I woke up to headline news this morning that a major shooting has occurred in Las Vegas. More than 50 people were killed in what CNN is labeling the biggest mass shooting of all time. A 64-year-old man, with more than one gun, started firing shots from his hotel window near a music festival on the strip. My heart goes out to EVERYONE who was in Las Vegas, or knows someone who was. All of those people had lives. They had family, kids, and friends.
This year alone, London trains have been targeted, music festivals with kids have been shot up, nightclubs in Istanbul, major tourist attractions…the list goes on. I’ll never forget the day I was in high school and the Sandy Hook shooting happened. Since I’m from CT, the shooting wasn’t far from my high school. My school was put on lockdown, and it was terrifying. I didn’t think my school handled the shooting properly, because they let us go on our phones while they locked the school down. Since teens talk, that’s all we did for an hour. The issue wasn’t our cell phones: it was that we were learning about major news from our phones, and not from people. Because of that, we got to take the story to a new level of sadness and anger before we even knew what happened.
As shootings and terrible world events continue to happen, it’s important to start talking to your children everyday. Asking them about how school is, how their friends are, and even who they eat lunch with is a fantastic start to getting them to open up. You never know what pain a young adult may be facing, or the immense pressure they are under from students and people around them.
I’d like to see schools talking openly about this shooting. Make students turn their phone off for the day, or even an hour, to be present in the moment. Talk about how it makes you feel, even if you don’t have direct family or friends involved. There is no harm in taking some time to think about how this could have been avoided, and especially, what the warning signs are for someone who needs mental health help.
Please, if you need help today, don’t be afraid to call:
National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-448-4663
We also have even more resources up on the M.I.N.T. page for you too.