San Bernardino School Shooting: How Do You Explain Murder to a Child?

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My daughter is brave, smart, and, I’ve been, told advanced. But could her little body manage a bullet fired by a gunman who bursts into her classroom with revenge on his mind, fueled by psychotic anger blinding him from all rationality? Parents in San Bernardino are asking themselves a similar question, as their city suffered yet another tragic shooting. This time at an elementary school, no less.

A special-education classroom at North Park Elementary on Monday received a surprise visit from a familiar man who regularly visited the school, where his wife taught. But on this day, he stormed in with a gun firing despite a room full of kids ranging from 1st graders to 4th graders. His wife died at the scene in the hail of bullets, and an 8-year-old boy who was critically wounded, died later that day at a local hospital. A 9-year-old boy is recovering.

The gunman, who shot and killed himself, I refuse to name because he doesn’t deserve the recognition.

As a parent, I have no idea how I would console elementary-aged children after they witnessed something so horrific. I mean, how do you explain murder to a child who saw the terror unfold right before their eyes? My God…what words would I use to explain to a fragile mind what they viewed? How do console those little souls? Talk about PTSD and trauma…

Kids are supposed to go to school and learn and feel safe doing so. But in this day and age, such security cannot be taken for granted. We don’t know who will “lose it” and decide to take their anger out on innocent targets via gun violence. I’m neither an anti-gun or pro-gun advocate, and this post isn’t meant to be political. And I do agree, that people will find ways to be violent with or without a gun. Unfortunately, we’re living in a world where emotions are on overdrive and perhaps we’ve devolved as a society rather than evolve. Anger is a healthy emotion when properly released, and mental health needs to take first priority. If you search for a picture of the gunman and his wife (which I won’t post here), you can see that their social media profiles don’t exhibit anything unusual because they can easily camouflage the truth. Many of us can say the same thing if we are honest. It’s too easy to hide behind perfectly tailored social media accounts.


The Bottom Line:

As a parent of an amazing 2-year-old, I pray to God and the universe that I don’t ever have to explain to my daughter why someone was murdered before her eyes. As a mother, I never want to have to visit my daughter in the hospital because she was caught in the cross-hairs of some psychotic person enraged and armed with a gun in his hand. And I can’t fathom an even worse result for her.

I am at a loss of what the solution is at this point. I want to believe that we live in a peaceful, loving world. One that is full of community, one that helps the mentally ill rather than ostracize them, and one where those with anger or domestic violence issues can quickly and without judgment, get the help they need.

My daughter is a happy and loving child; she’s bubbly and always laughing and smiling. To have someone come along and rob that from her is just incomprehensible. My heart goes out to the families that have to have a talk with their little innocent angels that had to witness the bloodshed this past Monday. The only thing I can do today is hold on to hope, that as a community we can come together in love and not in violence.





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35 thoughts on “San Bernardino School Shooting: How Do You Explain Murder to a Child?

    D. Wallace Peach said:
    April 13, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    I feel for you and all the parents who are concerned for their little ones in this gun-crazy world. One of the challenges (among many) for parents and children is the feeling of helplessness. I have noticed that aside from letting our kids know that we love them and will do whatever we can to make sure they are safe, it’s helpful to give our kids a sense of empowerment – that they too can make the world a kinder, more generous and loving place. Donating mittens to a mitten drive, making cookies for a neighbor, drawing a picture for a relative, all are “active” acts of care that give hope. They teach kids that they have power too, even 2 year-olds (with a little help). Thank you for being outraged. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      April 13, 2017 at 10:26 AM

      You’ve got some great suggestions, empowerment is something we can foster. Doing things that help them be involved in either donations, drives, or causes would be a positive tool. Outraged is correct, being that I live in Los Angeles…San Bernardino is too close to home for me. Thank you for your insight! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        D. Wallace Peach said:
        April 13, 2017 at 11:42 AM

        I used to live in CT and could not believe the lack of political will to control guns after Sandyhook. Then I lived in VT when we had a school shooting there. Now the Republicans say it’s okay for people with serious mental health issues to own semi-automatic machine guns. They do not care about the lives of our children. They care about money and will tramp over the lives of babies to get it. Bah! Makes me so mad. So we empower our children to be kind human beings and in another 25 years all those greedy old white men will be dead and the kids can take over. There’s my rant! Power to those who care ❤

        Liked by 2 people

        Sonyo Estavillo responded:
        April 13, 2017 at 2:03 PM

        ❤ your rant and totally get it. Semi-automatic machine guns have no business being so readily available. I remember CT and all the rest, it's disturbing how many shootings occur, it's hard to keep up. I've blogged about it here before. I'm just tired of sick of the shootings. It's ridiculous.

        You're right, we just have to ensure that we teach our children to be kind and to not follow in the example of violence, but find healthy ways to express their emotions. It's mind boggling how family and relatives of shooters say afterwards "well, I sort of saw some signs" or "yeah, he was acting weird." I wish we could catch unstable, mentally ill people before this all happens.

        I know some will say that it's not wise to blame mental illness on someone who does this sort of thing, but personally I say you're not stable if you go out and decide to gun down someone because you got in a fight with them. Obviously not all mentally ill people are violent. But, there are those that turn to violence as a result of not being treated.

        Liked by 1 person

        D. Wallace Peach said:
        April 13, 2017 at 2:48 PM

        The real solution is to make it a lot harder to get guns for everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

        Sonyo Estavillo responded:
        April 13, 2017 at 3:04 PM

        I can agree with that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    I don’t own a gun. We live in a gun hungry society, and the current administration is making it even easier for nut-cases to obtain lethal weapons. There’s a ton of crass, violent people out there… and they’ll stick to their guns when it comes to what they think needs to be done. Sad!

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      April 13, 2017 at 10:37 AM

      I don’t own a gun either and do not have an issue with the 2nd Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms. However, stricter gun measures ought to be enforced at this point. Mental health awareness is necessary, the man had potential issues relating to domestic violence that got dropped from his record. I’m not sure how we would measure who gets a gun, but we need a stronger vetting process that see “red flags” in advance. He threatened her too, but she didn’t take it seriously. I’m not sure who’s to blame here, ultimately we can’t control every person out there and can’t foresee when someone will “go postal.”

      It’s just a sad reality that I now have to worry when my daughter goes to pre-school and eventually elementary school. It’s just sad. There are no easy answers or solutions, except to continue to be responsible for our own actions and how we raise our kids.

      Thank you for your honesty. Topics such as this one is never easy to talk about and I always welcome honest comments. ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

    realryangray said:
    April 13, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    I can’t fathom the fear and anguish these parents experienced, especially those of the little boy who was killed. Thank God the other boy is recovering. But then what the kids witnessed is beyond belief. I know school districts have counseling available in situations like these, but I hope the kids, families and other teachers and school admins get the longterm help they need. We also can’t forget the teacher who was killed. It’s obvious to me her estranged husband had serious issues. But it brings to the forefront again the importance of mental health services. Such a sad incident.

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      April 13, 2017 at 2:07 PM

      Yeah and gosh, I hope they move the kids into a different classroom. I’m not too sure I’d want to go back into the same classroom after such an incident occurred. I bet other teachers that worked with the woman that died are just as horrified. It’s terribly sad.

      Like

    YellowCable said:
    April 13, 2017 at 4:31 PM

    Indeed, such a sad story and very very difficult problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    Robert Matthew Goldstein said:
    April 13, 2017 at 4:59 PM

    It’s horrible that we have to live like this.

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      April 13, 2017 at 5:10 PM

      It’s a tragedy in so many ways with tough solutions that are bound to make people upset. I wish there were easy answers.

      Liked by 1 person

        Robert Matthew Goldstein said:
        April 14, 2017 at 10:03 AM

        There is one easy answer: the right of children to safe access to education always comes before the more abstract ‘personal right’ of adults to buy lethal hardware designed to kill people in combat.

        Like

    Robert Matthew Goldstein said:
    April 13, 2017 at 5:00 PM

    Reblogged this on Art by Rob Goldstein and commented:
    It’s horrible that we and our children have to live like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    IdealisticRebel said:
    April 13, 2017 at 5:04 PM
    rugby843 said:
    April 13, 2017 at 5:09 PM

    I can’t imagine. With the media kids watch, they might think everyone just got up and was fine, like a video game. Very sad happening.

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      April 13, 2017 at 5:17 PM

      You make such a valid point. I mean, I have a degree in digital media. I love media and entertainment. But, I do think that the types of realistic violent video games out there right now is mind boggling. Kids especially teens are becoming numb to violence. Thank you so much for your insight. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    SonniQ said:
    April 13, 2017 at 5:42 PM

    I can’t wrap my head around WHY people have allowed this to happen. WHY it is SO important for anyone and everyone to have the right to bear arms. That “right” they want to use the arms for is different than when it was put in our Bill of Rights. People aren’t protecting their homes from intruders or fighting a war. No where does it say we have the right to shoot a gun whenever or wherever we want.WHY do people need to feel they should exercise this “right”. I know people who carry a gun on themselves at all times, even around family. What do they fear? People, in reality have not changed in 50 years and guns were NEVER an issue growing up in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. Kids always played outside. Now CPS takes kids away from parents for neglect who let their children play outside alone. Where has all this fear come from? Who forced it down our throats that we should be afraid and need guns? It allows every unstable personwalk into a store and buy one and this is what happens. Blame the NRA and the Republican politicians who promote it for profit and campaign contributions. Get them out of office and turn it around.

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      April 13, 2017 at 7:38 PM

      It’s a different world today, there are hard decisions to be made in the near future. Especially with the shootings that continue. There are no easy answers. If you are a Republican or a Democrat or somewhere in between, someone is bound to get upset at the solution. I don’t have the answers. I just know that I hope that the violence ends. Thanks for your honest feedback, it’s much appreciated. ❤

      Like

    michnavs said:
    April 13, 2017 at 10:36 PM

    Thanks to Robert Goldstein for bringing me here to your site..
    This is truely heart breaking…i actually don’t know what to say cos i am a mother myself too..

    Maybe we can all just wish and hope and pray..

    Liked by 1 person

    The Scriptorium Keeper said:
    April 14, 2017 at 6:01 AM

    It’s sad enough to have to talk about this kind of thing, it’s incredibly worse to have to talk to your kids about it. After Sandy Hook, which is just a small drive away from us, my son asked a lot of hard questions… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      April 14, 2017 at 9:14 AM

      Yeah, and I hope you were able to answer them in the best way you could. It’s not easy having to discuss challenging things with a young and vulnerable mind. ❤

      Like

    Persia said:
    April 15, 2017 at 5:50 AM

    Reblogged this on Blog of a Mad Black Woman and commented:
    “As a parent, I have no idea how I would console elementary-aged children after they witnessed something so horrific. I mean, how do you explain murder to a child who saw the terror unfold right before their eyes? My God…what words would I use to explain to a fragile mind what they viewed? How do console those little souls? Talk about PTSD and trauma…” ~ Lil Pick Me Up, writing With Hope

    Liked by 1 person

      Sonyo Estavillo responded:
      April 15, 2017 at 9:58 AM

      Thank you so much for the reblog! ❤ I love your blog, so thank you for caring and sharing. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

        Persia said:
        April 15, 2017 at 12:48 PM

        You’re welcome. Your post stated exactly what I was thinking and how I feel. I have a four year old. This is not a discussion I wish to have with him either. I pray we never have to with our children.
        Have a lovely weekend. P. x

        Liked by 1 person

        Sonyo Estavillo responded:
        April 15, 2017 at 1:21 PM

        Same here, hope and pray that neither of us will have to have such a difficult discussion. Have a blessed weekend as well. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

    jazzyjenness said:
    April 15, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    Reblogged this on jennessjordan.

    Liked by 1 person

    jazzyjenness said:
    April 15, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    Reblogged on my site. Thank you for sharing this. God bless you and your family. Have a blessed Easter

    Liked by 1 person

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