Some days I read the news and I have to put my heart into a box for a while.
26 people dead. Shot at an Elementary school in Connecticut. 20 of them children. It is the second worst school shooting in US history. The deadliest ever at an elementary school. Children killed in the place where they should be safe.
I have to walk away from the news. Watching video, perusing pictures, reading first hand accounts all traumatize me. They add to the level of trauma in the world without providing any benefit. It is a form of rubbernecking: looking at the wreckage of an accident, trying to figure out how it happened, why it happened, how I can make sure it never happens to the one I love. But then I have to face my darkest fear.
I can not keep my children safe. I can’t stop people from hurting them. No law or rule or boundary is so infallible that human ingenuity can’t overcome it. Laws and regulations provide safety from accident and stupidity, they do nothing to prevent malice.
We can’t guarantee safety and an event like this reminds me of that.
So I check in on the news story every once in a while. If I see a logical adjustment to increase safety I’ll take it. If I see a way to help, I’ll take that too. Otherwise I’ll be away from the news, trying to add to the count of good things in the world. I’ll watch for the people around me who are alone, who are desperate, I’ll reach out to help where I can. I’ll advocate to make mental health care more accessible and to remove the stigmas around mental health issues so that people are less afraid to admit they need help. These are the actions I can take in the next weeks and months.
For today, I put my heart into a box. I lock it tight and proceed.