How to Handle Disturbing News

On December 15, I proclaimed to the interwebs that I was going offline until the New Year. I was very much looking forward to some down time, baking cookies, wearing ugly sweaters and drinking too much egg nog.

Within minutes of logging out of my social media accounts, I heard news on the radio about the shootings in Connecticut. This was just a few weeks after the massacre of a nanny taking the lives of two innocent children in Manhattan, and we all wondered how the hell this happened. Many politicians and public figures released statements in response to the Newtown killings, many of them starting with, “As a parent, I am horrified…” 

Really, you don’t need children of your own to feel the horror of 6 and 7 year olds and their educators being murdered with an assault rifle in their classrooms. You just need to be human, with even a flicker of empathy in your heart.

Later in my tech hiatus, I heard about the gang rape in India of a young woman who ended up dying as a result of the attack. She was a medical student named Jyoti Singh Pandey. The incident evoked a national outcry for women’s safety in India and a need for self-defense training. (we are talking with a few orgs in India to make this happen…) Then we heard about acquaintance rape horrors straight from the mouths of Steubenville High athletes in Ohio.

While they seemingly knew their victim, I believe it was the worst kind of predatory attack, because she probably trusted them. Not the weirdo pouncing from the bushes in the tattered hooded sweatshirt who you are CERTAIN is there to harm you, their attack is equally – if not more so – sinister.

I watched the news each day of my “break”. And I was thinking: REALLY? Now? EVER? Why? Why. Seriously. This is so F*CKED up.

But I was committed to staying offline for the holidays, despite it being torturous to NOT respond to these violent things happening in the world in a timely fashion. I couldn’t DO anything. Which left me no other option than to simply…


I got quiet a lot. I prayed. I sent light. I held space. I fought the urge to over-saturate myself with heartbreaking details of the tragedies. Then I went about my day. I snuggled my babies. I lived my life. And I showed my support where I could.

Does this seem insensitive? Perhaps. But I propose we all do it more often.

This being vs doing…it was such a foreign concept to me – but also a lesson, a gift. Knowing that major events will happen, some very sad, but your engagement in the mass pain response isn’t necessarily helping anyone. So many years, I spoke to audiences with lines of 50+ people afterwards waiting to tell me their stories. Their horrific, unjust, terrifying stories – I heard them all.

If you are one of those voices, please know I still hear you now.

But let’s be clear about what is possible in the aftermath. Yes, we can educate ourselves and others. Yes, we can rally for political support of our stance on an issue. Yes, we can engage in protests and demand change. Yes, we can take our offenders to court. Yes, we can do our part…and FIGHT BACK – but bad shit will continue to happen.

This is not pessimistic – this is real.

And this reality will not bring these beautiful souls back – however they were lost to us (emotionally or physically). I wonder if we should question our efforts, and doubt our ability to make right something that has gone so horrifically, painfully awry. Because can we really fix this? Fix friends who rape friends? Gang rapes on buses? Murdering school children while they learn their ABC’s?

I believe in prediction and prevention. But I also believe in inspiration and transformation.

In an attempt to restore our own sanity, we need to re-think what helping means. Re-think what healing means. Re-think what support means. Re-think the effectiveness of matching other people’s pain as a way of showing solidarity. Re-think progress, and re-think THINKING at all.

Maybe it’s time to feel. Time to be. Time to get back to being human. To create space for accountability and improvement. Maybe it’s time to return to love. Even when it seems utterly impossible. Even when it sucks. Even when you think it might kill you. Even when you’re sitting in the audience at a murder trial, and the murderer winks at you. (this really happened)

Because that’s when we need it most.

45 thoughts on “How to Handle Disturbing News

  1. Katie

    I’m proud of you Erin. It’s compelling for everyone to want to say something after each act of horrific violence. I think we all feel awful about it but also feel compelled to show that we are a sensitive human by saying something. Perhaps though, for many of us, we still feel disempowered even after saying something. I think it is great that this time you allowed yourself to look inward by snuggling your babies, holding space, and sending light out into the world. Such an inward looking act could be more healing for one’s self and the world. Either way, I’m glad you are giving yourself more permission to be rather than do. I think I can learn something from you. 🙂
    Thanks for the post.

  2. are web hosting

    I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether
    this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble.
    You are wonderful! Thanks!


    It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest
    you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you can write
    next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!


    This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally
    I’ve found something which helped me. Kudos!


    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am having difficulties with your RSS.
    I don’t know why I can’t join it. Is there anyone else
    having identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly
    respond? Thanks!!


    Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.

    Please let me know. Many thanks

  7. and asmr

    Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be
    on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say
    to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider
    worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit
    the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take
    a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks


    Good answers in return of this issue with solid arguments and
    describing all on the topic of that.

  9. asmr that

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web address and thought I should check
    things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to checking out your web page for a second time.

  10. asmr your

    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for?

    you made running a blog look easy. The full glance of your web
    site is great, let alone the content!


    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog
    and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a
    pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive.
    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  12. scoliosis surgery a

    I have read some excellent stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting.

    I surprise how so much effort you put to make this sort of
    wonderful informative site.

  13. in quest bars

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you,
    you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy that I came across this in my hunt for something regarding this.
    quest bars quest bars


    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your
    point. You definitely know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence
    on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening
    to read? cheap flights cheap flights


    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same
    comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Appreciate it! ps4 ps4 games

  16. but ps4 games

    After looking over a few of the blog posts on your site, I really appreciate your technique of writing a
    blog. I saved it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back
    in the near future. Please check out my website too and tell me how you feel.

  17. ps4 games but

    This website definitely has all of the information I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who
    to ask.

  18. replica rolex datejust

    2237 731931Ive been absent for a whilst, but now I remember why I used to really like this site. Thank you, I will try and check back far more often. How frequently you update your website? 643112

  19. track 1 and 2 dumps with pin

    678086 722809Thanks for some other fantastic post. Exactly where else may just anyone get that type of information in such an perfect indicates of writing? Ive a presentation next week, and Im at the search for such info. 975772

  20. but asmr

    It’s not my first time to pay a visit this site, i am visiting this site dailly and take nice information from here daily.

  21. evde swingers partisi sıcak video

    Duygusal Manipülasyon. Bu belki de manipülasyon teknikleri
    içinde insanın canını en çok acıtan türdür.
    Normal hayatta asla yapamayacağı şeyleri insanlar
    duygusal olarak manipüle edildikleri dönemlerde ne yazık ki kolayca yapabiliyor.
    Özellikle psikopatlığa yatkın olan bireyler bu metoda oldukça eğilimlidir.

  22. minocycline en línea entrega rápida

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely magnificent.
    I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which
    you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it smart.
    I can not wait to read much more from you. This is really a terrific web site.

  23. Dominga

    Just wish to say your article is as surprising. The clearness in your post is just spectacular and i could assume you are an expert on this
    subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed
    to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and
    please keep up the rewarding work.

  24. albenza à acheter en ligne

    I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to
    say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people
    could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only
    having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  25. naproxen en venta libre en Guadalupe

    Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your blog
    posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the
    same subjects? Thanks a lot!

  26. aankoop van slaapmiddelen ponstel

    This design is steller! You definitely know how to keep a
    reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start
    my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.