Things That Matter

5-Year-Old Girl Who Lost Her Parents In El Paso Mass Shooting Asks: ‘Is he going to come and shoot me?’

A 5-year-old girl’s mother was shot and killed this past weekend during the El Paso, Texas mass shooting and now she’s left wondering whether she’ll be next. Skylin Jamrowski lost both her stepfather and her mother during the El Paso massacre that left at least 22 people dead. After she was given the devastating news she asked, “Is he going to come and shoot me?”

That’s a question you never want to hear anyone ask. Let alone a young child. 

According to CNN, who spoke to the family of her deceased parents, the 5-year-old asked her grandmother if her father had died following the news of the shooting. 

For hours, the family didn’t know whether Skylin’s parents had survived the shooting. 

Skylin has a younger sister, Victoria, and a baby brother, Paul Gilbert, 2 months old. She’s the eldest of the three. According to reports, the baby miraculously survived when his mother, Jordan Anchondo, protected and shielded him with her body when the gunman shot her. Their father, Andre Anchondo, died the same way when he tried to protect both Jordan and the two-month-old baby. 

Relatives of the family told CNN that “the shooter had aimed at Jordan [and] Andre jumped in front of Jordan. And the shooter shot Andre, and the bullets went through Andre and hit Jordan.” 

Now, three young children and the rest of the Anchondo family are left to mourn the death of Jordan and Andre at the hands of a gunman who was motivated by racism in the slaying of at least 22 people. 

Skylin who is seemingly old enough to comprehend what happened to a certain extent is also left to deal with the trauma of losing both of her parents at such a young age and also left with knowing the brutal way in which they were killed.

Andre and Jordan Anchondo’s parents also told CNN that Skylin was not with them at the Walmart when the shooting occurred because she was at cheerleading class. Her parents had gone to Walmart, like many of the victims, to shop for school supplies for Skylin’s first day of kindergarten. But despite her not witnessing her parents lose their lives, the effects of trauma will still linger. 

ABC News, who looked into how communities recover from mass shooting trauma, spoke to Robin Gurwitch on the after-effects of a harrowing incident like this. The professor of psychiatry at Duke University, who studies how children process trauma and disasters, said that mass shootings can impact individuals and communities differently and always require specific responses to get past the trauma. 

The psychiatrist told ABC News, “When you mix death and trauma together, it becomes particularly hard. The mourning, the bereavement, as well as the trauma can make it particularly difficult for survivors.”

Despite Skylin and her younger siblings having a strong support system to raise them and be there for them after the death of their parents, her grandparents believe that “the sad thing is, is that even with all of us… it’s Mom and Dad. We can’t replace Mom and Dad. It’s just something you can’t replace.” 

According to Gurwitch, though, it’s still extremely important and positive to have this strong support system around them. Children who survived or witnessed mass shootings need to be able to see these examples of resiliency and positivity in order to not lose sight of these qualities for themselves. 

“We need to make sure that adults provide good role models. So even if we are anxious and worried and upset, that we can present to our children that we can cope with this, that we will get through this,” Gurwitch tells ABC News

The American Psychological Association also states that long-term outcomes for survivors, witnesses, and those who have been affected by mass shootings are improved with the help of community connections. 

The topic of how children and students cope with the trauma of mass shootings after bearing witness to them or after surviving them has become a prominent topic of discussions after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting–which left 17 dead.

Since mass shootings began to happen in school’s, affecting teens and the like, active shooter drills have become a lot more commonplace. But experts say that high-tech surveillance, tactical gear, and live drills are actually doing more harm than good. According to an article on Medium, active shooter drills can also be traumatizing for students.  After the El Paso shooting, some schools across the country have also responded by holding active shooter drills (one occurred in a high school in Costa Mesa, California on Monday, August 5). 

Now, after the El Paso shooting, Walmart will continue its computer-based active shooter training that launched in 2015 for its employees. According to USA Today, in 2017 Walmart made its workers take the training on a quarterly basis instead of annually and last month they began incorporating virtual reality technology in its active shooter training. But despite, their deadliest mass shooting in the El Paso location, the retailer will not stop its sales of rifles and other firearms. 

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As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

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As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

Cities across the United States are experiencing the worst yet of the Coronavirus pandemic. From California to New York, the country is struggling. However, one area that has emerged as a severe hot spot for the virus is El Paso, Texas.

The city has emerged as one of the nation’s hardest-hit regions. To put it into perspective, El Paso has more active Covid-19 infections than the entire country of Mexico.

In addition to a major spike in cases, the city is also seeing an increase in Covid-19 deaths that is seriously overwhelming healthcare workers, public health officials, and the network of morgues. It’s so bad that the city was using inmates to help transport bodies until the Texas’ governor finally deployed the National Guard to assist.

El Paso is emerging as the face of the second wave in the U.S. and the scenes are terrifying.

The El Paso community is struggling to control it’s severe spike in Covid-19 cases as it becomes a national hot spot for the pandemic. As infection rates rise, El Paso has registered more active Covid-19 cases than the entire country of Mexico.

El Paso (a city of 840,000 people) has 34,487 active cases while Mexico (a nation of 129 million) has 23,284. Although, it’s worth noting that many say Mexico’s actual number could be as many as ten times higher thanks to a severely-limited testing program.

El Paso’s government has attempted to get ahead of the virus and had implemented a wide-ranging stay-at-home order that called for hair salons, gyms and restaurant dine-in services to close. However, a court ruling last week by the 8th Circuit struck down that order, putting thousands of lives at risk.

One nurse went viral after telling her story inside “the pit” where many victims are left to die.

One nurse who worked in an El Paso hospital has gone viral after sharing her harrowing story from inside a Covid-19 hospital. In a nearly hourlong Facebook Live video, Lawanna Rivers, a traveling nurse, said that her time spent at the University Medical Center of El Paso was the worst experience she’s had since the pandemic began.

“Out of all the COVID assignments I’ve been on, this one here has really left me emotionally scarred,” she said. “The facility I’m at has surpassed the one I was at in New York.”

Rivers was most upset about how the sickest patients at the hospital were treated. She said they were all put into an area called a “pit,” where they are essentially left to die.

“My first day at orientation, I was told that whatever patients go into the pit, they only come out in a body bag,” Rivers said.

Rivers said doctors at the hospital would not enter the area, and nurses like herself who were stationed in them were under orders to perform CPR just three times on a patient before letting them die.

Rivers said she learned that doctors wouldn’t enter the pit when she called a physician for help one day with a patient who was bleeding profusely. She said the doctor told her they don’t go into the rooms for the sickest COVID-19 patients, so as to not expose themselves to the disease.

Inmates are joining the frontlines as they help to move the bodies of Covid-19 victims.

Credit: Justin Hammel / Getty Images

As the city struggled to manage the spiraling number of infections and deaths, inmates at the County Detention Facility were called upon to assist the El Paso Medical examiner with the overflow of bodies at the morgue.

Inmates were seen in full PPE gear assisting mobile morgues with the rising body count. A spokesperson for the county did not further detail exactly what the inmates were being asked to do but that they were being paid $2 per hour and were serving time for low-level sentences. The county also defended the decision to use inmate labor, saying it was either that or force families to wait even longer to start funeral arrangements.

The National Guard has been called upon to help work in mortuaries.

Credit: Ivan Aguirre / Getty Images

After El Paso resorted to using county jail inmates to move bodies for nearly two weeks, the Texas Army National Guard is sending a 36-person team to assist with mortuary services.

“This is very much needed in our community, and we’re really thankful for [the Texas Division of Emergency Management] and the governor’s action on this,” Democratic state Rep. and Sen.-elect César Blanco said Friday.

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Ben Watkins Of ‘MasterChef Junior’ Has Died From A Rare Form Of Cancer

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Ben Watkins Of ‘MasterChef Junior’ Has Died From A Rare Form Of Cancer

The “MasterChef Junior” family is sadly in mourning.

Ben Watkins, a fan-favorite contestant on the show for children who love to cook, has died. Watkins was just 14. He passed away on Monday, after a year-long battle of fighting a rare form of cancer.

According to Chicago Tribune Watkins passed away after struggling with a rare form of cancer for a year and a half.

MasterChef Junior/ FOX

Just three years after Watkins lost both of his parents to a domestic violence incident, the teen’s family is being forced to say ‘goodbye’ to him. Watkins uncle Anthony Edwards and grandmother Donna Edwards issued a statement on Monday that said their beloved family member had gone “home to be with his mother.”

“After losing both of his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben’s strength, courage and love for life. He never, ever complained. Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know. When Ben’s rare illness was shared with the world, he was so heartened by the outpouring of love he received from every corner of the globe–especially here in his hometown of Gary, Indiana,” the statement, which was shared on a GoFundMe campaign page, stated. “We cannot thank this community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you’ve done. Ben suffered more than his share in his fourteen years on this Earth but we take solace in that his suffering is finally over and in that, in the end, Ben knew he was loved by so many. #Love4Ben.”

Watkins was diagnosed last year with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, just days before his 13th birthday.

MasterChef Junior

Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma is a rare soft tissue cancer. It occurs in only a small number of children and young adults and is characterized by cystic blood-filled spaces and made up of histiocyte-like cells.

“Young Ben is one of only six people in the entire world diagnosed with this illness. Ben is currently undergoing treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Despite all of Ben’s trials and tribulations, he remains positive and looks forward to getting back in the kitchen and pursuing his dream to become an Engineer.   Members of the community have joined together to see that the life challenges that Ben has gone through does not derail him from reaching his full potential and fulfilling his dreams,” the statement concluded.

According to Chicago Tribune, Watkin’s had a golf-ball-sized tumor in his neck that had grown into a grapefruit-sized mass. Watkins underwent chemotherapy treatment for tumors located on his lungs, spine, and shoulder.

“Despite all the pain and sickness Ben went through, he never complained, not once,” Edwards told the Chicago Tribune. “We were praying for a different outcome. But Ben’s lungs could no longer give him the air he needed to breathe. It’s been devastating.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, “When Ben was first diagnosed, one of his doctors began writing a medical paper on Ben’s rare disease. Adhering to privacy rules, the doctor didn’t use Ben’s name. You can use my name,” Ben told the doctor. ‘Do whatever it takes. I don’t want another kid to have to go through what I’m going through.’ Ben and his family also consented for tissue to be extracted from his cancerous tumors after his death, to be shared with researchers. By doing so, Ben’s altruistic legacy will continue in the medical community as well as in his family.”

Speaking about his nephew, Edwards told Chicago Times that “Ben will always be our superhero.”

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