Waking up to the news that there had been yet another mass shooting saddened and shook me more than I could ever explain. Over 500 injured and more than 50 dead in a mass shooting in Las Vegas. What has happened to our world? As a human being, it’s frightening to realize that we aren’t safe anywhere but as a Mother, it’s even scarier trying to keep our kids free from the fear that we so rightfully feel.
It used to be that if you “kept your nose clean” (as my grandparents would say), you would stay out of harms way, but these days, we have to worry about places like the movies, concerts, clubs, malls and even school. When I read about what happened last night in Las Vegas, I had to take a moment and mourn for what this world has become. I want my children to be able to do things, go to local events, travel all over the world… but should we have to be constantly worried about what may happen or who might be there? How do we live our lives knowing that what happened in Vegas to these innocent concertgoers, could have been any of us?
I’ve read so much about these shooters over the last few years and it seems that the majority of them are struggling with something internally and wind up attacking people that they don’t know or have no problem with personally. People find themselves dying or injured just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s frightening to think of the number of concerts that we’ve been to and how that could have just as easily been us fighting for our lives. Why are so many innocent people being punished for one person’s misery? How does that solve anything? What could have been done differently that might have prevented these tragic events? Would stricter gun control help? Would more security help? Would the lack of media and notoriety for these unstable individuals make them second guess their actions? Or… are they even doing it for the attention? I’m afraid we’ll never have the answers to these questions… at least in our lifetime.
I struggle with sitting my kids down again today and explaining the “why”. How do I assure them that they don’t have to lock themselves in our home to stay safe? How do I encourage them to live their lives to the fullest and not to live in fear? And worse… what if they don’t ask? What if this evil has become the norm for them because they hear about these tragedies so often? I’m not even sure which is worse.
When the shooting in Orlando happened, which happens to be only a couple of hours from our home, I sat down with my two older girls and tried to explain. I found myself focusing more on the positives than the negatives. I spoke about the first responders and volunteers who risked their lives to save so many and how we should be grateful for each and every one of them. I spoke about kindness, acceptance and love and how important it is to treat others with respect, regardless of their beliefs, views and opinions (which of course is difficult with the current situation in our country and the lack of positive role models in Washington… but that’s a whole different subject). I spoke about the importance of smiling at strangers because you never know what they are going through and what your smile could do to change their entire day. I spoke about the power of prayer and positivity. And toward the end of our conversation, I found my girls coming up with their own ideas on how they could help. And I cried. Oh how I cried. Their hearts are so pure and in a time where we are watching these mass shootings, all they wanted to do was make hand drawn cards and set up a lemonade stand to raise money for the victims. And I prayed that they never change. I prayed that if anything positive comes from these tragic events, it’s that we use the opportunity to spread kindness just a little bit more.
Our kids deserve better, don’t they? They deserve to live in a world where they can live their dreams without allowing fear to stop them. They deserve to have kids of their own and not have to inherit the burden of sitting down to explain these situations to them. While I know there will always be violence, my only wish is that we embrace one another, look out for one another and spread positivity whenever and wherever possible. If we can come together in horrifying times like these, why can’t we come together all of the time? Let’s do it for our future. Let’s do it for our kids.
**Featured image by David Becker/Getty Images
Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and making new memories with her family.