Two Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Complete Suicide

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This week, just five weeks following the first anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two students completed suicide. Grief, Survivor’s Guilt and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have been cited as factors.

Five days following the first anniversary of the shooting at Penn State University, I was prepared to say goodbye to the world. I couldn’t understand why I was still here, and I didn’t want to still be here. I was living constantly in the moments just after the shooting. It would take a long time for me to finally put two and two together to realize that the anniversary of the shooting was what contributed to me feeling the way that I was feeling. Thankfully, friends reached out and were able to get me the help that I needed to stay here. It has been more than two decades, and I am still here.

Besides the help that I initially received when I needed it. I have learned over those two decades tools that I can utilize to maintain my wellness when I am facing stressors.

There is hope to get past the normal feelings of grief and trauma associated with these tragedies. Please, reach out to your friends, family, teachers, professors, counselors, doctors, your local crisis line, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), or the Crisis Text Line (741741) for help.

According to the Mayo Clinic.

Suicide warning signs or suicidal thoughts include:

  • Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”
  • Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  • Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
  • Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there’s no other logical explanation for doing this
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
  • Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above

Warning signs aren’t always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.

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Statistics on Gun Violence

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• On an average day, 96 Americans are killed with guns.
• In an average year, there are nearly 13,000 gun homicides a year, in the United States.
• For every one person killed with guns, there are two more who are injured.
• 62% of the deaths caused by firearms are completed suicides.
• Seven children and teens are killed with guns in the United States on an average day.
• In an average month 50 women are shot to death by their intimate partners in the United States.
• There are 3.6 gun-related homicides per 100,000 residents in the United States, 7 times the number of gun-related homicides, in Canada and Portugal.
• Background checks have stopped over 3 MILLION of gun sales to people who are prohibited to own them.
• The presence of a firearm in a domestic violence incident, increases the risk that the woman will be killed by fivefold.

When I was creating the business plan for First Responder Training Systems, the one mentor who was reviewing my business plan questioned whether there would be a demand for a non-profit specializing in helping communities following emergencies, especially emergencies which are caused by gun violence.

Unfortunately, I wish that there wasn’t a demand. I would want nothing more than for our society to develop into a society where communities weren’t impacted by man-caused emergencies, and I could focus on helping communities that were impacted by natural emergencies.

• February 14, 2018 – Parkland, Fl – 17 people were murdered and 16 were injured by an attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
• February 5, 2018 – Oxon Hill, Md – 1 person was injured by an attack at Oxon Hill High School.
• February 1, 2018 – Los Angeles, Ca – 4 people were injured by an unintentional discharge of a firearm at Salvador B. Castro Middle School.
• January 31, 2018 – Philadelphia, PA – 1 person was murdered by an attack at Lincoln High School.
• January 23, 2018 – Benton, Ky – 1 person was murdered and 19 were injured by an attack at Marshall County High School.
• January 22, 2018 – Gentilly, La – 1 person was injured by an attack at The NET Charter High School.
• January 22, 2018 – Italy, Tx – 1 person was injured by an attack at Italy High School.

So far, in 2018, 19 people were killed or murdered, and 42 were injured in 7 shootings at schools.

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