OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – A man who fired an automatic rifle in a Target store was killed by police – dozens were there and thousands heard about it. No bystanders were injured by gunfire.
But the destructive power of unchecked fear, however grounded in reality, can be insidious. So, anyway, see how you feel.
“Whatever you feel about this incident, that’s your feeling, and it’s okay to honor how you feel,” Michele Bang said. “For those who are directly affected because they were at the store, they are probably going to have big emotions and feelings about this. If you haven’t been, but you feel depressed because this happened in our community…that’s okay.”
In her three-decade career with Omaha Police, Michele Bang has helped build programs aimed at protecting and serving families and children. As deputy director of Project Harmony, her experience continues to provide leadership and guidance to young people.
“Every school-aged child today, they grew up with this as normal. But the reality is that it’s not normal,” Bang said. “We have to recognize that these things happen and that we are going to plan for them and think about them and be safe when they happen. If we’re ever in that environment, we’re going to take steps to protect ourselves, but it’s not normal and you’re going to have thoughts about it.”
The Rev. Tom Meradith, chaplain at Brookestone Meadows, was part of the mayor’s Clergy Task Force after the Von Maur shooting sixteen years ago. He agrees these events cause uncertainty and fear that cannot be ignored.
“It’s really a downward path that a healthy community cannot follow,” Meradith said. “We are moving away from everyone. We were never meant to pull away from people, rather to be drawn to people. We are stronger together.”
“When people deal with disaster, there’s not always a perfect response,” said Miles Glasgow with Region Six Behavioral Healthcare. “The best thing we can do is listen to each other and be available and that there are resources out there that are available to you.”
Region Six is a public entity that connects people in Cass, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington Counties with whatever help is needed, whether insured or not. Glasgow says it starts with a free call to 988.
“You can call or text, and it’s a trained professional who can just listen to where you are,” Glasgow said. “Whether you just have questions about is it normal or what I’m going through, and that someone can take those questions and help guide you where to go.”
Now that the crime scene tape is gone and the people here are starting to move forward, the mental and behavioral health specialists we spoke with want to underscore the fact that one thing won’t disappear: resources to help in times of trauma will be there.
Free resources are available from Region Six as well as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:
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