“Tell me what you know or have heard”: How to help the kids in your life process gun violence
You don’t have to wait until a child is at a crisis point to talk to them about what’s going on. And whatever you do, avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Consider it a sign of the times: Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut on Wednesday night was scheduled to appear on Joy Reid’s MSNBC primetime show to share the latest developments on the ongoing gun safety negotiations he’s leading with Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. But Murphy’s status update was overshadowed by yet another shooting — this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma where a gunman took his own life after he shot and killed at least three people at a hospital.
“This is something I worry the country is becoming used to,” Murphy said to Reid. “I hope we can get some agreement between Republicans and Democrats because if we don’t, this pace will continue to increase and every single day we will see one, or two or three mass shootings in this country — something we could have never dreamed about just 10 years ago.”
Just 10 years ago this December was the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Murphy’s home state, a tragedy that thrust the senator into the spotlight when a 20-year-old white man shot and killed 20 six- and seven-year-old kids and six adult staff members after he killed his mother in their Newton, Connecticut home and before shooting himself in the head.
At the time of the Columbine High School massacre that saw two seniors murder 12 of their classmates and one teacher prior to killing themselves, I was a middle schooler three days in front of his thirteenth birthday. I remember more details about the shooting than that particular birthday and it’s shameful that what was thought at the time to be a one-off event was just the first of many.
Mental well-being is such a critical component of creativity and I worry that the generational trauma our kids are experiencing from gun violence — not to mention the pandemic, unregulated social apps and much more — will rob them of the peace of mind required to master a craft and express their imagination.
So as we wait to see if Congress will reach an agreement on meaningful gun safety legislation, I’ve been seeking the know-how of scientific experts to offer insight on how to support kids who may be struggling to cope with the recent wave of gun violence.