Throughout the trial Andy Goddard’s thoughts were never far from his son. Sitting in the courtroom day in and day out, he continually thought, “How lucky I am, I have my son.” Thoughts of his son’s birth in Kenya and childhood in Bangladesh and Indonesia flooded back, particularly the concern that relatives had for Colin and the whole family’s safety. He remembered how family and relations worried and could not wait for his family to return to the safety of the United States.
As Andy listened to the defense witnesses run from the truth, he remembered April 16th vividly. He remembered wondering how Colin’s younger sister, Emma, would handle the news her brother had been shot and seriously wounded.
Emma is seven years younger than Colin and when they adopted her in Indonesia, Colin took to his new sister immediately. He helped feed and care for her from the time she was just a few days old. The bond between the two was solid in the very best sense of a brother-sister relationship. Emma idealized her older brother. Indeed, even after the shooting she would consider no other school than Virginia Tech because her brother had gone there.
Goddard also remembered sitting by his son’s bedside watching Colin bleed profusely from his open wounds. The doctors had not sewn his son’s wounds shut; they wanted him to bleed to help clear the debris. Andy remembered watching the nurses take away the bloody sheets as Colin bled; he remembered the tubes and the IVs giving his son life-saving liquids to help replace the fluids he was losing. Unlike Larry Hincker, Andy had no problem remembering every last detail. He remembered being told that his son’s femur had been shattered and that he would have a titanium rod in his leg. He remembered wondering if Colin would be able to walk without using a cane, or whether he would be able to play sports.
Andy could not forget reporters trying to sneak into the hospital to get photos of his son and other victims. He was especially repulsed by a female reporter who tried to sneak a camera into the hospital by saying she was carrying a pump to help breast feed her child. The bag she was carrying contained a camera. Another reporter tried to sneak in dressed as an emergency room nurse.
But even with all these details from that horrific day in 2007, there were some things Andy had no way of knowing. He had questions he could not answer. So he sat in the courtroom listening to testimony from officials and taking notes to answer the biggest most pressing question: Why? Why had officials failed to act to protect his son and the other students? And why had they allowed errors in the follow-up investigation to stand? (To be continued)