Social Question

DigitalBlue's avatar

How are you feeling, personally, in the wake of last week's tragedy?

Asked by DigitalBlue (6684 points ) December 17th, 2012

I had an interesting discussion with some friends today, where people were admitting that they were taking the news harder than they expected.
People who have been engulfed in the non-stop flood of information about the shooting, and others who have gone out of their way to avoid it. Both sides were coming forward and expressing feelings of being drained, emotionally sensitive, several suggested that their reactions are more akin to suffering a personal loss rather than listening to a news story.

I am one of the people that have been trying to limit my exposure to the coverage of the event. I haven’t sought out any articles, I haven’t turned on my TV, but it’s nearly impossible to entirely avoid it. I find myself torn between wanting to encourage discussions that I feel are important to have, but not wanting to become consumed by the media circus.

Is grieving an event that affects the nation different from grieving a personal loss? Can they be similar? How are you?

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56 Answers

ucme's avatar

I’m normally pretty immune to tragedy such as we saw last week, but for some reason this got to me, maybe it was because of the tender ages of those kids, or perhaps the proximity to xmas, but I was genuinely moved for most of the weekend.
As always, life moves on & i’m fine now, but I shall probably be thinking of those parents who lost their kids when xmas day comes round, if only for a brief moment.

bolwerk's avatar

Frankly, fine. It didn’t affect me personally. In perspective, I’m still more likely to be run over than gunned down.

Maybe the odd part is that we aren’t really used to this kind of thing happening in the northeast. It’s usually regarded as a phenomenon that happens elsewhere, and here it happened within commuting distance of New York City.

marinelife's avatar

Every time I think of those innocent little kids being terrorized and dying, I cry. I am angry that the gun lobbies in this country stop assault rifles from being banned.

YARNLADY's avatar

I live daily with the tragedy of 20,000 men, women and children dying of starvation, in the knowledge that I am nearly powerless to stop it. I am sorry to say I have gotten used to it.

Akua's avatar

Truthfully I feel angry and I don’t feel safe at work anymore. I work in an elementary school in the South Bronx ( crime central) and twice this month the school had to be put on lock down because of gun fire in front of the school. Now all those innocent babies getting murdered in Connecticut of all places. I just think if it could happen in such a quiet suburban place then it can happen anywhere. Really. I’m constantly on guard and looking over my shoulder.

Argonon's avatar

I feel quite sad and angry about the incident. I don’t understand how anybody could do such a horrible thing to innocent people. I have been limiting exposure to media coverage though. I don’t want to be too engulfed in such news, it’s too upsetting.

janbb's avatar

I am engulfed by so much personal loss right now that I have been trying to limit my exposure but I think it is hitting me in almost a PTSD way.

serenade's avatar

I haven’t tuned in much to the news—probably my greatest exposure was seeing everyone’s Facebook posts. I’m also on a news diet since I’m not watching TV or reading the paper these days.

In addition to all that, though, I feel like my perception has been altered by a taste of buddha-style Enlightenment with a capital E—not just for this event, but for many events big and small. I’m seeing this kind of suffering—all human suffering, really—as a crucible for development of the soul, or perhaps the greater realization of our awareness as spiritual beings. We absorb light and dark energy for our spiritual development, and these kinds of phenomena necessarily feed into that process.

We do not cry over sprouts that do not flower, because the field still produces flowers. But, we cry over a tragedy such as this because we don’t carry a perspective that we are together all producing elevated beings.

I’m not saying this is ontologically correct. It’s just my perspective, and it comes, in part, from delving quite seriously in many episodes of violence and evil in recent and past history.

Bellatrix's avatar

I feel exceedingly sad at the needless deaths of these children and teachers. It has brought tears to my eyes when I have read about their bravery and like @marinelife when I think about the fear the children must have experienced.

I also feel frustrated and perplexed by the arguments around gun control and how to stop these events happening. I acknowledge it’s a cultural thing and on a logical level I have a sense of why people cling to their need to have guns in their homes but other than that, I just don’t get it. I can’t see why after so many of these types of shootings US citizens aren’t all queuing up to drop their weapons over the side of a boat into a very deep ocean.
I just can’t make sense of it. It is absolutely foreign to me.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Yes, grieving can happen even though the event did not affect a person directly. In this particular instance, I have greatly limited my intake of news and information, because I take things to heart emotionally.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’ve been having nightmares every night that a crazed gunman walks into my daughters’ school. I watch the whole thing unfold, screaming the entire time, wondering where my own kids are, and I wake up so drenched in sweat that I have to change clothes.

augustlan's avatar

For some reason, I’m not as upset by this incident as I have been in the past, and that bothers me. I’m normally super empathy girl when it comes to bearing others’ grief, but this time I feel sort of numb. Is it that it’s happened so often that it doesn’t affect me as much anymore? I don’t know, but it’s disturbing.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@augustlan that is the scariest feeling, to me.

Akua's avatar

@augustlan that is scary but makes peerfect sense. With all the chaos and craziness we are subjected to, it makes sense that sooner or later we’d go numb from shock at some point. These days I almost expect horrible things to happen.

bolwerk's avatar

@Akua: Connecticut is perhaps more dangerous than The Bronx. Kids are more likely to die in a car accident than because of violent crime. At least The Bronx encourages walking and transit use, which counteracts that.

mazingerz88's avatar

Better not.

josie's avatar

Personally, I am fine. But I can barely imagine what some of those parents are thinking and feeling. It does not get much worse than that. At least the shooter did the totally right thing and killed himself. Not that it redeems him, but it was the right thing to do.

jerv's avatar

Long ago, I accepted that senseless tragedy is a fact of life.

However, I am a bit irritated with the reactions some people are having. My Facebook feed is full of calls for various degrees of gun control, and there are those that blame this shooting on lack of prayer in schools, tolerance of homosexuality, voting Democrat, and otherwise trying to use the deaths of these people as “proof” that we need to be three steps to the right of Glen Beck.

@josie Yes, that did save a lot on court/incarceration costs. I can think of better uses for my tax dollars, and I would rather people like him spent a few cents of their money than many thousands of dollars of other people’s money to (depending on the jurisdiction) get the same net result.

burntbonez's avatar

I’m another person who isn’t feeling personally involved in this tragedy. I think it is horrible for the people involved, but it’s not my tragedy. I’m not moved to do anything to help them, except perhaps to support gun control efforts. Though it seems the people hurt wouldn’t think that is helpful. Whatever.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I feel very sad that these little kids were terrorized & murdered, and I feel anger that assault weapons are so easy to purchase in the United States.

Blackberry's avatar

I was surprisingly immune. It kind of scared me, actually lol.

Edit: It doesn’t mean I don’t care, but only hearing of it didn’t touch me very closely. We already know people and children die all over the world, already. It’s a sad fact of life.

SuperMouse's avatar

I was actually telling my husband yesterday that the last time a national news story traumatized me this much was September 11th. It is just so hard to absorb all of the carnage and horror. I stopped watching news coverage as soon as they started identifying the children and showing their pictures. I just could not stand to look at those innocent, beautiful, little faces. I was a mess after watching about ten seconds of the father who spoke on Saturday night.

I am sad that all of those people are gone and even more sad for the families grieving the loss of a family member. As a mom I just keep asking myself how anyone keeps going after a tragedy like this. I thought of it with pain as I sent my kids off to school today. I thought of it with pain and stress as I visited the elementary school where I will be working in a couple of weeks. I almost cried when my fifth grader told me his school had a moment of silence today. I cried when I read this. I shared it on my Facebook page and cried even harder when I received a message from a high school friend saying she had a very similar situation with her own son.

This has had a real impact on me.

DominicX's avatar

My reaction was the same as @augustlan‘s and it was disturbing to me. It didn’t bother me as much because, to me, it seemed common enough that I come to expect a mass shooting in the headlines these days. Another mass shooting? In other news, there was fighting in the Middle East. Now, of course I have been discussing it online, so I can’t say it didn’t affect me, but as for it bothering me or making me sad…didn’t really happen.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@Blackberry sure, logically that’s totally true. I think that “not feeling” or “not reacting” is also a common reaction to this sort of thing, I don’t think it’s unusual to have people feeling a variety of emotions (if even very few at all.)
@SuperMouse I made a similar comparison, today, myself. I felt like 9/11 rocked me on a personal level, and this is the first I’ve felt the same emotional reaction to something that doesn’t directly affect me. I think it’s entirely too easy to imagine ourselves, our children, in their place… and that’s a reality that is much too hard to even consider, let alone actually have to face. At least, that is how I feel.

augustlan's avatar

It occurs to me that my ‘numbness’ may be a means of self-preservation. I’m super protective of my children, and with that wildly outsized empathy gene, maybe my brain knows I just can’t go there right now.

dxs's avatar

I feel like the news just likes to appease the sick, twisted curiosity of viewers by beating the point down to no extent. We know what happened, and when they find out the whole story, then they can broadcast it. My friends baby passed away yesterday, which added to the death of innocent ones. So, it hasn’t really been the best of times.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@augustlan yeah, I think that’s true in a lot of cases.
@dxs I agree with the news thing, it all seems to be entirely too much every time this happens (or, anything “big” happens, that is.) How very sad about your friends’ child, no one should have to go through that. :(

zenvelo's avatar

Like a lot of people, I have been very outspoken about the need to control hand guns and assault weapons since last Friday. And I’ve taken quite a bit of flak about it on Facebook. But I am so tired of kids getting killed that I feel the need to speak out.

woodcutter's avatar

The news outlets will beat this into the ground to the point of beyond dust, and then when they think they have squeezed every gram of news out of it, they will beat it down some more. After about 2 days of nothing but that on the news it becomes enough. We’ve discovered new programs on TV since all this. I feel bad for all who have been affected but I can only listen just so much.

burntbonez's avatar

It has knocked the fiscal cliff out of contention.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Disgusted and ashamed.

Tachys's avatar

I continue to be deeply disturbed and sad. I found myself listening to the president, who I do not agree with on a good deal of subjects, and agreeing that there must be change. I will continue to listen and pray for those families.

wundayatta's avatar

I think that all this reaction won’t mean anything if we can’t take action to get the assault weapons ban in place again, permanently. I don’t think that’s going to happen. So I don’t think people out there are all that serious. It’s mostly for show. I am very cynical about this.

woodcutter's avatar

And if there is a ban…and there still comes another mass murder, what then? Those will be ok after that?

Bellatrix's avatar

Then you look at the situation again and make more changes. I don’t think anyone is saying bringing in legislation to ban assault weapons is the total answer but it’s a start. Followed up by better, less costly mental health care and diagnosis of people who need help. Change has to start somewhere.

wundayatta's avatar

@woodcutter Then we have to get the weapons out of people’s hands. That is going to take decades. It’s a long process. We’ve gotten into this mess for two hundred years. It is unreasonable to expect we can get out of it in a year or two.

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta Bingo, You opened up the Trojan horse FINALLY! Thank you. What you have just done is admit there is a plan so, when people say they arent trying to ban firearms just the dangerous ones,you have cleared that one up. (Not news really but it was nice to see it here finally) Hope I didn’t just get you in trouble.

That is why gun owners have been saying (and being dismissed for doing so) that a ban one one class of weapons can only lead to the eventual ban of them all. Because there will never be any satisfaction in stopping after it is started. I get so tired of how legal law abiding gun owners are painted as paranoid all because of this.
Now you understand. Find the reason why these few do this, implicating the many who have no involvement in these acts whatsoever. Then we will be getting somewhere.

wundayatta's avatar

We have no choice. Gun people won’t negotiate. So we have get rid of all guns. There is no reasoning with gun owners.

I’m perfectly happy to go for what I really want here. We have nothing to do with the real world. There will never be any meaningful gun control. You guys have all the power and all the guns. You will be killing us forever. Happy shooting!

And your little plan for arming everyone? You really, really don’t want to do that. Not if you value your sweet little tushies.

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta What plan for arming everyone? I haven’t heard of that. But if you can pass a FBI background check you are good to go. I won’t lose any sleep over it. The people you have to fear are those who don’t pass the check. They do most of the murders. I think if you fear death from gun violence it will be from outlaws, not the good guys. All you gotta do in this world to stay alive is to watch your ass, You are a fool if you think anyone else will do that for you.

wundayatta's avatar

@woodcutter There are a few towns around who have tried to pass ordinances requireing everyone to own a gun. Or carry one. Something ridiculous. I think that there have even been some statewide movements on this issue. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of this. I was just extrapolating to the entire nation.

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta Gun people won’t negotiate? Every single gun law and regulation is the result of the gun lobby negotiating wouldn’t you say? There are lots and lots of laws pertaining to guns already. As long as they are followed we are ok but sometimes they aren’t. Nothing is going to be perfect.
Those places you speak of forcing people to own guns….You have a link to show that. I hate to pull a Quingu on ya but that seems too bizarre.I don’t think you can do it.

jonsblond's avatar

sorry. haven’t read the previous responses.

I’m an emotional person. It doesn’t take much for me to develop tears, during both good and bad times. I’ve had a heavy heart since Friday and have caught myself in tears a few times a day since then. I did my best to stay away from the news, internet and television over the weekend. That helped a little. But having a young child in 3rd grade, I knew the discussion would come up today when she was in school.

Today my daughter had a classmate that said the shooter had a note with him that had the name of her school written on it. This scared her. Many of our young children are scared and saddened.by this news. My daughter was in tears tonight because she felt so sad for the kids that were killed. I had a hard time getting her to sleep tonight. I have tried to limit her exposure to the story, but her friends talk.

There is no escaping this tragedy, especially if you have young children.

woodcutter's avatar

I never thought this could happen in Connecticut of all places. I believe had this happened in Englewood, Illinois it would have gotten two maybe three days coverage tops.

woodcutter's avatar

Here ya go… http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1818862/posts

Interesting. Interesting because as the piece states, there has been little if any media outcry of this gun ordinance, why? Because in this city, crime is all but non existent. What’s not to like here? If the crime rate went up through the roof as it has in other places the media would have jumped on this like a monkey on a bowling ball. I think that in and of itself tells a bigger story. The real reason some on the left find this bothersome is they fear that if other cities follow this example, crime will move out of town. This would be a disaster for their cause. That’s why I had to do a search to even learn of this…..and you say to me you are surprised I have not heard of this. I don’t think you are surprised at all. C’mon dude.

jonsblond's avatar

@wundayatta Take away all the guns, but a person who wants to kill will find a way to do so. Timothy McVeigh didn’t need a gun to kill 168 people. 19 terrorists didn’t need guns to kill almost 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001. No guns were used in a Tokyo subway. It was sarin gas that killed 13 people there. The problem isn’t the guns. I’m not saying I have the answer, but concentrating on guns is only going to keep us from the real problem at hand. What makes a person want to kill many people? That is the problem.

woodcutter's avatar

This is the first time I can remember the killer offing his own mother and brother. Is that right? What the hell? I’m curious to know about this troubled lad. Whats his story, what was his motivation? Had to be something.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@wundayatta Gun owner here, more than willing to negotiate. Just for the record. In fact, I have multiple firearms in my home, and I would forfeit my 2nd amendment right entirely to protect innocent people, and even without going that far, I absolutely believe that we need gun law reform. Fast.

Truth is, there is no easy solution. Taking away guns isn’t going to end senseless violence and death – but I do think that changing gun laws could be a helpful step in the right direction.

jrpowell's avatar

In a week a white blonde girl will go missing and everyone will forget. Nothing will change and in a few months it will happen again.

It sucks, but I am not surprised, and it will happen again. It will probably happen before you can remember the name of a single person killed in the last shooting that wasn’t the actual shooter without using google.

jrpowell's avatar

@DigitalBlue :: Some guns are designed to kill people. You don’t hunt a elk with a AR-15. I hunt, and if I don’t get the kill with the first shot there isn’t much of a chance I will get it on the second shot.

You don’t need a 30 round mag when you hunt. And if you do you need to take some classes.

jca's avatar

I live about 20 minutes from Newtown. I have close friends in Newtown, and they are like relatives to us, so we are often visiting, sometimes once a week. I am also in group that meets in Newtown once a month, and I shop at the supermarket there (if I specified what kind of group it is, I am concerned it might take away what little anonymity I have on Fluther). I can tell you that the people in Newtown are very nice, very welcoming and very grateful to me every time I attend this group. Our friends moved there about 20 years ago because of the family oriented community.

That said, every time I look at my daughter now, I think of those beautiful little faces of the dead children. I think of what the families must feel, and I can’t imagine it. That their lives are changed forever, that the holidays will never be the same for them, it’s awful. I know the whole town is grieving and if there’s any town that would embrace the victims’ families like they would their own, as a close community, it’s Newtown.

After seeing the memorials that are all over Newtown on the news, I am considering taking a ride up there to look around and feel what it’s like to be there.

SuperMouse's avatar

Gun control advocates and gun owners alike need to keep in mind that this young man’s mother owned every single one of those weapons legally. For the most part these gunmen are people with mental issues who snap in a moment – without easy access to guns this type of massacre could be avoided. In fact because of current gun laws the shooter was unable to buy another gun earlier last week. I do think there needs to be discussion of whether the laws we have go far enough and what reason there could possibly be for an ordinary citizen to own an assault rifle. There has to be a dialog about what is reasonable when it comes to gun ownership. @DigitalBlue people such as Timothy McVeigh and the terrorists you mention aren’t really comparable in my mind because those acts took tons of time and methodical planning to execute.

While gun control is incredibly important it is really just a piece of a much larger puzzle. One thing that looms very big in my mind is the lack of any kind of safety net in place to support families dealing with these situations. Parents, teachers, and administrators need ways to address issues such as those being dealt with by this young man and his family.
@johnpowell is right, before too long something else is going to happen and we’ll all forget about this as just another tragedy. Unless we take some lessons and make some real changes we are bound to be right here again in the blink of an eye.

wundayatta's avatar

NPR said this morning that this tragedy is different, and there seems to be a mood in congress to do something about guns. We’ll see. I’m not holding my breath.

A pro gun congressman on the radio said you don’t need more than three bullets in the gun if you are hunting. Sounds like @johnpowell is saying you don’t need more than one.

@woodcutter You want every single person to carry a gun? Seriously? You believe that crime would disappear if that happened? Boy, do I have some property I think you’ll be interested in. A statue. Looks like Liberty. Great symbolism. I’ll give you a great deal.

Thanks for looking it up yourself. As you can see, I wasn’t making it up.

But you gun lovers don’t have to worry. Nothing will happen to limit gun availability. Not now. Not ever. And even if it did, it wouldn’t matter. There are so many legal guns out there that would be grandfathered in that any gun control legislation is meaningless. We have to get guns out of people’s hands, and that will never happen. You guys have all the power on this issue. I know you’re sitting there snickering at me and my vehemence on the subject. Hell. If I were in your shoes, I’d be snickering, too. Then I’d go out and shoot something. Just to prove I can. Have a happy shooting. Blow up something loud.

jonsblond's avatar

@SuperMouse people such as Timothy McVeigh and the terrorists you mention aren’t really comparable in my mind because those acts took tons of time and methodical planning to execute. I think you meant for that to be directed to me. I made the comparison because I personally think it is an accurate one to prove my point. If someone wants to kill many people they will find a way to do it. How do we know this shooter in Connecticut didn’t have the idea of killing people in his head for months? What he did was planned. If he didn’t have access to guns, he did have internet access. He would find a way to kill people by other means.

I had a rough night. As I said in my first response, my daughter was in tears because she is sad and afraid. She had trouble getting to sleep because of the thoughts going through her head. A debate about guns right now is not going to help me console and comfort my daughter (my bad for getting involved in that discussion), so I will stop following this question as soon as I’m done with this post. I just want you to know in case you respond and I don’t return the favor. I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I didn’t say any of those things @johnpowell or @SuperMouse? I think you both mixed me up with other responses.

woodcutter's avatar

@wundayatta You are welcome but I am surprised you came back with that considering that if anyone here took the time to study the topic they would have learned that in Kennisaw GA. they really haven’t enforced the must own policy. Lot’s of wiggle room if you want to live there and not want a gun. You won’t be fined. Proof that even gun control harpies avoid those articles like holy water.

It’s only an opening salvo in the gun control debate but only works if people choose to not let the facts get in their way. Nowhere in the US can anyone be forced to own any gun. Why this story is still used as the example is puzzling. Lemmings will only follow the ass of the one on front.

consider that myth BUSTED

SuperMouse's avatar

@DigitalBlue yeah, I confused you with @jonsblond, sorry!

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