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An invisible network of similar threads connects hundreds of grieving parents across America. The connection is not formal. There is no organizational structure, no listserv, no roster of names. But their bond is strong enough that they often describe themselves—glibly but also in earnest—as “the club.” There is only one criterion for membership: you sent a child to school one day and then never saw them again because of a bullet, leaving you with pain, loss and perhaps even other shattered children.
“It’s a club you spend your whole life hoping you won’t ever become a part of. But once you’re in, you’re in.”
“People don’t think about all the ways people’s lives are forever transformed. There’s this huge ripple effect of violence and anger and dysfunction.”Nicole Hockley stated her marriage disintegrated after her son was murdered.
This web of wounded souls spans America. They come from rural outposts and big cities, from Democratic strongholds and the reddest regions of Trump Country. They have different religions, income levels and ethnicities. What they share is the agony that comes with losing a child to gun violence in a place where that child was supposed to be safe. That calamity creates ineffable bonds.
The network is sustained in part by its tragically ever expanding size. A recent 15-day period brought the killing of a 16-year-old by a fellow classmate in a crowded morning hallway at David W. Butler High School in North Carolina; the murder of 12 people on “College Night” at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif.; and the fatal shooting of a student outside Lamar High School in Texas. The reality of gun violence in America is that there are always more dead kids. There are always more devastated families.
"I used to have a good life, a blessed life, but it’s ruined now .My kid is dead. She didn’t ‘die.’ She didn’t ‘pass away.' She was shot nine times at school. She was murdered.”
The first thing a parent who has lost a child in a school shooting usually asks another is this: How old was your kid? Many regard the amount of time they had with their child as a defining feature of their relationship, both invaluable and finite. They will never get more of it. Every month that passes, every birthday, every hollow milestone, is imbued with painful significance. So they ask one another: How old was your kid? It’s a way of establishing what each parent has lost. Did your boy grow to be as tall as you? Did you get to teach your girl to drive? Was your child old enough to write a Mother’s Day card?
“When you’ve gone through this kind of tragedy with other people, you see their humanity, where they’re coming from,”Darrell Scott and Darshell Scott are NOT related.
“I let them know: You could be one of the ones that’s laid to rest. Or you could be one of the ones that’s never going to see the outside of a prison door again.”PAMELA WRIGHT YOUNG said;
“Something in you stops when your child dies,” she says.Learn more of the tragedy of when The WORLD MOVES ON And YOU DON'T: PARENTS Of CHILDREN MURDERED During SCHOOL SHOOTINGS SPEAK in the new issue of TIME Magazine.