Survivor, Not “Victim”

I have been gratified by the strong focus on the survivors of the tragedy in Colorado, first on Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN day-off and today on Facebook with a photo circulating of actor Christian Bale with one of the men involved in the shooting.

My only frustration with this coverage is the word, “victim.”  These folks aren’t “victims,” they are survivors.  A victim is someone at someone else’s mercy, the recipient of the action, the powerless.  A survivor is someone who lives, triumphs, and is empowered.

We are survivors of awful things, not the victims.  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and we, together, can remember that we survive many horrible things.  We don’t have to own the word “victim,” and we don’t have to surrender our power to some sad, sick, nameless, mentally-ill individual with a gun.  Survive.  Triumph.

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