Healing will be long journey

Published 2:13 pm Friday, November 10, 2017

The most important answers come from asking the difficult, and often painful, questions.

It has been three days since the community was stunned by the shooting deaths of two 16-year-old girls and the arrests of four other young adults in connection with the murders.

We are all left searching for ways to make sense of this heart-breaking tragedy.

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Clark County Public Schools Superintendent Paul Christy spoke for everyone when he said, “You can’t put into words the tragedy of losing two 16-year-olds to gun violence.”

This is an open wound that, in many ways, will never heal for the families devastated by this event.

As a community, we must grieve together while also making the commitment to doing the painful self-reflection that will help us get to the root of the problems that go far beyond this particular incident.

The pain the community is feeling from this tragedy is shockingly reminiscent of a 2014 shooting that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Amber Caudill.

What led these young people to this point? Where was the breakdown that allowed something of this magnitude to happen right here in Winchester?

Some of our youth clearly are not being reached; they are falling through the cracks of society.

We must find a way to have honest discussions about conflict resolution, violence, race, drugs, positive role modeling and other topics that can sometimes strike a nerve.

But, these conversations are critical, and talking simply isn’t enough.

We have to take tangible steps to make our community safer and give our youth an avenue to overcome hardship and adversity.

Our community absolutely depends on it.

Many questions remain to be answered as the investigation into this tragedy continues. For now, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. There will be a time and place for blame.

Justice will be served.

We wish, with every fiber of our being, that we could bring these children back and alter the path of the other youth who were charged with the crimes.

No one can change the sadness of the past, but we must do everything in our power to prevent it from happening again.