How Can We Respond to the Devastating Shooting in Orlando?

Once again we have witnessed another devastating shooting that has killed at least 50 individuals and wounded 53 more.  What a tragic and traumatic event for all those in the Pulse Club, and for their families.  We certainly should be praying for all those who have been affected by such a horrid event. 

No words for the devastation and loss we have faced as a nation from these and similar shootings

We have experienced the huge injustice and tragedy of yet another violent assault in our country. This terroristic shooting was certainly an act of hate. It is frightening to think a shooting event can happen at any time and in any location. This one which targeted a gay bar evidences the notion of hate towards certain cultural profiles.

Sources, including the shooter, Omar Mateen, claim a connection to ISIS: Mateen left such a message on his 911 call. On three previous occasions, he had been questioned by the FBI with no conclusive results of a link. However, it is revelatory to me his former wife stated that he was mentally ill. Apparently she recognized his temper and actions were severe enough to indicate mental instability.

It appears his condition was not addressed. 

He lived in his own private world, and even though his mental state was questionable, he was allowed to buy an AR15 assault rifle which can shoot 30 rounds per minute. Using this weapon is what left the carnage and human tragedy in the Orlando club.

I know that these issues are difficult to prevent.  But in so many of our high profile mass shootings the warning signs were there.  We must take warnings seriously.  We must find ways as a people to address those who have clearly demonstrated significant signs of mental illness.  It is obvious in most of our mass shootings that if signs were addressed we might have had the possibility of preventing such devastation to these victims and their families.

We are seeing a huge rise in some of the mental health issues in our youth community. 

Now is the time to address such issues. We need to help students deal with their issues in a proactive and positive way.  In so doing, we may prevent incidences like this and protect the lives of our families and friends.

Once again, we need to lift in our thoughts and prayers the wounded individuals, their families and families who have lost loved ones.

We also should recognize that many have been traumatized by this event. It is a good time to check in with those we care about and talk through the fears and hyper-vigilance that we as a country may be experiencing.  It is a great time to reach out to those we love and support them in such a difficult time.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network



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