The Doctors: Columbine Survivor Crystal Woodman Miller
Crystal Woodman Miller was just 16 years old when she survived the horrific 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. Crystal is now a 30-year-old wife and mother with an 18-month-old daughter and another child on the way. She joined Dr. Phil and Dr. Travis Stork via telephone and described her experiences in dealing with a tragedy.
Crystal said that while she was very young at the time of the Columbine shooting, “these [Sandy Hook] children were babies.” Now, as a mother, this tragedy “strikes such a deeper cord” with Crystal. Back in 1999, she was in initial shock, but then experienced many of the common signs of grief: fear, anger, sadness and guilt. She even had trouble closing her eyes, because she would “re-live it all over again.”
Crystal wanted to send her thoughts and prayers to the families affected by the Sandy Hook shooting. Hear more of Crystal’s story in the video below.
Dr. Travis: First Responder Experiences in Tragedies
“The hardest thing I have to do in my life is look into a mother’s eyes and tell her that her child has died,” Dr. Stork said. “It never gets easier.” As an emergency room doctor, Dr. Travis Stork knows exactly what it’s like to be a first responder during a time of crisis or tragedy.
It’s difficult for a first responder, because he or she has to make some very tough decisions. Dr. Travis explained that as a first responder, you’re taught to be a professional in the heat of the moment. However, when it’s all over, you process what happened and sometimes can’t help but feel some blame for not saving more people, or more children. First responder experiences are very difficult in tragedies.
“We need to remember the men and women on the front line,” Dr. Phil said. See Dr. Travis’s heartfelt thoughts on being a first responder below.
The Doctors: Is Sandy Hook Shooting a Wake Up Call?
At the end of the show, Dr. Travis posed the question: Is this a wake up call? Dr. Phil reported that things are in fact getting worse. There have been 37 U.S. school shootings since 1974 and they are occurring more frequently.
“Somehow or another, we’ve got to change something,” Dr. Phil said. Stricter gun laws and also tighter school security are small measures that may help. Violence on television and in video games, according to Dr. Phil, are not to blame. It won’t be easy, but we’ve got to band together as a nation and figure out the ways we can prevent another tragedy.
Today’s Doctors Orders were simple: Send thoughts and love to the Sandy Hook victims, and hug your loved ones a bit tighter.