To the Least of our Brothers/Sisters

To the Least of our Brothers/Sisters

I read this article several days ago – and I have yet to come to grips with the recent events and the turmoil experienced by this particular mother and her son, along with the shooter, the victims, survivors, and all their family members.

This past Sunday, I had the unenviable task of providing an explanation to my 9 y/o son after the event was mentioned at my church and we received a recorded message from the principal of our son’s school that evening (and he just happened to be standing next to the phone when the call came in).  Fortunately he’s not into watching the news on TV or listening to the news on the radio.  He thinks the TV news is boring and NPR or any talk radio gives him a stomachache.  To my surprise, he didn’t respond w/crying or fear, but expressed the fact that what I told him “creeped him out.”  He said he had no knowledge of the incident before I told him about it.  We must listen to our children closely while examining what went wrong and to discover the real solutions.

I guess my only consolation is that OUR community has great Mental Health support and law enforcement.  There has been lots of effort on the prevention front and that is comforting – I can vouch for that as I stood side by side with them after 9/11 and continue to work w/them while serving some of our most vulnerable populations, recently-arrived or even established immigrants that need support.  However, there still exists that consternation in the back of my mind each day when I send my child off to school or step outside and imagine what could be.  School administrators and counselors need more specialized training to deal with these “out of the box” scenarios.  They have so much on their plate, but it must come to the forefront!  We are the lucky ones, but what about other communities that slip through the cracks because of lack of funding, advocacy etc.? 

Flashback: I remember vividly when Mi Mama y Mi Padrastro (stepdad) would recount the days events.  In particular, I will never forget when one of my brother’s high school classmates went missing – it was several weeks before authorities discovered his body at the area by Water Dog Lake, down the hill behind the local elementary/middle school.  The school just happened to be down the street from our house and Mi Padrastro used to take us on hikes down and up the mountainside when he had the time, or play soccer/baseball for hours on end.  I think I was about 10 at the time since I think my brother was a Freshman and he’s 3 yrs. older.

Mis padres (my parents) always watched the news in front of us, read the paper daily, and served as our protectors.  Yes, there were those occasional horrifying events that occurred and were unfathomable.  Yes, Mi Padrastro often referenced the Book of Revelation in the Bible and explained that God said once children start killing their parents, that will be the end of the world!  Could this have been something he brought with him from the Mayan tradition, having spent most of his childhood as an orphan in Guatemala?  Mis padres always kept everything out in the open, well, except for maybe some of those more sensitive subjects, like the birds and the bees 😉

In any case, I am not a cynic.  I want to still believe that everyone is still good, down deep inside.  I have hope that the “helpers” in our community and the nation can use the tragedy in CT (and all those prior) to turn around this disturbing trend, rally for expanded mental health assistance, and move us in the right direction.  It’s the least we can do to make the world a better place – and we owe it to Newtown…

Happy holidays everyone!