ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the deadliest campus shooting in American history. Survivors' and victims' families will gather at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to remember the 32 people who were killed. Many others were injured in the attack, and still more witnessed it and escaped unharmed. As NPR's Sarah McCammon reports, even they carry psychological wounds.
SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: On April 16, 2007, the bullets missed Lisa Hamp. She walked out of her computer class, but she has memories from that day that will never go away. They start out pretty mundane - in her classroom inside Norris Hall at Virginia Tech.
LISA HAMP: Typical computer science class - they're putting some code on the board, and we're just writing it down, confused (laughter). And so I mean once we heard the sounds, everyone sort of stopped. It was like, what's going on?
MCCAMMON: Two people went outside to find out, and they were fired upon. The shooter missed, giving the class just enough time to barricade the door.
HAMP: It was literally, like, table up, desk up, shooter at the door. It was a matter of seconds. He would kick it, and the door would, like, swing open a foot, and we would push back.
MCCAMMON: Hamp and her classmates were fortunate. Unlike so many others, they were able to keep the shooter out. In the aftermath, Hamp says she struggled to figure out how she was supposed to feel.
HAMP: I think I thought that, you know, I was undeserving; I was unworthy, that I lucked out, that I just needed to be quiet and make myself small because there's this other population of people who have it so much more worse than you do, so you just sort of need to shut up, hold it in and keep moving. But that doesn't really work in terms of recovering and healing.
MCCAMMON: Hamp spent years struggling with an eating disorder that she says contributed to infertility before she finally decided to seek help. And it worked. At 31, she now lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and infant daughter.
Clayton Violand was in another classroom in the same building that day. He says he was the only student to walk out of his French class physically unharmed. Some didn't make it out at all.
CLAYTON VIOLAND: It was very confusing for me to be in that position of not being physically injured.
MCCAMMON: Violand spoke on his cell phone from Germany where he now lives with his girlfriend and works as a data scientist for a solar energy company.
VIOLAND: The main question for me was kind of, where do I place myself? Am I a victim? Am I not a victim?
MCCAMMON: Violand says that question has been the central theme of years of therapy since the Virginia Tech shooting. He's struggled with anxiety and survivor's guilt.
VIOLAND: I'd like to say that the shooter took my lightness away, my lightness of life. It's kind of harder to see the good side of things sometimes.
MCCAMMON: Colin Goddard was in the same classroom with Violand and was shot four times. He still has bullet fragments in his body, but he feels fortunate.
COLIN GODDARD: I have scars, you know? But you know, if you saw me on the street, you'd never know. You know, I'm very lucky.
MCCAMMON: Goddard says he received an outpouring of support as he recovered and the chance to reach out to other injured survivors. Goddard is now married and an MBA student in the Washington, D.C., area.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: (Cooing).
MCCAMMON: Holding his cooing infant daughter on his lap as he speaks, Goddard says he worries about Violand and others who didn't get the same kind of support.
GODDARD: I just think that, you know, if you saw, if you heard, if you were in that building, you know, you were just as victimized and traumatized as everybody else was, you know?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: (Cooing).
MCCAMMON: Some survivors, including Lisa Hamp, feel Virginia Tech could have done more to help students who witnessed the events of April 16.
HAMP: To be included and treated as a survivor - it's really that simple - sort of acknowledgement and recognition that what we went through is traumatic.
MCCAMMON: A Virginia Tech spokesman says thousands of people were deeply affected by the shootings, and the university has focused its highest level of support on families of those killed and those who were physically injured. Hamp has raised several thousand dollars to send other survivors to the 10-year anniversary events. She says she hopes the weekend will be a time of healing for everyone, whether they have physical scars or not. Sarah McCammon, NPR News.
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Among those physically injured during the Virginia Tech shooting was Kristin Anderson (ph). Tomorrow on WEEKEND EDITION, she talks about the organization she started to help prepare schools for similar scenarios.
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