Aurora, Colorado   (Infophoto) Aurora, Colorado (Infophoto)

As news of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado spread around the country, shock and horror mingled with anger at the fact that massacres of innocent people continue to happen in the United States. Ilsussidiario.net interviewed Lori Haas, mother of a girl wounded in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and Vice President of the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, created after the massacre to help the families of the victims, who describes the “sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach” that she felt when she heard the news of James Holmes’ shooting spree, as well as her “immense amount of frustration and, frankly, anger” at the lack of an adequate response from the government. In terms of the work of her Foundation, geared towards helping the survivors, as well as advocating for changes to prevent further violence, she states that “many changes have been made, but it is a long process”.

As the mother of a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre, what did you feel when you heard the news about the shooting in Colorado?

It is a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You are brought back to the horror that your family went through. It is disgust at what happened and concern and compassion for those families who are going through such hell because that’s what it is. As good as my situation turned out, it was just hell going through it, so a lot of thoughts and prayers for those families who are experiencing it.

Do you feel disappointment with the system, seeing as these things keep happening?

Yes, I feel an immense amount of frustration and sadness and, frankly, anger. We have the means to do a better job of managing the gun laws in this country so that we can make Americans safer, and we are not doing it. This is unacceptable to me. We have the talent, the know-how and the technology to do better background checks, pass assault weapon bans and keep the guns from dangerous people and we do not do it. This is what happens: people die.

What does your Foundation do and how has it helped the friends and families of the victims of the massacre at Virginia Tech?

VTV offers help to the survivors of the attacks and their families, including guidance and comfort, and also services to help them with education and work. The Foundation is also involved in ensuring that this does not happen again by helping to determine best practices for campus safety and trying to effect some changes based on the lessons we learned and that higher education community itself learned after the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

What can the government do to prevent things like this from happening in the future?