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Grappling With The Incomprehensible: Catskill Animal Sanctuary Reacts To Uvalde School Shooting

We’re reeling from the news about the elementary school shooting in Uvalde. Our two decades in animal rescue have shown us that humans are very capable of violence and indifference to suffering, yet at the same time, our work relies on our belief in the innate goodness of people. In a way, we’ve had some practice holding two conflicting beliefs about our fellow humans: that we are deeply good and that we have forsaken one another. How do we carry both truths?

It feels incomprehensible to just go back to work in the wake of the violence inflicted in Uvalde. But to our rescued animals, today is just another ordinary day. Health checks, feed runs, hoof trimmings, medicine distribution will all go on as normal. Ferguson will follow us around for extra attention as normal, Jasmine and Charlotte will soak up the sunlight in their field as normal, Cupid will stand on his tippy toes to reach the new willow branch growth as normal, and Sebastian and Pilar will dustbathe as normal.

How we envy their peace— and how we wish we could send some of that peace to those who need it most today.

How do we turn grief into action? It’s difficult to know what to do, but we can start with numbers:

The shooting at Uvalde is the 27th school shooting this year alone and it comes right on the heels of the heinous racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, only a few hours away from us.

Americans own an estimated 393 million firearms. This number is so large and abstract that it helps to break it down: in The United States there are 120.5 guns for every 100 people. The most guns per capita on the globe, twice as many as anyone else who even comes close. As of 2020, guns became the number one cause of death for children and teens. And further deaths are preventable, if we act. 

We know what our obligations are to our rescued animals—those don’t change much from day to day, but what about our obligation to each other? What about our obligation to our fellow humans? What about our promise to protect children, the most vulnerable among us?

It will never feel like enough. But to paraphrase the Talmud, while we are not obligated to do all of this work, “neither are we free to abandon it.”


More to do: 

Find out which of your elected officials receives funding from the NRA. This site compiles FEC data on campaign donations. Know where your representatives stand. Call them. 

Find out when your next local election is (some states have a primary coming up this month!) Use Ballotpedia to keep track of what’s on your upcoming ballot.



Love Spoken Here


2 replies on “Grappling With The Incomprehensible: Catskill Animal Sanctuary Reacts To Uvalde School Shooting”

  1. Because I could not sleep last night with those sweet kids on my mind, this might not make sense…but here goes: It may be that the compassionate gun owners who are horrified at these tragedies will be the ones who can turn the tide. If they were to demand “violence prevention” from our US Senate, we might see progress? It must be the kind-hearted gun owners who save our children, our teachers, our elderly, our Communities of Color. Only they can loosen the death grip of the big money “for profit” membership organization that has 5 million members.

    1. It will almost certainly take all of us working together. We cannot afford to have anyone else waiting on the sidelines.
      Thank you, friend! Love from all of us at CAS

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