GILES, Va. - The mass killing on school property Wednesday stirred up emotions across the country as well as in the region.
The Florida shootings were the third deadliest in American history. The deadliest on record happened in the New River Valley. Here at home, Wednesday's shooting brings up painful memories. It was only a little more than a decade ago 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech.
Among the lives tragically taken was Jarrett Lane of Giles County. Jarrett was the Narrows High School valedictorian and was a senior Civil Engineering major at Virginia Tech when he was killed on April 16, 2007. He was only a few weeks away from graduation.
Watching another mass school shooting unfold on TV certainly stirred up a lot of emotions for Jarrett’s mother Tracey Lane of Narrows.
"Within these 10 years of Virginia Tech, that nothing has been done. That is the hardest thing to get past, or to deal with. The families that were affected from Virginia Tech thought for sure when their child was taken, that things would get done,” Lane said.
Lane said these tragedies have become a new normal in society, something she said she never would have expected after losing her son during the terrible tragedy in Blacksburg 10 years ago.
She said the hardest part about grieving her son's death today is knowing not much has changed and innocent lives are still being taken.
"When is the time going to be? How many more of these shootings do we have to have for people to want to actually do something? Now is the time. We can't wait. They are happening more and more frequently, to a point where people get numb,” Lane said.
With tragedies mounting, 18 this year and over 300 since Sandy Hook, Lane said it is important to stand up and be heard. She said she is angry and frustrated at the loss of life that continues to be unnecessarily taken.
"I would think that the American people would be mortified that it is only February and that we have had this many shootings. If you add up all of the lives that were lost, all the families that were affected and all of the communities, we need to be ashamed in this country.”
Less talk, more action. Lane said it’s time for legislators on both sides of the aisle to make a compromise to make a meaningful change. Lane said she supports the second amendment and the right to gun ownership, but that it is also too easy to buy a gun, especially automatic rifles like the ones used in many of these mass shootings and the ones used to kill her son.
“Many of my family members are hunters and have guns. Jarrett was a hunter and used guns, but what does anybody need with an automatic rifle?" Lane said. “They are great for gun collections, but that is about it.” She said she believes gun regulations and requirements for gun owners need to be tightened. She says the issue isn’t black and white, however, and that it has a multi-faceted approach, including addressing mental health issues. Lane said enough isn’t being done to provide mental health resources to children and adults.
As for the families of those recently killed in the shootings, she said she understands their pain and the “hell they are walking through.” She spoke about the frustration and grief that goes along with that loss, but says her community helped her through it along with her faith in God.
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