As a mom, it’s impossible to fight back the tears.

I’m writing this column the morning after the horrific elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, as the entire nation mourns the lives of those 19 children and questions what is wrong with our modern society that these senseless murders keep happening.  

How will these families ever recover from such an incredible loss? What if this had happened to my child? I can only hold my toddler close and feel incredibly grateful for him and our present moment. He’s only 2 years old and has no idea about the horrors and tragedies of the world. He’ll have to learn that.

Hits close to home

My heart goes out to the young people of our local communities. They have to process what has happened. They are probably afraid to go to school, and their parents must have such crippling anxiety about sending them there.

To the recent graduates, this should be a time for celebration (and we do honor your accomplishments in our June issue). Yet we are caught in another spiral of grief, just as you prepare for your next chapter in life. As I look from my perch in the community, I see young people, who with grace and courage, are accomplishing a milestone that was so abruptly and cruelly taken away from these children in Texas.

My original column

I was planning to offer some advice for our new grads in this column, but all I can think to say now is — please help us do better.

There should be serious conversations about guns. We need to make sure every person has equal access to affordable mental health care. We should be teaching people how to better regulate their emotions and resolve conflicts. Let’s remove the stigma around asking for help and spread love, compassion and acceptance.

There is hope despite the recent darkness. Out of great suffering can come significant progress.

Amy Wenk was editor of Reporter Newspapers in 2021-22.