Like most people, I am saddened to have learned about the recent mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, TX. Just months after the Parkland shooting in Parkland, Fl, there is another violent incident at a school with the loss of several innocent lives. Here again, disturbed individuals with weapons and a plan to create chaos managed to inflict damage and death.
Once again, the psychic numbing is settling in for people. There are the calls for “prayers for Santa Fe “ just like there were for many previous mass shootings. There will be concerns again raised regarding the availability of guns. There will also be discussion as to what to do about access to mental health resources.
There will be people who will legitimately be concerned about the safety of children in public schools, and who will opt for home schooling.
There will also be cultural commentators, even clergy, who may observe that all of this is happening due to “the breakdown in the family. “
All of this inevitably leads to the question: “what can we do about this terrible tragedy? “ Are we powerless ? Should we expect that every three to four months we will suffer another mass shooting somewhere? Must this be our new normal?
I don’t know. I pray that it wouldn’t be. But all I know is that these acts of carnage are continuing to happen.
Again, what can we do?
I have a minister friend who is getting near retirement. He has been serving his church for well over twenty years. He’s in a position where he could start to think about finishing his ministry, go to the beach, play golf, take life easy.
Instead, my friend has decided to become a volunteer Chaplain at a city jail. His new congregation is primarily African-African male adolescents who are incarcerated for various crimes.
What has happened has been a miracle! My friend reports that the confines at the jail really welcome and appreciate his visits and support. What is also remarkable is that he has become invigorated. He has energy and passion and great wisdom now being conveyed to these young people who need his help.
Granted not all of us are in a position to become helpers in a correctional facility, but we are all capable of observing and taking note of those around us who may be troubled and who may need help.
There is always the temptation to be the bystander, to stand by and objectively watch everything, including violence and mayhem as it goes by. The kicker here however, is that although you may not want to get involved with events that happen around you, the bottom line is that these circumstances, especially violent and senseless events, do affect all of us. We can end up feeling very isolated, disheartened, even devastated.
These states of being are not healthy for the human psyche.
There are things that we can do to help out those who are around us, especially those who are in need.
Technology has given us a lot of resources and has literally brought many different worlds to our digital screens.
But maybe it might help if we spend some time looking away from our screens and look around to consider the real world that is in our midst.
We can do something !
We can be healers !
May it be so.