Kim Kizyma
Graphic Designer + Creative Technologist

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Blog Posts and Ideas by Kim Kizyma

A club they didn’t want to join

Yesterday on Facebook, Everytown posted a link to an article that I found extremely chilling yet informative. It’s about school shootings and the survivors. The images show the reality of the all too often situations we’ve become used to as a nation. View the article in full here.

Americans have short memories. But here we are in an election year. The same year in which a former student murdered 17 of his classmates in Parkland, Florida — and another student killed ten in Texas. In which at least 75 other shootings in schools barely made the news and then slipped right out of it (which often happens when victims are people of color).

It’s stunning to think that these shootings — these attacks on children — aren’t being talked about constantly.

One of the first recorded American school shootings took place in 1840.

But the first high-school shooting that truly lodged itself in our consciousness was Columbine, in 1999, when two students wearing trench coats fatally shot 13 of their classmates. It took 45 minutes for a SWAT team to go in. As the AP would note, those officers “had never trained for what they found: No hostages. No demands. Just killing.” Now students have so many drills that some Parkland victims thought, This must be fake.

There have been more mass school-shooting deaths in the past 18 years than in all of the 20th century. The long list of casualties includes a classroom full of first-graders, an event that shocked the nation — but not enough. Deadlier weapons have become more available, bullets can be ordered online.

So why don’t we talk about this all the time? Partly because it scares us. And partly because the problem can seem so intractable, even as polls show majority support for measures that could curb the violence.

In the midst of this amnesia, we wanted to conduct an exercise in remembrance, seeking out the survivors of school ­shootings from as far back as we could find them. What, we wondered, could their memories teach us about our inattention? The people whose bodies — in many cases — won’t let them forget.

The above video is such a well produced piece of education for everyone to watch. It’s extremely sad to watch, but important. These survivors are so strong for sharing their horrific life-changing and traumatic experiences with the public.

I mean think about it. These are real people who have lived through these horrendous experiences and are willing to share their stories. They’re trying to help others. One of the saddest portions of this to me was the story about the girl who got shot and kept apologizing to another student for her blood dripping on her clothes.

These victims and survivors can never truly move on with their life. Things will always trigger them and take them back to the horror. Lots of the people interviewed in the video are dealing with substantial flashbacks and other post-traumatic stressors. Some still have the bullets themselves inside their bodies. How could they ever move on?

“We’re part of a club that we didn’t want to join.”

kk