Allow me to report on my personal experience with a mass shooting. Thurston High School, May 21, 1998. I can tell you that every single point you made in this post has touched me personally. Here you are:

Impact on Survivors: The young woman who works in our yard (when she can) was in the cafeteria the morning Kinkle brought his .22 rifle to school, along with two handguns. She has lost two classmates to suicide, and she struggles to this day with the impacts of that shooting. A dear friend's younger sister was in the cafeteria that morning. She still lives at home with her toxic parents, unable to leave her "home". A co-workers child who was shot in the head, but survived. She does live independently with a great deal of help from her parents. (Please note: Had the weapon been an AR-15, she would have had her head blown up.)

Impact on survivors parents: My co-worker had flashbacks and he and his wife are still in long term therapy. My friend's parents have their daughter living with them, they are afraid to let her move out. They are not healthy people.

Impact on the helpers. I'm a retired county cop. My friends at Springfield PD who responded to this have had a great deal of ongoing trauma; two of them left law enforcement shortly after this shooting, and I don't know them well enough to know why. Two of my closest friends in our agency were the detectives assigned to the patricide. Kinkle killed both of his parents, booby trapped the house with home-made bombs. While both of them had successful careers after that (one retired as a captain, the other retired after 25 years as a patrol cop. They were horribly impacted by that. My knowledge of the impact on the EMS/Fire responders does not extend past the initial debriefings that we did of that event.

Impact on the greater community: I cannot speak to details here; I do know that this event has had a huge impact on the community, and does to this day. I recently played a concert at Thurston HS, my community band playing with the high school band. One of our ensemble members (new to the area) said "This is the school where the shooting happened??" Even as a recent transplant from the east coast, they knew about the shooting.

Personal note: I was not on duty that day. I was a brand new member of our peer support team. The first debriefings I ever did were following this event. Let me just say that was a heck of an event to cut my teeth on. Peer support was new to the area, and we did not do as well as we would do today, but we did do some good.

I will never forget.

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May 23, 2023Liked by Katelyn Jetelina

Thank you for writing about this. It is a reverberating tragedy. Recently, the NY Times Magazine did an essay on the impact on investigators. It too is worth the read: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/20/magazine/sandy-hook-mass-shooting-scenes.html

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I am a war veteran going back to Vietnam. My son is a 23-year career army veteran; 3 theaters that I know about.

My Daughter-in-law teaches the 4th grade. There are two grandkids, ages 10 and 8. The 10-year old takes the bus to a school for "very highly capable" kids. That place is a fortress; when I came to deliver granddaughter's birthday pizza for the entire class, I was scrutinized and challenged as soon as I pulled into the parking area.

The Daughter-in-law teaches in the same school as the 8 year old attends. Sizable campus, main building locked, with a day-time armed guard. But... There are several stand-alone temporary buildings for some of the classes. Daughter-in-law is in one of them. Focused AR-15 rounds would demolish those walls.

All this, because of the deliberate mis-read of the second amendment, which is about communities being able to defend themselves in the early 19th century.

My approach would be

1. Focus on investment houses that have large chunks of stock in the weapons manufacturers; annual tax reviews to start.

2. Selective military purchasing from manufacturers that do NOT sell to the general public.

3. Make very public the names of Manufacturers that are mega-donors to political parties and candidates. Then vote for someone else.

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Thank your for this wide perspective on the impact of mass shootings. Are you aware of any research about or organizations that have responded well to this type of impact? I’m asking because I’m responsible for organizing care teams in our church. I want to be proactive rather than reactive if this is horror happens in our community.

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I was in a school shooting situation some 22 years ago. It wasn't well-reported, because the teen with the gun started shooting outside the building, in the rear, as the middle school students were being released at the end of the day in the front, and, thanks to the actions of our school resource officer, no one was injured. But because of the timing, we had to get all the kids back into the school quickly, with no organization; it was just a few months after Columbine, on the other side of the Denver metro area, and the response measures to school shootings were still being developed and put into place. School let out at 3:45, and it was determined that all students had to remain until a parent could either retrieve them or be contacted; cell phones weren't nearly so widespread then, and many students were still waiting for a parent to be contacted at 9:00 pm, when the administrators let the teachers leave.

There were a lot of things that were done correctly: our school resource officer saw the shooter, immediately called for back up, which arrived within a couple of minutes, during which he notified the school and kept the shooter behind the building, away from the students. Everything that could be done to ensure the safety of the students was done, and done well. But I still remember helping look for students throughout the school to reunite them with parents - some of whom walked home and were already too far away to bring back in when the alert was sounded, so we couldn't find them; I remember searching classrooms to be sure no one had gotten in who didn't belong (student and staff IDs became a district requirement the next school year), calling a list of parents and having to explain over and over what had happened, watching the TV news cover it, getting frantic calls on my classroom phone from parents who had students in one of my classes - many of whom I couldn't find, because the students had been sent to the nearest available room without any organization, as most had been outside the building when the shooting occurred...

I was invited to a play last month, one that focused a parent whose attitudes towards guns were changed significantly when her elementary-aged son was killed in a school shooting. I looked at the synopsis of the play, and it brought everything back, even this many years later. The effects may dull with time, but they do not go away.

Thank you for sharing this information. If it helps prevent even one shooting, it is valuable beyond measure.

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May 23, 2023·edited May 23, 2023

I am curious about whether there are studies into the collective impact on people who are far enough removed that we can't be considered "greater community" but who still feel this down to our very core.

I don't presume to be impacted the way a survivor, witness, parent, or community member would be. But I know that my brain changed on the day of the Sandy Hook shooting. At the time, my child was in first grade in another quiet suburban school in a similar type of community.

All I could think about was if that had happened in my child's sweet, quiet little elementary school -- so similar to Sandy Hook in so many ways.

I have thought about those students and families every single school day since that happened 11 years ago. I think about it every day when my kids board their buses and head off to school, and I watch the clock every day until they get home, grateful for every moment that passes uneventfully.

Is this a healthy mindset? No, not at all. But I know I am not the only one. It's very, very unhealthy, in fact. It's hard for me to concentrate on my work when my kids are at school. I am constantly tied to my phone and if it rings or pings, I stop breathing for a moment until I see who it is (or isn't). When I hear sirens in the distance, I listen to the online police scanner to make sure it's "just" a car accident or random thing and not something happening at the schools.

It's awful to live in this constant state of high anxiety, but this is the world we're in. I absolutely don't equate my effects and reactions with those of people who are much closer to these tragedies or who've experienced them firsthand, but they ARE real for the rest of us, too.

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Thank you for all of the supporting charts and information. Mass shootings, especially those in schools, completely astound me. Why? What do they accomplish? What did a little child or a helpless person do to deserve that?

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Thank you for emphasizing the extent of the true impact: for a deadly count of ONE, how many are truly affected and for how long is a question that is rarely addressed.

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You are right that the deaths at Uvalde were preventable. If security procedures were followed, the gunman would never have entered the school through an unlocked door. The exterior doors were all supposed to be locked from the inside to prevent intruders. One was left open, and the gunman entered that door. Then there was the inexplicable long police delay in entering the building after the shooting started. When police finally did enter the building they found the door to the classroom was locked from the inside, and had to search for a custodian to get the key to open it. That caused another delay. The lesson is to give keys to interior doors to teachers and school administrators, so if an interior door gets locked they can get it unlocked without depending on just one custodian. But was that lesson learned?

A lesson was learned on 9-11. That lesson was to have very secure locked doors to the cockpit of airliners to prevent hijackings. Now we have those very secure doors. Hijackers taking control of an airliner and crashing it had been anticipated, but nothing was done to prevent it until after 9-11 happened. I also read that in the year before 9-11 airline crews were prevented from carrying guns on planes. After 9-11 specialized undercover government security men started carrying guns on airliners.

Parents at Uvalde evaded the police, entered the building and got children out before the police entered the building. I'm wondering if that school room had windows. If it did, then the police should have shot the gunman through the windows. But never read that police even went to any windows to search for the gunman or enter the school that way. Was it a classroom with no windows and just one locked entry door?

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May 23, 2023·edited May 23, 2023

Makes sense that it would be traumatic and have a long-term effect. I expect this is the case for most survivors of any kind of extreme violent crime, though no doubt worse when children are involved. What is the historic trajectory of mass shootings and if indeed they became more prevalent, as it seems, rather than just more reported, when did that shift start and what set that shift in motion? Is there a direct connection between gun ownership and that trajectory or are other factors more closely correlated?

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It’s so important to recognize the greater impact shootings have and how the devastation ripples through the community and beyond.

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Thank you for continuing to talk about the impact of gun violence, and the toll it takes on the survivors. At this point, due to the seeming ubiquity of mass shootings in this country, we are all holding our collective breath waiting for the next one, worried about our kids and grandkids and hoping they and we will be spared direct impact of such a horrifying act.

Why do we as a country continue to allow these weapons of war to remain in the hands of civilians under the guise of an incorrectly perceived “right?” Why are gun manufacturers not legally held to account for the deaths from these weapons as cigarette producers have been from their products?

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Thank you for addressing the ripple effects. The overall, as well as the longterm well-being of humans continues to be casually disregarded in the general discourse over gun safety.

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Very sad. They other night we heard what sounded like 2 gun shots. The comment was only 2 people were shot - no big deal. This is America.

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Thank you for affirming what I have been feeling.

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May 25, 2023·edited May 25, 2023

Thank you for this analysis.

Regretfully, I fear the people that most need to read this will never do, and continue to ignore the profound ripples caused on survivors that you rightfully identify, attributing our stance to being "liberal snowflakes controlled by Soros", not realizing the powerful hold the marketing department of gun industry has on their mind.

I still believe one day we will finally come together on this. Until then, we will continue to spread the word and vote accordingly.

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