88: Taylor Schumann | Other Side Of Surviving A School Shooting
Taylor Schumann | Other Side Of Surviving A School Shooting
I have always been a writer, but it was a spring day in 2013 that made me an activist.
The bullet that tore through my left hand on an otherwise average afternoon at New River Community College in Christiansburg, Virginia, redefined the trajectory of the written word for me, assigning mission to my passion and essential, urgent purpose to my page.
In the split-second moment of the shooting, and the long work of healing and trauma recovery that followed, my beliefs about gun reform, thoughts and prayers, and the role of the church in our nation’s historic and future violence were irreversibly altered.
Alive in the gratitude of the aftermath, I write the truth of my own story, and the stories of the countless precious lives affected daily by the crisis of gun violence, to implore others to join me in meeting the suffering around us with whole-hearted attention. I write to ask, simply, that we resist the impulse to look away.
As the mother of a young son, Henry, I’m compelled to hold the American Christian church accountable to its pro-life claims.
At home in Charleston, South Carolina, and across the nation, I’ve witnessed the entrenchment of church and gun culture, and the apparent moral disconnect wreaking havoc on our ability to effect positive change.
It is my hope that story will be the place we join hands and ignite in passionate advocacy to create a better future for Henry and the rest of our children. It is my desire to write our swords into plowshares, our apathy into action, and the distance between us into common ground.
Taylor Schumann joins me to discuss surviving a school shooting, the long work of healing and trauma recovery, gun reform, thoughts and prayers, and her faith in Jesus.
Questions Taylor and I Discussed:
- (2:25) Before we fully launch into your story tell us a little about your faith journey with Jesus. When did you come to know Him?
- (3:20) Take us back to 2013 and share with our listeners what happened to you on that day and how your life was forever changed
- (14:54) What were some of the hardest things you faced in the days and months following the shooting?
- (19:51) In a Christianity Today article you wrote, “I have a complicated relationship with thoughts and prayers.” Expound on that a bit for us.
- (25:48) You are passionate about holding the American Christian church accountable to its pro-life claims. In your experience, how does pro-life accountability involve gun reform?
- (34:08) For those listening, who are tempted to stop listening or look away or launch into all of the BUTS that come along with gun reform activism what would you like to share with them?
Quotes to Remember:
“The bullet went through my left hand”
“He attempted to shoot through the door a second time, but it missed me.”
“Ultimately, I lost about 80% use of my left hand. So today, I still deal with a good bit of chronic pain, some nerve damage…but, I regained about 20% use of my hand, which was a lot more than we were anticipating.”
“When I looked over to the side of me, the shooter was laying on the sidewalk, not too far from me and the police officers were putting handcuffs on him.”
“I always try to keep in mind that no matter how hard it was, and that burden that I felt, it was also…kind of a gift, because a lot of people in my situation that have been in a shooting, don’t get that day in court at all. A lot of times those situations end with the person taking their own life or someone else doing it, the police doing it, and they don’t get to go to court and talk about how it’s impacted their life and their family.”
“I got through it because of the Lord, but also because of hundreds of people praying for me around the world, sending me cards and encouragement, and just praying me through those really dark days.”
“I believe that with my whole heart, everything that’s in me, that prayer is effective and it works.”
“We hear this refrain, we’re offering thoughts and prayers. And good, please pray, please send your prayers. But I see that used and twisted into kind of an excuse to stop there and that’s what I have a problem with. Prayer needs to be the starting point, not the ending.”
“I don’t think prayer should be used as an excuse to not do what we can and not to follow that prayer with action, because God has given us the ability to pray to Him and to come to Him in prayer and at the same time, God has given us hands and feet and resources to do things here on earth.”
“I think a lot of people that do gun reform work or any kind of activism work, get painted with this brush of ‘we hate thoughts and prayers’ or we think it’s meaningless and it’s really not true. It’s that we don’t want that to be the period on the sentence…Let’s start with prayer and then let’s do the work.”
“This pain and suffering, it needs to be considered when we look at pro-life ethic, because people are dying, and people are hurting. If we say we care about the most vulnerable, and want to defend their right to life, then that needs to extend into the full life.”
“I think a good starting place, take politics out of it, take our American ideals out of it, our rights, those kind of things, take all that out of it and just look at the topic of gun violence and the effects that it’s having and the pain it’s causing….If all you were doing was looking at this through the lens of being a follower of Jesus, how would you feel about it? What would you think about it?”
“Can I be a balm to the suffering?”
“If my number one priority in life is to be a follower of the Lord and to believe what He says, what the Bible says, then what does that mean for gun violence? How can I take that worldview on this [issue]? Start there and see where the Lord leads you.”