| Post Office And Dam, Sandy Hook, Connecticut 1914
Postcard, Pub by Corbett & Crowe, Sandy Hook, Conn
A village, a town, and the river that runs through it…
If you have ever lived in New England, then you are aware that many towns are made up of small villages. Sandy Hook, CT, is one such small village in the town of Newtown, CT. For evermore we will remember the day we all came to know Sandy Hook, which was founded in 1711and is nestled along the banks of the Pootatuck River. We now all know this river way, as it became the backdrop for numerous news’ broadcasts over the past few days, with reports often mentioning what a picturesque locale Sandy Hook is or was before Friday, December 14, 2012.
Once again we are shocked by an act of violence
It was only this past July when we posted about another such act of violence in Aurora, Colorado. At the time, many of us thought that nothing could be more frightening or disheartening than to imagine the horror of sitting in a movie theater and being gunned down. But now our Nation knows that no place is sacrosanct, not even the classrooms of an elementary school. On Friday, December 14, 2012, 20 six and seven year olds and six of their teachers and school administrators of Sandy Hook Elementary School had their lives extinguished by the violent acts of one 20 year old. Sadly the list of the deadliest United States mass shootings had to be updated last Friday.
Thinking back and thinking forward
No doubt, many of us have been thinking back over the last few days to our own elementary school days, some will remember seeing their own children off to school watching as they walked a short distance to their grade school or boarded the school bus each and every morning of the school year. We will remember school plays and open houses; we will remember Holiday Pageants and award ceremonies. But now we will probably hold these memories a little bit closer and start thinking forward about the days, months and years to come for those who survived the carnage that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School one day in December 2012.
Hopefully as we are thinking forward and as the community of Newtown begins to celebrate the lives of those who perished and readies themselves for funeral services we will consider the importance of starting a national conversation about mental health, firearm safety reforms, and the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that most assuredly will be experienced by many in Newtown, particularly the small school children.
Working with children’s mental health following this tragedy
Yesterday Eva Alisic, Ph.D. and Lloyd I. Sederer, MD wrote in the Huffington Post about Children’s Mental Health After the Shooting in Newtown. They offered the following five essential actions to help survivors of a mass trauma:
- Promote a sense of safety. Make sure survivors feel as comfortable as possible, and reassure them that they are safe now (provided that they are really safe).
- Promote calming. For survivors who are overwhelmed by emotions, help them learn to breathe slowly — with an emphasis on breathing out — and to be aware of their body and surroundings.
- Promote a sense of self and community effectiveness. Survivors need to be helped to return to taking control over their own lives and decision making. Taking up normal routines as soon as possible is a fundamental rule of post-disaster responses.
- Promote connectedness. Social support is one of the most robust predictors of recovery. Help children and families turn to those they care for and trust to receive both emotional and practical support.
- Instill hope. Most people, children and adults are resilient and will eventually recover from a traumatic event. Survivors who feel confident about their capacity to recover are more likely to experience a good outcome.
Today let’s all be a Bridge Over Troubled Water
Today as we remember all those who lost their lives last Friday, we should think about the Pootatuck River which runs through the Village of Sandy Hook, let’s be a bridge over these troubled waters, not just today but forever…Charlotte Bacon (6), Daniel Barden (7), Rachel D’Avino (29), Olivia Engel (6), Josephine Gay (7), Dylan Hockley (6), Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung (47), Madeleine Hsu (6), Catherine Huggard (6), Chase Kowalski (7), Jesse Lewis (6), Ana Marquez-Greene (6), James Mattioli (6), Grace McDonnell (7), Anne Marie Murphy (52), Emilie Parker (6), Jack Pinto (6), Noah Pozner (6), Caroline Previdi (6), Jessica Rekos (6), Avielle Richman (6), Lauren Rousseau (30), Mary Sherlach (56), Victoria Soto (27), Benjamin Wheeler (6), and Allison Wyatt (6). Today we offer our prayers for all those impacted by this senseless tragedy, including the suspected gunman and his mother.
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.
Take a few minutes today to take care of yourself and be there for your loved ones.