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Violence is not isolated to Newtown

ELINOR TATUM Publisher and Editor in Chief | 12/21/2012, 1:56 p.m.
The massacre in Newtown, Conn., last Friday was one of the most horrendous acts we...
When guidance counselors need to care

The massacre in Newtown, Conn., last Friday was one of the most horrendous acts we have seen in America in decades. Twenty-six people were gunned down, 20 of them children, all under the age of 8.

It reminded me of the four little girls in Birmingham in 1963, whose lives were brutally extinguished by bombs planted by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Where does all the hate come from? How is it that one person can cause so much pain in the lives of a community, a town, a state, a country? We all mourn the loss of life, and we ask ourselves why over and over again, but there are no answers.

There is no reason. There is just pain, but that pain is not isolated to Connecticut. That pain is not isolated to those families who were touched by this murderer. That pain is shared every day by communities of color who lose their children on a daily basis.

Babies, toddlers, elementary school children gunned down on the playground, innocents caught in the crossfire--sometimes through the windows of their homes or walking down the street--or just random acts of violence that touch our communities daily. While massacres such as the one in Newtown are particularly shocking and create a push towards gun control, why does it take this kind of horrific act to bring attention to the violence that occurs every day? Our children are getting killed, gunned down, never able to see the inside of a college classroom or even their eighth-grade graduation.

While the survivors of Newtown are getting teddy bears and Christmas wreaths, with free coffee and physiological counseling for those who need it, there is nothing here for the urban survivor.

What do the survivors in the inner city get every time a child is cut down? There are no teddy bears, there are no mental health counselors, there is no moving to another school or another community. There is just more death and more violence.

I say this not to minimize what has happened in Newtown or to compare our pain with others--such comparison is odious--but we can't lose sight of the violence that comes in daily doses while grieving inconsolably over victims of a deranged killer.

We can have all the gun control in the world. We can stop more guns from flowing into our streets, but if do not stop the violence in the media, we will get nowhere. The violence we seek to end is so pervasive that it permeates every niche of our society; it is practically almost impossible to completely eradicate.

With video games getting more and more graphic and movies featuring gratuitous shoot-'em-up scenes, and the everyday violence on TV, this is what we are teaching our communities. Though there is no quick fix for the violence in our community, that shouldn't stymie and stifle our efforts to stop it. We need to give R-ratings for violence, not only sex.

Our young people do not need the exposure to violence, guns, hate and death. They see it enough in their everyday lives. The violence will never stop until we stop it, and we can only stop it if we stop perpetuating it ourselves. Stop the violence and save our communities.