Workplace shooting stories in America follow a predictable arc. The shooting, the profile of the killer, the debate over guns, a few fundraisers, and then we move on to the next killing without looking back.
Today in South Dakota, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader looked back and found that Kathy Steever is still living the day two years ago when a driver, upset about his pay, walked into the office at a steel company and opened fire.
One of her co-workers was killed, she was shot in the neck. The shooter killed himself.
She was celebrating her birthday before leaving the office early to take her son to the dentist.
She wants to go home, back to the family farm. But she can’t. She’s paralyzed and needs more care than her husband is able to provide, the Argus Leader says.
She spent months at a rehab hospital in Nebraska, and moved to a facility in Sioux Falls last fall. But she can’t get the last 17 miles of her journey back to the farm.
“My kids are growing up and I miss everything they do,” Kathy said.
Kathy fights her battle with her own body and relishes what may seem like small victories. She smiles as she rolls her shoulders back and forth – that’s something she couldn’t do before.
There are other victories, including the feeding tube and ventilator she left behind. She used to suffer from hallucinations. Sometimes, she can move her pinky and thumb.
But still, Kathy’s hope clashes with reality. She asked for her laptop and Nook e-reader only to realize she couldn’t use them.
“There are days I’ll walk in and she’ll say, I’m grabbing your arm, how come you’re not responding?’” Todd said.
Even as she reminds herself of what the doctors said – she’ll never walk again, she should get used to the wheelchair, accept paralysis – she can’t abandon her beliefs. That her hands will respond when she wills them to grab her husband. That she will stand and walk and finally go home.
The CEO of the company hosted fundraisers and provided counseling services to survivors. But he told the Argus Leader, “You throw the life preserver out and you try to save everybody. Eventually, you come to the realization that it’s just not possible.”