Va shooter news live perspective

Why We Made The Decision To Post The VA Gunman’s Perspective Video


When I published the article about the events of this morning in VA, one of the first comments on the Facebook post mentioned that the gunman had taken his own video of the shooting and uploaded it to YouTube. I sat there reading the comment again and said to myself, “There’s no way. Why would he do that? It takes the twisted nature of the crime to a whole other level.”

Sure enough, the video was real. I watched it, and it brought tears to my eyes.

But why did I make the decision to post the gunman’s video? We usually steer clear from these things and don’t give them publicity. For example, we never publish the name or image of the gunman. We don’t feel it necessary to have anyone know their name or what they look like. It’s irrelevant and useless information. But to post a video, taken by the gunman himself? Surly I’ve crossed a line now, as many have stated.

I disagree.

Many people on Concealed Nation don’t carry firearms. They’re still on the fence, or have simply been dragging their feet with obtaining their permit. They’re still gathering information, or a part of them still believes they are immune to violence.

Why did I post the video? Because that video is absolute reality, and it shows the dangers out in the world that anyone could face at any time. Anyone who viewed the video was witness to the incredibly harsh side of life, the unfair side. You literally watch as three people go about their daily lives, not knowing what is about to happen. They woke up that morning and were not in fear of their lives.

If someone watches that video and doesn’t think “What could they have done to stop this, or even lessen it’s devastation?”, I’d say watch it again. The patience that the gunman shows is unbearable to watch, and we just want him to change his mind and walk away. Or we want one of the three people in frame to notice his firearm pointed in their direction and make a quick action to try and stop him. Cameraman, please swing that huge camera to your left as quickly and as hard as you possibly can, right into the bad guy. Maybe it’ll knock his firearm away from him. Maybe you’ll have a fighting chance.

I say this with reservation, but the video is an opportunity to open people’s eyes to the importance of knowing what is happening around them. Situational awareness is an important factor of survival. It’s hard to type the word ‘opportunity’ in this context but if things aren’t addressed as they happen, people forget and move on. The impact is no longer there. It’s no longer the absolute reality that it was when the world was talking about it.


When I said I teared up while watching it, I actually did. It was an entirely different perspective when it comes to watching the violence that’s played on the news. It makes it incredibly real, and it’s a wake-up call even for this blogger who dedicates his life to concealed carry topics and discussing why people should arm themselves. Evil is out there. Lives end in an instant.

All you have to do is cross paths with the wrong person.

This is real. This is life. While the chances of something like this happening to anyone are incredibly slim, it happened to these three people. If posting the gunman’s video gets one person to say “Wow, that really opened my eyes and I now want to have the ability to defend myself if something like that happens to me” or “I am going to make an honest effort to scan my surroundings for threats”, it’s a successful post.

I want people to be prepared, not paranoid. I want people to pay attention to the things going on around them instead of burying their heads in their phones. I don’t want people to be victims. I want people to go out and get their concealed carry permits after watching this video. I want people to carry if they already don’t. Would it have made a difference in this case? That’s pure speculation.

But dammit, it wouldn’t have been a negative thing for one of them to be armed.

**After posting this article, a close friend of mine sent me the following message:

I watched the videos that you posted, both the live news broadcast and the gunman’s. It made me sick to my stomach, gave me chills, and teary eyed as well. I don’t disagree with your decision to post it. It forces the reality of this tragedy on anyone who dares view the video, either of the them really. His own video is like nothing I’ve ever seen…it’s the first video that I can recall, that actually frightens me, to the core. It’s sick, as I’m sure he was. You know I’ve always second guessed and disagreed with some of your views on full carry…I’m not saying it would have made a difference in this instance, but I completely agree with you that it wouldn’t have hurt. I was on the fence until now. Time to start filling out some paper work and get shopping.

And this is why we made the decision to publish the video.

Categories: General
About Brandon Curtis | View all posts by Brandon Curtis

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady…

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Glock 27 that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in an Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 holster.

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  • Imjingo

    Just last week situational awareness I believe played a huge role in saving lives on the train from Paris to Amsterdam. This time two people were killed and the lack of situational awareness before the shooting is glaringly obvious when you watch this video.
    At the very least pay attention to what’s happening around you. It never hurts to have a concealed carry as a back up when the SHTF.

    I support you posting the video thanks.

  • Stephanie Youngblood

    In my late 20′ and early 30’s, I was a news photographer. This was my chosen career, my first career out of college. I was 24 when I did my first live shot. I was Alison’s age. I LOVED being a photog. I was good at it. I also felt for a time that I was 10ft tall and bulletproof. Bulletproof. I didn’t have a clue. I donned my first bulletproof vest at 25. I still didn’t have a clue. By the time I was 30, I felt that EVERY crew should have bulletproof vests as standard issued gear. I personally know THREE journalists who have been shot at, one of those was actually shot.

    I have a unique filter for graphic video. (I’ve seen worse.) That said, I have no problem with your posting it. Your motive is key… Not to sensationalize. I knew it existed. I didn’t look for it. When you posted it, it showed in my Facebook feed. I clicked through the warning and watched. The calmness of the shooter is what truly struck me. I’ve been the photog in that live shot. I’ve worked with that reporter. I cried for them.

    Carrying on this day, likely would not have saved them. Being more aware of their surroundings, at an innocuous, 6am live shot would not have saved them. This is a senseless, cowardly crime. This shooter knew their blind spot. He knew from experience EXACTLY where to stand. He stalked his prey. They didn’t stand a chance. The ONLY thing that could have saved them is another person, watching.

    Since leaving the news business and witnessing the changes in our society and our world, I have received a good deal of firearms training. I will continue to practice and learn. All of that said, you won’t often find my far from my firearm.

  • Bob Keck

    You did the right thing. People always need to be aware of their surroundings…

  • Brandon I applaud you for your decision to post both videos. I saw them both for the first time on this site, and I shared the same visceral tearful and angry reaction. I was horrified at the eternity that passed while he had his unsupsecting victims at close range gunpoint. Horrified at the seeming randomness and the speed of the violence. Angry at someone or something for “allowing” this deranged violence to occur yet powerless to understand how it could have been prevented.

    These videos are truth. They are a true vision of the horrifying lethality of wolves preying on sheep. It happens hundreds of times each day but rarely does it happen under the live glare of the media.

    I think we all agree both sides of our gun debaters are already turning this tragedy into a chit in their Big Game. It’s going to be a circus with no truth in sight.

    So Brandon, I’ll keep coming here for the real truth, confident that all of us in the Concealed Nation community will serve the truth properly.

    Brian McRae
    Owner and CHL Instructor

  • Nigel Jones

    Are you actually serious? In what way would any of the victim’s carrying a weapon of helped in this situation? Don’t use this video to pull people to your website for your gun friendly advertising stream. How about this for a thought… If guns were banned then this tragedy would never have happened. How controversial……. Tell me another country where this would have happened. Australia? No. England? No. Your kidding yourselfs, wake up and grow up.

    • Nigel Jones

      How long will it take for this comment to be deleted I wonder?

      • dragos111

        Not deleted as far as I can tell. You asked a good question.

        The jist of the article, however, was not just about carrying. It was about being aware of what was around you. Perhaps nothing could have been done. The bad guy did have the drop on them.

        What if someone had actually noticed him in time? If nobody could have responded, the same results would have occurred. But, if someone were carrying and there was sufficient warning, things might have been different.

        • Nigel Jones

          For this I do agree with you, In this day and age people need to constantly be aware of their surroundings. Everybody carrying a gun though will not solve the problem. What if ‘paranoid jimmy’ freaks out one day by mistake and shoots ‘innocent john’ because he thought he was acting suspiciously. People who’s role it is (Police officers, security guards) should have that ability to act when necessary, not every single man and his dog. Where does it end? Stage 1 – Everybody has a gun. Stage 2 – Everybody get’s bigger guns. Stage 3 – …..This argument is no different to the cold war. ‘Oh, I need theses nuclear weapons to defend myself from you.’ ‘Well, I need even more nuclear weapons just in case you decide to use yours…..’

  • dragos111

    Has anyone asked the question? Were they in a “gun free zone”?

  • Nonpartisan

    I can’t believe he had the gun out like that and none of them noticed him! I mean these people didn’t get along and certainly weren’t friends how they could not notice him never mind the fact he had a gun is damn bizarre. Makes me sick yay someone could do such a thing to another human being.

  • Frustrated

    I live only 5 minutes from where this took place, and to answer the question below no, this is not a gun free zone. This area is a cluster of small local businesses that were not yet open at the time it all went down which makes it even stranger to me that he was not noticed. However, I have no doubt in my mind, knowing the community that I live in, that had this happened 2 hours later in the day things would have played out a little bit different for the gunman. Not to say that the situation would have or could have been prevented, but he would have had a much more difficult time making it to his car and out of the parking lot.

    As for the idiot who posted that if guns were banned this never would have happened, you need to wake the [email protected]< up. This man just killed 2 people, do you really think he cares if it is legal or not to own a firearm? If he had not have had a gun it would have been some other weapon used. Flash back to the murder of a Virginia Tech student who was decapitated on campus in a cafeteria by another student with a sword.

    Taking guns out of the hands of law I using citizens will only drive crime up and the statistics are there to prove it. Do your research cupcake.

    • Nigel Jones

      I hear what you’re saying, but it makes no sense. Are you saying it is pure coincidence that the USA has one of the highest gun crime figures in the world while it allows almost anybody to carry? I wonder why you don’t hear of many shootings in Europe or Oceania, where guns are almost entirely outlawed? Hmmm strange huh!? I agree that the killer may have used another weapon if he hadn’t had a gun, but nothing is as quick and easy to kill with as a gun… Plus if the USA wasn’t over run with ‘Legal’ guns then the probable chances of him having a gun is dramatically reduced. Try thinking further afar than just your own country. Idiot.

      • Nigel Jones

        Oh and here’s some figures for you seeing as you love your ‘research’. In 2011 in the US there were 8775 murders by gun. In 2011 in the UK there were 58 murders by gun. In 2012 in the US there were 8855 murders by gun. In 2012 in the UK there were 30 murders by gun. The UK is 1/5 the size of the USA… Do the math.

      • Ronald J.wobschall Jr.

        The reason you don’t hear about other countries is that they regulate there own media. You hear what they as a country want you to hear. If it’s working so great for them! Why are they not sing high praises all over about it? Why because it didn’t work it only made things worst in other area?

        • Nigel Jones

          I’ve read your comment five times, it still doesn’t make sense. What, so thousands of gun murders are happening in England but the media are covering it up?? Surely somebody would see something!? And what other ‘area’ has it been made worse in? Scotland? I think you need to go back to school for a year, maybe three. The only thing I can gather from your post is this….. If I am not a rapist, I should go along every day singing ‘I’m not a rapist!’ What really makes my mind boggle is that YOU probably own a gun… You as an individual single handedly prove my point.