When School & Other Places Stopped Being a Safe Place

October 2, 2017

In the tragic events of the Las Vegas shooting that happened last night it has made me reflect and think about past events that have occurred in my life. While my situation was not nearly as severe it really makes me think of the “what ifs” and is bringing up a lot of emotions. While prayers may not be enough and will not change anything, it has made me think of “what is the solution?!” When will this stop?

I am currently sitting at school and being reminded that campus and other public places are potentially not a safe place. This is my story:

It was my birthday, my junior year of high school. I went to a public school in the Seattle, Ballard. My mom let me sleep in and made me a nice breakfast. When I left the house I had no idea my life was going to change.

As I was walking into school is was about 3rd period and there was a man with a gun on the school campus. It was just me and him. I froze, why didn’t I run? Instead I walked away slowly with my back towards him, thinking this was it and pretty soon I would have a bullet in my back. When I got out of sight I started running. I didn’t know what to do because I really did not believe what I had just seen.

I ran to the nearest teacher and told her what I had just witnessed. She got on the phone with the security office and our school went into lockdown. I told the security officer and police what I saw and the description of the gunman. I called my parents to let them know what was going on. One of the security officer told my dad that is was not a big deal and I was being taken care of. It seemed that he played it down. This was in fact a SERIOUS problem!

After about two hours of being in lockdown, the gunman was never found. In the weeks following the security office had me look through tons of yearbooks trying to identify the man. They kept showing me pictures of fake guns trying to get me to admit that it was a fake gun. Why were they trying to get me to play this situation down? Is it because they didn’t want to scare people? I have no idea and I will never know.

Seeing these girls at school helped me so much! Their laughter, jokes and friendship.

After that day school stopped being the safe place I once knew. I hated going to school. I had anxiety and started abusing Xanax to help with the fear of what could have happened.

A few years later I started college. One day we were having a discussion about a mass shooting that had happened. I got an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and fear. I felt like I was out of my body and almost on autopilot. I left school and broke down. I talked to my psychiatrist about it and he told me I had experienced a PTSD attack.

I started going to therapy and had to come up with ways to deal with going to school. When someone is walking close behind me I slow down and let them pass. This is one thing that triggers my attacks. I think it is because my back was towards the gunman.

What is the solution to preventing all these tragedies from happening? It used to make me sad when I would see the news coverage of these hateful acts but now it makes me enraged with anger. I once asked a German man if things like this happen in his country and he replied with, “No, because guns are illegal.” Can we learn something from this? I think we can.

I am not one to get involved with politics but if stricter gun laws are the solution, I can get behind that. Anything to help with this matter.


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