(soft music) – [Dispatcher]
Jefferson County 911 – [Teacher] Yes, I am a teacher
at Columbine High School. There is a student
here with a gun. – [Narrator] It was an ordinary
spring day in Colorado. – [Teacher] I am in the library. I’ve got, students down. Under the table, kids. Kids, under the table. – [Narrator] A shooting
at Columbine High School. And a new era of gun violence
in Colorado and America. (sirens wailing) – You live for 47 years,
going through life in a certain way. And then you lose a child,
and everything is then marked by that day. – [Teacher] Smoke is
coming in from out there and I’m a little scared. The gun is right outside
the library door, okay? I don’t think I’m
gonna go out there. – [Dispatcher] You’re at
Columbine High School? – [Man] I got seven
down in theater nine. Seven down. – [Narrator] July 20th,
2012, another mass shooting in Colorado, this time
at a movie theater. – [Man] Can we get 25,
everybody on is a suspect. It’s gonna be a
male, unknown race. Black camo type outfit. – I tried to get
down on the floor and then about five
minutes later I remember just being frozen and then
waking up in the hospital. – [Narrator] Mass shootings,
drive by shootings, accidental shootings–all
too common. – We’re talking about
over 80,000 people every year in this country
who were injured by bullets. – This is where the
bullet is and this is why you’re not gonna be
able to walk anymore. And I just remember
like laying on my bed and not even knowing
what to think. – [Narrator] What happens
to those who survive? – Those medical bills
just kept coming in for many, many, many
years after my injury. And then the ongoing,
all your life cost that is associated to living
with a spinal cord injury. – [Narrator] What does
it take physically, financially, and emotionally
to heal the wounds? – I often wonder if those
people who survived, will they have permanent
neurologic injuries that will not allow
them to be as mobile as they were before. – [Narrator] How do
they move forward? (soft music) Tom Mauser has spent
the past 20 years walking in his son,
Daniel’s, shoes. – These are the shoes
he was wearing that day, on April 20th and I
wear them proudly. I only wear them when I’m
speaking on this issue because I wanna preserve
them as much as I can for the future. And when I think, 20 years
of my life is a long time and yet, it’s not that
it seem like yesterday, but it’s hard to believe
that it’s 20 years. My wife and I speak in
those terms very often, before and after Columbine. That’s a defining
moment in our lives. – [Narrator] 15 year
old Daniel was one of 13 people killed at
Columbine High School. – [Tom] There’s 2,000
students going to Columbine. What are the chances the
he was somehow involved in something bad going on? – [Man] You can see a– – [Narrator] Tom was supposed
to leave town that day to attend a conference, when
he saw the news reports. – [Reporter] There’s one
officer, they’re patting down or they’re checking to make sure that none of these has the
potential to be a suspect, to make sure that none of
these people is involved in the incident, that
they are not carrying any type of a weapon. – It was really my
coworkers that convinced me to forget about the
conference for now. You need to go home and
find out what’s going on. – [Reporter] But here’s
more and more students coming out again. (chatting) – Oh, thank God. (soft music) – [Narrator] Tom and his
wife went to Columbine looking for Daniel, but
they couldn’t find him. – Missy Holman,
Stephanie Letzack. – You go into the room,
there are some other parents. And they have counselors there. You’re thinking nothing good
can happen at that point. – [Narrator] The Mausers waited. – We went to bed that night
not knowing where he was, if he was alive. It wasn’t until about
noon the next day that the police came to
our house and informed us that he was one of the victims. – [Narrator] In that
instant, the Mausers went from having high school
sophomore to grieving parents. – How do you find happiness? How do you move forward? How do you also grieve? How do you try to
honor your child and keep your family together? Society, unfortunately,
tends to try to you know, put a lid on it. And well, isn’t it great
the way the Columbine community came together? And then I know, there
was a whole lot of others that were impacted in other ways even though they weren’t shot. And that was the
trauma, the PTSD. People who are still
living with that today. – [Narrator] And while the
Columbine Victim’s Fund paid for many costs,
the emotional cost of losing a child
was monumental. – Really the biggest cost for us was just the peace
of mind that we had. I don’t think people
realize the strain that you go through. With all the media
attention that there was on Columbine, the
strain that puts on you, being in the public eye. – [Narrator] Every part
of his life has changed. – When you have something
happen like this, there’s strain with
your friendships. We lost some friends. They simply didn’t know
how to deal with this. Just about two weeks before
the tragedy at Columbine, Daniel at the dinner
table asked me a question. “Did you know there were
loopholes in the Brady Bill?” The Brady Bill was
the national law that requires that a
background check be conducted before making a purchase. Two weeks later he
was killed with a gun that was purchased through a
loophole in the Brady Bill. How could I not act on that? – I give to you, Tom Mauser. (applauding) – [Narrator] Tom
took a sabbatical and went to work
for an organization lobbying the Colorado
State Legislature. (applauding) – Thank you. – [Narrator] The goal,
to close the loophole in background checks when
guns are bought and sold. – Reasonable people
are understanding that this effort is
simply about keeping guns out of the hands of
kids and criminals. Reasonable people understand
that law abiding citizens who pass a background
check will still be able to buy their guns. – [Narrator] Voters
approved the issue, voting it into law in 2000. – And I want you to work with
me to fulfill Daniel’s wish. (applauding) – [Narrator] Tom’s activism
has helped his healing, but it hasn’t come easy. – When you get involved
in issue like this the hate mail, the
harassment, the nastiness. It’s not been good. I know, I haven’t
liked that part of it. – [Narrator] For Tom,
it is the only way. – During those days when
I was advocating as today, I wore these shoes. These are the shoes my son wore, that he was wearing
on April 20th, 1999. It was doing things
in Daniel’s name. For me, healing was really
a combination of things. Trying to keep a sense
of humor in my life and trying to be upbeat. It was family, honoring
him, having his website. Talking to young people. Those things played a
really important role. – [Narrator] Tom will
forever mourn Daniel as one of the lives
lost that day. But there were two survivors. Two students shot and paralyzed. – What’s the quality of life
for some of those people? Especially if they become
severely paralyzed. Their lives are changed. And when you think of
the trauma that causes and the cost of that, it’s
greatly, greatly overlooked. (tense music) – [Narrator] Stefan Moton
was like so many kids. He loved to play
basketball and football with his friends. And he spent his free time
going to parties and to movies. – Me and my brother were
talking about the movie. Talking about
going to see Batman because we like, love superhero
movies and stuff like that. So we were waiting to
see Batman and then, yeah we just went to
the movies that night. And then all that happened. – [Dispatcher] Hello 911,
where is your emergency. – [Narrator] July 20th, 2012. – [Dispatcher] Sir,
I can’t hear you. What address? – [Man] Big theater
in Aurora, Colorado. – [Man] Yes, we’ve
got a rifle, gas mask. He’s detained right now. I’ve got an open door
going into the theater. – I was hit with one
bullet in the collar bone. And then it didn’t exit my body, but it hit me in
the spinal cord. – [Man] All right,
so the guy’s still in theater nine, I’m
working on the back board right now for that female. – [Narrator] 12 people died
at the Aurora movie theater. – [Man] Three teamed
up, another victim on the north side of the
theater, the parking lot. – [Man] I’m being told
that he’s in theater nine. – [Man] 1016, I need
a rescue in here, hot. We got a guy shot. – [Narrator] Two,
including Stefan Moton were left paralyzed. – [Stefan] I was 18 years old. It was almost my 19th birthday. – [Narrator] For Stefan,
going from a young, active kid to a person
confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life,
was a hard concept to grasp. – What’s up, bro? – [Stefan] Not much. – Why don’t you grab
some of that chicken and some veggies. – Oh yeah? You don’t know what’s going on. You don’t know how
you’re gonna live life. You’re not prepared for
those type of things, so mentally it’s just
like, kind of hard. – [Narrator] Stefan spent
a month in the hospital before being transferred to
Craig Rehabilitation Hospital for three months. – They teach you how to
live after your injury, how to cope with it physically,
mentally, emotionally. And like, it’s just a good
place to be if you get injured like with a spinal cord or
any kind of injury like that because they have
a lot of resources. A lot of good people that
help you and try to teach you. – See, I got it right this time. – [Stefan] I know, got
it perfect, perfect. – [Narrator] In the beginning,
Stefan was completely immobile and couldn’t talk. He lost all strength in his
abdomen, chest and vocal chords. – Yup. – [Narrator] Stefan’s life
has completely changed. He is almost completely
dependent on his friends and family, which
he says, he’s lucky to have. – Like, I didn’t want to go out because I couldn’t be
able to talk to anybody. And they couldn’t hear me. (muffled speaking) – Just like chicken and veggies. – Veggies? – Yeah. We’re trying to eat healthy. – Physically, like I
didn’t know like how the world would look at me. Like I didn’t know
how they would accept what I look from now
because I’m not used to being in a chair or not
being able to move at all. – [Narrator] Stefan is one
of about 277,000 people in Colorado who live with
a permanent disability. A disability that
prevents him from moving from place to place on his own. Chanda Hinton
Leichtle is another. – His wife’s not there
and so his son’s taking a nap right now. So that’s gonna make
it even more awkward. – [Man] Why? – Because they’re a distraction. – [Narrator] She was
injured when she was just nine years old. She says it started like
so many childhood games. This one, over a popsicle. – We were like brother
and sister during this period of life and time. And so for us,
running to the freezer and going for a popsicle
and fighting about what color and what
we were gonna have was all natural, good and fun. One of the boys was
sitting across from me and the other one was
coming out the hallway. And he said, oh we
know Chanda took one of our red popsicles,
let’s just shoot her, that we don’t have
to worry about it. And it was very, it
was a joking thing. That little tiny action
that shouldn’t result in what occurred, but
my choice of actually standing up and walking over
and getting a red popsicle is really the catalyst
that resulted in why I am in a wheelchair today. – [Narrator] As Chanda
ate the popsicle, her friend, Trevor, jokingly
pointed a gun at her that still had a bullet
left in the chamber. The gun fired and
the bullet lodged in Chanda’s spinal cord,
paralyzing her instantly. – He picked me up and he
laid me down on the couch. I remember asking them to
call my mom and to call 911. And they were scared at first. They were like, no, they
didn’t wanna call anyone because they were worried
about getting into trouble. And I think that as young boys,
it was a natural reaction. And because I don’t think
that they really knew the magnitude of what was truly
occurring in front of them. – [Narrator] Chanda
knew immediately that something was wrong. – I was having an internal
debate with myself about whether I was actually
going to live or die. You know, I can only
imagine what it looked like because my entire body
just completely went limp. I felt a lot of
tightness in my throat, which the tightness in my throat was because my neck
had fallen backwards. I couldn’t feel the bar
stool that I was sitting on. So it’s like when you
completely lost all of that connection to gravity and
ground and everything, you kind of, you don’t know
what’s really going on. – [Narrator] Nearly
30 years later, Chanda sits in a wheelchair. A quadriplegic, forced to
deal with the new reality at just nine years old. A very different
childhood than expected and a lifetime of expenses. – When I was little
my parents were told to actually quit their
jobs and to go on to public assistance and welfare
because the cost of me living with my injury
was very expensive. – You’re requiring a
lot of medical care, there’s often a lot of
pharmaceutical management that needs to happen,
which is very expensive. And then– – [Narrator] Candy
Tefertiller is the director of physical therapy
at Craig Hospital, and a board member at the
Chanda Plan Foundation. Craig is a nationally recognized
rehabilitation hospital in Denver, specializing
in spinal chord and traumatic brain injuries. – If somebody loses
the ability to walk, they then require a wheelchair
to be able to mobilize. And sometimes that’s
a power wheelchair, which can cost
upwards of $30,000. In terms of being able to
use the bathroom everyday and being able to
shower everyday, there’s bathroom and shower
equipment that’s needed. Sometimes that can cost upward
between five to $10,000. – [Narrator] About five
percent of patients seen at Craig Hospital
are gun related. Many of the costs
associated with long term care of those patients
are often overlooked. – My wheelchair
is around $20,000. My van is around 120,000. The modifications to my
house has been around 35,000. For the person that
comes in and helps me literally dress, bathe,
go to the bathroom, all those kinds of things, she
alone, that’s 4,000 a month. – [Narrator] There
are lifts for people to get in and out of their
chairs, in and out of bed. There are pressure
injuries from sitting most of the time, surgeries,
and there is the mental toll. – The emotional cost
of those are just as impactful, though,
as the financial cost. And it’s really helping
people understand who they are and getting
back into their communities in the same types of roles
that they had before. – As I age with my disability,
there’s always going to be moments where, you know, because this doesn’t go
away, there’s still emotions that come with it and the
difficulties that I have. All of this will continue
for the rest of my life. Like none of these pieces of
healing will ever go away. To see if (mumbling). – To see if somebody’s there. – For those who
survived gun violence and have injuries,
tremendous impact on them. And one of them is simply
that you have people who have the attitude,
well aren’t you glad that you survived and
that you weren’t killed? And I don’t think
those people realize all that those people
have to go through. Some of the things that
they have to go through just to lead a daily life. – I was born in
Mexico and my parents migrated here to the United
States when I was 11 months. And we basically moved
over here to this house when I was in second grade. So this has been where
I’ve basically known all the good and bad memories. I was going to school
like a regular day. And I went through all
my classes and I got out early that day. – Shots fired from a car
putting schools on lock down and a 17 year old
girl in the hospital. It happened this afternoon
just across the street from Aurora Central High School. – [Narrator] Karina
Sartiaguin ran home to get her new puppy
to bring back to school to show her friends. When she returned,
she was caught in gang related cross fire. – [Man] I heard two pops. Pop, pop. Then I ran in the house
and I told the wife, get down, get down, get down. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] Shot in
a drive by outside Aurora Central High School,
that was December 6, 2010. – [Karina] All I remember
hearing is just the gunshot and I blacked out. And when I woke up, I was
already on the ground. My ears were ringing. I looked down and
I saw that my legs were laying flat on the ground, but they felt like
they were sticking straight up in the air. – [Narrator] The bullet lodged and remains behind her stomach. And Karina will
never walk again. – [Karina] When I woke up I
was already in intensive care with neck braces. I had a chest
brace, oxygen tubes. I had a whole bunch
of like things just sticking out of my body. – [Narrator] Because Karina
was an undocumented immigrant, she did not have insurance, nor was she eligible for
government assistance. For her, the mounting cost
of a drive by shooting will never be resolved. – The thing is, I haven’t
paid for anything. It’s just piling up, and
that’s the worst part. It’s like, literally, I’ve literally come to the
realizing in my own mind that I’m not even going to try because I didn’t
cause this on myself. It’s really hard to get
your mind around something that you have to pay for
something that somebody else caused on you. You know, it’s really hard. – [Narrator] Karina
spent a month and a half at Craig Hospital. She says her rehab was helpful, but wishes it could
have been longer. – I struggle a lot
with my healing process just because you’re
constantly living with the effects of
what changed your life. – [Narrator] A 2017 study
at Johns Hopkins University revealed that people
admitted to the hospital with gun related
injuries face about $100,000 in medical bills. And this does not
include the costs of ongoing, long term
care after patients are released from the hospital. – When I was first
injured, the protocol was here’s your wheelchair. Get in your wheelchair
and here’s all the medications that
you need to take. And that was just the
process of how you live with a spinal chord injury. When I was 21, I
got extremely ill. I was having a lot
of chronic pain. I went to my physician. They put me on narcotics,
which was the next worst thing. – [Narrator] Chanda had
dropped to 59 pounds and was bed ridden. She was put in the hospital
with a feeding tube. She sustained on pain medication and had very little
quality of life. It was at that lowest
low that Chanda’s family members stepped
in, deciding it was time to take a new approach. The idea came from
Chanda’s sister, Crystal. – My sister who was
a yoga instructor really drove this
conversation with myself and my mom and my physician. And you know, he just
said well we have nothing to lose so let’s try it. Woo. (muffled speaking) (soft music) I started doing
acupuncture and massage and chiropractic and
physical therapy, and all these really
critical things. – [Man] You will
be very relaxed. You will remain attentive
and aware of my voice as well as your surroundings. – [Narrator] Chanda
is also beginning to use virtual reality. VR applications for medical
use are still experimental, but for Chanda, the
trial is the tool that helps her body with
stress and pain management. – It’s beautiful to know how
amazing the physical body is. But it’s also really
sad to know what occurs with it when it’s paralyzed. And when it’s paralyzed
it needs external support in order to be very healthy. – So I can just right away like, show how tight the flexors get from always being in
a 90 degree position. And so feel, Chanda,
how your hips want to lift off the table. Feel it go down
through your knees. And then go all the
way to your feet. Let the muscle
relax and drop wide. – [Narrator] Chanda
started seeing results. She was gaining weight
and was able to ween off of some of her medications. She thought maybe
Medicaid could help pay for some of the
treatments that were keeping her healthier
and out of the hospital. – I called Medicaid
and I said to them, can you fund these
integrative therapies because these
integrative therapies are cost effective to
me and my secondary conditions of my
spinal chord injury. So I’m not only using
Medicaid dollars to go the emergency
room and do all of these things that cost a lot of money. I’m actually taking
care of my body to the point where I’m not
utilizing those things. – Prop right here at your
shoulder, this block. Feel how that holds
the shoulder back and then when I just traction. And then you let
it stretch wider. – I am not having to
call 911 to go to the emergency room to
understand why the pain is so severe or having ongoing
urinary tract infections. It’s like you could
have this laundry list of cost and expense
associated to not having the tools that you need for your spinal chord injury. (soft music) – Get equal and opposite
so you’re reaching with your left arm and
your right foot towards me. I think I would just
support it, yeah. – [Narrator] Chanda,
determined to help others, started a non-profit,
and eventually the Chanda Center for Health. Helping those who are
permanently disabled find new pathways to mental
and physical strength. In 2009, she led the
movement in Colorado for a house bill pilot program, offering Medicaid wavers
for alternative treatments. – Individual with
disabilities include spinal chord, MS, CP, spina
bifida and brain injury, and it allows them
to access to things such as acupuncture or
massage, chiropractic, adaptive exercise, yoga. – Chanda, she helped me
a lot with sponsoring me with getting adaptive exercise, with getting
acupuncture massage. It was something
that I always thought that it was so far to reach. And when she came into
my life I realized like, there are so many more options. – You know, I’ve
gotten neuropathy and all the other stuff
that goes along with that. And I kind of used that
as a tool to help me sense my body, I guess. It’s a feedback, it’s
another feedback. – Just like this finger. – Yeah, yeah and
it just goes on. That gets better. – It gets better? – It gets better,
yeah that gets better. – [Woman] So let’s just take
a minute just to kind of, kind of get grounded. Let’s close our eyes. – [Narrator] Chanda’s
Center currently serves about 200 disabled patients. Helping those like
Karina and Stefan get the care they need outside
of traditional medicine. – [Man] How’s your chest? – That feels good. A little tight, but not as much. – Okay, helping you? – Stomach work, we
can work on that. – One, two, three. – That was nice. The physical part, it helps
my neck with like blood flow. And it helps my arms
not from being so stiff. When it’s colder outside,
it helps my body feel a lot more loose and I don’t
get sick as much, as often. Like I haven’t been
sick in a long time. – [Stephen] Are you having
any neuropathy in the left, or is it pretty much
mostly on the right? – Actually– – [Narrator] Stephen
Corsale is an acupuncturist who’s been treating Chanda
and Stefan since he was shot. – At the time I started
working with him, he was in a pretty good
place mentally/emotionally, but was still dealing
with the trauma. So the other place
that you were saying just wasn’t accepting the– – [Stefan] Yeah. – Some of the other
things that Stefan was dealing with is, while he still has
very limited movement, he had absolutely no movement
in his upper extremities. And he is now able to kind
of reposition his arms. So just right on the
inside, I can show you once you get up and
you can see better. – Thank you. – [Stephen] Yeah, so rather
than trying to find the point, if anyone, you can
just kind of work. I’ll show you how to kind
of massage in that area. – [Narrator] Acupuncture
uses small needles to help stimulate the nerves. – We use certain
points on the body to help either manipulate
organ function, pain. And so we do this, in the
traditional Asian concept it’s called Chi. – It was hard to
put on sweaters. Like my favorite hoodie,
I couldn’t put that on because my body was real stiff. But I was just real
depressed about like, I couldn’t wear certain
clothes I wanted to wear. (muffled speaking) – [Narrator] The acupuncture
seemed to help Stefan, and the range of motion in
his upper body has improved. – My shoulders
don’t feel as tight. I could wear, like when
I first started doing it, like a year later I could
start putting sweaters on and stuff like that. It’s not as stiff. So yeah, it helps a lot. (wind blowing) – [Narrator] The work
currently being done at the Chanda Center
for Health is now part of a study looking
at the long term benefits of alternative treatments. Chanda hopes to show that
integrative treatments help decrease
hospitalizations and the need for medication and
long term care. – When it’s looser,
you can still kind of use it the way I–
– Yeah. – [Narrator] Over time,
without these therapies, someone who was paralyzed
would start to lose movement. The hope is to
keep Stefan’s limbs from tightening and shortening. – Stefan has over the
years, dealt with a lot of tightness, congestion
in his chest, which would affect
his breathing. And so there’s this feeling
of a lot of heavy pressure, congestion and that’s
something that Stefan almost always
responds really well with a little acupuncture. – [Narrator] Candy Tefertiller
says expanded treatments along with improved technology
of the past 20 years have had a profound
impact on rehabilitation at Craig Hospital and
other similar facilities. – In the personal
training opportunities, we have a wide variety
of technologies. So we’re really
fortunate here to have an underwater treadmill system. So with that the entire
floor is a treadmill belt. And then the floor raises
and lowers to any height with just a push a button. So we use the
buoyancy of the water to help an individual begin
to move their extremities, when even maybe
they’re very limited and have very little strength. – [Narrator] The hope,
Tefertiller says, is that the changes and
improvements will have long term positive
affects on patients. Eventually, that
reduces hospital costs
and improves lives. Technology improvements alone have had a drastic impact. – And I think that’s
honestly the most exciting situation that we currently
have in rehabilitation is that, you know,
there’s been an explosion of rehab technology
on the market in the last 10 to 15 years. (laughing) – [Man] That’s great. – And so it’s much
easier for me now as a physical therapist
to provide more of these wellness
approaches for somebody with a significant disability
because I have technology that can support their
weight and can allow me to get them up and moving. And compensate for some
of their limitations, but still allow them to
be in a very functional and mobile environment
in a much better way than I could 18 years ago. (muffled speaking) – [Narrator] One popular
advancement in rehabilitation is the use of the exoskeleton. A very high tech robotic
machine that helps individuals who
can’t use their legs, stand and move their body. – We all feel better when
we’re exercising our bodies and when we’re moving. And that’s even more
important, I think, after a catastrophic injury because they just don’t
have the same opportunity on a daily basis to get just
basic exercise of walking in. – Much like life, there’s
gonna be distractions. If you do yoga, it gives
you that opportunity to reset, rejuvenate, refocus. – [Narrator] Adaptive
technology and holistic wellness are now intersecting,
improving long term care and quality of life for
people with paralysis. – When you’re spending
that much time every day in a manual or a
power wheelchair, your muscles aren’t
getting stretched out to the point that they should. And you’re not using
them in the same way that you did prior
to your injury. (soft music) – Now push down with your elbows to bring yourself
back to center. Nice. – [Candy] Adaptive yoga
is really unique in that it allows patients
to work on breathing and posture and positioning. And really allow them to be free of that wheelchair
for a little while. – [Narrator] Tefertiller
says there are obvious physical benefits,
but there is also a psychological effect. – When I initially
started out as PT, I was seeing individuals
with spinal cord injury and my focus was really
about teaching them how to compensate
for their injury, getting them in a
wheelchair that was fit appropriately for them. But now we have a better
focus or a bigger focus on bringing in more of
the health and wellness and recovery based
approach as well. – [Narrator] For Stefan,
like so many victims of gun violence, his
healing is multi-faceted. He says, with acupuncture,
massage and exercise he feels the benefits all over. – I do a lot of arm exercises. Like I get on the floor. And I get on like the vibrating
plate for my shoulders. I ride the FES bike for my legs. – Yep, you can come
a little more close. Perfect, right there
is good, thanks. You feel okay? – Yeah. It just feels like
things are connected. Things like are opening up. Doors are, like, opening up. It’s hard to explain, it just
feels good, like magical. – [Narrator] Those
magical moments are what keeps Stefan going. – Just a lot of mental and
spiritual and physical. It’s all connected together so
you gotta put it all together and keep going
forward and just yeah, just try to be, become
a better person. Be positive for people
around you, for yourself too. (soft music) – [Narrator] For Tom Mauser,
walking in Daniel’s shoes helps him move forward. It helps him heal and helps
to keep Daniel’s memory alive. – You can’t let this
burn inside of you, because it’ll eat away at you. You have to say there’s
something better to reach for that
you are going to work to make sure that it doesn’t
happen to other people. – [Narrator] For Tom,
forgiveness is part of a long, non-linear healing process. – I cannot forgive
them for what they did. I have forgiven for
being them for being two very lost and
disturbed young people who didn’t know a
way out of what they were going through
in their heads. I’ve forgive them for that. – [Narrator] Tom hopes
his activism will prevent other families
from having to live through the same tragedy. – I don’t think Daniel
would want me to be so stuck in grief that I
couldn’t go on with my life. That’s now what he would want. That’s not what our
kids and our loved ones would ever want. They want us to go on. – [Narrator] The physical
toll of Karina’s injuries make her mental healing and
forgiveness a daily challenge. She says it’s hard to move
on when your body reminds you each day that you
will never be the same. – Literally one day
you go to school, and you’re going
to school normal. And then the next day, the
next Monday you’re trying to like, sit up straight. – [Narrator] Karina
has learned to drive. She has a job that she loves. And is as self-sufficient
as possible. – I started working at the
History Colorado Center about four years ago. And I always like to
tell people that that was my very first taxable job, ever. I always thought that
it was gonna really hard to try to find a job
with a disability, but that building
is super accessible. The people are really
kind about, you know, when I don’t have the
accessibility of something, they will be there
to help me with it. (soft music) – [Narrator] The mental
and physical challenges are intertwined and can
be extremely overwhelming. – You gotta get ramps
and a roll in shower. Even now, there’s
still a lot of things that are not
accessible in my house that I have to
constantly be living with that frustration of
lack of independence. But I mean, it’s life. – [Woman] She wheeled through
downtown Denver streets alongside marchers
demanding change in gun control legislation. – This whole movement
that has started, I feel a part of it
because I feel like I had been doing it for
such a long time. – [Narrator] Like Tom Mauser, Karina’s healing path
involves activism. She can’t change the
impact of her injury, but she says she can use
her voice to teach others. She is now a permanent resident, working towards US citizenship, which would then make her
eligible for Medicaid. – My healing came
from me speaking out and being an advocate
to a lot of the things that affected me. Whether it was healthcare,
immigration, gun control. All those things, I feel
like definitely helped me put myself out there and
get my personal healing. – I just remember getting shot. And I tried to call
my brother’s name, but I really couldn’t
get the words out because I think it just
paralyzed me instantly. Something like that. – Could you tell the jury
about what you remember– – [Narrator] Stefan did
testify against his shooter. And he says, he forgave his
shooter’s actions long ago. – At first when I
got shot, I was mad. But when you’re mad
you’re not gonna progress, so what’s the point of
being mad at something. That’s not gonna help you out. I forgave him. So there’s no hate feelings
or I don’t think about him, or I just move on with my
life and try to be positive. Not just for myself but for
the people around me too because you don’t
wanna be toxic. You gotta try to move
forward and be happy. – [Narrator] For
Stefan what is certain is that healing has
come from within. – Healing, it’s just
the process of life. Healing means
growing, like growth. Like finding peace in life,
self peace, self growth, self love, like loving yourself because loving
yourself is a journey. It never stops, you
just keep finding ways to love yourself. – One of the most
heartwarming parts of my job is that when you see
somebody who first comes in and they don’t wanna make eye
contact with other people, they don’t wanna
talk to anybody else who’s in a wheelchair. They really don’t want
to be where they are. And so they really disengage
from social interaction and social communication. That’s one of the
most impactful signs that they’re coming out
of this and that they’re going to be okay, is
when they start talking to other people who
have had injuries. And they start working
through some of these problems and challenges. – With a spinal cord injury, there’s a philosophy that’s
really, really important to get back into our body again. (muffled speaking) – [Narrator] Chanda Hinton
Leichtle was injured at such a young age,
and some of the issues she had to confront
were hard for her young self to understand. – I come from a family
of hunters that truly love to hunt and are
very responsible humans with guns when they go hunting. After being in rehab, I
came home and of course my family, they
all still hunted. And that was interesting
for me to navigate as well because I was like, wow, I’m
sitting here in a wheelchair paralyzed from a gun,
but yet how do I navigate that emotion that my
family’s still gonna pick up a gun and
they’re gonna go hunt? – [Man] Left onto Sandalwood. – [Narrator] Now, at 37,
Chanda says the healing, forgiveness and activism
are a packaged deal, motivating her to
keep moving forward. Chanda realized there was
one giant step remaining in her healing journey. – [Chanda] And then we’re here. – [Narrator] Chanda
needed to see her childhood friend, Trevor. The young man who fired the
gun, leaving her paralyzed. – Hello. – How are you? – Good, how are you doing? – Good. – It’s good to see you. – Yeah. – Excited to see you. – Yeah. – I was kind of
nervous, but yet, good. – I know, it was funny. When we, when Paul
pulled up he’s like, is Trevor peeking through
the window right there? – No, my son’s always
messing with the blinds. – That’s so cute. – You’re lucky that we
can even, they’re even up. – So Trevor, when
Paul pops me up, if you pull from the front. – Okay, ready? One, two, three. Hi.
– Hi. – [Trevor] And that’s
my wife, Erica. – Erica hey, nice to meet you. So your house,
it’s so beautiful. You guys have a lovely home. – Well thanks. – Is that one of your guys’
wedding pictures right there? – Yeah. (muffled speaking) – Oh wow, did he
make the wood on it? (muffled speaking) – You know, there’s
not a day goes by I don’t think about
what happened. That’s only natural to look
back and reflect upon it. It’s just something
that happened that
you probably never, you know, just something that
changed your life forever. I’m really happy that
you’ve taken what’s happened and turned it really positive. It’s amazing. – Well, what you told
me was there wasn’t a day that goes by that
you don’t think about it. – No, no. Well I just think
that’s natural though. I mean, it’s just part of it. – And when you first
contacted him, I was like, well I think she’s
forgiven you, Trevor. But you need to forgive yourself
and he said he never will. – [Trevor] Well, that’s
just the way it is. – For me I think it’s
all about healing. You know what I mean? So from the perspective
of me that’s like, I understand that
there are accidents. And I embraced that
fully and like, I have no negative feelings
towards Trevor what so ever, which is, I’m so,
so excited about. Like I’m more, I just always, I just want to embrace him. – Went to North Block,
to the emergency room. And that was the
last time I actually was in the same room
as Chanda ’til today. – [Narrator] Even now,
going back to that day is painful for Trevor. – I remember after
it happened, the… You just knew
something wasn’t right. – [Narrator] In a moment,
nearly 30 years ago two young lives were
profoundly changed forever. – That’s probably, without
a doubt, the darkest point in my life. So and I just made a, I made a bad
mistake, I messed up. – Turn this way. Watch this. – It’s like a four wheeler. – Watch. Wee. Get ’em, get ’em,
get ’em, get ’em. – You like the ride? – Was that scary? (muffled speaking) – [Narrator] Nearly three
decades have passed. Trevor still struggles
to talk about the pain and mental anguish
of what happened. – You know, you go through
life and you make mistakes. You can fix them. You can fix it, like
make it the way it was. If you break a window, you
can buy and get a new window. That’s something I’ll
never be able to fix and that’s been the
hardest for me, personally. There’s a part of me, I don’t know if I’ll
ever forgive myself. I think forgive, I don’t know if,
because she’s gonna be in that wheelchair forever. You wanna take a
(muffled speaking) – No. Just look. Hi. Okay, should I go– – [Narrator] For
Chanda, true forgiveness is a key ingredient in
healing a lifetime of wounds. – So when I reached
out to Trevor, I wanted him to know
that I forgave him. I want you to know
that I forgive you because I can’t also imagine
what it’s done to you. There he is. Hi. Hi. – Gotta pet him nice. – Go get him. Oh, he’s giving a kiss. Once I had forgiven
him, all those details and questions that I had
weren’t really relevant anymore. But there was one that
was still relevant and it was whether
he thought about me. And so I just asked him. I said, you know, I know you
haven’t reached out to me and all those kinds of things
and so I just wanna know do you ever think about
me and what occurred? He was just really
quiet and he just said that I think about you everyday
and that was enough for me. Hug, Erica, it’s so
great to meet you. – Nice to meet you too. Maybe we’ll have to go
skiing out in Winter Park. That’s where I like to go–
– Yeah. – Give hugs. – Bye, bye. – [Trevor] It’s good seeing you. – Good to see you, absolutely. Thank you, Trevor. – Any time. – Can you give puppy a hug? – Oh yay. – [Narrator] Tom, Chanda
and others know firsthand that there is pain,
hardship, consequences and oftentimes sadness
that comes from a new life. And that healing the past and
moving forward is not simple. But life does go on. 20 years after Columbine,
the healing continues. – In terms of the time and
the resource and the capacity of healing America
regarding the conversation and the presence of guns, it’s gonna take a lot
of work, a lot of work. I think that we should
have faith in who we are as humanity and hope. I don’t want us to
ever give up on hope. But I mean, there is so much
damage that has been done. – Medicaid doesn’t pay
for physical therapies. I wish that they did
so I can go more often to heal more because
that’s part of the process of the physical
part of me healing. (muffled speaking) – Unfortunately, most
insurance companies do not pay for health
and wellness benefits. I try to remind myself
that my insurance company doesn’t currently provide
me the opportunity to get a personal
trainer and have that paid through insurance because
it is health and wellness. And so that’s kind
of the mindset. – [Chanda] We are seeing that
other state Medicaid programs are absolutely picking
up on the trend that there is a
different way of healing for those with
physical disabilities. – [Woman] And we
(muffled speaking). – I think for folks
with disabilities, they need a healthier option. It feels amazing to
know that the providers we have around us are
being able to impact an individual’s life,
to let them live beyond always having to worry
about the spinal cord injury and the things
that come with it. And when they have
a healthier option, they are able to heal on
so many different layers because they’re not
constantly just trying to physically stay alive
and above always being sick. If we can be a
small piece of that, like that is so significant. (soft music)

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