Once again, the unthinkable has happened, this time in Aurora, Colorado. Living in paranoia isn’t the answer. However, living with a thought, that violence and disaster are possible, suggests that we take time to prepare ourselves for such heinous surprises.
I communicated earlier this week with Vali Hawkins Mitchell, Ph.D., LMHC, a leading expert in Emotional Continuity Management (and author of an upcoming book on the subject), and here is what we discussed.
One can wonder about the next event. Will theater tickets will go up or down in volume? Will the movie become more famous now? Or will the movie makers lose billions from ticket revenue? Who cares?
More important, will those people who were at the theater ever recover? Who will have PTSD and who will not? Who are they going to talk to? Who won’t speak now, but will need to have serious intervention for their escalating drug or alcohol use over the next few years every time they see a movie trailer? Hard to predict. But not hard to imagine.
There are solutions, supports, resources and professionals to help. Will they reach out? Will it be offered? Has that theater been ready to deal with a disaster of this magnitude? It was a theater, after all! Do you think they were feeling immune to such horror so didn’t strike up a plan to deal with it? Maybe they have a backup for their projectors but what about their staff’s mental health future?
The complications of such an event, emotionally, have often been left to specialists. It is everyone’s job now to be prepared for the next event. Every business needs to listen to these wakeup calls and make a plan for the unexpected and unthinkable. This isn’t just about good business, it is the compassionate, right thing to do.
Our hearts go out to all those who will forever be touched by the countless myriad of emotional ripples and spins that radiate from this event. For some it will be over soon, and for others the ripples will become tsunamis and life will never be the same.
There will be helpers helping. But what about those who have been retriggered from a previous violent incident? Will they show up in your company tomorrow and be okay? Violence and its effects are not isolated incidents when they hit the national news… it is me, you, your company, your community. Saying your heart goes out isn’t enough. Trust me. We have to do much, much more before, during and after such heinous acts.
- Philip Jan Rothstein