Documentary “Living for 32”: Virginia Tech’s Colin Goddard goes to Washington no longer a victim


Living for 32 ‘s 2010 Academy Shortlisted Documentary’s Colin Goddard goes to Washington to speak on closing the gun show loophole with Vice President Biden and other victims of gun violence. Colin’s focus is on common ground and answers to one of the toughest issues America faces. 

Director Kevin Breslin and Producer Maria Cuomo-Cole joined forces with Colin Goddard in 2010 to tell Colin’s story of his experience during the Virginia Tech Massacre. Today was a day to find common ground in Washington on gun control. I asked the filmmakers to share some of their thoughts/experiences on Living for 32 and working with Colin.  

“The time has come for a common ground. Colin Goddard is the voice we need.” Director Kevin Breslin 

Brown: How do you feel about Living for 32’s message now that Colin has become such an incredible voice in Washington ?

Blowtorch_Breslin_DirectorBreslin: It only helps create awareness and that is good, However, we have had 1000’s of murders from a coherent way to control guns being in the wrong hands. Colin does what is essential. He goes to work every day and discusses the issue. The film supports his efforts.

0-filmmaker-coleCuomo-Cole: The rise of Colin ‘s voice a national advocate for gun safety and expert on federal and state gun law policies is warranted. As a survivor of one of the most devastating episodes of gun violence in the United States, Colin courageously dedicated himself to strengthening gun laws in order to spare others the tragedy and suffering he and his family endured. His intent was pure and his actions, sincere.

Brown: What were your feelings on the set while filming..?

Breslin: I felt that Colin would emerge as a powerful voice. The irony is that he is listened to after people are murdered. A wonderful way to have to be understood. He is finally getting the NRA people to pay attention to his lobbying efforts at Brady.

Cuomo-Cole: While shooting, Colin’s story emerged to become a compelling , sensitive and intelligent case , imperative for the world to hear and see. He needed no prompting. The story was his own.

Brown: Is there anything you would like to add?

Breslin: Yes…politicians and lobbyists and gun manufacturers all have to sit together and come to an understanding that life is a remarkable thing and help eliminate all the murders in America. This is way more than a financial or 2nd amendment threat; it has to do with life and humanity

I am extremely proud of the formidable, effective young man Colin has grown to become. He will always have my support and partnership in the mission to implement legislation demanding safer national gun laws. The first time I heard Colin describe his personal experience and rational case for reform, I knew his story needed to be captured. He generously agreed for me to film him in order to share his story to promote change.



“The president is going to act. Executive orders, executive action, can be taken,” Biden spoke to reporters prior to meeting with survivors of mass shootings and their representation. “We haven’t decided what this is yet, but we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the Cabinet members.” Legislative action also is needed, Biden said.

Vice President Biden speaks during a meeting with victims groups and gun-safety organizations on Wednesday in Washington. Attorney General Eric Holder is at left. PHOTO Susan Walsh AP
PHOTO – Susan Walsh AP

“I’m convinced we can affect the well-being of millions of Americans, and take thousands of people out of harm’s way, if we act responsibly,” he said.

Left: Vice President Biden speaks during a meeting with victims groups and gun-safety organizations on Wednesday in Washington. Attorney General Eric Holder is at left. Colin Goddard to the left of AG Holder.

 Colin’s account of his experience during the Virginia Tech shooting.

The Young Turks report with Colin Goddard on CURRENT TV

Trailer: In 2010, Colin Goddard shared his story in Director Kevin Breslin’s documentary “Living for 32” produced by Maria Cuomo-Cole. The documentary was shortlisted for an Academy Award.

Living for 32 – Trailer from Living for 32 on Vimeo.


On a snowy, windy April day in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007, young Americans pursued a college education and their teachers engaged in providing it to them. Some of those students were attending Introductory German, Intermediate French, Advanced Hydrology Engineering, and Solid Mechanics classes in a building image (3)called Norris Hall.

Thirty-two of them died, 17 more were wounded, and six more were injured jumping out of windows. Their lives had collided with that of a tortured loner, whom a judge had written was “fundamentally ill and in need of hospitalization, and presents image (4)an eminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness,” or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for self.

One of those wounded was a 21-year-old senior International Studies major from Richmond, Virginia, named Colin Goddard. Goddard image (7)played a unique role in the horrific drama that played out at Virginia Tech University on that blustery April day: he was the only person within the building to call the police. Urged by his French professor to dial 911 as the crackle of gunfire came closer to the door of their classroom, Goddard made the call. Shot for the first time, image (10)he passed the phone to a classmate who gave the police enough information to get them to the scene three minutes later. Police got into the building, which had been barricaded, six minutes after that. For all the terrible damage that the killer did, the toll of lost lives might have been much higher if it were not for the 911 image (6)call started by Colin Goddard and continued by Emily Haas.

By the end of the ordeal, the killer had fired at him at three separate moments during the eleven-minute assault. Goddard had been shot four times. He heard the rescue workers walking through his classroom, living_for_32shouting ‚”red tag, black tag, black tag‚” a dire roster of the critical and the dead. He was later told he might not walk again, but fought his way through arduous physical therapy. And he grew a fire in his heart to do something about keeping dangerous people from having easy access to deadly weapons. The killer had two semiautomatic handguns, dozens of 10- and 15-round magazines, and 400 rounds of hollow-point ammunition.

After recovering and finishing his degree, Colin Goddard decided he was going to volunteer for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation’s largest gun control organization. And he was going to convince them to sponsor him in wearing a hidden camera and going undercover into gun shows all across America, to prove how easy it is for anyone to buy a gun, with no identification, no Brady background check, and just a wad of cash.

Living for 32 is his story. ( credit: )

CNN – Colin Goddard – VA Tech survivor on gun violence meeting

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