An Open Letter to Colin Goddard


Dear Colin,

I was recently reminded of your story through an article written by Paul Helmke opposing legislation to legalize self-defense on college campuses.  I was reminded of how you were shot four times, forced to watch and listen–petrified–as Cho carried out methodical executions throughout the building.  There was nothing anyone could do to stop him.  He had the only weapon.  I sympathize with your personal tragedy.  I cannot imagine being shot once, much less four times, while my classmates faded around me.  However, while this tragedy may impart knowledge of the pain of bullet wounds and insight into the fears and mindset of defenseless targets during a shooting, the experience does not translate into knowledge of gun policy or concealed carry.

Colin, you weren’t shot because of “weak gun laws;” you were shot because a deranged psychopath wanted to secure a place in the history books by murdering innocent people.  You were shot because crime cannot be regulated out of existence.  Administrative fiat means nothing to a criminal.  Lest you forget, guns were banned–and still are–within Virginia Tech’s boundaries.  If rules and legislation stopped crime, then your injuries would not have been possible.

The truth, Colin, is that to Paul Helmke you’re just another victim to parade across our national stage.  The Brady Campaign likes sharing your story because the emotional appeal lends credibility to anti-gun policies unsupported by the facts.  Paul Helmke stokes fear, then promises his legislation–just one more ban … one more restriction–will end crime in our nation.  It hasn’t worked yet, and it never will precisely because laws only apply to those who choose to obey them.  If Paul Helmke had his way, the world would be a “gun-free” zone and we could all suffer equally under the tyranny of criminals.

While he and his organization may claim you are helping to block “ridiculous and dangerous proposals,” you’re really just institutionalizing victimization.  You’re assuring the status quo is maintained so future shooters will also be guaranteed zero resistance from their victims.  If these proposals were so dangerous, then why hasn’t there been a single “accidental discharge,” a single “gun theft, even an increase in threats at the schools that allow legal concealed carry?  Why would the student government at CSU vote 21-3 to maintain their right to self-defense?  Why would the CSU gun ban have to be mandated by an outside group that will never face the potential consequences of their decision?

Law-abiding citizens pose no threat to society.  One in a hundred goes armed every day, yet despite this overwhelming presence of firepower most of those weapons are only ever used on the range.  You are granted freedom of speech by our constitution, and can support any legislation you choose.  What I want to know is: what do you gain by stripping away another law-abiding citizen’s means of self-defense?


Erik Soderstrom

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