Earlier today a gunman opened fire in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. According to CNN, 26 people were killed in the school shooting, and the suspect is now deceased in the building.
Twenty of the victims were children, and six adults, including the school's beloved principal, Dawn Hochsprung and psychologist Mary Sherlach were killed. Adam Lanza, 20, has been identified as the shooter. Lanza’s mother was reportedly a teacher at the elementary school and is among those who have died but she was found dead in her home, not at the school.
According to CNN, "With the death toll at 26, the Newtown shooting is the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind only the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that left 32 people dead."
Speaking at a live press conference, President Obama said that America has endured too many tragedies like this, and listed off shootings at Aurora, the Sikh Temple and other places. He said that upon hearing the news, “I reacted not as a president, but as anyone else would, as a parent...I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do."
Because this happened so recently, it will take time to set up funds and other ways to help those affected by the shooting. We will update you on ways you can help the victims and their families when these opportunities arise. In the meantime, we have some suggestions for things you can do right now.
+ Get Up & Get Out
Tragedies like this can weigh so heavily on us that it makes it hard to move or think about anything else. Take a break from Facebook or obsessively watching the news on TV. The simple act of taking a walk, hitting the gym, running some errands or getting food with friends, can help us cope with tough feelings and feel better.
+ Learn More About The Issues
Situations like this are very sensitive subjects, and there is no single way to fully prevent something like this from ever happening again. However, there are ways to make this much less likely to happen. This can be a time to learn more about mental illness, violence, gun control, and other issues linked to the incident. The more informed you are, the more power you have to help make change.
+ Turn Anger Into Action
This is a horrific story, and as we learn more about it and the issues surrounding it, there will be more ways to take action. Taking action can include helping the victims and their families as opportunities arise, or getting involved in programs aimed at curbing violence. You could also write to your representatives about how you feel on the issue of gun control. You can also express your condolences online by Tweeting with the hashtags, #PrayForNewtown and #Newtown
If you are hurting from this, whether you're personally involved or not, that's absolutely understandable. It's okay to express your feelings. We recommend you check out halfofus.com, but if you want to talk to another person, feel free to call 1-800-273-TALK.