Local Author Tells School Shooting Survivor Stories

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. -- “They’re sending texts to their kids and sitting in this parking lot waiting and waiting and waiting for the response that never comes,” author Amye Archer said.

"If I don’t make it, I love you." That was a text that was sent from a student to her parent during the Parkland shooting last year. It's now the title of this book by Archer from Scott Township.

“I watched one afternoon as my son’s kindergarten class was herded into the closet with their teacher for a lockdown drill. To follow protocol, I, as a classroom visitor, had to crouch under a shelf near the back of the room. I knew it was a drill, but I panicked.”

That was Archer reading an excerpt from a chapter written by Jami Amo, one of the 60 survivors who shares her story in the book. Jami was a 15-year-old student at Columbine High School in 1999 when two of her fellow students went on a shooting spree, killing 13 people, in what was the worst high school shooting in the country at the time.

“For us at Columbine, we were kids. So, we were just kind of forced to grow up under that. Like we don’t know any other way,” Columbine survivor Amo said.

With the list of victims and survivors growing longer every year the goal of the book is to make sure their stories aren't forgotten. Amo shares that goal. But for her, it's personal.

"It’s just really painful because we’ve done this so many times. And there’s this cycle with the public outrage and people are horrified and then people just kind of move on and then it happens again somewhere else,” Amo said.

That's why the book is also about making an impact.

Once the book is released, Archer plans to send the book to every United States senator, as a call to action.

Archer says she doesn't wish to dictate the type of action lawmakers should take. She just wants to inspire them to do something to prevent more school shootings so she and her two daughters don't have to live in fear.

"I don't want them to be sitting in their 7th-grade classroom worried that somebody's gonna burst in with a gun and shoot them,” Archer said.

The book is set to be released on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Portions of the proceeds will go to groups that work with gun violence survivors.

You can hear more from Archer on WNEP's 'the creatives' podcast here.

5 comments

  • Lisa Marshinski

    Arm teachers. Not all teachers, there are some too dumb to handle a firearm. The FASTER program trains teachers who want to carry beyond what law enforcement goes through. A killer won’t come into a school where he/she doesn’t know who has a firearm to shut them down. This is also a push to keep brainwashing people to think this is the only way kids die. Vehicle crashes, drownings and fire kill more kids than firearms do, but you won’t hear about that, doesn’t fit the agenda of disarmament.

    • not_pennysltucky (@ds18301)

      You’ve obviously never been in a live shooter/combat situation. It is not a Hollywood movie. It is pure hell for even the best trained people. Look at the number of cops that get hurt/die even knowingly walking into these situations (or those at Parkland that feared to engage) even though they are physically and mentally utterly prepared with the best training/equipment. For a blind-sided teacher in the middle of a math lesson, unimaginable . Please don’t confuse an active shooter in a school with happily going to the range with your headphones on, starting at a non-moving/non-shooting target for as long you like and then you gently squeeze a trigger when you feel “comfy”. Imagine the noise, the screaming, your hands shaking, the blood flying and you are not even sure who the shooter is. Get real and stop watching so many movies……Finally you “lament” that more kids die in accidents than by gunfire. Huh?? That is one of your most bizarre and weird comments to date.

      • Bob Stevens

        As someone whos gone through dozen plus active shooter trainings with a local department (playing bad guy, victim, and good guy), the key thing is getting a good guy with a gun into the situation to engage the bad guy as soon as possible. You bypass victims. You rush to the gun fire. Statistically it has been shown that these mass shooters are cowards looking for soft targets. They give up or kill themselves more often than not when engaged.

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