I know it did for me in 1999, when I watched in horror as two students at a Denver High School walked in and killed 13 of their classmates and a teacher. The Columbine shooting has forever impacted my outlook on how safe we are at work or in public places, and how safe our children are in schools. But the tragedies continue to happen.
USA Today recently analyzed FBI crime records and found that more than 900 people have been killed in mass shootings in the past seven years.
More than 900 people. The article says a majority of the victims were either related to, worked with or somehow knew their attacker.
Maybe it’s the 24-hour news cycle or just the access we have to stories through social media, but it just seems like there are so many more random mass shootings today.
I grew up less than 20 minutes from one of the most recent attacks– at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown Connecticut. In fact, today marks three months since that tragic shooting. I can still vividly remember listening to the pain those families went through, the pain the community and the nation as a whole went through.
I remember my 7-year-old daughter coming home from school here in Texas and saying, “It’s OK daddy, no bad man came to shoot up our school today.”
How do you deal with that?
Mary Dainty, a Licensed Professional Counselor at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, says the concerns need to be addressed.
“Most families tend to believe children are resistant to trauma, will forget over time, and will overcome hurdles because they are young. This idea could not be further from the truth,” she said.
I hate that you can’t go to a movie theatre, a mall, a church or even a school without having these horrific images in the back of your mind. I hate that our sense of security has been taken away by such a small percentage of disturbed individuals.
That bubble has been burst. But there is help for those who need it.
Services like Baylor All Saints Partial Hospitalization and Intensive outpatient programs exist in most big cities. They offer daily therapeutic group therapy seven days a week for those who need care.
Dainty said, “we grieve as a group, as a community, as a nation. We cannot ignore the need for mental health treatment. It may be somebody’s life at stake if we do.”