After the Virginia shooting: Talking to children about violence

Talking to children about violence

DALLAS - A summer morning was interrupted by gunfire Wednesday when a lone gunman shot at least five victims, including Rep. Steve Scalise, the majority whip of the House of Representatives, who remains in the hospital in critical condition.

Republicans were practicing at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia for the annual bipartisan charity baseball game scheduled for Thursday.

News of the shooting spread quickly across social media and captivated millions across the country, including here in North Texas where Gwen Inglis, a mother of two, was left feeling anxious.

“I’ll admit, after these things happen, I do look at exits and where we would hide if I needed to grab my kids quickly and find a place to move to,” she said as she watched her 2-year-old son play in the water at Clyde Warren Park. “I know my husband especially gets even more cautious.”

It’s been a busy day at the office for licensed professional counselor Jenny Gomez, who works with children and teens. After hearing the news this morning, she paused, making sure to take the time to process it herself.

“Parents need to start the conversation and use their gut depending on their child,” she said, adding the importance for families to talk about the shooting. “A lot of times as parents we want to fix it, we want to whisk in, you know, save the day, wave a magic wand and make our kids feel all better. We can’t always do that. But What we can do is listen, support and validate their feelings.”

Retired Navy Seal Clint Emerson now works in crisis management. On Wednesday, he was consulting for Shadow Gunworks in Plano. He said there are a few simple things you can do to stay out of harm’s way during an active shooter situation, including run and find cover.

“Super easy and it applies to before an incident and after,” he said, adding that not everyone in all situations should engage a shooter, and that the best defense is to always be aware of your surroundings. “When you’re out and about, before there’s even a shooting we need to start taking in the environment, being more aware, looking around,” he said. “You’re not going to insult anybody by looking at their hands to see if they have a gun.”

Back at the park, Gwen Inglis said that despite the morning’s chaos, she doesn’t want to live scared.

“I feel that if we stop coming to these places,” she said. “Then those people kind of win.”

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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