The New Sun Newspaper

An Interview with Caley Anderson

The New Sun: How did you handle the incident when it first happened?

Caley Anderson: It was pretty difficult. I was standing close to it when it happened. I saw a few people get hurt. He actually shot at me a couple of times. It kind of messed me up to have to go look at the plaster that was chipped from a bullet that almost hit me in the head. I knew three of the people who were injured and one of the guys who died. It was really tough to handle. It was seemed unreal. It seemed really surreal, is the word I would use. I tried to handle it by, and continue to try to handle it by, just continuing with my everyday activities like school. Just trying to stick to my routine.

NS: What did you do right after it happened?

CA: Well, after the shots were fired, a man who was injured came out. I think it was Tim Estes. He was bleeding off the side of his stomach. I ran up to him to see if he was okay and if there was anything I could do for him. I asked him if he was alright and he said, "Well, I'm bleeding out of my stomach and I was shot, but other than that I'm fine."

I turned around to look at the bathroom and heard a couple more shots pinging on the wall above me. That kind of scared me so he and I ran into the nearest classroom. The teacher decided that the classroom was too close to where the shots were being fired from, so he had us run down to the baseball field. But from the baseball field, everyone was leaving and I didn't think I should leave yet so I walked back up the stairs and ran to my regular class -- the class that I would have been in if the shooting hadn't occurred.

I was put into lock-down there. Then the sheriff came and escorted us out. We went over to the shopping center complex that's across from the school. Just sat around there talking to the police, giving them my statement, until my Dad came and then we went home.

NS: And then you talked about it with your parents?

CA: Yeah.

NS: And the next day? What happened then?

CA: Well, the next day, of course there was no school. I sat at home and just tried to sort out about what happened. Scott Marshall, one of the guys who was injured, he's been my best friend since Kindergarten. It was kind of hard to see him take two shots through the lung.

NS: How's he doing now?

CA: Oh he's doing a lot better, he's back in school.

NS: And how about Tim Estes?

CA: He's a student teacher. I'm not sure how he's doing. I haven't seen him since. The 13 people that were hurt all recovered, I think.

NS: Did you write about it in the school paper? (The ConSultant)

CA: Well, in addition to being the Editor-in-Chief, I'm also the Opinion Editor, so most of the pieces I write are for Opinion. Part of my experience was included as part of the news editor's story. I wrote a few opinions about it.

The school board member for the district that Santana is in, made a statement that Santana High School students had no respect for life and were "Godless." I attacked him for that on the Opinion page. There's been a lot of negative stuff going on here.

There's a guy who regularly drives in front of the Santana School with a lot of signs that say, "Jesus is the Answer" and "God Saves," that sort of stuff. He has anti-abortion pictures on the side of the van because Santana is notorious for being a school with a high abortion rate. I actually heard one parent say that we deserved it. It made me sick. So I wrote an opinion about that.

I'm trying to get us back on the right track, on the positive track.

NS: Did it help to write about it?

CA: Yeah it did because I was pretty mad at those people and so was everyone. A lot of the students had seen this guy and had heard the school board member's statements so it was kind releasing the tension and anger, so it's harmless. It just made us feel a lot better I think.

NS: When the mainstream media covered it, did they accurately reflect the facts or your experience?

CA: It varied from outlet to outlet. I noticed that the major networks -- ABC, NBC, CBS -- they were the ones that really, to my knowledge, were a little more rude, a little more intrusive. I know for a fact that one of them -- I'm not sure which one because the administration won't reveal it -- paid some Santana kids to take a video camera in there the day that the press were forbidden to enter. And that's not right. For the most part they were actually pretty respectful. They covered it fairly well and they reflected it accurately, especially CNN. I was please with how CNN covered it. And the local networks did very well; the local public radio station, especially.

NS: So they didn't overly sensationalize it.

CA: No, no. Well, a few of them did, of course. You're not going to avoid that. But most of the media outlets, I would say, maintained their distance and reported it accurately.

NS: Do students get together and talk about it or did the school set up counseling sessions?

CA: The district that Santana belongs to arranged for a couple hundred counselors to come to Santana. So the first day we got back we all just sat down and talked about it instead of doing our regular classes. Most of the counselors left but there are still a few here in case students have problems.

NS: You think that's been helpful?

CA: Absolutely. It was great.

NS: Reflecting back on the experience, what have you learned about yourself or about life?

CA: I was surprised by how little...I wouldn't say how little it affected Santana or myself because it did affect us, no question about that, but about how little it affected us negatively. We just plain felt bad about it, so I tried to focus on the upswing, if you will, on the recovery. That was what helped me get through it; trying to fix things.

I would say: don't focus on the negative, focus on the positive, on what you can do to repair things.

NS: And I guess one way to focus on the positive is to reach out to help other people, in whatever way that could be.

CA: Yeah. Actually, I've noticed a large upsurge in Santana community service. A lot more of the students are doing community service now for some reason or another.

NS: Did you observe acts of heroism? Outright obvious acts as well as more subtle ones?

CA: Our campus supervisor, Peter Ruiz, trying to stop the kid. He just walked right up as though he didn't have a gun. He got shot, kept walking towards him, got shot again.

NS: Is he okay?

CA: Yeah, he's doing alright. He was actually one of the first to recover. There have been other acts of heroism.

NS: Like when you helped Tim Estes?

CA: Oh, I just asked him how he was doing and if there was anything I could do to help.

NS: Well, that's pretty good.

CA: I couldn't stop his bleeding. I didn't have a turnakit handy. I didn't save his life.

NS: But you kept it together and kept calm and set a good example.

CA: It was kind of strange in the first few seconds after the firing. Everyone was actually crowding around the bathroom. They thought it was firecrackers or a cap gun or something of that nature. People running out of the bathroom made you think, well, those are the people who did it and they're running out. But then people started coming out bleeding. It was a strange experience.

NS: Has it made you think about gun control? Did you have opinions before and after?

CA: Santee is one of the most Republican cities you will ever find in the United States. I'm one of the few Democrats here. I was pretty much for gun control beforehand and this, of course, only reinforces it.

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See: Excerpts from the school newspaper