On Monday morning, as I read the news before waking my children for school, I learned of the horrible act of mass violence in Las Vegas. Of course, our greatest concern is for the victims and their loved ones. However, these events have a much broader impact as well. Across the globe, people who have been accustomed to peace are forced to worry about their safety in places they once felt relatively safe, such as concerts, sporting events, and public places.
It’s natural to think about these risks, but we can’t let them rule our lives. Even people living in war zones carry on with their lives—working, going to school, socializing, and worshipping as best as they can. I looked for inspiration from people who have lived through wars. Cindy Saleeby Goulding, a counselor and wellness coach who lived in Lebanon as a child, described how she coped: “I made a choice to focus on the beauty around me, not the destruction that war creates.”
At times like this, we need to focus on the beauty around us to help us carry on when we are angry, upset, or afraid. Beauty has many forms. We’re not all fortunate enough to live close to forests, brooks, or mountains, but we can find beauty in the kindness of others. WRAP Plus includes a chapter on trauma, and one of the affirmations is “I need to spend time with people who are respectful, caring, and supportive.”
We have to be careful not to let acts of violence isolate us. Talking with friends can help settle the emotions. Or you could find new connections and channel your feelings into change for good. You might find people working together to prevent violence in the community. Or you might volunteer, working to create positive opportunities for youth. If you decide to take on new challenges, be sure to take WRAP with you on the journey because self-care is an important ingredient of advocacy and volunteer work. The WRAP Red Book includes information on preventing and recovering from burnout.
If you’ve been affected personally by the tragedy, we hope that you will receive the support that you need. Let’s stay together as a WRAP community.
Alan Marzilli, J.D., M.A., is a senior writer/program associate at Advocates for Human Potential (AHP). His work focuses primarily on homelessness, mental health and substance use disorder services, cannabis regulation, and employment services.