As far as tragedy is concerned…

Jul 8, 2013, 8:14 PM | Updated: 8:14 pm

First, this really goes without saying, our condolences to the families and friends of the fallen.

Second, our deepest sympathy to the community of Yarnell.

That being said, let’s review the past 12 months, as far as tragedy is concerned.

July 2012 Aurora Shooting
August 2012 Oak Creek Tragedy
September 2012 some random shootings
October 2012 Inglewood Shooting/Hurricane Sandy
November 2012 Hurricane Sandy
December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn.
January 2013 pretty quiet, Brazil nightclub fire
February 2013 some shootings
March 2013 more random shootings
April 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing
May 2013 Tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma
May 2013 West Texas fertilizer plant explosion
June 2013 Santa Monica shooting
June 2013 Yarnell Hillside Fire

Our apologies if we have omitted anything.

***There was not a single month of the last 12 that did not include a shooting***

Times of tragedy have become increasing in frequency.

As a nation, how do we respond? What have we learned? Are we a nation that heals together?

It has become pretty standard procedure at this point.

Shock, media obsession, unite, divide, status quo?

Do any of these events change us as a nation?

I am going to guess, no.

This is not to discount any individual personally touched in tragic events. For many, trauma is life changing.
Following each tragedy is an agenda. Be it a political agenda, an extremist agenda or a well-intended agenda, there are opportunists at every level of our society. We don’t appear to be a nation that has learned to triumph over tragedy; rather we have learned to capitalize on it.

The Political Agenda — After Hurricane Sandy, we saw decimation of the majority of an entire state. Across the nation people donated money, donated blood and sent our prayers. We witnessed a political harmony we have not seen in years. Harmony soon turned to discontent, as evidenced in congressional debate about sending federal aid to New Jersey.

We saw less coverage about the community and more coverage about the political circus. People were suffering while opportunist politicians tried to score points with donors and rack up votes (and to send a message to Governor Christie). The punch line is one of the most vocal opponents of sending federal aid to New Jersey found his state in need of federal aid a few months later due to a natural disaster.

The extremist agenda — The Boston Marathon Bombings, we were horrified, how could this happen?

We were sad and frightened. Then we were proud and hopeful. The community joined together in assisting and supporting the police. The news broke that the suspects were affiliated with terrorist organizations, followed by an outpouring of hateful rhetoric and anti-Muslim sentiment. The anti-immigration or pro-citizen(?) extremist used this event as evidence that we must not allow any Muslim immigrants into the country.
(Probably the best example of the extremist agenda is the Westboro Baptist Church. It is a cult and a hate group. These are the idiots protesting funerals.)

The well intended agenda — My beloved mental health community saw an opportunity to communicate the needs of the mental health system and educate the public on mental illness after Tucson and Aurora. Their attempts, although well-intentioned, have not resulted in an increase in compassion for the mentally ill or an increase in mental health treatment and community resources. The public may be more frightened of people with mental illness. Stigma has actually increased. When the term mental illness is used, images of Jared Loughner or Jeremy Lanza now come to mind. It’s unfortunate because most of us are not violent. Unfortunately, the attempts to capitalize on the crisis have created a stronger association between mass shootings and the mentally ill.

What does this mean for our first responders? What message does it send to the men and women risking their lives for us?

The Pulse AZ

Elizabeth Singleton

The stress continuum chart

What Color Are You? The Stress Continuum While the headlines often focus on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a relatively small percentage of people will have an actual diagnosis of PTSD. On the other hand, everyone will experience some degree of stress on a day-to-day basis, and in response to traumatic events. The Stress Continuum is […]
9 years ago
Alisa Jones/The Pulse AZ

Manic depression has captured my soul

Jimi Hendrix was able to describe the experiences of manic depressives in 3 minutes and 47 seconds. The song 'Manic Depression' provokes euphoria, sorrow and, most of all, a longing for expression, in me anyway. The music mirrors my streams of thought, consciousness and emotions at any given time.
9 years ago
Elizabeth Singleton

The other side of the couch

How often do we visit our health care provider only to leave disappointed with a handful of prescriptions?
9 years ago
Elizabeth Singleton

Mental health matters

Mental health has received a considerable amount of attention over the past couple years for the wrong reason, tragedy. It began with the Tucson event, then Aurora, followed by Sandy Hook, and now Santa Monica. Or did it begin with Virginia Tech or Columbine? Ever notice we refer to these events by the cities, towns […]
9 years ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.