Reflections on a tragedy

My heart is entirely torn apart for the families in the Newtown community. I have not posted on this topic until now because I simply cannot find words. I was at work when I first heard and I had to make the choice to not react, so as not to lose everything in that moment. I felt shocked and speechless. It bothered me in that moment that not one of us could consider an appropriate response to what we were seeing on the news. This is becoming something that is not so shocking, we are seeing mass murder more and more. Yet, it goes against every fiber in our souls, and every time we hear of another incident, it eats away at our very being a bit more.

After leaving work I called my boyfriend and my mother right away, to tell them I love them. And then I read over a few of the news articles and tried to  digest this tragedy. I can’t. My mind cannot process this heartbreak. Inconceivable. Gruesome. Horrifying. Shattering. How? Why? Those poor, innocent children. To the parents, the teachers, the police officers and firefighters, to the community. I’m so sorry. I’m so deeply sorry. I don’t know how you will get through this, but I believe that you will, and that this, like any other challenge will make you stronger. This should never happen. Never. And please know this truth: that you are in all of our thoughts and prayers across the country.

My prayer is that this will lead us as a society, as a nation, to join together and openly discuss what is going on in these minds that are leading to such tragedies. There are so many capacities to search for connecting elements: the psyches of the murderers, their families, the surrounding culture, the educational institutions, their experiences with the criminal justice system, and the availability of weaponry. Conversations about gun control are critical and highly appropriate. But we must also communicate about an even more sensitive topic, the mental health and lack of stability of these seemingly evil people. Are they evil – if not, how do we separate them from ourselves? Are they suffering souls, crying for attention? We need to attempt to learn from their thoughts and motivations and learn how to better respond to their needs, prior to catastrophe. Mental illness should – and must – be further discussed and learned about. It is disturbing that in the 21st century, with all of our technology and knowledge, we have yet to gain a firmer handle on creating environments that nurture the mental health of our young people.

America needs to transform the way that we think about parenting, relationships, education, and living itself. We need to revolutionize almost every institution to actually work for the people. This includes: families, neighborhoods, communities, schools, policing, correctional facilities, and state and federal government. I will not go into too much further detail on this in this capacity, as it is not the focus of my blog. But I urge each one of us to throw ourselves into research and to advocate for stronger evidence-based policies. Further, I would encourage us to reach out to our neighbors, get to know the people in our communities, and support pro-social attitudes and behaviors.

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