I’ve done years of research on recovering from trauma for the book, ‘All the Things We Never Knew.’ One striking phenomenon that I’m witnessing is the collective trauma our nation experiences after a mass shooting.
Do you remember the visceral sickness you felt after learning of the children murdered at Sandy Hook? Many people cried, felt anger, and dozens of workplaces recalled people calling in sick. That’s a normal reaction to trauma as the body tries to make sense of the unthinkable.
Contrast your physical reaction to Sandy Hook versus Vegas, the worst mass shooting in American history. I am witnessing a kind of numbing to the horror, a protective mechanism that people enlist in order not to feel the anxiety of trauma. Did you notice your bodily reaction to “another mass shooting?”
We can’t afford to allow ourselves to become numb to mass murders. Only when we acknowledge the loss, the collective hurt and trauma of mass violence will we galvanize to do something about this public health crisis. We need to reawaken our outrage, our hurt and our collective grief and recognize these crimes are being committed against all of us.