Posts Tagged ‘Newtown’

☞ This is another article on how narrative can be constructively used for coming to terms with incomprehensible acts of extreme violence, such as the Newtown massacre.

The power of storytelling is exactly this: to bridge the gaps where everything else has crumbled.”—Paulo Coelho

“On Friday, December 14, 2012, a lone gunman entered an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut and killed 26 people, including 20 children ages six to seven. These deaths, coming in the same year as mass shootings in a movie theater, a mall, and a house of worship—and interspersed with violent acts every day on our streets—created a shock wave of sorrow and disbelief throughout the U.S. and the world. With the loss of children who had birthdays and graduations and their entire lives to look forward to, we asked whether this time would finally be the catalyst for action against gun violence, and address when the right to bear arms abridges the right to live and prosper. There were calls for and attacks against gun control, access to mental health care, security in schools, video games, media attention to killers, perspectives on race, and the glorification of violence.

But what we didn’t ask is how we proactively design a world that allows us all the chance to live in safety, and supports a shared goal of opportunity and care for all.

We keep searching for point solutions. We weigh one factor against another in the hopes one solved factor will solve the whole. But societal issues are complex and systemic and intertwine with each other. Answers can never be either/or.

We need to start designing our culture such that holistic sets of solutions, policies, and customs take hold, and hold us to a new, 21st century (and beyond) social contract between the individual and the collective.

How do we do this? One essential way is through story: The only way to truly comprehend the human costs of policy frameworks and cultural constructs is to listen to and exchange stories. The humanitarian and emotional perspectives are often more persuasive than only the rational ones when we are creating livable societies. To build a culture of possibility, we have to build both a movement and an ethical framework grounded in multiple narrative from multiple voices, and fostered by co-creation networks that act for the good of the collective and the protection of the individual.”

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☞ Many of us are trying to come to grips with the incomprehensible mass killing of children and their educators in Newtown. The article below and the following article argue that narrative may have an ameliorative or even curative effect on us, and it can help both the victims and the perpetrators of violence. The article below was published on the 20th of December in the Huffington Post. It was written by Sloan Gorman, who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

“Five days have passed and I am still finding it nearly impossible to comprehend the events of 12/14 in Newtown, Conn. I am an experienced clinical social worker who specializes in the treatment of psychological trauma, yet I am still at a loss in understanding what happened on that hideous day.

When working with a client in therapy to help them heal from a traumatic event, one of my goals is to help them create a coherent narrative about what happened. A coherent narrative is essentially a story that makes sense.

A coherent narrative is one of the things that helps us to integrate new information with what we already know, so that we can heal and move on.”

“The Newtown tragedy continues to trouble me personally, and us collectively, because it is so difficult to formulate a coherent narrative around the events of that day.

Why has it been so difficult to do so? Perhaps it is because it is just too tragic. Perhaps it is because too many innocents died. Perhaps it is so difficult for me personally because it hits too close to my home in Milford, Conn.

Or maybe, just maybe, the reason I am not able to form a coherent narrative around these events is because there is none. This story does not make sense, no matter which angle you view it from. Perhaps there will be continue to be no coherent narrative until the laws are changed about what kind of firearms individuals are allowed to own.”