Virginia Tech massacre anniversary

About 40 Durham community members gathered in front of the Chapel at noon Wednesday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre and protest easy access to guns across the nation. Dressed in full black and wearing orange and maroon ribbons, the protestors-mostly middle-aged women-staged a silent lie-in for three minutes to signify the small amount of time it takes for someone to purchase a gun. The demonstration was part of a nation-wide event observed by at least 80 colleges in 33 states around the country, including four other schools in North Carolina.

"We've gathered today to realize the fragility of life, to realize the cost to God and to realize how precious is the gift of love."

  • Rev. Sam Wells, dean of the Chapel

"This is a year after Virginia Tech, and we wanted to show our solidarity and compassion with not only that campus but all that is occurring throughout the nation."

  • Rev. Mark Rutledge, Westminster Fellowship Campus minister

"[Guns] are a legal consumer product. What happened on the Virginia Tech campus really happens on a regular basis in Durham.... Think about if this was a pathogen or polluted water and every other month a child dies. This community, I believe, would take immediate action. People in Durham who are dying are oftentimes African American. Is it because these are invisible people to us? It really doesn't add up that we are not responding with the kind of urgency or clarity of purpose that we would if it were some other source."

  • Marcia Owen, Trinity '78 and the outreach coordinator for Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham

"It was mostly a remembrance honoring the people who were killed. It was also to protest easy access to guns. You or I could go to any gun shop and buy a gun in three to five minutes and do whatever damage we want.... We're all confused about what the Second Amendment means, but I don't think it means you and I can go out and buy a gun."

  • Rev. Jeanette Stokes, executive director of Durham's Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South

"I just think we need to put these things in front of our consciousness. It shouldn't be this way."

  • Rev. Ron Moss, retired from United Methodist Campus Ministry at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

"I agree strongly with the fact that guns are too easy to get and young kids and teenagers are getting guns.... I also believe in the ripple effect. I don't think guns should be completely illegal, but I think they should be harder to get."

  • Melissa Bent, Duke affiliate

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