"I Am Brought Right Back": School Shooting Survivors Call For Action After The Uvalde Shooting

"I am brought right back to the day my friends, community, and I went through the same thing."

For Barrett Dolata, the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and 2 teachers dead felt overwhelming and familiar.

"It brought me right back to November," he told BuzzFeed News.

On Nov. 30, Dolata was a 17-year-old high school senior in biology class at Oxford High School in Michigan, and a sophomore opened fire and killed four students, including his close friend Justin Shilling.

For Dolata and other survivors of school shootings — there have been 27 school shootings in 2022 alone — watching the news of the Uvalde attack isn't just a realization of their worst fears, it's a replay of the worst time of their lives.

"I keep imagining the hard months that they have to come, and it breaks my heart because I am finally getting back on track," Dolata said.

Dolata posted on Instagram about the experience, joining survivors of other school shootings — from the 1999 Columbine High School massacre to those as recently as just a few months ago — posting online about Uvalde. Some wrote a call to action for politicians, others shared their heartbreak of how their own classmates' deaths weren't enough to prevent those of fourth-graders in Texas.

"Watching the death tolls, listening to the news repeating evidence and reports over and over, and looking at live footage. I am brought right back to the day my friends, community, and I went through the same thing," Dolata wrote. "When we were waiting hour by hour to hear if our friend Justin who we were conversing with earlier that day was alive. But as my community continues to heal, and my friends and I tell the stories of a good friend who we all love dearly, it is our time to kickstart change."

"We need to tell our stories and let those who have never experienced something of this nature gain a glimpse," Dolata continued. "Our voices our so powerful to the right audience. With that, we need to fight for Justin, and fight for those poor children that just went to school today. They were learning to read, write, color, and just be. They were just kids. We were just kids. Our voices seem so small now, but we need to start somewhere. I need to fill this void inside my heart that mourns for the Uvalde community right now. It is my responsibility and it is your responsibility to use our voices to call on our representatives and our policymakers to help CHANGE."

A viral tweet from a reporter noting that "teenagers who survived Columbine are in their late 30s and early 40s. They have kids in elementary schools" saw a number of responses from survivors of the 1999 shooting.

Lindsey Fry wrote that "my experience is one of the reasons I don't have children."

"My oldest son just finished his first year of college," wrote Craig Nason, a Columbine survivor. "There is no end in sight for the steady cadence of mass gun violence we seem unwilling to ever address. A reality my peers could not have imagined on our worst day in April 1999."

@pgcornwell Columbine survivor here. My oldest son just finished his first year of college. This is America. There is no end in sight for the steady cadence of mass gun violence we seem unwilling to ever address. A reality my peers could not have imagined on our worst day in April 1999.

Twitter: @nasoncraig

"The ripple of trauma effects my every single day," another wrote. "I send my kids to school every day knowing that they might not come home."

@pgcornwell @GeneforTexas Another Columbine survivor, I have 3 kids, 5th, 7th, and 10th. The ripple of trauma effects me every single day. I know exactly how it feels to lose friends to gun violence. I send my kids to school every day knowing that they might not come home.

Twitter: @Elmerismycat

We do. And we’re all fucking sick to death that our nightmare repeats for others nearly every day in this country. https://t.co/BiVEbkUfQz

Twitter: @JoshHevert

I won’t speak for all school shooting survivors, but on days like today, what comes back stronger than anything for me is the feeling of utter helplessness.

Twitter: @scohenATH

Former students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people — 14 students and 3 school staffers — were fatally shot in Parkland, Florida, in 2018 also weighed in.

The news from Uvalde, Texas is extremely heartbreaking, but not unexpected. America will continue to be a hub and epicenter of gun violence until the people in power decide to take action. There is no more time for thoughts and prayers.

Twitter: @al3xw1nd

The March for Our Lives movement, sparked by survivors of the Parkland shooting, engaged a generation of teens in gun violence prevention. Some of the MFOL activists posted in frustration at the shooting in Texas.

"I can't believe this mass school shooting happened who would have expected a mass school shooting happening," said Cameron Kasky, who later went on CNN to speak with Anderson Cooper about the need for Democrats to take responsibility and action.

I can’t believe this mass school shooting happened who would have expected a mass school shooting happening

Twitter: @cameron_kasky

"EVERY PERSON IN GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED US! AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO!" tweeted MFOL cofounder Delaney Tarr.

before any politician releases a statement full of nothing words i want you to know i do not care. do something

Twitter: @delaneytarr

when will we stop making children human sacrifices? all for what???

Twitter: @delaneytarr

Bree Butler supported the MFOL school walkout even before a classmate at her own school, Santa Fe High School in Texas, shot and killed 10 people during a first-period art class.

Authorities did not release a motive for the Uvalde shooter, who had reportedly been heavily bullied, but Butler noted that excuses should not be made for gun violence.

"i was bullied, but im not responsible for my school's shooting," she wrote. "for the 5674672nd time, stop making excuses for these monsters."

i was bullied, but im not responsible for my school’s shooting. for the 5674672nd time, stop making excuses for these monsters. stop giving them the publicity they crave. don’t speak their names. don’t tell their stories. direct your anger to lawmakers & your love to uvalde.

Twitter: @breebxtler

Demanding action from lawmakers was a resounding appeal among school shooting survivors. Mollie Davis, who texted BuzzFeed News from her math class during an active shooter lockdown at Great Mills High School in Maryland, where one of her classmates was killed, noted that "people impacted by gun violence do not owe you political alliance."

People impacted by gun violence do not owe you political alliance and that also applies the Right Wing Machine that is going to pluck out some grieving folks to prop up as ✨The Good Pro-Gun Mourners✨. They are not any better than the left wing media they claim to despise.

Twitter: @davism0llie

Pitting traumatized people against each other does 0 for any cause. It creates infighting in hurting communities that doesn’t go away when the cameras do. If people want to speak out, more power to them. They can find their way without you telling them how to feel.

Twitter: @davism0llie

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