The Gift of Crisis We Are Leaving for the Next Generation
My delay in posting a blog lately has been directly related to a couple of family members being recently admitted into the ICU. It’s been a challenge to focus on writing when my mind has been consumed with a concern for their wellbeing. Luckily, one is recovering well but the other remains in the hospital as I type.
Aside from being mentally distracted, the holidays have gotten in the way and then there’s this “new mom” thing.
It’s not always easy to juggle all the aspects of life, especially when adjusting to new circumstances. When crisis occurs, regardless if you’re directly in the middle of it, it can still seriously impact you, even resulting in your own type of emotional trauma. This is exactly how I feel following the latest mass shooting that occurred in San Bernardino.
The Inland Regional Center where the tragedy occurred is located about 50 miles away from me, but it still hit way too close to home. It’s surreal even for those of us in the shadow of the Hollywood sign to watch international news made seemingly in our own backyard, especially an act of terrorism, according to the FBI. The national crisis of mass shootings no longer feels like just another tragedy reported on the news.
Being just 2.5 hours away, terrorism is closer than it’s been. It’s not just something we are fighting in the Middle East or watching play out on the streets of Paris. For the first time since the horror of 9/11 we have been shaken to the core in being reminded that something needs to be done to protect ourselves from random acts of violence from those easily able to purchase fire arms. We are also reminded that the United States is not immune to terrorist attacks on her soil.
Being a mother of a 6-month old daughter, I was equally impacted when I found out that shooters Tashfeen Malik’s and Syed Farook’s daughter was born May 17th, 2015. Our little ones born mere days apart, it appalls me that a mother was capable of dropping off her child in order to go on a murderous rampage, executing innocent lives for the sake of some radical ideology. I’m sickened and yet not surprised. In this day in age, we’re almost numb to these types of incidents.
They’re so frequent that I am already preparing the explanation to my daughter, when she’s old enough to understand, why there are so many mass shootings in our country. In fact, I’m terrified of what our society will be dealing with when that day comes. And yet, how do you explain it to a child?
This is the country she is going to live in, one where it’s now common for mass shootings to take place on a regular basis. A UK Telegraph article lists a history of mass shootings since Columbine and stops at August 2015 when Vester Lee Flanagan II, aka Bryce Williams, shot and killed two former colleagues from the WDBJ7 news team. Certainly the article will soon be updated to include the Oct. 1 shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon by 26 year-old Chris Harper Mercer and now the San Bernardino shooting.
The Bottom Line:
In the midst of personal or national crisis, we are faced with the only positive thing we can do: Come together and unite in support of one another. Those who lost their lives won’t be opening Christmas gifts this year or any other. There will be no Christmas dinner, no New Year’s countdown and kiss, no new resolutions. They won’t watch their children grow up and make families of their own. Instead, their loved ones will mourn this holiday season, and likely many to come, when other families are busy coming together in celebration.
What is the solution to so many innocent lives lost due to gun violence in America? Stricter gun laws and background checks doesn’t seem to be enough. And when the time comes for my daughter to ask me, why are innocent people being killed in mass shootings (God only knows how many more there will me by the time she can talk in another year or so); I will humbly have to admit to her that mommy doesn’t have the answer.