Reacting to the Virginia Tech Tragedy

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: May 26, 2010

We all have been touched by the violent tragedy that stunned our nation on April 16th, 2007 at the Virginia Tech shootings. The tragic events will forever be a part of U.S. history. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn for the victims and their families and friends.

The Red Hot Mamas sends our sincere sympathies also to our program in the community of Christiansburg. You are not alone. Virginia Tech is not alone. The town of Blacksburg is not alone, nor is the county of Montgomery, nor the state of Virginia. We are one indivisible nation.

There is no explanation for this irrational, senseless act of violence but the lesson for us is big. We must grow from this experience and nurture it. Use this as a time to become stronger, more resilient and more passionate about living. It is regrettable that it must take such circumstances to serve as a reminder for us to follow the tenets of self-respect and respect for others.

Please join the Red Hot Mamas in continuing to keep the Virginia Tech community and our Christiansburg chapter in your thoughts and prayers at this incredibly difficult time.

Tips for managing traumatic stress:

  • Learn from the tragic events and apply it to your own personal growth
  • If you have a strong emotional reaction every time you watch the news updates, consider limiting your exposure to these events
  • Gain perspective and peace by attending to your spiritual or religious needs. Pray, read the Bible, seek spiritual counsel, meditate and reflect
  • Consider writing your thoughts, feelings and reflections in a journal. Writing may help you sort through what you are experiencing
  • Seek out those who you care about and who care about you. Talk with them, sharing your reactions and how these events might impact you
  • Take care of yourself physically. Get enough sleep. Eat nutritious foods. Exercise. Avoid the use of chemicals for coping with your emotions (i.e., caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, drugs)
  • Reassure yourself that there is a wide range of emotional reactions that are perfectly normal to experience as we try to take in and make some kind of sense out of trauma. The degree to which you experience those reactions will vary for each person based on a number of different factors
  • Continue to pray for those affected mostly by the shootings. If memorial funds are created, consider making a small contribution. Donate blood. Write letters of support to the college and those affected. Create a ritual for remembering those who went through this event
  • Consider talking to a counselor to help you to process your thoughts and find ways to understand and manage intense emotions. Also, sometimes these kinds of events trigger emotional reactions because of other things that we are going through now or have experienced in the past. It’s okay to get help to sort through these things

*Adapted from a list compiled from Concordia University, St. Paul