Guest columnist Sharmin Shahjahan: The stories of mass murder are becoming all too familiar

  • Sharmin Shahjahan

    Sharmin Shahjahan

By Sharmin Shahjahan
Guest columnist
Posted5/26/2022 1:00 AM

As a mother to two elementary school students who myself lived through a school shooting nearly 20 years ago, I don't have any more words of wisdom to share. We have all become numb to these horrific acts while more survivors and victims' families are traumatized for life. Every restaurant, store, mall I go to, I walk in with one eye to the front door and an escape plan mapped out. Every loud noise makes your heart skip a beat and every anniversary, you are flooded with what ifs.

I still feel so awful for asking my professor to stay back to review a paper and that's why he was a hostage for eight hours while I was unscathed.


You send your kids to school praying to God they come back to you. Every. Single. Day.

Beginning of this year, we had a situation in one of the high schools, and our kids were released one by one to anxious parents. Police were on stand-by and guarded every door. This was our school this year.

Every time you watch another community go through this, memories flood in raw as if it happened to your school again. These stories are becoming all too familiar. Politicians will continue to give empty "thoughts and prayers" and the rest of us will continue our lives being vulnerable to the next psychopath that we may accidentally come across.

It could be generational and perhaps as those who were never touched by a mass shooting retire from decision making, the tide could shift toward more common sense laws to restore our society to be more equitable in resource accessibility. I have noticed millennials and younger people are more passionate about gun control and equitable society because even if we didn't live through a mass shooting, we certainly had to train in thwarting an attacker. That in itself is traumatic and eye opening.

Hanover Park is getting ready to open a gun range. Last year, during board discussions, I couldn't even insert independent data and market demographics because two other trustees were arguing partisan talking points. That same story is playing out in national politics. Political parties are hurling talking points without listening to survivors.

As I hear the same stories replaying on the media and see articles being re-posted, I am remembering all the survivors of this and other mass shootings. This is triggering for them every single time. There aren't mental health resources for survivors beyond the first few months, and I pray to God that they get through these tough days and our elected officials provide structural support to them and other survivors.

• Sharmin Shahjahan, of Hanover Park, is a former Hanover Park village board trustee and a member of the Daily Herald Editorial Board's Sounding Board advisory panel.

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