The tragedy in Newtown is a tragedy in every town. My hope is that we as a country can remember that. My fear is that so many have already forgotten.
Here, in Trumbull, a mere 8-9 miles separate us from Newtown and Sandy Hook. But the tragedy is here right in our faces, too. Here’s a rundown of what things have been like from my perspective:
- One client came in with a child who is barely able to function.
- Received many calls from other professionals, looking if I/we can take more clients or if I can recommend referrals for people affected by the shooting.
- Go get lunch – the funeral home up the street has extreme security around it, a funeral today for one of the boys, James Mattioli.
- And then I come back to an email from our CTAMFT president: the 6 year old daughter of one of the past CTAMFT board members, Nelba Marquez-Greene, whom I know and admire, was one of the victims. Her daughter Ana is gone.
- Another client has had Anderson Cooper in her yard for 2 days, educators are working with all of their strength to guide their classrooms through this crisis with staggering aplomb. Clients with recent losses have had their scars ripped open, they are struggling under the weight of the tragedy.
- One client is closing their office so all employees can attend Victoria Soto’s wake, just across town.
- The school Psychologist, Mary Sherlach’s services backed up the Merritt so badly that clients were late – nobody minded though.
- Clients who are healthcare providers are searching for answers, all the while maintaining strength for those they are charged with caring for.
- Another funeral just up the road for little Chase Kowalski.
- Clients whose loved ones are first responders: how do they weather their own grief and still support their spouses who were there in those first ungodly moments?
- Parents whose kids are the same age as the lost teachers or the small children, so many reeling with guilt that they are so thankful for the fact that it’s not their kids who were harmed.
- Reports of people being called 24/7 by news agencies, being stopped in the supermarket, unable to park to get counseling because of all the news vehicles in town, chasing reporters out of their yards…
And then there’s me, reminding everyone that it’s not schools which are unsafe, it’s our choices.
I keep coming back to 2 hopes, and fear.
I hope that every private citizen that owns a weapon of war will relinquish it. In my take, if that weapon were not available, this event could not have happened. My fear is that the exact opposite will happen, nothing.
My second hope – challenge – is for every single home to remove all violent video games and pledge to never, ever, as long as they live let another one enter their homes ever again. I fear that our appetite for violence has tipped our moral scales and that the forces that be are letting us know. We must set a higher bar. My fear is that nothing will change.
Monday night when I returned home after such a difficult day, we sat down to watch some innocuous TV, “House Hunters”. And then – ads. The first ad was for Sears – advertising video games for Christmas. Yes, the games were Call of Duty and Assassin-something. I almost gagged. Then the next ad – for a new mobster movie. We always mute all ads but it didn’t matter. It was just shot after shot of guns and bullets and violence. I couldn’t breathe.
Do advertisers have such callous, bloodless hearts that they couldn’t predict that these might not be appropriate given recent events?
I am exhausted and heartsick.