Letter from the Editor

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

I write this less than a week after the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School - 26 people, 20 of them young children, murdered by a young man who also killed his mother and himself.

I don't think there is a single parent who didn't hear this news and immediately put themselves in the shoes of those Connecticut parents. It makes all of us consider our precious families, our schools and communities, and wonder, "Could it happen here?"

We had already been planning a story on school safety for our February issue (which is our annual schools issue). This tragedy certainly will shape how we address the topic. But I hope we will be able to handle it in a way that promotes healing rather than stokes our anxiety and anger.

Maybe, as a member of the media profession, I shouldn't admit this, but I have not watched any video (on TV or online) with this story. I learned, in the wake of 9/11, that exposing myself to the repeated images of a tragedy makes it far more difficult to recover. Same with this tragedy. I could take in all the news I needed - both to understand what happened and to use the information productively - by reading newspapers and written online accounts (and that doesn't include reading trolls' hateful comments). Yes, the images are important to record but, after a certain point, I believe they can become exploitive and an impediment to healing.

And yet, as the human spirit always proves, even now, less than a week after this tragedy, images of healing and hope are now coming out of Newtown, Conn. Words of hope are filling up Facebook pages, whether they are the late Mr. Fred Rogers' plea to "look for the helpers" or this "26 Acts of Kindness" phenomenon that I hope takes root permanently in our culture.

I also hope this tragedy prompts meaningful changes in gun accessibility, school safety and mental-health treatment, and that we can use the news to help us make responsible decisions about how we protect our families and future generations.