How do you make sense of such a tragic, senseless event?

How do you explain it to kids?

How do you explain that it was an Australian, one of our own, responsible for killing so many innocent victims, in such a callous and heinous manner?

The events in Christchurch in the wake of the terrorist shooting are hard for any of us to fathom. Here at home in Australia, we benefit from stringent gun laws put into place after the last devastating shooting that occurred here in Port Arthur, Tasmania in 1996. With 35 people dead and another 23 wounded, it was one of the nation’s largest mass shootings. Our national response was swift and thorough and I know that I have felt safer ever since.

We have not had a shooting of this magnitude anywhere near our shores since this time. We have not had senseless mass killings at the hands of one individual. And yet our friends just a small distance across the ocean just have, and the results are incomprehensible. Families shattered, children without their parents, parents without their children. Lives irreparably damaged, snuffed out in an instant at the hands of one callous man.

Images of the tragedy were commonplace on the news and it has been spoken about at length on social media websites and other forums. It is impossible to protect our children from this knowledge and equally impossible to escape the horror we feel as parents when incidents like this remind us of the omnipresent threats that exist in the world in which we live. It brings out the primal protective instinct in all of us. Our hearts break for the loss of those affected, yet we feel guilty as we deep down thank the universe for protecting our own.

I cannot bring myself to click on the links to articles I see showing the ‘faces’ of the Christchurch tragedy. I just can’t do it. I think it is my self-preservation kicking in as I simply cannot bring myself to fully grasp the magnitude of loss that the families of these individuals must be experiencing. Smiling faces not knowing that around the corner is one person’s narcissistic, elitist views and consequent actions that will ultimately cost them their lives.

What makes it so much worse for me personally is that these innocent people were taking time out of their busy lives to pray. A sacred age-old ritual, prayer should be a time of personal reflection and peace, and instead it became the signpost for a killer.

As a proud multicultural nation, it hurts us to think that one of our own could do this. We identify ourselves as being a melting pot of nationalities, with an eclectic range of religious beliefs and denominations found throughout Australian society. Knowing that one raised amongst us could commit such an atrocity is disturbing and goes to show that the dangers our families face are more real that we care to imagine.

To all affected by the Christchurch killings, our hearts go out to you. I saw a beautiful post this week and wanted to share it as it sums up my sentiments, and I’m sure, many others’ perfectly.

What a statement of love.


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