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From One Mass Shooting Survivor's Mother to the Parents of Mass Shooting Survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida: An Open Letter

From One Mass Shooting Survivor's Mother to the Parents of Mass Shooting Survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida: An Open Letter

Donna Smith

Dear parents,

It is my solemn duty, at least I feel it is, to tell you what many of you will face as the parent of a survivor of mass shooting in America. I am so very sorry that we are at this point 25 years after a young, angry gunman and former employee entered a Chuck E Cheese pizza parlor in Aurora, CO, and killed four of my 17-year-old son’s co-workers and wounded a fifth who only survived by playing dead after he was shot in the face. It was December 14, 1993.

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Powerful! It has me in tears. As i have said before, our children are our future, and it finally is beginning to look promising.

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Because these “kids” are extremely fired up and ready to go. If they can maintain that energy, and so far it has lasted longer than ever before, they will effect changes. They are our future and i will stand behind them for as long as it takes. They have inspired me.

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Hi Rainy,

Russell here. You’re raising some good points. I wasn’t actually shot at nor confronted the gun man. I struggled for years with that idea. That it really didn’t happen to me and I don’t have any reason to be sad or scared. Maybe I still don’t. It’s possible that my own assessment later in life is unjustified and my fears are unfounded. Sometimes it feels more real than other times. Having the murderer stare at you while you’re testifying in court years later in capital murder trial and spending time with my friends families in the witness holding pen… sure seemed real and terrifying. But again you have a valid point that I didn’t have a bullet in my body.

One clarifying point. My mom is most definitely not a psychologist. She is a good writer on occasion.

I appreciate your engagement and I appreciate her publishing her account.

And I’m grateful I wasn’t there and somedays i think I’d trade places with any of my friends to spare their families the lifetime of grief.

Be well. Happy to chat further.

Russell