If someone told me 30 years ago that mass shootings would become a norm in society, I would not have believed it. In fact, a Washington Post article highlights the “trend” of mass shootings over time since 2015:https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/more-deadlier-mass-shoot…/… . It saddens me that current mass shootings have become a topic to be studied.
Up until last weekend, the average length in time between mass shootings had been reported at 47 days, which seems incredibly too often. I now think differently about that reporting of frequency as the last two mass shootings occurred just 13 hours apart. Ironically, at KIPCOR, we are in the midst of planning activities with community partners for Nonviolence Week that will take place in the fall.
A few years ago, I was so overwhelmed following the shooting deaths of Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, and Dallas Police officers, that I wrote an article sharing my grief. I wanted to give people some thoughts on what could be done in a situation like this when it feels like our efforts are futile. I hope that these ideas will inspire us to think of ways we can respond in times like these:
Rather than sitting on my hands, I have been asking myself, “What can I do?” In my years of working with those who have been affected by crime and working with communities in conflict, I have learned a few things that I hope will be of some help to those of you who are struggling to figure out what to do next.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐝𝐨 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐞𝐬
• First, think about the lives that were lost and their loved ones. Families are suffering because a mother, father, wife, husband, sibling, family member, dear friend, or co-worker is never coming back. We all have the ability to politicize anything, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐞 𝐝𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭, 𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐥𝐞𝐝𝐠𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐬. However you choose to make meaning of this, do it with great care!
• If you are able to 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐮𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬, I feel that this may be one of the most important things you can do. Even if you can’t have a dinner party or something formal, the ways in which we can offer a listening ear are endless. These are the times we should be “checking-in” on our friends and neighbors. I would rather have people vent in my living room as opposed to seeing things “come out sideways” by having them vent in the street. Let’s offer spaces for people to diffuse their anger, frustration and sadness.
Regardless of your ethnicity or political leanings, lives were lost and people are hurting around the world concerning these horrific events. I encourage you to think about how we can repair the harm. I sincerely mean this — PEACE!
If you want to know more about National Nonviolence Week in the Bethel College Community, please visit www.KIPCOR.org for more information in the coming weeks. For more information on events nationwide, visit https://paceebene.org/cnv-actions-list.
–Sheryl R. Wilson, KIPCOR Director