SANTA FE, Texas (WPVI) -- In wake of the tragic Santa Fe High School shooting, the family of victim Jared Black has penned an open letter.
Jared Black celebrated his 17th birthday just days before the deadly shooting that killed 10 people.
His father was shocked when he received the heartbreaking news, saying, "He would never hurt anyone."
When a tragedy like this happens, we face overwhelming shock and sorrow. After the initial shock and sorrow, people start placing blame. We are angry. We are hurting. Assigning blame allows us to begin processing our grief. Finger pointing, no matter where it is directed, does not help us heal. It gives a venue for our anger and pain to be placed elsewhere. We need to get it out. We have cried, we have yelled. But we have not begun to heal our broken hearts. Only when we begin to make positive changes in our own lives do we start repairing our souls. We will not blame. We will stop saying "what if." We will start doing. We will not allow this despair to turn us into angry, hateful people. We will speak out. Not against guns. Not against school administrations. In fact, we will not be speaking against anything. We will be speaking out for. For knowing what your child goes through and what they are doing when not in your presence. For knowing who their friends are. For making the time to meet their parents, knowing if this is a positive relationship. For knowing if there is pain and trouble in their hearts. For knowing how they feel about themselves and those near them. And telling them if you "feel something, say something."
If they are scared, or bullied, or worried about somebody else that they think may be dealing with more than they can handle to reach out, or even shout out. This is not right. This will not stand. I will not participate. I will say something and not be afraid. I will stand up and try to change things for the good. I will not allow this to happen. Peer pressure will not force my silence. I will show courage and compassion. I will be an example of empathy. I will make a stand even when I stand alone. I pledge to change this world with love and not perpetuate the hate that has torn the very fabric of our humanity.
The Conard Family
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'We will speak out': Family of Santa Fe shooting victim Jared Black pens open letter