Saturday, December 15, 2012
How to Help Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut
My work at the magazine and the school both demand hours of internet time, which leaves me remarkably uninterested in the internet when I arrive home. I haven't had much enthusiasm for blogging of late.
Seeing the news of this tragedy in Newtown made me want to return to this space I've carved out for myself here. I have held fast to my policy of not watching television coverage of this tragedy, which so often seeks to manipulate. A friend of mine describes it as "emotional pornography" and I agree. There aren't many details we need to grasp the horror of this man's actions and a fifteen minute news cycle is heartless, relentless and leads to sloppy, inaccurate reporting that helps no one. In some ways, I argue that it is actively destructive. But that's a separate essay.
It's enough to know that the senseless deaths of twenty eight human beings makes us all feel something simultaneously; sadness, disbelief, disgust. To me, it is a reminder of the emotional disturbance embedded in our society, that tragedies like this can happen again and again, with more devastating and horrifying results each time.
Is the answer gun control, or tighter security in every school? I come back to the thought that has guided my life over the past few years: "I can only control myself". All the laws and regulations that already exist didn't stop this from happening. Would more laws and regulations stop another tragedy?
I think the problem is deeper, that we live in an emotionally disturbed culture where many people haven't learned how to control themselves, how to cope with the difficulties of being alive. This disturbance might begin as a general discomfort at the disagreement between what your inner voice says and what the external world demands. Our society's cure for this discomfort is to find ways to tune out and ignore it with television, drugs, consumerism, food. This never acknowledges the discomfort and so it builds over time, What was merely uncomfortable and difficult slowly festers into helpless and uncontrollable rage.
I think the work begins with ourselves. We have to learn how to control our minds and hearts, how to accept and sense our emotions without reacting to them immediately. Then we can teach others how to do the same.
I don't know a solution for school shootings, but I believe that we should act with love and compassion, not the senseless, impotent outrage they are selling on television. You can make a donation to Newtown Youth & Family Services here. They will be offering emergency grief counseling and ongoing emotional support for the community.
Posted by The Fab Miss B at 9:25 AM