It has been just a little over a year Newtown, CT is still remembered. A tragedy lingers in minds of those involved and those nearby. Fed by emotions, painful memories are often the hardest to release. Regardless, Newtown moves on. Honoring and moving forward can be delicate issues to address. Respecting the incident is now the past; however, for loved ones still around the past may feel like the present. Their pain may still throb at every article, video or remembrance of their loved one I the public eye. For others a desire to acknowledge the tragedy is how they clear their minds, accomplishing this through acts of compassion.
Local reports from the Newtown Bee consisting of installments of “Gestures of Kindness” is one of the reminders of a past filled with pain not to be forgotten. Nationwide offerings remembering Newtown is listed in the publication. It was started by one of the associate editors, Shannon Hicks. The intention was to show residents there are others who care about them; support is widespread.
The first gift of tenderness was from a family in Texas who decorated a tree in their subdivision in honor of Newtown. The continuance of kindness efforts turned into a global effort that consists of honoring Newtown with lots of play if forward actions: Peanut butter dog biscuits from the Connecticut Chapter of the Humane Society; drawings from children of the Chimfunshi grade school in Africa; the 26Valentine Project; a church raising money for a dental clinic in Haiti. In addition an e-book, Do A Little Good Little Bear, a children’s book that deals with making sense of difficult situations by Laura Deitz, proceeds go to Sandy Hook School Support Fund and Newtown Youth & Family Services. Handcrafted bracelets, stuffed animals, monetary fundraisers by children and some by adults; Ms. Mollica and her daughter were catalyst for getting 3,400 superhero capes from Six Flags, New England donated. Pillowcases for the children came from Quilter’s Corner of New Milford. Engineered Tax Services adopted Roosevelt Elementary School in West Palm Beach; providing socks and a Roosevelt Rockets Reading Buddies program are some of the heartfelt efforts.
The combined view of all the giving and sharing paints pictures of let us remember and move forward. The children at Sandy Hook are still experiencing childhood, a time in life that once left behind cannot recur. An adult can ride a swing, go down a slide, play on the monkey bars, and have a wonderful time. The experience will be an adult experience no matter how childish the engagement. Media is intrusive; when an issue becomes the hot topic it floods every major news outlet. Facebook, Twitter and other social media are usually part of that group. Youth who have access to the internet have the same access as grown ups unless there are parental limits placed. There was a time when conversations between grown people were not spoken purposely within an ear’s length of youth. Depending on the subject matter, teenagers would also be excluded. These are different times; the glass wall has been broken. No longer is it often that children watch and wonder what conversation is going on that they cannot hear.
Considering this, when tragedies occur remembering terminology is understood based on one’s life experience is important. A young person may be extremely intelligent and still not understand a basic premise of information received the way it was intended. Younger people are adjusting to their emotions in real-time. For example our current president tapped the passion of young voters and, using technology, had an unprecedented win. Their emotions drive their focus and direction. Exposure to unfiltered information can affect the mental and emotional growth of a young person.
The Newtown incident is no exception; there were children whose lives were affected unforgettably. Initial coverage is not expected to be sensitive. Remembering who was affected, moving forward one would think some of the sensationalism would be minimized, as children are silently watching. It is not common practice to alter an article or news story based on the audience. News usually provides information in the raw. Perhaps it is time to take a look at that practice. The news has always been transparent for the most part. Today the news comes from so many avenues connected to social media; information in some settings may come across as a telephone line story. A child can write and post online. Anybody can alter his presence in the virtual world. On the same token, any news story can be misinterpreted and ranted on. Depending on whom it reaches, inaccurate or insensitive information can go viral with causing unintended painful repercussions.
That may be a lot to ask for in the minds of some; unfortunately this is a reality to consider in today’s times. There are no barriers with communication; today’s technology is far-reaching limited only by one’s expertise. As Newtown is remembered along with similar scenarios, compassion for others might want to be kept in mind.
Editorial By Dada Ra