“We Are Not Okay”

I felt compelled to share this LinkedIn post about the recent mass murder in Illinois. It was written by Erin Gallagher, whose information is below, about Aiden McCarthy, the toddler whose parents, Irina and Kevin McCarthy, were killed in an act of domestic terrorism on July 4th in Highland Park.

Erin Gallagher

Erin Gallagher• 2ndFast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Recipient 2022 | Founder | Entrepreneur | JEDI Change Agent | Speaker | Career Innovator | Published Writer | Mother | Disrupter | “Top Woman in PR”13h • Edited • 13 hours ago

We are not okay.

Anyone attempting to work in our current trauma-filled day-to-day is not okay.

At “work.” At home. And everywhere in between.

Being able to function properly, contribute and produce good work requires three basic needs:

Sleep
Safety
Support

I know I’ve been without a steady supply of these three since the beginning of the pandemic. And I have it better than most. Much better.

We must acknowledge this reality for the people who make up our companies, communities and every other cohort to which we belong.

WE CAN’T SLEEP.

I couldn’t stop thinking about two year old Aiden McCarthy (pictured above) found alone covered in blood in the midst of the Highland Park mass shooting on Monday. It was later confirmed that his parents, Irina (35) and Kevin (37) were murdered while sitting with their toddler, waving mini American flags at their town’s Fourth of July parade. A domestic terrorist murdered 7 people and injured 40.

I sobbed into a towel in our bathroom at 3 this morning. I didn’t want our 6 and 3 year olds to hear me. They’ve requested to sleep with us the past few nights and I’ve squeezed them tightly as I lay awake staring into the darkness.

WE DON’T FEEL SAFE.

There were more mass shootings in the past 5 years than in any other half-decade going back to 1966. In 2022, we’ve had 315 mass shootings (injuring or killing 4 or more people) — more than 11 per week — killing 280 and injuring more than 1,300. The U.S. now accounts for 46% of all private gun ownership worldwide — more than ten times its share of the global population.

Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old Black man was killed last week by police officers in Akron, Ohio. He suffered more than 60 gunshot wounds after fleeing the police during what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop. Jayland had one traffic ticket and no criminal record. Eight officers were directly involved in the shooting.

A majority radical Supreme Court is stripping rights away from anyone who does not identify as a straight, white cis-gendered Christian male. Women do not have control over our own bodies. They are coming for LGBTQ+ rights, interracial marriage and voting rights next.

WE LACK SUPPORT.

We have no universal childcare, parental leave or healthcare.

And our bodies’ systems were not built to handle this level of constant trauma, all against the backdrop of a continued global pandemic, no less.

Our nervous systems are stuck in survival mode. This can look like: anxiety and hypervigilance, depression and shutdown, addiction, perfectionism, numbing / disassociating, emotional repression / avoidance. Over time, these patterns affect our internal mechanisms to self soothe in moments of stress. This can cause us to become stuck in a state of nervous system dysregulation indefinitely.

We deserve better. And we must demand it.

Ban assault rifles.
Support mental health.
Save our democracy.

#mentalhealth #work #linkedin #prochoice #blacklivesmatter #equity #guncontrolnow

2 thoughts on ““We Are Not Okay”

  1. Here’s a related post from Facebook:

    P.j. Dean

    This photo of Aiden McCarthy with what is presumed to be the blood of his parents on his Right sock will be forever etched in my brain as a haunting memory.
    Not because I know what happened to him but because he doesn’t.
    He manages an adorable, 2 year old smile because he lacks the capacity to comprehend the fact that both his parents just got massacred shielding him from an unchecked monster.
    Something that should have NEVER happened.
    As someone who has first-hand, wittnessed countless acts and aftermaths of sensless violence, this one especially hurts. Sadly, I know better than anyone that Aiden is only one of many.
    I guess it’s the dichotomy of his smile against what preceded it that sickens me. Because his unawareness is not unlike our own. We have let him down. We, as a country have completely and collectively failed Aiden, his family and many like them.
    Its not one parties fault. Its not one organizations fault. Its ALL our fault and something every American should be taking responsibility for and notice of. We are asleep at the wheel, completely distracted and leading ourselves towards one giant race to the bottom.
    If you find yourself pivoting or deflecting with some, stupid talking point or “whatabout” you should realize that you are part of the problem.
    Our immediate, American response is to embroil ourselves in selfish partisan perspectives that completely disregard reality.
    This is followed by useless games of grandstanding and gotcha. Meanwhile, the “greatest nation” becomes a tragic spectacle for all the world to see and become completely disappointed in.
    We can do better…….we must do better! Aiden and many like him who dont have the ability to defend themselves are counting on us.
    Now!
    This means that if you are passionate about the 2A, maybe you should understand that greater restrictions that keep AR’s and 30 round clips out of the hands of unstable individuals might not be a bad thing or an affront to the constitution.
    I say this as a proud and responsible owner of many firearms.
    But, this also means having an understanding that gun control measures alone, will not solve the problem. Why people use them or anything else to kill innocent Americans is as big of a piece as any to the puzzle. Why are we so violent as a culture and what can we do to change that?
    How can we ensure that families are accountable to the rest of their communities to ensure that people who have the propensity for this kind of violence are addressed? How can we empower law enforcement and other trusted experts the capability to be the backstop that proactively stops violence from happening?
    Its a complex issue that no, single solution will fix. But, no better time than now to start.
    Give and take folks….its been the key to success for all of humanity yet as a nation, we seem to have recently lost track of the concept.
    Until we get better, until we work together, until we all understand that building bridges, not burning them is what will lead us to a safer and better society. Tragic photos such as the above will continue to emerge.
    I encourage everyone to take a moment and look at the face of this child and promise him that we will put our egos aside and do better. No one is coming to help us, we owe it to ourselves to engineer our own solutions that future generations will benefit and be safer from.

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