In light of the recent Sandy Hook tragedy and the accompanying emotions, people are speaking out about a number of issues. Mental health and access to treatment, gun control, school security measures, violence in video games and on television, the role of government in violence prevention, and prayer in schools are among the topics being discussed, debated, argued, and contemplated by millions of people in the United States and beyond. There are tweets, Facebook posts, blog entries, and discussions started on thousands of social media sites and countless forums. Arguments have erupted, heated debates initiated, petitions started, derogatory names assigned, and accusations levied.
Meanwhile, dozens of families are struggling with understanding this event that will redefine their lives forever, and the world mourns with them. Parents, teachers, counselors, aunts and uncles, and other adults are today grappling with how to help the children, the innocents, to deal with this tragedy, one that they themselves have difficulty comprehending. Leaders and every day citizens from around the world are sharing condolences and speaking out regarding the issues involved in this crime.
This clearly is a time for contemplation, for mourning, and for supporting those most in need. This is a time for listening; listening to children struggling to process information beyond their level of understanding, listening to the families of victims, whose emotional wounds may never heal, and listening to one another. And while it is tempting to speak out, to share viewpoints, to express opinions, we must step back and listen. We must learn from this event so that we do not experience future tragedies like the one that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. More than ever, it is time to seek common ground, to seek understanding. And most importantly, it is a time to reach out to those who are hurting.
Only when we begin to listen to one another, to seek solutions in the spirit of understanding and collaboration, will we end the needless suffering and loss experienced by the families of Newtown, Connecticut and the nation.