Today was a terrible day in Colorado. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families of the movie massacre in Aurora. Today and in the days to come a great deal of attention will be paid to the victims and their families and rightfully so. There is no explanation for the evil that has occurred and no words of comfort will be enough. In addition to these immediate victims of the shooting, there is another set of victims that I would ask you to remember in your thoughts and prayers. These are the first responders, the police, firefighters, and ambulance personnel that responded to this tragedy. Any incident of this magnitude has significant repercussions on those who respond to help. The mental health of these workers is directly attacked as they try to comprehend the immensity of the tragedy. This event in Aurora will be even worse than normal because of the number of young adults and children involved. Having served in the Emergency Services field for over 22 years, I can tell you first hand that responding to an emergency involving a child is the worst kind of call. For those responders with children, it brings home what can happen and they cannot help but think of their own kids. The untimely death of an adult, while difficult, is not beyond reason, but the untimely death of a child can be incomprehensible. This tragedy involved a great number of children wounded and dead. This was a difficult day in the lives of these responders. So as you pray for the victims of this tragedy, please remember in your prayers those who rushed in to save them. They will endure many difficult days ahead and your prayers will be a comfort to them. The next time you see a police officer, firefighter or ambulance attendant; perhaps a “Thank You” might be in order.
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I am a Roman Catholic Priest for the Diocese of Colorado Springs. I am currently assigned to St. Dominic Catholic Church in Security, CO.
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