Thoughts on Uvalde From a Counselor and Father

I hate how numb I feel right now. Not towards the tragic massacres in Uvalde or Buffalo. Those sicken me to the core. I’m numb to having a shred of hope that meaningful change will occur as a result.


I Get the Anguish of Losing a Child

As a parent, I know what it’s like to lose a child. Almost four years later, there is still a wound that won’t fully heal. This side of eternity, I doubt it ever will.

My son, Ben, was born with an incurable death sentence. There was no realistic scenario where he would live for long. I’m still trying to recover from his death.

Losing a healthy child to a violent end that was preventable…I cannot fathom the pain of the parents in Uvalde. My heart breaks for them and the grief they are experiencing.


No Hope for Meaningful Action

If the tragedy in Sandy Hook wasn’t enough to spark change, why would Uvalde be any different? The death of many white children in Connecticut didn’t motivate those who won’t budge an inch on gun rights. Instead, Texas for example keeps loosening their gun laws.

Why should we believe that the deaths of Hispanic children will suddenly motivate our politicians to make meaningful change? Our leaders have done nothing effective to address this issue in the past. Why would this time be any different


Supposed Solutions

One of the tag lines for doing nothing about gun control is that mental illness is to blame. I’m no math major, but I am a professional counselor. In the equation that is violence in our country, which variable is more likely to bring effective change? The number of guns or mental health in our country?

Blaming mental health alone for violence will add to the stigma against mental health struggles in our country. That focus will keep people needing help with their mental health hiding in the shadows. Professionals like myself cannot help those who won’t admit to it.

The other ideas are that we should have more police at schools and arm teachers.

Our police forces are already overextended and working way too many hours. Now we are going to regularly have them at each school? How is that a realistic solution?

Or we will arm teachers? For that to be a good solution would mean that teachers would need to commit to military or police force training. Does anyone know any teachers who aren’t already overextended during the school year? Or have the required mindset to effectively respond in a high stress, life or death situation?

Yes, our nation needs to grow its focus on mental health. Yes, various security solutions at schools should be considered. But addressing gun control is a necessary part of any solution.


Let’s Get Real

Let’s be honest about where we are as a country on this topic. Our prayers and supposed grieving means nothing because of our inaction. It’s too easy to distance ourselves when we can still hug our children. We need to hold our politician’s accountable.

If our lawmakers care, both sides of the aisle will work together to finally make a change to our nation’s gun laws. If they continue the pattern of doing nothing, we need to vote in people who will at the next election.

Enough empty prayers and moments of silence. May our prayers lead to action that protects those most vulnerable in our country.

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Brent Flory

Brent is a licensed professional counselor in Columbus, Ohio. He works with adults and adolescents, and specializes in helping people who are struggling with anxiety, loss & grief, and burnout.
In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his family, playing basketball, and eating too much ice cream.

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