Sunday, December 16, 2012

How did we react to Newtown, and what does it say about our culture?

I've been living with a heavy heart since hearing news of the Newtown, CT shooting. Never could we expect that a fellow American, a fellow human being, could take an instrument designed specifically for mass killing and use it in the place where we send our children to be enriched and educated. Those immediately affected by this tragedy are going through unimaginable pain. And this event was truly unimaginable; I've been having a difficult time wrapping my mind around it, but that's okay, because there is no way I can reason the events to a point where I can say, "Yeah, that makes sense now."

Immediately following the shooting, the media took on its expected frenzy. Social networks also lit-up with conversation, opinions, and demands for a call to action. In it all, I felt a lot of passion and anger coming from people and not enough empathy and sympathy. The children, parents, and staff are most likely going to suffer from PTSD unless they get professional counseling. Even then, it's a long road to recovery, but the sooner the healing begins, the less profound the adverse effects will be. Instead of discussing the importance of mental well-being in the victims, reporters fought to get interviews with them. Honestly, aside from unsuccessfully sating our morbid curiosity, what are we to gain from hearing the words of someone who is still trying to deal with tragedy?

Next, I feel that despite all the arguments about policy, I've maintained that the most important policy is family. How many of us embraced our loved ones, and told them how much we love them? That should come long before a hopeless, anger-filled rant about how we need to make change. After that, we should write letters to the families and friends who are the immediate victims of loss expressing our love and support and NOT use them as tools to push a political agenda. These families no longer have the luxury of normalcy in their lives. While no amount of support can fill the void of a murdered child, we can stand proud as a nation of people who open their hearts to damaged families and let them know that they don't have to go through this alone.

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