The past is always present for survivors of gun violence.
In countless interviews, survivors from previous mass shootings expressed on television and newspaper stories how the King Soopers tragedy in Boulder, Colorado, on March 22 revived their own trauma, and their anger that assault weapons bans, expanded background checks and other common-sense reforms continue to be doomed by politics. Six days before the Boulder shooting, which took the lives of 10 people, a shooting spree in Atlanta left eight people dead, including six Asian Americans.
Dion Green, whose father, Derrick, died in his arms during a shooting in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 4, 2019. WKRC in Cincinnati on March 23.
"It takes me right back to the scene. These last couple days have just been hell.”
Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018. NBC 6 in Miami on March 23.
"My son is dead, but I’m not. So now you’re dealing with me and a lot of parents like me. I’m not waiting anymore. This is it. This is war.”
Frank DeAngelis, who was the principal of Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, during the shooting at the school on April 20, 1999. Colorado Public Radio on March 24.
“People feel all of a sudden, ‘Geez, you know, this is the best I've felt in a while.’ And then an event happens ... they're re-traumatized and triggers are set. And I can't tell you the number of former Columbine staff that reached out to me today to check in or to say, ‘Boy, I don't know how you're feeling, but it took him back to that time.”
Arizona Rep. Daniel Hernandez, who was an intern for former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords when she and 18 others were shot in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011. KOLD 13 News on March 23.
“I’m personally affected by this because I had to hold my boss’s head after she got shot. … We need people to not have to wait until they directly experience this to realize this is a problem.”
Colorado Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son was one of 12 people killed in the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, 2012. CBS This Morning on March 24
“One of the things that I try to remember to let them know is right now you need the people that you trust, the people that you love. That’s who needs to be around you. That’s who you need to reach out to. There are good-intentioned people around, but when the cameras leave and the lights are dimmed again, it’s just going to be you and them again.”
“I would just tell those people, hang onto the voice — if you’ve got any text messages, you’ve got any phone messages they left — because that’s the first thing you lose.”
Ryan Borowski, who escaped the King Soopers supermarket when a gunman began shooting inside. CNN on March 22.
"Boulder feels like a bubble, and the bubble burst, and that's heartbreaking to think that people died today. It doesn’t feel like there’s anywhere safe anymore, sometimes.”