Adults who are victims of gun violence may face mental challenges as students

Zoe Touray was in a classroom at Oxford High School, Michigan when a mass shooting occurred.

12 June 2022 Sunday 19:04
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Adults who are victims of gun violence may face mental challenges as students

Zoe Touray was in a classroom at Oxford High School, Michigan when a mass shooting occurred. Touray thought the shooter was trying enter the classroom when she heard the door handle jiggle. Touray and her classmates made a quick jump to safety by jumping through a window.

The shooting resulted in four students being killed: Hana St. Julia, Tate Myre and Madisyn Baldwin.

Touray, 18 years old, wore a shirt with their names on it to the March for Our Lives protest in Washington, D.C., Saturday. Touray said that the youth-led movement was created by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school shooting in Parkland in Florida in 2018.

However, her emotional recovery was not easy.

She said, "I had a really difficult time." "I didn’t want to talk to my family very much. It felt more like I was in bed at home until someone called to say that they wanted me to come over.

Other school shootings such as the one at Robb Elementary, Uvalde, Texas can bring back painful memories.

Touray recalled not wanting to be left alone on the day Uvalde was revealed. "I was crying in the room for a bit."

Others who were victims of gun violence as children faced similar challenges as they ascended into adulthood.

X Gonzalez, 22, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Doug shooting in 2018, stated that his PTSD had left him with suicidal thoughts.

Gonzalez said, in an address to Congressmen that "we know that gun violence is an important issue." "We brought this topic to your attention with international resources and attention four years ago. Your heavy lifting was done by us, the children.

RuQuan Brown (20 years old) is a Harvard College student who expressed frustration at having to address a crowd about gun violence instead of spending Saturday with his stepdad, or just hanging out with friends.

Brown stated that he was five years old when his mother murdered her boyfriend. He said it was the first time that he could remember crying. He would later lose his stepfather and football friend to gun violence, and learn that his grandfather and his cousin were both shot.

He said that he was walking down his street each day, and was afraid of losing it all because so many D.C. school children were killed walking home from school or struck with a stray gun. "I felt like I was the next victim."

Gun violence can cause anger, withdrawal and posttraumatic stress in children who are exposed.

A 2020 study found that students living within five miles of a school shooting were more likely to use antidepressants than those living 10-15 miles away. Another study showed that children living within a few blocks from a school shooting were more likely to present at an emergency room with mental health problems.

Young survivors have been able to channel their trauma through the March for Our Lives movement. Brown and Touray believe that new gun restrictions such as universal background checks will be passed. Brown however hopes for greater change.

"Voting has never worked for the poor. He said that the vote has not made us free or safe. "Until Americans decide that love is most important, none of these things will change."

The survivors have found their own ways to cope. Touray stated that it was helpful to go to her high school after the Oxford shooting. To regain a sense of normalcy, Touray said that she and her friends used to "goof around" on skateboards in a nearby parking lot.

She said, "After everything that happened, we had such a strong connection to [the school]." "Nobody wanted to leave, especially after we graduated this year."

She'll blast her favorite music and dance around when she feels down. It's also helpful to speak openly with classmates who were able to escape the shooting.

She said, "We actually talk about this all the time." "There has never been a conversation, be it a sleepover, or hangout, that we haven’t discussed the event."

Brown found a creative outlet with his clothing line Love1, where a portion of the profits is donated to gun violence communities.

He said, "I felt like a drowning man and I needed this to keep my alive, keep my focus on something positive,"

Both students look forward to the future. Touray will begin her freshman year at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in the spring. Brown will start his third year at Harvard.



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