My Friday Things posts are about fun, random things and I'm certainly not feelin' it today.  I feel sick to my stomach.  After I got back from my run, I could see everyone at the gym just gaping, and openly weeping, at the TVs.  I couldn't help it either, thinking of those children and their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends... 

So many of those parents had this moment earlier this year, watching their Kindergartner get on the bus for the first time.  I just can't even...

Yes, there's enough anger and sadness on the Internet and I don't want to add too much to it, but how can you NOT be angry?  I mean, how is this legal for citizens to buy???

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.223 caliber rifle
I'm not saying that people shouldn't have the right to own a gun or rifle, but it seems too hella easy to get them.  Just as we have free speech, we also have laws against slander and libel.  I dunno, I certainly don't have all the answers, but I think that it's definitely time to start asking questions about gun control and mental healthcare.  A friend said on Twitter today: we don't need metal detectors, we need MENTAL detectors.  Good food for thought...
I was just having a conversation with that same friend the other day about how awful it is that our kids are growing up in an age where they have to have Lockdown Drills because of stuff like this.  Just this week my five year old came home to tell us they had a drill on what to do if a 'bad person' got into their school.  He was obviously affected by it, saying he was scared of 'bugs' getting into his room that night.  My heart just broke; and it's breaking all over again into a thousand more pieces today.  Here I thought that bullying was my biggest worry.  How to talk about 'bad people'??  Here's a jumping off point from our school district's email regarding the situation:
  • Turn off or monitor the television. Endless news programs are likely to heighten anxiety, and young children cannot distinguish between images on television and their personal reality.
  • Maintain a normal routine.
  • Stick to facts. Answer questions factually.
  • Remember to filter what you say to a child. Avoid graphic details.
  • Remain calm and reassuring. Children take their cues from their parents and adults.
  • Be optimistic.
  • Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to changes in behavior.
  • Take care of yourself. You are better able to help your students if you are coping well. If you are anxious or upset, your students are more likely to be so as well.
 "Talking to Your Kids About Natural Disasters, War, and Violence" is a Scholastic article that offers advice from a child-development expert about how to talk with kids about violent, disturbing news."Talking to Children About Community Violence" is a tip sheet from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry about how to handle discussions with kids about violence in local communities

Also, there is a bit of decent role playing suggestions from this video from Seattle Children's:

I know that this is an isolated incident and one of those pieces of advice from the district was to keep the normal routine.  So, after hugging him a just bit closer today (because, really, aren't we all hugging our kids daily and telling them we love them??), I just put my own Kindergartner in a time out for hitting his sister.  Just keepin' it real here. 


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