BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — With so many people out and about celebrating the Fourth of July and other big events throughout the summer, Blacksburg residents weighed in on how they felt about being in large crowds of people.
According to the gun violence archive, in the last two months, there have been more than a dozen mass shootings throughout the nation.
On Monday, July 4 — just hours after a mass shooting in Illinois took six lives and sent dozens to the hospital — many people gathered at the Blacksburg Municipal Park to watch the fireworks show, eat food, and listen to live music.
WFXR News’ Kelsey Jean-Baptiste asked residents how they felt about being in large gatherings in light of recent events.
“Well, I would have said a different answer a month, month-and-a-half ago when school was in session. Definitely would have had some nerves,” said Maria Behnke.
Another woman who declined to go on camera echoed Behnke’s concerns, saying that she now feels severe anxiety when in large crowds.
However, other people felt different.
“It’s nice just to get out of the house for a little bit, it’s been a while,” said Idris Hawks.
“It feels actually good, I haven’t been out the house in a while, like near around a lot of people,” Nighla Miller, Hawks’ daughter, added.
Resident Abdulah Mastro Giovanni says when he goes outside, he doesn’t think about it.
“I don’t really mind as long as I am aware of my surroundings,” said Giovanni
He suggests that if you are one of those people feeling nervous about going out, be conscious of suspicious people.
“I guess just pay attention, just look out for random things that look kind of odd to you. I don’t really go to concerts or anything like that,” said Giovanni.
He adds that he is going to the Blacksburg fireworks, but he plans on taking his own advice when watching his surroundings.