I'm not sure quite how to start this post so I'll just jump right in. I'm continually shocked by how completely overboard this country goes in response to a very rare tragedy. Though, like everyone, I'm saddened by the school shooting in CT, Jon and I have worked very hard this weekend to have some perspective on this VERY RARE occurrence. The hard part is that the media, my child's school, and every Internet site in the world is hell bent on us being scared, depressed, and unable to move from our beds.
My hearts go out to those poor people who have suffered this loss but I hope that the rest of us can realize how rare this kind of tragedy is. You are more likely to commit suicide then to be murdered. Children are much more likely to get killed in a car accident then to be kidnapped, murdered, or all the other horrible things the media would like you to think could happen at any moment. We don't hold vigil and the NFL doesn't wear badges for the poor children who have their lives ended way too early from cancer or drunk drivers.
The unfortunate thing is that with the level of technology of today, these RARE, horrible tragedies are broadcast in insane detail so it feels close to home. It feels like it happened to you and the people you love. It makes the world feel like a scary place. Though the crime rates are down to the 1960's levels, the perception of crime is higher then ever. We have the media to thank for that. I'd encourage everyone, especially parents, to read the Free-Range kids blog. She has a wonderful way with words and I find her take on media and our society spot on. A dose of perspective is a very good thing.
Though Jon and I don't watch the news and only Jon reads the newspaper, we've been shocked by how the shooting has found it's way into our home. No matter how hard we try to distance ourselves from mass media, it's hysteria finds it's way into our home. Charlotte was listening to the local radio station before bed Friday. She loves the non-stop Christmas songs. And on comes a discussion about the shooting. We sat down with her and explained what happened and that she didn't have to worry one bit about it happening to her. We told her we weren't worried and that the world is a wonderful place. Yesterday, we got a mass email from the school system about dealing with tragedy and 2 automated phone calls about how the school is responding and that they will be instigating conversations with the children about it. They said they'd have counselors and psychologists on hand. I was blown away. Why does Charlotte's school, in North Carolina, need to respond to a crazy person's rampage in Connecticut? Why do school children here need to be worried and traumatized about an event that is more rare then them getting hit by lightning? Jon and I were tempted to keep Charlotte home today so she wouldn't be subjected to more media-induced drama but it's part of our job to teach her how to keep perspective. We'll talk to her this morning about it before she heads to school and make sure she feels comfortable with it and we'll talk to her again this afternoon.
In a world where every tragedy is brought so close and personal, we're working very hard to make sure this family feels safe, happy, and hopeful about the world. This world and our country is an amazing place and I for one am not going to let the media convince me otherwise. I'm going to send my child to school knowing that she's more safe there then in a car. I'm going to let my children play outside alone knowing they're safer then they were during the 1980's when I was playing outside.
So, hug your children and tell them you love them... not because there was a rare tragedy far, far away but because you love them and they're you're children.