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Thoughts on Texas Shooting

A Shooting in Texas
November 6, 2017

News broke this weekend of another mass shooting in the U.S.  This time, in the south Texas town of Sutherland Springs. In terms of casualties, it is the worst shooting in the history of Texas. Yet, what makes this even more disturbing is that it took place in a church.  How does one respond to another breaking news story of this kind? As a nation, we have seen such violent acts in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Ohio… tragedies seem too numerous to mention. 

Is it possible to become numb from such tragedies? Do we ever become too weary, too overwhelmed, too disinterested when we learn of such a horrible incident?  I hope we do not.  

The shooting this Sunday resonates in a troubling way due to the circumstances of the location – families worshiping together in what is a sacred space. But whether such a tragedy occurs in a school, office, nightclub, concert venue, shopping mall…or a church, synagogue or mosque, we respond in shock, fear, anger or dismay.

As the hospice and palliative care provider community, I know that many of you will be tending to a family who will be experiencing a significant loss today, tomorrow or the next day – that of a loved one under your care in hospice. We are a professional community that deals with death on a daily basis; many providers are skilled at helping communities respond to public tragedies. Yet, we know that not even one single death can ever be considered routine. We know how loss and grief impacts individuals and the broader community. In some ways, it is this deeper understanding of loss that allows us to recognize and identify with those who grieve, for whatever reason. And our reactions to events such as Sunday’s shooting can affect us in different ways – but never indifference.

I think a significant part of the work we do with patients and families involves the skill of listening...listening to people sharing fear, sadness and love for what is lost or changing. As we respond to news of this weekend’s tragedy, let us remember the importance of listening with a compassionate ear to our families, our coworkers, our neighbors and those strangers whose lives we intersect.  Let us hold onto the compassion and caring that grounds us so strongly in our professional lives and may sustain us in our personal lives.  Let us be ennobled by the strength we have and that we share with others and let us not be embittered. Let us also remember, and remind others, that we are often called upon to do much more than to care for hospice patients.  Our value runs deep in the communities we serve, and we are needed more than ever. 

Thank you for the work that you do.


Edo Banach, JD
President and CEO