Saturday night, March 23rd, 2019 — A second Parkland shooting survivor has apparently died by suicide. And while authorities are still investigating the circumstances, it appears as if the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting are now dying — by their own hands.
It would seem Nikolas Cruz has found a way to continue his massacre from behind prison bars.
Why are the survivors taking their own lives? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and one of its most nefarious symptoms — survivor guilt — may be the primary determining factor in the deaths of these young adults.
First identified in the early sixties, survivor guilt has traditionally been broken down into three different categories:
- The guilt someone feels about being alive after a traumatic occurrence where others died.
- Guilt over not doing enough to save someone who experienced a traumatic situation which lead to death.
- Guilt of their own actions during a traumatic occurrence, things they did to save their own lives instead of helping someone else.
These two kids taking their own lives because Nikolas Cruz killed seventeen of their school mates is absolutely the most insane fucking craziness I’ve ever witnessed in all my years on this planet.
Children for God’s sake, children, are taking their own lives after surviving vile atrocities typically reserved for mass genocides and war. Even if our children do manage to survive a shooting, some have witnessed horrific scenes of their school mates bleeding to death on a school room floor.
They’ve seen their friends die horribly, witnessed violence and bloodshed they were never prepared for and now it’s pushing them over the edge. Just like members of our armed services who came home mentally shattered by the horrors of war, our children are now being forced to go through the same madness.
Children are not supposed to live their lives in a war zone, although it happens in hundreds of places the world over. But the last time I looked, our country wasn’t immersed in a war within the confines of our borders.
Maybe we are and we just haven’t admitted it yet.
But it’s so totally deeper than what we see at first glance.
Post traumatic stress is not reserved for survivors of school shootings. Each day I learn of more of us who have been victimized by sexual assaults, survived traffic collisions, war, and child abuse. I listen to the victims speak of their experiences and I read about their survival stories.
And though I will never be able to truly understand what’s going on inside, what’s driving them to want to end the pain using death as the vehicle, I don’t want them to kill themselves.
Nor more than I wanted these two children to end their lives.
We need to start thinking long and hard about how to keep survivors of trauma — any fucking trauma whether it’s a school shooting, rape and or abuse, war or a car crash — alive. We need to understand they’re going through feelings of guilt just because they’re alive. They’re reliving the trauma in their brains every single day of their life.
And they’re not telling us. They are not talking to us about it.
They’re trying to present an outward image of normal, but they are so tremendously fucked up inside they are telling themselves the only thing that will help is killing themselves.
I’m certainly not the best person to offer viable suggestions on how to help people who have been victimized, or children who survive a school massacre, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need help.
I don’t have a P.H.D. in phycology, but I do possess a modicum of common sense. Enough to know someone (or a whole bunch of someones) a hell of a lot smarter than me, needs to come up with a workable strategy going forward to help people learn how to stay alive.
After they’ve survived.
As we’ve seen from this recent suicide, families of children who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting are still being forced to find a way to keep their children alive.
These post traumatic suicides by the survivors must stop. The time is now to rise up as a community and help these families and their children.
Unfortunately, If you think putting Cruz down like the rabid dog he is will help; if you think putting him to death is the answer, trust me, it isn’t.
He’s in prison for what he did and our children are still dying from his actions.
Unless we do something to help the survivors, Nikolas Cruz will be afforded more opportunities to update his score card when one of the kids who survived that day chooses to take their own life. If we take no action we will allow this bastard’s deeds to promulgate and I’m certain he will be more than happy to add their suicides to his kill rate.
And all he has to do is sit on his ass in jail and wait for the next one.
P.G Barnett is the author of the Gifter’s Ring series. His works, A Balance of Evil, Return of the Brethren and The Power of the Three are available for purchase. The fourth and final book to the series, The Rise of the Coven, should publish in 2019.
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