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How to Respond to the Week from Hell?

respond to the week from hellAs a trauma therapist, I may feel some duty to respond.  As a person, I have no idea how.  Charles Blow, an acclaimed writer whose own son, a Yale student, was held at gunpoint by police after being mistaken for a burglary suspect, called this A Week from Hell.  I can think of no better name.  I have decided to get out of the way and let others in a more appropriate position try to tackle this unthinkable week.


Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, wrote a beautiful editorial in response to the police shootings this week, meditating on her helplessness in the face of so much death.

“When their children are killed, mothers are expected to say something. To help keep the peace. To help make change. But what can I possibly say? I just know we need to do something. We are taught to be peaceful, but we aren’t at peace. I have to wake up and go to sleep with this pain everyday. Ain’t no peace. If we mothers can’t change where this is heading for these families — to public hearings, protests, un-asked-for martyrdom, or worse, to nothing at all — what can we do?”


Beyoncé posted to Instagram

“This is a human fight. No matter your race, gender or sexual orientation. This is a fight for anyone who feels marginalized, who is struggling for freedom and human rights.”


In a moving statement, Dallas police Chief David Brown:

“Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”


President Obama:

“I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events…There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement….our police have an extraordinarily difficult job and the vast majority of them do their job in outstanding fashion. I also indicated the degree to which we need to be supportive of those officers who do their job each and every day, protecting us and protecting our communities.”


And finally, from Mr. Blow himself:

“We seem caught in a cycle of escalating atrocities without an easy way out, without enough clear voices of calm, without tools for reduction, without resolutions that will satisfy.

There is so much loss and pain. There are so many families whose hearts hurt for a loved one needlessly taken, never to be embraced again.

There is so much disintegrating trust, so much animosity stirring….

I know well that when people speak of love and empathy and honor in the face of violence, it can feel like meeting hard power with soft, like there is inherent weakness in an approach that leans so heavily on things so ephemeral and even clichéd.

But that is simply an illusion fostered by those of little faith”


How to Respond to the Week from Hell?

Sara Staggs, LICSW, MPH

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APA Reference
Staggs, S. (2016). How to Respond to the Week from Hell?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Jul 2016
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