Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Of Tragedy, Courage, Compassion and Love

America has been in the grip of grief and shock since news of the senseless and violent massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. The loss of so many innocent children is difficult to comprehend, and we mourn with those who are bereft of their loved ones.

Amidst the sadness and unbelievable carnage of that December day in Connecticut, there has been an outpouring of love, compassion, courage, and the will to support a community in need. Emails, petitions, Facebook pages, tweets and other compassionate communications continue to amass while piles of flowers, teddy bears and other mementos crowd make-shift memorials in Newtown.

Meanwhile, a substantive debate over gun laws in this country is emerging amidst the grief and shock, and many are saying that the Newtown massacre is a watershed moment vis-a-vis gun control in the United States. Granted, there have been many massacres and mass shootings in our collective past, but the violent deaths of 20 six- and seven-year-olds is beyond the pale, and perhaps this tragic event is the straw that will break the back of the overly powerful and influential gun lobby (particularly the NRA, one of the most powerful and wealthy lobbying organizations in America).

Our country could take a hint from Australia, which suffered its last mass shooting in 1996. When 35 people died during that tragic event, the Australian government responded by enacting the toughest bipartisan gun control laws in that country's history within 12 days of the massacre, and there have been no mass killings or massacres since.

Politics aside, the pain of the parents, family, friends, teachers, community members and others impacted by this sad occurrence is palpable around the world, and many individuals and groups need our support and compassion. The first responders who arrived on the scene need a very special type of care, and I have participated in the past as a facilitator of "crisis debriefings" for such groups of individuals. And of course, the parents, teachers, administrators, siblings and family members also need ongoing and long-term support to prevent PTSD and other life-altering symptoms and syndromes.

A community and nation in pain are not to be taken lightly, and this collective loss will reverberate for years to come.  Here at Digital Doorway and Nurse Keith Coaching, I'm keeping all of these individuals and communities in mind, sending my love through the ethers, and wishing peace of mind and healing to those who need it most.
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