My heart is so heavy, and my stomach is sick with disgust. Today, yet another mass shooting occurred, this time right in my backyard. 3 suspects entered a regional center for children and adults with special needs and opened fire, fatally wounding 14 people. Having begun my journey working with young children with special needs, this especially torments me. I can only imagine the experience through the eyes of individuals who already struggle with over-stimulation, are easily startled/triggered, and who wrestle with emotional regulation as they were thrust in the middle of one of the scariest situations any person could endure. I send my deepest condolences to all of the families who were affected by today’s heinous crime.
I only have one question..why? What motive could anyone have to rain havoc and destruction on any group of people, let alone those that struggle with disabilities? What has our world come to? This is a thought that I know is on most everyone’s mind, and I can’t even fathom where to begin to address it. Maybe there is no straight answer except that there is unexplainable evil in the world with which each person battles internally, some of us winning and some of us losing. But that doesn’t satisfy, does it?
Today, I sat with my little client, Jack, as his mother watched the aftermath of the shooting play out on her television set. Everything in me ached. All I wanted to do was hold Jack close and protect him from all of the evil out there in the world – to lock him up where he will be safe, but doing that is an injustice in of itself. It would deprive Jack of all the good I know is still out there too.
So I now have made it my mission to give Jack as many tools as possible to help him with his difficult areas and prepare him for his journey ahead. I guess that’s really all we can do. We cannot change the heart of every person, predict and modify everyone’s thoughts and behaviors, or prevent all the bad things in life from happening. Instead, we can inform the ones we love of the unpredictability of human nature and equip them with the necessary tools to handle any situation as early as possible. We cannot control every variable, but we can manipulate our given pieces to allow ourselves – and the ones we love – the best advantage point to tackle whatever life can throw. Whether it’s by teaching our little ones self defense, awareness, calming techniques, or tolerance for stimulation, we have tools at our disposal. Though it may not feel like it in distressing times like these, we are not powerless.
Let me say that again -WE. ARE. NOT. POWERLESS.
Yes, right now it may seem as though the enemy – the overwhelming evil of the world – has won. But it only wins when we stop fighting. So today, though my heart is indeed so heavy, I pledge to never stop. I will continue to educate my loved ones about the bad AND the good, teach them all I can, and then let them add the light of their life to the world. If we keep this up, and our little ones pass on the same lessons to their families down the road, and so on and so forth, eventually the light will outweigh the dark.
We just have to keep trying.