Most of us have a knee-jerk reaction when we read the news. We laugh. We cry. We get angry. And then there are stories like this one: a 5-year-old escaped a murder-suicide that claimed her parents and her baby brother on Wednesday night in Maryland. The little girl ran to a neighbor’s house and told them her mom, her dad, and her brother were hurt.
Cops arrived and found a 40-year-old man, a 42-year-old woman, and a boy who was less than a year old, plus a gun. Everyone was dead, save for that 5-year-old girl.
How do we process this kind of news?
Are we terribly sad that a mother, father, and baby are dead? Yes, of course. Are we relieved that at least one child made it out? Again, it's a yes.
These are reactions that are diametrically opposed. Grief. Relief. It's almost too hard to fathom these two feelings coming from one place, but this is the reality of the news each morning.
Children missing for three years; dad in jail.
Ten-year-old dismembered; teenager headed to prison for life.
Five-year-old survives murder-suicide; rest of family dead.
I'm getting to a point where I don't want to read the news anymore. Not if the best feeling I can summon in my morning is a faint sense of relief that a 5-year-old did not die in a senseless tragedy.
She's alive, but heaven knows what she saw! And she's going to grow up an orphan! With the possibility of survivor's guilt! And the knowledge weighing on her mind that it was one of her parents who took the life of the other.
And this is the "good" part of the news.
What is your knee-jerk reaction to a story like this? Relief? Grief? Somewhere in the middle?
Image via Officer Greg/Flickr