Youngster Manage Survivor’s Feeling of shame After Establishment Shootings

Children Struggle With Survivor's Guilt After School Shootings

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Daniel Ruiz, age 10, made it via the Uvalde, Texas university recording that removed his family member as well as likewise 20 others.

He had actually not been struck by any type of type of bullets. Yet he still has marks.

Presently he is handling survivor’s pity. His mommy simply lately shared an image he made that exposes what that resembles for a child.

A picture Daniel drew in for his family member, Ellie. Politeness Briana Ruiz

Before the recording, Daniel was a normal kid — he delighted in football, fraternizing his sibling or sis as well as likewise having a good time with his family member, 9-year-old Ellie Garcia. A talkative jokester, particularly in your house, Daniel was regularly smiling.

That all changed on May 24, 2022, when a 18-year-old grad entered into Daniel’s university outfitted with an AR 15-style rifle, after shooting his extremely own nana.

Daniel Ruiz playing hopsack with his cousin, Ellie Garcia.
Daniel Ruiz playing hopsack with his family member, Ellie Garcia.Politeness Briana Ruiz

Daniel can not forget the min he safeguarded eyes with the shooter as he attempted to enter his course at Robb Elementary.

“He educated me that he had in fact never ever before seen a face so poor,” Daniel’s mother, Briana Ruiz, notifies “He appeared like the bad one was checking out him.”

He had in fact never ever before seen a face so poor. He appeared like the bad one was checking out him.

briana ruiz, on her youngster seeing the uvalde shooter

Unable to participate in his course, the shooter shot inside the location, striking Daniel’s trainer as well as likewise a student. Eventually, Daniel, his classmates as well as likewise his trainer fled out a harmed course house window.

“Me as well as likewise my friend Lucas, we were assisting different other kids leave the course,” Daniel notifies “We required to jump on the trainer’s chair as well as likewise it was amongst those turning chairs, so we required to hold it still for the students.”

Daniel and his cousin, Ellie.
Daniel as well as likewise his family member, Ellie. Politeness Briana Ruiz

Daniel made it via. 2 teachers as well as likewise 19 students, containing Ellie, did not. On the automobiles and also vehicle trip home that day, his mommy insurance claims, Daniel merely sobbed as well as likewise preserved mentioning: “She’s dead. She’s dead, mommy.”

“I wasn’t able to save her,” Daniel says.

That evening, Briana used tweezers to pull shards of glass from the broken window out of her son’s arm. She fears that his survivor’s guilt will be there forever.

‘The boy I left at school that morning is gone’

Two weeks after the shooting, Daniel broke down crying after one of his younger siblings asked to go play at Ellie’s house.

His words that day haunt his mother.

He started yelling that he wished that the shooter would have gone into his class and killed him, too.

briana ruiz, describing her son’s survivor guilt

“He said: ‘It’s my fault! It’s my fault! If I would have been with her I could have saved her or I would have died with her,” Briana says, crying. “That’s when he started yelling that he wished that the shooter would have gone into his class and killed him, too.”

Briana calmed her son down, then immediately called a doctor.

The next day, the doctor told Briana that Daniel was suicidal — the young boy told them he “wished he had not been here anymore so he didn’t have to feel pain,” she claims.

A picture of Daniel and Ellie is the first thing he sees when he wakes up in the morning, his mom says.
A picture of Daniel and Ellie is the first thing he sees when he wakes up in the morning, his mom says.Courtesy Briana Ruiz

“It broke my heart,” she adds. “This little boy who I know has such a big heart — who was always laughing and acting silly — had not been there anymore. The boy I left at school that morning is gone.”

Research has found that mass shooting survivors are “at greater risk for mental health difficulties” than other trauma survivors, according to the American Psychological Association. The National Center for PTSD estimates that about 28% of survivors develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and one-third develop acute stress disorder.

‘I wish I would have considered myself a survivor’

Salli Garrigan, now 40, was a junior at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.

“My day began in the most unremarkable way,” Garrigan tells “I was in my choir class — that was always my safe haven.”

Salli Garrigan's junior high school photo. She wore the same outfit on the day of the Columbine shooting.
Salli Garrigan’s junior high school photo. She wore the same outfit on the day of the Columbine shooting.Courtesy Salli Garrigan

Then, she claims, “pandemonium broke.”

“We could feel kids running in the hallway, and that’s when a part of my body just said: ‘Run,'” she says. “I started to go out one exit and a teacher in the hallway said: ‘Don’t, they’re coming up!’ So I turned the other way and went out another door.”

Fifteen people were killed, including Garrigan’s friends Corey DePooter and Rachel Scott.

“On that day, I was leaving the library when a lot of friends were going in and some of them did not survive,” she says. “That’s the hardest part — being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s all timing, and it’s just so hard knowing that I just passed those people and I took that moment for granted.”

Salli Garrigan and her Columbine High School cheer squad.
Salli Garrigan and her Columbine High School cheer squad.Courtesy Salli Garrigan

Garrigan, now a stay-at-home mom of two living in New York, says she “never considered herself a victim” because, at the time, a victim or a survivor was “someone who was physically injured.”

“I ran and got out quickly and unscathed, so in my mind it was: ‘I got out,'” she says. “I wish I would have just considered myself a survivor and a victim at that time,” she says, so that she could have understood why she was suffering from depression, anxiety and PTSD.

“It was a fight I had: Why do I have all these feelings? Why do I still have this shame?'” she adds.

Just imagine if it had stopped with us — Uvalde wouldn’t have happened.

salli garrigan, columbine shooting survivor

When a 19-year-old shot and killed 17 people inside Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018, she realized how much guilt she was carrying. She got involved with Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group, which she says has helped her heal. One 2018 study found that attending community events, like memorials, can help survivors cope after a mass violence event.

Still, Garrigan says her survivor’s guilt remains.

“You always feel guilty. You ask yourself: Why didn’t it stop with us?’” she says. “Just imagine if it had stopped with us — Uvalde wouldn’t have happened.”

‘I miss her coming over and having fun and being happy’

Briana says therapy sessions are helping Daniel dig into his trauma and work through his guilt. He is back at college, and he says that while at first he felt nervous, “now I’m kind of getting made use of to the school routine again.”

Briana Ruiz with her son, Daniel.
Briana Ruiz with her kid, Daniel.Courtesy Briana Ruiz

Still, his thoughts remain with his 19 peers and two teachers who died.

“I miss Ellie coming over and having fun and being happy,” he says. When he thinks of Ellie and his friends who died, he says, “They did good (during the college capturing) — there was no screaming or shouting. Kids tried to protect themselves.”

His mom says Daniel is on medication to treat his anxiety and depression. At times he lashes out in anger, remembering the moment he saw the shooter.

“He said: ‘I was too scared, I should have stood up,'” Briana says. “He said maybe the cops would certainly certainly have seen (the shooter) standing there and also also they would certainly certainly have shot him.”

Police waited 77 minutes to enter the school and confront the gunman, a delay that has been heavily criticized for contributing to the high death toll.

Daniel still blames himself for Ellie’s death.

I know you’re struggling and I know it’s hard. Now, she’s your guardian angel. Now, she’s the one protecting you.

brianA ruiz, uvalde mom of four

In December, Daniel drew a picture for Ellie. He wrote a message to her at the top: “I’m sorry I let you down. I’m sorry I let you die.”

Briana claims she tries to help him, but she doesn’t always know what to do.

“There are times when he tells me things or asks me things and also I don’t know how to answer him. I’m stuck. I just try my best to validate the things he is feeling,” his mom claims.

“I say: ‘You need to see that she knew — she knew that you were always there for her. I know you’re struggling and also likewise I acknowledge it’s tough. Presently, she’s your guardian angel. Presently, she’s the one protecting you.”

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