The days following the Parkland Shooting are still vivid memories. I remember talking about it, seeing the videos of the incident on social media and having to ‘prepare’ for a similar situation that could occur. I remember feeling like this ‘what-if’ situation was becoming more of a reality, a burden faced by high school students across the nation and the families that had to deal with the pain left by it.
Seventeen people lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the school shooting on Feb. 14. This, unfortunately, was not an unusual occurrence for the U.S. and hardly prompted any change despite campaigns by the fellow survivors, one of the most notable voices being Emma Gonzalez.
Yet, it’s a constant cycle. We mourn, argue, and prepare for the next mass shooting that causes this all over again. What we fail to do is mind the toll this takes on the high school students that have to live through these traumatic events. The students that have to carry this chip on their shoulders for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes, that chip can be too big to carry any longer. This was the case for Sydney Aiello, a Florida teenager and another Parkland victim, who had struggled with survivor’s guilt and was diagnosed with PTSD.
This is horrifying.
Sydney Aiello, who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year, died by suicide this weekend. Her mother says she struggled with survivor's guilt and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.https://t.co/su1OjxAFW2
— Nathan McDermott (@natemcdermott) March 22, 2019
Aiello’s mother, in an interview with CBS Miami, told reporters, “She struggled to attend college classes because she was scared of being in a classroom.”
This country failed Sydney Aiello when it allowed the murder of her friends. Her death is a tragedy & a further indictment of the cruel political inaction that leads to such violence. I hurt for Sydney's family & I hope other Parkland survivors have access to mental healthcare
— ?Elle ?Gato? Maruska ?(they/them) (@ellle_em) March 22, 2019
She’d been close friends with Meadow Pollack, with whom she is seen with in the featured image, one of the seventeen students killed in the shooting. Regrettably, this is yet another loss to Parkland, another victim. But, this leaves me with the looming question: Why don’t we spend more time helping those students who have been affected by these tragedies?
In nearly all cases, the survivors of these events have been left to suffer in silence. The media focuses so much on painting the mental illness of the perpetrators (if they fit the right demographic) and trying to understand them, but this focus is never shifted to those who deserve the most sympathy. The ones who were thrown into these situations without a choice.
It’s not guaranteed that her life could have been saved with the right mental evaluations and care from those with the resources to help, but it could have been a step in the right direction.
The nation has once again failed another child.
Photo: New York Post