Katy Swiecicki

Remember the Pluses

In the wake of yet another mass shooting, Katy Swiecicki writes a letter on behalf of the “pluses” who are also victims of these atrocious acts.


“Where should we go if someone starts shooting?”

Do you think this? I do. Every day. When I’m in my car, when I’m at the grocery store, when I’m walking my son to the park, when I’m at the zoo or the children’s museum. When I’m home alone. When I’m not alone. When I’m at your house. I think this. I have a plan. I decide whom I’ll leave behind and whom I’ll try to protect. In every situation. Every day.

My mom was wounded in a mass shooting in 2001. I never dreamed back then that 16 years later, there’d be more shootings. I thought I’d never see this again in my lifetime. I was wrong. It’s worse now.

Please remember that there were more than 550 victims of the Las Vegas shooting. There were the total of dead-and-wounded-plus. And that “plus” represents thousands.

When the bullets stop flying, the wounding keeps on. Forever. Every day. For the rest of the lives of anyone who saw it, who was wounded, or whose loved one was there. They’ll have memories. Nightmares. Weird thoughts they can’t make go away. Suspicions. Fears. Anger. Heartbreak. Forever.

I didn’t see it. I didn’t hear it. I wasn’t wounded. I wasn’t even there. But it’s a scar on me. It’s a burden on everyone who deals with me, whether they realize it or not.

I’m a plus. Remember me. Remember us. Remember them. Remember the pluses. There are so, so many pluses.


This letter first published in the Chicago Tribune, reposted with the author’s permission.


Katy Swiecicki

Katy is a full-time mother and sometime launderer. She’s been recently transplanted from Chicago to the southwest suburbs. When she’s not at the park or the children’s museum, she’s reading a library book, playing her ukulele, and doing spot-on impersonations of everyone you know.

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