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Dealing with the Newtown, CT school shooting

by Traci Schumacher on Mon, 12/17/2012 - 10:45am

I'm wondering how many parents discussed the Newtown, CT school shooting with their children this weekend and how many chose not to. It's a tricky subject, and I know parents on both sides. Some feel the kids need to know; others want to shelter them.

Personally, I was not too motivated to discuss the incident with my kids. What do you say? Will they be overcome with fear? But when I saw my 8-year-old reading the Wall Street Journal for the first time ever because she noticed the headline, I knew there would be no sheltering.

So we had a little discussion, in general terms, about what happened. She asked a couple questions. She said that if something like that happened here she hopes she and everyone would be out sick that day so no one would get hurt. I reassured her that there are lots of people working hard to keep everyone safe.

The most unnerving thing to me about the massacre is that I don't believe we can truly prevent these sorts of things. The school had security. It was in a “good neighborhood.” But if someone is intent on evil and willing to kill themselves anyway, how can we see that coming?

I am sure the politicians will come up with some reforms in an attempt to make us all feel better and think they're doing some good. Maybe, if the school staff had guns, they might have had a chance to stop the man. Or if someone had dealt with his mental issues more proactively at an earlier stage... Who knows? Surely there are changes that can be made, but we can never eliminate the risk that comes with simply being alive.

I saw a quote on Facebook, attributed to Mr. Rogers, saying how when he was a kid and heard of some bad thing happening, his mother would tell him to look for the helpers. That there are always helpers at work. That seems like a good way to look at it. There will always be bad things that happen. But there will always be people stepping up to help, too. And we can also look for ways to be helpers. There is a bit of comfort and hope in that reality.

Other than that, we are left with only questions. And profound sorrow.

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