What NOT to do When Tragedy Strikes


During a midnight nursing session I lazily scrolled Facebook until I saw a post that caught my eye. “Pray for Vegas” was all it said, but I knew right away it was bad, a feared tragedy. A few more swipes and there it was, over 200 injured and 50 confirmed dead. The largest mass shooting in U.S history. Tears welled in my eyes as I tried my hardest to picture what it must have looked like. I shot a quick text to my closest friend “You’re going to wake up and see people talking about Vegas. There was a shooting. 50 fatalities.” This was all my half-awake brain could think to say.

I looked at my precious little girl.  Was I selfish to bring a baby into such a dangerous unpredictable world? Should I lock the doors and never let my kids out again to keep them safe? No, I can’t do that. So I did what any normal mom would do … I got out of bed and made a list. The “what not to do” list for when tragedy strikes.

  1. Don’t become paranoid– Locking your family in your house isn’t the answer. What you can do is be prepared. When you go out to events talk about a meeting place, make sure the kids have your phone numbers memorized if you get separated, and tell them to find a police officer or venue employee in the event that separation occurs. At a theme park like Disney, tell them to go to a cast member and that you will come find them.
  2. Don’t make it political on Facebook– Don’t capitalize on other people’s tragedies to prove your point. You can put in a call or letter to your state representative letting them know what you think, or how things should be handled int he future. If you’re unsure who your representative is you can click on this link and it will assist you.  
  3. Don’t hound the family of the assailant– Especially in cases where the perpetrator was also killed, people want to place the blame somewhere. Going after a family who is also grieving in a very different way is not going to bring anyone back or get you the answers you want. Instead, offer condolences to that family, they lost a family member, and will also live with the weight of his/her crimes for the rest of their lives.
  4. Don’t talk conspiracy theories– This is a major problem with Sandy Hook. Recently Scott Baio even shared a meme suggesting it was all fake. This is so disrespectful to the parents who will never see their babies again. Rather than take this approach, we need to advocate for the victims. Stand up for them. Help them. If you know them personally, be their shoulder to cry on or bring them hot meals.
  5. Don’t stay silent- Don’t ignore this and hope your kids will never find out. If your kids are in school it will be talked about on the playground. Be the first to address it with your children. Here is a great article which gives some recommendations about how to talk to kids about shootings, based on their age.

It’s easy to feel scared and afraid, and while those instincts are natural, we have to also find a way to cope and to make our children feel safe in the world that we live in.  What other ways would you recommend to families in order to help heal when tragedy strikes? 

Ways you can help the victims in Las Vegas

Give Blood.

United Blood Services donation centers in and around Phoenix:

5757 N. Black Canyon Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85015

15170 N. Hayden Road, Suite 6
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

18583 N. 59th Ave., Suite 113
Glendale, AZ 85308

Click HERE to learn more and schedule an appointment.

Upcoming American Red Cross drives in the valley:

October 5th 9 am – 2 pm
Gainey Center One
8601 N Scottsdale Rd
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

October 6th 8:30 am – 1:30 pm
Devenney Group
201 W Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85013

October 8th 10 am – 4 pm
Muse Apartments
1616 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004

October 9th 9 am – 2 pm
Scottsdale Office Center
7373 N Scottsdale Rd
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Click HERE to learn more and schedule an appointment.

Donate Money.

Consider giving money to the Southern Nevada chapter of the American Red Cross, the GoFundMe campaign headed by the chairman of the Clark County commission, or the National Compassion Fund which directly distributes donations from the public to victims of a mass crime. 


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