After the tragedy of yesterday’s massacre at Virginia Tech, the knit-related news I had planned to post about today seems trivial and inconsequential. I’m sitting here with my boys, one who’s home sick and the other playing at my feet, feeling comfort in knowing they’re close and safe. I can’t fathom what the parents of the 30+ adult-children murdered, must be going through right now. I just can’t imagine.

If any fans out there are friends or family members of the students or professors who were injured or killed in this inexplicable act of violence, please, please let me know if there’s anything that I can do to help you through this awful time–put together a charity auction to aid in funeral costs, personally visit or call hospitals or homes, anything. Contact: rebecca@vickiehowell.com , and she’ll get any necessary info to me.

I usually keep my very strong political opinions off of this forum but today, I ask us as a country to please re-examine our current gun laws. In the state of Virgina, it is currently legal to carry concealed guns, guns need not be registered with law enforcement, a permit is not required to purchase a gun, there isn’t a waiting period and, there is zero background checking required for “private”(gun shows, swap meets, etc.) gun sales . I know this information wont bring any of the victims in this case back but I have to hope as a parent and activist, that we can help prevent more events of this record-breaking magnitude from occurring in thing future.

My thoughts and love are with you all.


22 Responses to “Virginia”

  1. PA

    While the “right to bear arms” is written in our constitution, I can’t think for one minute this (Virginia Tech tragedy) is a right our forefathers were protecting.
    I am standing in solidarity with you to demand stricter gun laws for the whole nation.

  2. Cheryl G.

    Although I do not know any of the known victims, I feel very close to this tragedy. I went to VA Tech as an undergraduate and I grew up about 1 hr away. I too agree that we need stricter gun laws. I hope this horrible horrible tragedy opens some lawmakers eyes.

  3. KP

    Dear Vickie,
    Just an FYI – the student was here on a student visa and would not have been able to obtain a gun legally, so even more stringent gun laws would not have prevented him getting his hands on one. Also, what if one of the responsible students had been legally carrying a concealed weapon? Maybe he/she could have used it to stop the shooter before he could murder all those other people. I know the first reaction when something awful like this happens is to think about more gun control, but there are so many ways to obtain guns illegally, that gun laws mostly affect law-abiding citzens…

  4. Rachel

    We need stricter gun control laws in this country absolutely. I just can’t imagine what those families are going through, & I hope people start looking into gun laws more seriously now.

  5. SandraTee

    I work at one of the hospitals where several of the most severely injured were sent…..still hard to believe it happened. Knitting has kept me from crying constantly today….

  6. DebbieKnitter

    Dear Vicki,

    While I know my post will not show publicly. I know that you will be able to read it. I want to thank you for posting this. It helps to know that people everywhere do indeed care what happens. I also prefer to keep my political opinions out of topics. My father used to say there were 2 topics he never discussed with friends, one religion, two politics…..it took me years to understand why, now I do. I too pray that there will be a re-vamp in the current gun laws. I also hope that there will be some sort of peace and some good somewhere that will come out of this. The people involved in this will suffer in many ways for years to come and knowing that people really do care, helps. Thank you again for reaching out to your audience here. P.s. I do hope your little beanie gets well soon, its so very hard when children are ill, give him extra cuddles 🙂

  7. Dave

    It amazes me that people believe that if other kids or professors in the building had concealed handguns that it would have prevented a gun death. Throwing acid on an acid spill or more fuel on a fire never prevents or cancels out the event. Just as adding more guns to an unstable gun situation would not have prevented a gun death of any kind from accruing yesterday. The only way to completely prevent gun deaths is to remove them from the equation all together. Guns make a sadistic action easy and quick for someone with an unstable mind. The number of strangulation and other violent acts of murder are microscopic in comparison to gun related because of how easy and fast a gun makes the action possible. Removing the variable from the environment is the only way to make a difference. Why should it be legal for people to own devices specifically designed for the action of taking life.

    The right to bare arms is specifically written for militias in upholding the government should it become tyrannical in nature and go against its own people. And nowhere does it say “firearms”.


  8. Vickie Howell

    Sandratee–OMG, you must be so emotionally drained. I’m so, so sorry. I can’t imagine what you’ve had to witness today. Is there anything I can do for you or anyone else you work with? Would you mind e-mailing Rebecca you address?


  9. Anonymous

    KP is misinformed. The student was not here on a student visa. He came to the US when he was 8 years old and was a legal resident alien and therefore under VA law LEGALLY obtained the weapon he used to kill 32 innocent people. This is why there needs to be much stricter gun laws in place.

  10. susan b.


    Just want to thank you very much for your post. I agree with you completely–I’m so sad about the lives lost, and my heart goes out to all the friends and family grieving today.

  11. annette

    I think that even if we aren’t connected to Vtech physically, we are emotionally for what these people went through.

    One of my online friends goes there, and I have known him thru a computer forum since he was 16. He is doing fine, but says the campus seems very surreal.

    It hit me hard as my 19 year old niece attends our state university that is in our community. I am here only family member here in southern Illinois. Just the thought of something happening to her is devastating.

    All university campuses are a bit shaken up by this. She said she felt terrible all day.

    When I see her in 2 days I am going to give her a big hug, and show her what I knitted.


  12. Michalgut

    It just breaks my heart to see something like this happen. My thoughts and prayers are with all the families. Let us know if there is anything WE can do as well, please, Vickie!

  13. Sonia

    Thank you so much for your post. We had just moved from Virginia( where I raised my children)to Wisconsin in January.My eighteen old has many friends that go to Virginia Tech and of course I have friends who children go there as well. Most of those we know so far are safe, we still wait to hear if others are safe,because that’s all we can do is pray for right now because we know they are not alright( so many parents are just trying to get their kids home). I keep trying to think of what we can do for them. I knit and pray today as I watch the news for an idea to come to me, for what can I do for them. Please let us know if you know of something we can do.
    sandratee- our family pray for you and your co-workers strength and healing.

  14. Catherine

    I hesitate to write this because I too try to keep my political views out of public forum.

    I would say that yes, Our country needs stricter gun laws. No doubt. Honestly, why does a regular average everyday Jane or Joe need a gun. Sure there are extreme circumstances but really what is the need for guns. The average American is not usually in a position to need a gun.

    The problem is this: No amount of legislation is going to make mass murders like this go away. It may stop the casual gun buyer from owning a gun. However a person who is truly determined and really really wants to own a gun for any reason…whether it is to commit harm or protection, will be able to get a gun. You don’t need legal channels for that. Legal channels are bypassed . If not a gun then it will be a bomb or some sort of poison. There is evil out there. How do we stop it?

    One of the real tragedies of this situation aside from the injured and the innocent murdered is that we may not know why any of this happened, because the killer killed himself. There will be no closure for the families of these victims. This affects, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents and future generations! This is horrible and I cannot write this without feeling a deep sense of loss for me. How will I ever feel comfortable sending my own children to school….at any age.

    What we need to do is figure out how to be better humans. We can make a case why everyone should have or not have a gun. Maybe if we made bullets cost $5,000.00 a piece we might think twice about premdiated murder!

    I could go on but I am fired up and furious for so many reasons. The unfortunate part is that there is always another side and our country is very empathetic, apologetic and sympathetic….

  15. Sonia

    I couldn’t sleep kept thinking about everyone in VA Tech and about what I could do to help. So I thought I would pass along what I’ve found and an idea I have. There is a “Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund established to remember and honor the victims.” It is to help with healing and generate support.You can go to http://www.vt.edu/tragedy/memorial-fund.php for more information.
    Also Friday | all day “Hokie Hope,” an alumni-led declaration of a national “Orange and Maroon Effect” day. You can also find more about this on http://www.vt.edu
    I’m thinking also about knitting prayer shawls. Of course I can’t knit 25,000 of them but I could start with knitting for those students I know who go there(my daughters could also knit some for their friends who go there). If you have ever received one or knitting one you know its like a great long hug(and of course these student can use a hug, especially now and when they start classes on Monday).I figure I could ask my knitting friends to knit some( they can knit for someone they know or they can knit one and donate them to a church or organization in Blacksburg,VA). Anyway I thought I would share some of these ideas to help. My prayers go out to everyone tonight.

  16. Angie


    It was a sad day to hear this tragic news all across the world. I can not imagine what the parents/family members of those who lost their lives are going through and the parents/family members of the survivors. I have 2 children of my own (7 and 2) and I pray for both of them each and every day. As I drop off my oldest at Elementary school I say a prayer that God will keep her safe.

    My heart goes out to the families, friends, and acquaintances of the victims and survivors. I pray that God will put their mind at ease knowing that those who lost their lives are in a better place.


  17. Anonymous

    I saw a rather poignant letter to the editor today (04/18/07) in the Los Angeles Times:

    “Apparently it is less trouble in some states to purchase a firearm than it is for me to buy a box of Sudafed. Something is drastically wrong here.”

    …I think that says it all.


  18. Theresa

    Hi Vickie,

    I just came across this and wanted to forward it along to whomever it may be of interes to:


    It’s a heartbreaking story about a 19-year-old girl, an avid knitter, who perished during the VA Tech tragedy. The purpose of the blog is to honor her memory by having participants knit up their fluffiest scarves for elderly persons. Recipients can be loved ones or charities, by the gift must be made in honor of this young girl.

    I just wanted to share it with anyone who might want to do something…anything…but wasn’t sure what.

  19. Roe

    Theresa, thank you so much for that link. I am one of those folks sitting here in NYC wanting to do something, anything, but not sure what.

    Being almost eight months pregnant with my first son as I watched the horror of Columbine unfold was the first time I felt a new kind of fear. Sadly, it’s a feeling that seems to find new ways of coming back. As a parent, I’m devastated for the parents who’ve experienced loss. This is the kind of thing that makes me want to lock up my kids and never let them out of my sight. I know that’s no answer and certainly not a reasonable way to live, so I guess I just have to keep trying to make my own little corner of the world better and hope it catches on. This knit-a-long seems to be another good place to reach out to. Thanks again.

  20. Emy

    Thank you, Vickie, for your thoughts. I grew up in VA and am very familiar with that area of the state, have friends and relatives who went to VT, and my boyfriend of 8 years also went there. It’s just…heartbreaking. Living in CA now I feel so helpless and far removed from the state of my birth, but reading your post helps me remember that we do live in a small world, that it is an interconnected web of existence. For this, I again thank you, and hope that you and your boys live long, safe, peaceful lives.

  21. katrynka

    I feel a need to comment on your “gun laws” idea. There is no need for more gun laws. The laws that we have in place need to be enforced properly. Those of us who are law abiding citizens do have the right to bear arms, and we do it in a safe and conscientious manner. I was devastated as well when the VA Tech tragedy occurred, who would not be? But this guy was nuts. If he had not been able to find guns, he would have found some other way to “share his pain” so to speak. I have the right to protect my home, and practice the shooting sports that I love, without laws made by people who do not even know how to use a gun. Thanks for listening.