Crisis on the FSU Campus
Today’s crisis on the FSU campus is not the last word. Through Christ’s suffering on the cross and resurrection, he conquers murder, death, sin, and the grave. Christ also uses believers by offering their presence, prayers, and personal touch. Here are a few things you can say and do.*
Connect with others. Check on every person you know that works or learns at FSU. Even if they were not personally on campus, checking on them means so much. Often times, people feel victimized especially if they’re connected to the tragedy or worked nearby. Parents especially feel vulnerable and disconnected. My first phone call came from a parent in New York. Even though his son was not injured, the lack of information was traumatic. I frequently go to Strozier and run past the library each week.
When talking with victims and survivors, allow them to express their concerns, anger and worries. Survivors often need permission to speak openly about their questions.
Listen without judging. It’s ok for victims to assign blame or process out loud. As a caregiver, you do not need to feel obligated to explain the situation.
Affirm the wrongness or evil of what has happened. What this one man did was awful, terrible, and heinous. Describe it that way. There is no justification for this kind of act.
Encourage survivors to talk about their faith in God. Describe how God’s presence was there in the actions of the first responders, library staff, and outpouring of love.
Many other people in Tallahassee outside the FSU campus are affected by violent crime right now. Remember the others in our community who are also wrestling with tragedies that are not nearly as visible. These victims create such a deep impact. This is a time for all of us to pull together and become aware of the issues we are facing.
Pray for the victims, families, and family members of the perpetrator. Each person needs different kinds of prayers and attention.
Offer ongoing support. Our church will gather Sunday for worship in the morning and for prayer and reflection at 5:00 pm. Those who have been involved in the caregiving and crisis management need to be cared for as much as the students and those near the shooting.
Say to people, “I am very sorry that this happened to you and to our community.” “May I assist you by _________” and offer specific ways you can help. “May I pray for you at this time? Are there others that you know who have been affected?” Let them know that God is present in their suffering.
Do not say to people, “You should be glad that it wasn’t worse. This must be God’s will.”
Scriptures to use
*Many of these are adapted from Lisa Barnes Lampman’s book Helping a Neighbor in Crisis.