Every day, parents across our country drop off their children at school, and none of us ever imagine that it might be our last moments with our child. It’s unimaginable. The loss of 19 young lives in Uvalde, Texas, fresh on the heels of the racist attack at a supermarket two weeks ago in Buffalo that killed 10, we’re all feeling a heavy load on our hearts.
Both gunmen were 18, both used semiautomatic firearms, and one had even previously threatened gun violence at his own high school. And while I can’t make sense of any of these events, I do know one thing. Thoughts and prayers don’t stop bullets. Only policy change can do that.
It’s time to act, both as an agency and as individuals. The twin tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde were preventable incidents of gun violence, the trauma from which will resonate with both children and adults for years to come. FSRI is a leader in trauma-informed care, and our own staff can attest to the damage inflicted both physically and emotionally by gun violence here in our own community. That’s why common-sense gun laws are needed now, both nationally and here in Rhode Island.
Tell your legislators you support common-sense gun laws. The mental health– and literally the lives of our children depend on it. If not, the list of those needlessly gone too soon will only grow, as it has over the last decade since Newtown.
No child deserves this.
No parent deserves this.
No person deserves this.
And no citizen, policymaker, or community can stand by and do nothing to prevent it from happening again. We need to make sure all children have access to the mental health care they need, so this devastating chapter of American history won’t be repeated for generations.
If you’re struggling today to find the words to explain these events to your kids, here is a great resource from PBS Kids that can help. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network also offers a lot of very helpful information in both Spanish and English. Or you can watch this recorded FSRI discussion with FSRI’s Kayla David about what parents can do in the wake of a mass shooting.
And as always, if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please reach out to FSRI’s caring staff at (401) 519-2280 for assistance.
Let’s get to work.
Margaret Holland McDuff
MA, MBA, CEO
Family Service of Rhode Island