Victim Relives Virginia Tech Shooting In New Film

Photo: Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard
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It's been nearly four years since the Virginia Tech shooting, a day Colin Goddard will never forget.

"Nothing you can imagine in your mind, is what that reality was like," said Goddard, who survived the massacre that left 32 dead and 17 wounded.

He's now traveling around the country screening a documentary meant to educate college students and lawmakers about flaws in gun control. In the film, Goddard relives that tragic day in Virginia, and honors those who lost their lives. He also visits the classroom where he was shot, and eventually forgives the shooter, Seung-Hui Cho.

When the shooting happened in 2007 Goddard spent a week in the hospital recovering from his four gunshot wounds, and three months in physical therapy relearning how to walk. But he returned to Virginia Tech to finish school and graduated in 2008 with an International Studies degree. Then he began interning with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun violence, the nation's largest gun control organization. Goddard now serves as the assistant director of legislative affairs for the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C.

His story drew the attention of film director Kevin Breslin and producer and former Director of the Brady Campaign Maria Cuomo Cole. Together, they set out to share Goddard's story with the world.

"I understand why people are afraid. I understand why people feel nervous about these things when they hear about shootings in our society. What I'm saying is that their fears are misplaced. What they should be fearful of is the gun purchases that are allowed to go unregulated, that happen without background checks every single weekend," Goddard said.

Using undercover cameras, he purchased weapons at gun shows: he bought one gun without identification and bought another with a photocopied driver's license on a piece of paper.

Goddard, 25, has screened "Living for 32" on seven college campuses so far. He plans to visit another seven before the semester is over. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Documentary and also screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

When Goddard addressed the audience at Arizona State University this month, several people commended his bravery and passion for educating others.

Former marine infantryman Daniel Caldwell, 23, was the lone opponent to Goddard's stance on gun control.

"When we're talking about allowing guns on campus, I hear a lot of hypotheticals. I hear a lot of 'maybe, what-ifs'," Caldwell said.

"There are schools in Utah, Colorado, West Virginia, over 30 campuses that have allowed firearms," continued Caldwell, his voice shaky but emphatic. "Has there been any like large-scale firefights, shootouts of that nature on those campuses? Am I correct or am I wrong in that?"

Caldwell, who spent four years in the military, admitted that his opposition was "spit in the wind," but addressed Goddard regardless.

"Watching your film, it's absolutely terrible what's happened to you. You know, I know people that have been shot. I know people who have been killed. It's a very traumatic and life-changing event and even though I disagree with you on a lot of things, I still need to applaud you for what you're doing."

Va. Tech Survivor Urges Students To Speak Up About Gun Bills

Arizona State University graduate James Hinckley, 37, is in favor of tighter gun control. A victim of gun violence, he will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

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