It’s okay to feel sad when bad things happen

With the recent tragedy striking Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the nation feels sorrow at the loss of at least 17 innocent lives. According to the Washington Post, this was the eighth school shooting in 2018. While any loss of innocent life is tragic, there’s something particularly horrifying at the thought of children being slain so maliciously. With its proximity to NSU, the Stoneman Douglas shooting has left an imprint on our community, which is why it is completely okay to feel sad, whether you or your loved ones were directly affected or not.

Often with tragedies like these, people are either criticized for feeling too little or feeling too much. Some might say it’s too dramatic a response to cry or feel anxiety or hopelessness if you’re not directly affected by the tragedy; I disagree. While the NSU and South Florida communities are obviously affected by an act of terror taking place so close to home, anyone in the country should be able to feel the loss and no one should be criticized for feeling despair.

Part of the beauty of being human is the ability to empathize with others, despite not experiencing their trauma or heartache firsthand. It’s difficult to turn on the news and hear parents mourning the loss of their child, or panicking because they don’t know where their child is in the wake of such a horrific act. Reading or hearing about the young victims and heroes of this tragedy can elicit an emotional response from anyone, whether they personally knew the victims or not.

Perhaps more poignantly than ever, it’s clear that this kind of calamity can happen anywhere, at any time. It’s difficult to feel safe when it seems children can’t even go to school, go to the movie theater or watch their favorite artists in concert without fearing for their lives.

While it’s important not to let acts of terror dictate how we live our lives, it’s also a normal human response to be sad about them when they happen. It’s also important to remember them, so we can work collectively to support one another and do everything in our power to prevent more tragedies like this from occurring.

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