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Our personal and professional thoughts go out to all the responders to the mass shooting in Aurora. An incident of this nature, involving the shooting of more than 70 innocent, unsuspecting adult, adolescent and infant victims, has lasting emotional effects on all responders. So we ask you to keep us in your thoughts throughout the days and weeks ahead.
But we also ask you to keep many other Colorado emergency responders in your thoughts because many have been involved in similar incidents in their communities, and an incident like this brings back horrible memories for them too, even if they did not respond to, or were not involved in, the Aurora incident in any manner.
The April 20, 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High school, near Aurora, where Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 student and themselves, and injured 21 others (1), along with the cluster of killings thoughout the Colorado Springs area from 2005-2008, when 14 soldiers killed 11 and wounded several others after what was described by an investigative report (2) as exacerbated by combat stress during the war (3), are just two examples of incidents in Colorado that have left emotional scars on emergency responders.
When an incident like the Aurora movie theater shooting occurs, unhealed emotions resurface in other responders. So their friends, coworkers and family members need to understand that and give them support and comfort.