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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.”