Friday, December 14, 2012

Shocking Tragedy: Newtown Ct

What a horrible tragedy in the US today! 20 Children from Kindergarden to 4th grade were killed in the 'safe' school environment in a 'calm' state of Connecticut during the season of 'festivities and celebrations'. 

Several things come to mind, what's the face of terror? A face with beard in the mountains of Afghanistan, a face of joker in Aurora, Colorado, or a regular face with golden hair in Buskerud, Norway? There are so many more examples where children have being targeted. 

Children? Beautiful and innocent children who need and deserve care and nurturance! Our society is obligated to protect our children and yet our society gives birth to persons with bizarre urges to harm others. 

How absurd?

Heard a while ago that the bodies of those little children are still in the school. I can't even imagine what it is to be the mother of a dead child who can't even have the body to grieve appropriately. How painful! What a feeling of helplessness! You say goodbye to your beloved child in the morning and few hours later you hear they don't exist anymore! Shock, denial, anger, disgust and helplessness will be a big part of the mourning process.

This incident reminds me of the worst disaster I responded to in South India. In July 2004, 83 children were burned to death inside their classroom. Following the tragedy, we worked with the siblings, mothers, fathers, classmates and teachers of the victims. In first few days and weeks, all we did was to hold their hands and cry with them. There were no techniques, no specific methodologies, except for empathy and participation in their grieving process. 

Tragedies like these go way beyond the deaths and the event. For the mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings of the fallen and witnesses, this will become a psychological wound. For many, this wound will bleed every now and then and will take a life time to heal. Hopefully, the society will come together to grieve with these families and will slowly  accompany them in the path to recovery. 

Most importantly, the nation will take some concrete steps to prevent tragedies like these in the future. Relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates would be educated about what behaviors and activities to watch out for. Only limited weapons would be made available to general public, if at all.  Those who sell weapons would do appropriate background checks before selling them. Schools would work on serious crisis management plans, wherein entire school community is trained to handle these situations in addition to the school safety officers. Lessons would be learned and implemented.   

Can't stop thinking about the parents that will not be able to put their babies to bed tonight because they were put to sleep forever by a disgruntled individual. May God in His kindness and grace give these families comfort and strength to survive through this very tough time of their lives. Hoping against hope for peace. 

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