On Sunday evening, a gunman opened fire on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, killing at least 59 people and wounding hundreds more. It is the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s recent history, and a horrifying tragedy.
Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones, and we send courage to those who are healing from their injuries and the entire Las Vegas community. We know that even those that have escaped physical harm have suffered trauma that will be difficult to overcome.
Ninety-two Americans are killed by firearms daily; and whether it occurs as the result of an accident, a crime or an act of terrorism, violence is a public health issue and therefore a child welfare issue. Children between 5 and 14 years old in the United States are 17 times more likely to be murdered by firearms than children in other industrialized nations. None of us wants this to continue. We owe it to our future to do better, much better.
It is more important than ever for each of us to advocate on behalf of our children—not just our clients, but all of our children—to implement critical and meaningful reforms to the devastating and destructive context within which gun violence occurs.
As I do in all my messages, I urge you to return to the mission of our organization as you grapple with current events. We come to work each day to “repair the world, child by child.” When violence occurs, we can respond with medical treatment and trauma-informed care. We should remind ourselves that tragedies like this affect all of us differently. We need to tread lightly and be sensitive to each other’s needs.
Thank you for caring for our children and families. Thank you again for all your work and courage in these remarkably tumultuous times. Your dedication is especially inspiring at moments like these.
Ronald E. Richter