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Heather Booth
I have a thing to say about growing up after tragedy. When I was a senior in high school, 7 of my classmates were killed & 24 injured. It was an awful day full of fear, confusion, & pain. Press swarmed. News helicopters hovered overhead all day filming footage of the carnage. 1/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
Nothing made sense. Over the days and weeks that followed, we went to vigils, wakes, and funerals. We openly wept in the hallways. People who had never spoken before embraced, clinging to each other. We felt broken. 2/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
People said the things that are being said now. “I put him on the bus and sent him to school. He was supposed to be safe.” Classrooms were rearranged so the empty desks weren’t a constant reminder. 3/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
Time passed. We started living with loss, but we still startled at the noises that reminded us of that day. We were now people that THIS had happened to. 4/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
More time passed. I did the memorial layout in the yearbook. By then, our shock and raw pain had changed to anger and questioning. Why did this happen? What went wrong? Whose fault is it? Investigations, we learned, were ongoing. 5/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
A federal official said, "The thing that upsets me most--we teach our kids to learn the importance of accountability. In this, there was a failure of accountability by a number of organizations.” 6/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
And then, things changed. 7/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
29 recommendations were made by the NTSB and implemented from the local to federal level. Because this wasn’t a shooting. It was a train hitting a school bus. One train. One bus. Seven deaths. 24 injured. One year. 29 changes for 16 organizations. 8/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
And as kids, here’s what this meant: we saw something awful happen, then we saw adults support us, then we saw them make change happen to keep that awful thing from ever happening again. Now, I’m an adult who grew up having seen adults fix things. 9/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
Think about the worldview we create for youth when their awful experiences result in nothing but hand wringing and despair. Thoughts and prayers. When a tragedy hits that’s far more deadly & far less accidental than what CGHS experienced in 1995 & *nothing* changes? 10/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
What kind of lifelong scars do we inflict on youth when the adults who are there to protect them don’t force change in the wake of preventable tragedy? What kind of foundation do we lay when their world breaks and no one fixes it? 11/
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
I don’t care which avenue you pursue to change the scourge of gun violence against youth. There are plenty. Pick one. Do something. Call your reps. Donate. March. Volunteer. Vote. Force the issue. Empower teens. Don’t let them down. Make change happen. 12/12
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
Adults - there are so many of us whose school days were rocked by tragedy. Remember how it felt? We can do better.
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @writerbrarian
Thanks, Brian.
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @StefanieThayerN
Thank you so much for being there.
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heidi r kling 16 Feb 18
Replying to @boothheather
thank you for this. A campaign along these lines is brewing. Can we contact you further about lending your experience?
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
Replying to @HeidiRKling
Yes, please.
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ProtectOurDemocracy 16 Feb 18
You were in Fox River Grove. Seven Angels Crossing. My God. I lived there when it happened. I drive by there at least once a month. I'm so sorry. Still.
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Heather Booth 16 Feb 18
I'm good. I hope you're well too.
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DanaTmo 16 Feb 18
Amazing post. So sorry you had to go through that. I'm sure that wasn't easy to write. Thank you.
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