10 November 2017

A Deeper Look at the Sutherland Springs Shooting

Barbara Ferullo

The shooting deaths in Sutherland Springs forces us to grapple with the needless tragedy of it all.  As more information has surfaced, we have learned that the shooter, Devin P. Kelley had a long history of assaultive behavior that consistently managed to slip through the cracks, and have left people outraged at how such mayhem could have been ignored for so long.

The upsurge in mass shootings has left us feeling disheartened and depressed.  According to the latest study by the American Psychological Association, 63% of Americans are now pessimistic about the state of our country, the highest it’s been since the Vietnam era.  People feel numb, jaded, or defeated

I remember the feeling of being helpless and overwhelmed during the Vietnam War protests, and again during the Nixon Watergate scandal.  The sense of fear, uncertainty, and foreboding were constants for all of us.  Just as now, there was no sense that things would turn out okay. We were afraid that, in the words of the immortal Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows”,  …..”everybody knows that the good guys lost.”  We also knew, deep inside, that there were then, as there are now,  some things that are worth fighting for.

There are many ways to stand up for what we believe, depending in part, on what our preferences are. But we also need  to find ways to free ourselves up so we can do so.  Here are some ideas.  See what works for you.

Become active in a group that works for what you believe in.  Studies show that people who are active in such organizations feel less helpless and depressed about their current situation, than those who aren’t involved.

Get out of that crazy-making echo chamber inside your head.  Do things that involve your five senses that bring you back into the physical world, eg, cooking, playing a sport or instrument,  dancing, cleaning the house, or organizing your closet, to name a few.

Call a friend, or go out with friends.

Get immersed in an interest or favorite pastime, like a favorite TV show, book, internet search on a band, – or anything that absorbs your interest.

Take a break from the news for awhile – turn it off!

These are just some of the survival techniques that we all can use.  We do them anyway.  The trick is to use them in conscious and purposeful way, so you can get what you need.