My heart weeps in horror as I watch the scenes from Newtown, Connecticut where a man shot and killed over twenty individuals. I can only imagine the terror the parents living in this rural town of just over 27,000 people have felt all morning as news spread about this devastating incident. The faces of children crying are broadcasted on television sets all over our nation as people sit glued to the latest news blip from this latest in a series of devastating shootings.
I can only imagine the journey ahead for the children and families connected to Newtown. How many tears, nightmares, and moments of dread will await them in the near future as the hearts of this community attempt to mend after this travesty?
While talks are sure to commence about what could have been done to prevent this horror, for now the focus seems best on helping the families of Newtown and their relatives restore a sense of safety and security. No doubt for some of us who work with children, there will be a sense of dread by-proxy that will result as little ears tune in to the events, raising questions of their own personal safety. If over twenty people in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school could be so brutally murdered today, what of our safety in our own communities?
And these little hearts likely whisper a very real question to be considered in days to come. What does it say when we as a nation have so frequent these mass murders, this most recent of which strikes a more severe tune as we ponder the reality that someone had the audacity to murder children in their rural elementary school!?
I encourage you all who work with children and families to offer comfort and to encourage parents to set some boundaries in how much dramatic news television children are permitted to watch. Today is a day to mourn and help the individuals and families express their feelings of loss and restore a semblance of safety. Tomorrow there are very serious questions to be raised about why this keeps happening in our country, now including the most innocent and incapable of defending themselves, our children.
Stephen Ratcliff is a Counselor in private practice in Albuquerque, NM. He specializes in helping Children and Adolescents with Addiction, Psychological Trauma, and Attachment Disorders. For more information or to contact Stephen, please visit www.familiesfirsttherapy.org.