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 For survivors of school shootings in America, life is never the same

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For survivors of school shootings in America, life is never the same Empty
PostSubject: For survivors of school shootings in America, life is never the same   For survivors of school shootings in America, life is never the same Icon_minitimeSat Mar 24, 2018 2:12 am

I'm not really sure where to post this since it discusses all sorts of school related gun violence and is mainly inspired by recent Parkland related gun control activities but I'm doing it here because it has a few interesting bits that reference Columbine.

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Quote :
Samantha Haviland understands the waves of fear created by the attacks as well as anyone.

At 16, she survived the carnage at Columbine High, a seminal moment in the evolution of modern school shootings. Now 35, she is the director of counselling for Denver’s public school system and has spent almost her entire professional life treating traumatised kids. Yet, she’s never fully escaped the effects of what happened to her on that morning in Littleton, colourado. The nightmares, always of being chased, lingered for years. Even now, the images of children walking out of schools with their hands up is too much for her to bear.

On Saturday, some of Haviland’s students, born in the years after Columbine, will participate in the Denver March For Our Lives to protest school gun violence. In Washington, students from Parkland, Florida – still grieving the friends and classmates they lost last month – will lead a rally of as many as 500,000 people in the nation’s capital.

“They were born and raised in a society where mass shootings are a thing,” she said, recalling how much her community and schoolmates blamed themselves for the inexplicable attack by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. “These students are saying: ‘No, no – these things are happening because you all can’t figure it out.’ They’re angry, and I think that anger is appropriate. And I hope they don’t let us get away with it.”

Quote :
“We... have... GUNS!” Eric Harris exulted in a journal after listing each one he and Dylan Klebold had obtained, none more important to their plan than the Hi-Point 9mm Carbine rifle, with its 250 rounds of ammunition. It was November 1998, five months before the massacre at Columbine.

“I’m still waiting for a mass shooter who eschews 9mm pistols and instead buys an AK-47...” Adam Lanza declared on an online message board, describing a gun much like the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle in his home. It was January 2011, 23 months before the massacre at Sandy Hook.

“Arsenal,” Nikolas Cruz announced on Instagram along with an image of a bed strewn with firearms around his AR-15 rifle. It was July 2017, seven months before the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

A generation of school shooters aspire to kill just as many people as Harris, Klebold, Lanza and Cruz, but what sets them apart – and made them famous – are the extraordinarily deadly weapons they used. Our report found that the number of people who died in those three attacks accounted for 43 per cent of the total death toll in school shootings over the past 19 years.
(They didn't include attacks on colleges or universities, if you're wondering about that statistic.)

Quote :
One day in 2008, Samantha Haviland sat on the floor of a school library’s back room, the lights off, the door locked. Crouched all around her were teenagers, pretending that someone with a gun was trying to murder them.

No one there knew that Haviland, then a counsellor in her mid-twenties, had been at Columbine nine years earlier. On that day, 20 April 1999, she had been in the cafeteria, selling chips and soda from a food cart to raise money for the golf team. Haviland, always an overachiever, had taken second place at a tournament the day before and felt so good about it that she’d worn a blue dress and high-heeled clogs to school. As hundreds of kids ate their lunches, she and three friends talked about prom, which they’d attended the previous weekend.

Then two girls burst into the room. Someone had been shot, they screamed. Someone had a gun.

Haviland froze, but her friends grabbed her, and they fled into the back of an auditorium. Moments later, she heard four or five shots and an explosion. Everyone sprinted out as Haviland briefly paused to take off her shoes. Barefoot, she ran after them and into the hallway, and just as she reached one door, it closed in front of her. A teacher in another part of the building had pulled the fire alarm and, as she would later learn, it saved her life, because down that corridor, Harris and Klebold were slaughtering anyone they could find.

Afterwards, as the shock and grief solidified her plan to become a counsellor, Haviland didn’t get counselling herself. She didn’t deserve it, she thought, not when classmates had died or been maimed. Many others had suffered far more, Haviland decided. She would be OK.
But now there she was, a decade later, sitting in the darkness, practising once again to escape what so many of her friends did not. Then she heard footsteps. Then, beneath the door, she saw the shadow of an administrator who was checking the locks. Then her chest began to throb, and her body began to quake and, suddenly, Haviland knew she wouldn’t be OK.


Haviland thinks a lot about the thousands of children like Karson who, she contends, America has done so little to protect since Columbine. Many of Haviland’s former classmates have found success and happiness, but others have tried to ease their pain with drugs and alcohol. Some have considered killing themselves.

One high school friend sent Haviland a message online a few weeks ago, saying that, since the Las Vegas slaughter this past October, she’d been so stricken with anxiety she could barely leave her house.

A decade ago, after Haviland’s panic attack in the library, she finally got therapy and has come a long way since. She goes to movies and malls and political rallies. She has so often told her story – of hearing the shots, taking off her shoes, sprinting barefoot through the hallways – that telling it again doesn’t wreck her anymore.
She knows, though, that the trauma remains.

Three years ago, someone accidentally pressed a panic button in the school where she was working, signalling to police that a shooter was in the building. Haviland wasn’t there at the time, but she pulled up in her car just as the officers did. Then, in front of her, she saw students streaming outside, their hands in the air.

She began to sob.

Now to get to my complaint. Evil or Very Mad

I don't understand this part.
Quote :
Although Nikolas Cruz showed signs of psychological problems before he allegedly killed 17 people, researchers have consistently concluded that they seldom play a role in shootings or violence of any kind.
It seems particularly shady to me because they are saying that mental health rarely has anything to do with shootings or any other forms of violence so that they can focus all of the attention on gun control. They don't discuss how they determined whether mental illness played a role in any of the school shootings at the conclusion of the article and they also include this quote from Peter Langman.
Quote :
The dearth of government-produced data is particularly frustrating for Peter Langman, a psychologist who analyses school shooters.

“To me,” he says, “it doesn’t make any sense that whole realms of research are not possible.”
So, if the psychologist who actually studies school shootings is saying that the information on school shooters is just not available then where are they drawing their conclusions from?

I'm assuming that it's from people like this.
Quote :
“Framing the conversation about gun violence in the context of mental illness does a disservice to the victims of violence and unfairly stigmatises the many others with mental illness,” Jessica Henderson Daniel, president of the American Psychological Association, said in a statement. “More important, it does not direct us to appropriate solutions to this public health crisis.”
The entire article seems to be about school shootings but this quote discusses "gun violence."

Here's a nice little article that makes the same argument but uses information from Peter Langman to explain that mental illness does matter in the majority of school shootings.
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Quote :
“Everyday” shootings are different from mass shootings. As the name suggests, this type of shooting occurs every day. “Everyday” shootings often involve gang violence, robbery or theft, domestic disputes, other violent crime, or substance abuse. Mental illness plays almost no role in the perpetration of “everyday” gun crime (e.g. Monahan & Arnold, 1996). The conflation of mass shootings and “everyday” shootings is problematic because it masks the differences in underlying causes and factors between the two types of gun crime. Mass shootings and “everyday” shootings are committed by different types of people for different reasons. When discussing the role of mental illness in gun crime, therefore, it is crucial to specify which type of crime is at play.

In his seminal work, Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters, psychologist Peter Langman discusses the psychological factors involved in school shootings. He offers evidence that individuals who commit mass shootings tend to suffer from mental health issues. First, he notes that depression is highly prevalent among school shooters. Of the ten school shooters he analyzes in the book, nine suffered from depression. These shooters felt like failures in their lives and envied their peers who were happier and more successful than they were.

This envy gradually become anger and rage, which gradually turned to homicidal ideation. Furthermore, many of the shooters Langman analyzes experienced suicidal ideation in addition to homicidal ideation, and some of those who experienced suicidal ideation did in fact kill themselves after the mass shooting. In most of these cases, the suicidal ideation preceded the homicidal ideation. Much scholarly research supports the findings presented in Langman’s book.
The point is that while most gun crime is not related to mental illness, mass shootings certainly are. We can't pretend that anyone genuinely cares about the majority of gun violence. The current national conversation about gun control is really about preventing mass school shootings and we all know that it is an emotional reaction to seeing 17 more people killed at one school by a mentally ill teenager. It's disingenuous to present the information in this way and to downplay the role of mental illness in the context of mass shootings just because gang violence and other sorts of gun violence aren't primarily mental health issues.

And if we go back to their own analysis and trust that 43% of the deaths (which include 56 students and teachers, 3 shooter suicides and one mother shot in her own bed) in all "school shootings" over the past two decades were committed by four mentally ill young men then maybe we should try to get real here about how mental illness relates to mass shootings.
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