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I view all violent killings as immoral in the sense that broad collateral psychological misery often continues long after the initial deadly event as post-traumatic stress and survivor guilt ravage minds and bodies of those still living and all too commonly beget suicide.

Well, it just happened again.

YouTube video

CBS News reported that Sydney Aiello, 19, took her own life last weekend, after finding herself finally unable to cope with the murder of 17 classmates and teachers when a recently expelled student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire with semi-automatic weapons on Feb. 14 last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“Sydney’s mother, Cara Aiello, told CBS Miami that her daughter struggled with survivor’s guilt and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the year following the tragedy. And while she reportedly never asked for help, she struggled to attend college classes because she was scared of being in a classroom,” CBS reported.

In conjunction with the document 39 Days about the student gun-safety movement spawned by the Parkland massacre, CBS had embedded with Andrew Pollack, the father of Aiello’s close friend, Meadow Pollack, who had been killed in the attack. The Twitter photo in the teaser that leads to this post shows Aiello, at right, and Meadow. Watch this New York Magazine-produced on how Parkland students’ lives have changed one year after the attack.

Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was killed in the attack, told CBS that he worries Aiello won’t be the last Parkland student survivor who will commit suicide:

“It breaks my heart that we’ve lost yet another student from Stoneman Douglas. My advice to parents is to ask questions, don’t wait.”

The tragedy of these events is doubled as innocent people die in initial volleys, and more innocents suffer and die in the related aftermath.

But, still, the U.S. federal government and many state legislatures continue to do nothing, which triples the tragic consequences and all but ensures more of the same.


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Rick Snedeker is a retired American journalist/editor who now writes in various media and pens nonfiction books. He has received nine past top South Dakota state awards for newspaper column, editorial,...