We are in the cycle yet again.

Tragedy…outrage…grief…anger and blaming…polarization…sides getting further entrenched…then eventually…it fades from the forefront…we begin to move on…until the next tragedy hits.

We are broken. Our towns, our cities, our countries, our world…it’s all broken. We are reeling and struggling and flailing and many of us are just trying to push through and survive.

We can agree that the events are tragic and heartbreaking, but we have no common ground whatsoever on what to do about it. We are guilty of inaction, guilty of blaming, and all collectively feeling some sense of anger/despair/hopelessness about what to do.

We are broken…bitter…numb.

Yet…all is not lost…all is not hopeless…

But, we need to do something…now. We need people to push through their differences and take down some of their walls to come to solutions that benefit everyone. We need to reach out to those that are struggling, we need to keep destigmatizing mental health struggles, and need to find a way to connect with those who feel lost, ostracized and bullied. We need to better fund and support those who are working to help people struggling with mental health issues.

To be clear I don’t believe that mental health is the only or even main problem. Most people who struggle with mental illness do not commit violence against others and are often actually the targets of violence or bullying themselves (Note: see reference here, I don’t agree with everything this statement says, but do understand and appreciate some of its points). However, I also firmly believe that the people who commit these heinous acts are themselves hurting and struggling and take their pain out on others in this egregious manner.

And to continue being clear and honest…I don’t understand the fascination with guns. I do understand using them for hunting, for protection and safety. I appreciate that there are people who are comfortable and trained to carry and handle guns, especially since there are so many out there. But, I have a really hard time understanding the obsession and stockpiling of these weapons that continue to inflict so much damage. Yes, it is the person not the weapon that causes the damage, but the proliferation and availability of these weapons I believe makes it easier for them to end up in the wrong hands. I don’t believe we should allow or trust our government to control and regulate everything unchecked, but I also believe that we must attempt to do something to slow and hopefully eventually stop this horrifying cycle.

We’ve barely even tried. We stalemate before the discussion can even really get going and provide any meaningful change. We continue to live in brokenness and let our fractured selves stay separate and frustrated. I am not saying I have the answers or know exactly what should be done. But, I am saying that what we are currently doing is absolutely not working and I feel is actually just making the problem worse.

So I’m committing to continuing to promote mental health education and awareness by sharing my own struggles, reaching out to others, sharing resources and breaking down the stigma. I’m committing to learning more about the gun safety laws in my area and taking action if I feel something is lacking or needs to be addressed. I’m committing to not sitting on my hands and hoping something will be done. I’m committing to praying and asking for God to comfort and be with families in their grief, and I’m committed to praying for God to show me where I can act and how I can help…and I’m committing to be better at answering that call so that I can hopefully be helpful to someone. I’m committing to no longer be paralyzed by anger and hopelessness…what will you do?

How to support families in Uvalde

How to support families in Buffalo

Get Help Now – Mental Health Resources for Oregon, USA

Online Therapy

Mind My Peelings – Mental Health Resources

Everytown for Gun Safety

Gun Safety Rules from the NRA

Oregon Health Authority Injury and Violence Prevention

Gun Safety Tips for Families and Parents

This is picking up the broken pieces…

This is fatherhood…