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Old Enough to Know, Not Old Enough to Understand – Children and Newtown

On the morning of December 14th, a 20 year-old suspect who later killed himself wreaked havoc on a nation by callously taking the lives of twenty precious children and six celebrated school administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  By all accounts, the suspect (we won’t mention his name) carried-out this violent act with his mother’s Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and two handguns – a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm. Sadly, the suspect’s mother, who apparently cared for and loved her suspect son as much as each victim’s mother cared for their child, was also executed in her home prior to the school shooting.

This horrific crime immediately takes all of us to a confused place where we simultaneously feel pain, anger, sadness, helplessness, empathy and a strong desire to learn more with hopes of preventing a future tragedy. Candidly, we will never truly know or understand what ultimately made a young, disturbed man travel to the depths life led him.

The Newtown tragedy is a watershed event for our nation. It will continue to evoke emotional conversation about school safety, gun control and mental health issues among many. It makes many of us question the world we live in and, for a period of time, will bring all of us together to remember and honor the lives of those who embraced the very innocence and sanctity of an elementary school classroom and all that is good about it. Our classrooms provide the traditional, wholesome experiences that must be preserved and protected at any cost.

Many heroes revealed themselves that fateful morning; many of them no longer with us. All of us are devastated and share the pain of the Newtown community.  But, what we just can’t get over is how someone could hurt such young, trusting, innocent children whose only concern in the world during this time of year was what they might receive during the holiday season…from a loved one on a special day or wrapped under the tree on Christmas morning.

As adults we struggle and as kids, well, we must be sensitive to each child’s unique needs as we strike the balance between their desire to know and ability to comprehend. After quite a bit of research on this topic, we thought we’d share this article from CNN – http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/17/living/talk-kids-newtown/index.html.

Yes, many children are old enough to know, but too young to understand. Please take a moment to read the article as we all work to continue to protect our children, both physically and emotionally.

The Fallston Group is a crisis management and communications firm working to help leaders prepare for, navigate through and recover from issues of adversity and crisis.

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