We Hear About Those that Died. What About Those That Lived?

We all know that 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentines Day. There were also 14 injured victims who survived.

This is Samantha Fuentes.


Samantha was in the classroom with Helena Ramsey and Nicholas Dworet when Nikolas Cruz shot at her and her classmates through a window. Samantha was shot in both legs and shrapnel flew into her face. Her friends Helena and Nicholas died. Samantha has a piece of shrapnel lodged behind her eye that would require a risky surgery to remove. For now it will remain in place as she sees specialists to determine next steps.

Anthony Borges was shot 5 times in the legs and back. He also survived. He remains hospitalized and has a long recovery ahead of him. His family set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of his medical care.

We talk a lot about the number of victims who die at the hand of gun violence, but what about those that live? What happens to them? Do you know what happened to any of the over 500 people injured in the Las Vegas shooting? Or the 20 injured in the Sutherland Springs Church shooting? No, we don’t talk about them. They lived; they’re the lucky ones.

Except if you read, “What I Saw Treating the Victims from Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns,” written by Florida radiologist Heather Sher and published in The Atlantic, you realize the gunshot survivors are not so lucky after all.

What are the long-term effects of surviving a mass shooting?  A study conducted by Fran Norris, PhD for the National Center for PTSD found that up to 36% of those who survive are diagnosed with PTSD while others suffer from subthreshold PTSD. And with each subsequent shooting, the fear and dread rises up all over again.

CNN has reported on survivors of previous shootings and the impact the shooting had on them. From one survivor who quit school because she couldn’t face going back, to another who developed an addiction to opiods, the impact can be devastating.

Yella Fella, just because 

I think it’s important that we focus not only on the dead but on those who survive as well.  Maybe if we get in touch with their pain, we will be willing to do the hard work to make ourselves and each other safe. Right now some of us fancy themselves heroes and are convinced they could have stopped a shooter with an AR-15 if only they were there with a gun on their hip.

30 thoughts on “We Hear About Those that Died. What About Those That Lived?

  1. I think this is the first time survivors have come forward this quickly, if at all. I read “The Atlantic” article too, and I’m surprised they are well enough to appear. I’m glad for all the honesty from these amazing students.

  2. I suspect this incident will be a critical moment in the never-ending gun debate. That so many survivors of the Florida school shooting are suddenly speaking out, along with the fact a number of companies are severing long-term relationships with the NRA, shows we FINALLY may have reached a breaking point.

    There is no quick fix or a simple solution. The problem is cultural. Whereas many nations see violence as obscene, the U.S. considers violence acceptable and nudity and sexuality obscene. We certainly need to stop raising boys to believe their manhood and masculinity are equal to the number of firearms they have and / or the amount of violence they commit.

    No other developed nation on Earth has an epidemic of mass shootings and spree killings, like the U.S.

  3. Having read the link you gave about the difference in the wounds from an AR-15, I’m even more confused about anyone being able to justify owning one.

    I’ve read accounts from people caught up in other disasters, apparently uninjured. The mental and emotion toll it has on them is tough to endure.

    The politicians in favour of guns are only interested in money. I wonder if there’s some way of bringing a court action against them and the NRA.

  4. Yes, you guys have had a torrid time with mass shootings. Don’t know what the answer is. Just as I don’t know how we stop the horrific murder rate we have in this country. AND the culture of rape…all so sick.

  5. Am currently watching the documentary ‘Active Shooter’ and for me it highlights how far the suffering spreads. First responders, medical personnel, families & non-injured survivors. Every new shooting re-opens a wound they work every day to heal from. Gun shots rip into bodies & do not heal nicely. Victims have life long health issues & disabilities to continually remind them. I grieve for all the freedoms all those affected have lost.

  6. We hear so much about gun violence in the States. It is aweful. And those that survive still have many wounds and not just those we can see. Yella Fella. I can’t see why not? Cheers,H

  7. A good reminder. Many survivors also feel a deep sense of guilt because they lived.
    I our “leaders” and law makers don’t care about the ones who died, what makes anyone think about those who lived. When you sell your soul to the devil (NRA), you do as your told and not pass legislation that will harm the devil.

  8. This is so bang on and happens the world over. They should be treated medically and physiologically but the state… Mr Trump is a millionaire is he not!? Good point good post! 💜

    1. I heard an interview on Here and Now yesterday with a guy who had been planning a school shooting as a kid and was caught before he carried it out. Of course he could only speak for himself, but his description of his methodical planning out of what he was going to do, include the murder of his immediate family members, is eye-opening. He said he has been diagnosed as narcissistic and he agrees with the diagnosis. And I doubt a narcissist would care there are armed officers on campus; he’d just plan around them.

      1. A narcissist, much like the bozo in chief? Mental issues aside, there needs to be a shift in our collective perception about the whole notion of a gun-toting cultural obsession that has gripped this country for years. I fear we’ve been subjected to fear mongering non-stop since 9/11 and this has seeped into the country’s collective conscience. Greatest country in the world with incredible resources and we are afraid of everything and easily manipulated by various con men, from politicians to the NRA.

  9. Wise post. It would help if the cameras would turn away and let these kids rest and heal.
    I remember how all the kids on our city – even at other elementary schools – felt and worried after the man blew up a bomb on the playground during recess at Poe Elementary School when I was growing up.
    Childhood fades

    1. It might help some, but others are using their 15 minutes of fame to make a difference. That is healing also. This is their country too and unlike the rest of us, they dare to do something to stop this madness.

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