That meme, "the kids are alright" is all over Facebook. But the kids aren't alright or at least we have to wait a bit longer to know if they will be. And IF they will be alright, depends on us. Lets not even get started on what these kid's ACE score is. The Adverse Childhood Experiences score (ACE) gives a score that quantifies the range of abuse and neglect one experiences in childhood. The higher the number of your score, the higher your risk for later health problems. My Ace score is a 10. There is not a single day that goes by that I am not significantly impacted by the trauma I experienced in childhood. I survived it... but thriving is a different conversation entirely. Folks who have an ACE score of 10 often die by suicide, are significantly disabled and disempowered, and (as a result of their trauma-informed behavior) are targeted and labeled as toxic and bad. There are few soft spaces in this world for the 10s.
The brain, as magical as it is, requires time and space and reduced stimuli to process and heal--it requires mourning, and safety, and being enveloped by a community that advocates for the harmed. We've created a world where such a thing is not possible for the survivors of the Douglas High violence. Instead they are catapulted into action, demanding a better world and justice, and immersed in constant reaction to defend themselves. Their pain is being politicized.
The urge to write in resilience and a heroism seems to be an imperative these days. I get it. We've had so many hits, so many atrocities, so many loses that we really really need to feel like we've got a win. But is a world where such vulnerable young people, in active trauma, being required to do this kind of heavy lifting before they've even grieved a win? I'm not inclined to dictate what is best, because all ecosystems fight, heal, and regenerate in their own way... but I have to honestly say the path of events doesn't feel good to me.
We failed them, y'all.
And still, I don't believe the lies of despair.
We have a collective responsibility to be accountable for the violent communities we've created. We have a collective responsibility to consider how each of us has participated in building spaces where the harmed have no soft place to grieve, where we applaud their heroism until the next crisis demands our attention away and we leave them alone, abandoned, to become the folks we'll later incarcerate because they can't be rehabilitated. Their behavior too toxic. Their contributions to society unworthy. Their woundedness unrecognizable to us, because they are an invisible name on a forgot list of too many mass murders.
I don't know. I just don't think the kids are alright... and I don't think we are either.