Regarding the Sutherland Springs Church Shooting Tragedy

6 November 2017

Yesterday 26 innocent lives were extinguished and many more put in serious jeopardy at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; a town less than 90 miles and a little over an hour’s drive from where Recovery Unplugged Texas treats patients at our Austin location. News outlets all over the country are quick to point out that this is the largest mass shooting in the state’s history. There are literally no words that can even begin to heal the gaping wounds from which the families of the fallen are suffering his morning, and will continue to suffer going forward; however, Recovery Unplugged Texas wants to wish all those affected by this tragedy the strength, peace of mind and wherewithal to get through it. We stand in total solidarity with our fellow Texans and urge them to lean on each other as they endeavor to heal.

One of the inevitable conversations that will emerge from this horrific act is what could have been done to prevent it. There’s always a brief and curiously morbid cultural autopsy followed by a brief respite from this barbaric violence followed by another tragedy. In recent years, there has been an increasingly shorter lull between incidents, and more and more lives are being lost. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to separate the role that mental health treatment plays in these senseless acts of violence, both before and after they’re set in motion. The shooter had a documented history or violence for which he was ultimately court-martialed, imprisoned and ultimately received a dishonorable discharge from the military.  It’s worth examining if mental health treatment could have prevented his behavior from escalating.

On the other side of the coin, we have the living victims and the family of the dead that will have to spend the rest of their lives coping with this tragedy. Trauma is one of the leading causes of substance abuse and can even further perpetuate the cycle of violence. As Texas moves forward and attempts to pick up the pieces of itself from another one of these horrific shootings, any conversation surrounding prevention must include improvement and increased access to mental health treatment. Recovery Unplugged Texas extends our deepest and most profound condolences to our fellow residents of the Lone Star State and wish them nothing but peace as they attempt to move forward.