Like everyone, I’m overwhelmed by what happened in Orlando. The deadliest mass shooting in America.
I was a freshman in high school when the massacre at Luby’s Cafeteria in Texas topped the list. Because that gunman had driven his truck right into the restaurant before opening fire, some businesses designed barricades disguised as aesthetic like the giant red bollards in front of Target stores, or so says popular lore.
Then there was the Sandy Hook massacre which claimed the lives of 26 people, especially tragic for its mostly young victims.
Virginia Tech was utterly staggering for its high loss of life. I never imagined that would be surpassed.
And then a lone gunman stormed a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, taking hostages during his siege. At least 49 are dead and even more injured.
In all of these cases of senseless violence, the lone killers lay dead among their innocent victims.
Whenever something tragic like this happens, as parents we have to deal with our feelings and help our children process their own feelings of fear, helplessness and grief. Psychologist Dr. Janet Taylor appeared on ABC News to offer advice on how to talk to your kids about the Orlando massacre.
Two of my children are too young to be aware of what’s going on. It’s summer vacation for my soon-to-be 7 year-old son and my 4 year-old daughter has yet to start school. They are shielded in our loving home from the world’s atrocities. Just a few minutes ago they were happily enjoying some Neapolitan ice cream, a perk of lazy summer afternoons. And to be honest, I have no intention of telling them about what happened. Soon enough they will learn of hatred, cruelty, and violence. But today is not that day. Today is a day I can buy my son a $4.99 game he wants to play on the iPad. I can laugh with my youngest daughter while she dances with her hokey-pokey Elmo. And I can shower them with kisses and hugs and I love you’s in honor of the at least 49 families who no longer can.