Statement on Tragedy in San Bernardino
Thursday, December 3, 2015
NASW-MA expresses its sorrow and concern regarding the horrific mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA at the Inland Regional Center.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the injured victims, their families, and the friends and colleagues of the victims.
We all suffer trauma when mass shooting incidents happen and we all need to find ways to work through this trauma.
This event will stir the public discourse on gun control, terrorism, and how to help the public feel safe. There will be conversations by law enforcement and homeland security. Some of our politicians in office and running for office will bring up immigration, refugees, and military strike options even though at this time we don't know what the connections are, if any.
There is no justification or rationale for these murderous acts and no one can excuse the killers. But as social workers, we are obligated to try to understand the psychology, conditions, and behaviors that might bring people to such a state that they would commit mass murder. We do this so as to offer ideas about prevention and early intervention.
Here are some basic ideas to consider:
1. Have discussions on this tragedy as a way to help people work through their trauma. When the killers are killed, we'll never fully know what the motive was. But we must try. As social workers who have both micro and macro perspectives, we should urge inclusion of community psychology, political, social, and economic justice issues in the discussion, and advocate for ideas and actions that are peaceful and collaborative instead of using violence to address violence.
2. Words and opinions in the public and social discourse matter. Some people will be quick to blame without any analysis of what happened and why. We need to urge more care with words and opinions so as not to worsen the situation for whole communities, fellow Americans, immigrants, and refugees who may be blamed without any regard to the trauma they are suffering.
3. Let's think about how we can help as individuals and professionals address a global culture that accepts violence as a solution to problems.