Reconstruction: Surviving Mass Violence

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Craig Scott was just 16 years old when he crowded underneath a desk with his two friends while classmates, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, acted out a real-life version of a Hollywood scene of ruthless murder, shouting lines from their favorite movie while gunning down kids and teachers in the corridors of Columbine High. Craig remembers the shouting and laughter of the shooters as they burst into the library armed with sawed-off shotguns, a handgun and a 9mm semi-automatic carbine. Craig recalls how his friends were both shot, one slumped dead on either side of him, their blood soaking into his clothes. Inexplicably, Craig was uninjured, physically at least. “I was experiencing so much fear I thought my heart was going to stop beating,” he recalls (Day, 2009). Later, Craig would learn how his sister was gunned down while eating lunch on the lawn. Rachel, 17, died instantly, the first of 13 victims of mass violence who lost their lives that day in the, now infamous, massacre known simply as “Columbine.” Speaking at an event marking the tenth anniversary of that terrorizing violence, Craig says he is still reliving the horror, “…going through it…over and over again” (Day, 2009). Craig echoes the reality faced by all victims of violent trauma, and particularly those of mass violence; “My life changed that day” (Day, 2009). Victims of violent trauma face many challenges, both immediately following the initial event and long-term. Though the extent of recovery varies for individuals and may include physical, emotional, and financial trauma, victims of violence often struggle with management of the psychological impact of their experience. Like Craig, many victims of mass violence find coping with the impact of trauma chall...

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...ss violence is still likely to struggle in the aftermath. The shocking intensity of the terror inherent in this type of victimization is such that its imprint will never fully fade. Craig Scott spoke the truth of all survivors of mass violence as, without exception, the impact is unquestionably life-changing.

References

Day, E. (2009, April 12). Ten years on and Columbine still feels the pain. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/12/columbine-massacre-ten-year-anniversary

Jackson, K. (2013). Understanding traumatic grief - Mass violence, shattered lives. Social Work Today, 13(3). May/June, 12. Retrieved from http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/051313p12.shtml

Young, M. A. (2001). Victim assistance: Frontiers and fundamentals, ch. 1. Retrieved from

http://www.trynova.org/wpcontent/uploads/2012/07/PsychologicalTraumaofCrime.pdf

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