The scenes from the Colorado tragedy have haunted all of us this weekend. My heart goes out to all the victims and the families involved. I am also sending prayers to the first responders and law enforcement personnel who have been working diligently to heal the injured and bring the guilty the justice he deserves.
We often forget the impact that continued tragedy has on our public servants. Don’t get me wrong, these people are wired for this profession—they live for emergencies. Mr. Jenn is all about the job, too. Thankfully (knock on wood three times) he’s never worked a mass casualty event, but he and his colleagues have seen plenty of trauma. He loves helping people, and he’s all about the adrenaline rush of danger; however, my husband and his colleagues don’t work a horrific scene, turn in their evidence, then go ride a roller coaster to forget it all like Grissom did in CSI.
As Mr. Jenn told me some time ago after working back-to-back tragedies, “Scenes like those take something from you that you can never get back.”
On Friday, CBS aired the interview of a trauma doctor overseeing one of the emergency rooms treating shooting victims. She told the reporter that the images would always be with her. She mentioned the children from the theater—she had treated the three-month-old infant. Then she burst into tears. How could she not? Mr. Jenn says that it’s exponentially worse when children are involved.
“There are these ghosts in your head that never leave,” he has told me. “They haunt you forever.”
Some cops, firefighters, and EMTs feel comfortable seeking help when they’ve witnessed the unimaginable. They share their visions and nightmares with their family and friends to build themselves a protective wall of understanding. Others see reaching out as an act of weakness. They keep the horrors inside to grow like some sort of soul-eating cancer. People in emergency management careers are much more likely to go through divorce or deal with life-threatening illnesses. I can’t imagine what these people saw in Aurora. I pray that the victims, those that escaped the theater without visible scars, the police, and the EMS personnel have access to solid critical incident/stress management counseling. They must unburden their spirits so this tragedy won’t have even more far-reaching consequences.
Considering all the pain this ridiculous act of violence has caused, our media continues to show the picture of the gunman and tell us all about him. He’s getting the fame he wanted, isn’t he? Neither his name, nor his picture will appear on this blog. I don’t believe that human fecal matter deserves any notoriety; rather, I think freaks like this should be placed in a dark hole and forgotten. “Joker,” my ass. Yo, Networks: take his picture off the television and help deliver the cold hand of dark obscurity to this asshole. For the love of God, don’t make a “special” about him. If we’d stop paying attention to these shitbags, then maybe these violent acts would cease. I’m all for a world without PTSD, aren’t you?