'Healing is a process.' Hedingham community responds to recent California shootings

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Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Hedingham community reacts to recent California shootings
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The flowers and candles that once adorned the community entrance sign at Hedingham in Raleigh may be gone, but the healing from the October mass shooting continues, three months later.

The flowers and candles that once adorned the community entrance sign at Hedingham in Raleigh may be gone, but the healing from the October mass shooting continues, three months later.

"Healing is a process," Pastor Tim Rabon said. "It doesn't happen like this, and everybody doesn't experience it at the same rate in the same way. So we sought to reach out to the community at the beginning and still minister."

Rabon, who's a pastor at Beacon Baptist Church in Raleigh and a Hedingham resident, said he wasn't home when it happened, but his son was out running on the Greenway with his kids.

"His wife called him and told him to come home," Rabon said. "So all of those emotions come up but in our God, there is peace, there is comfort, there's even strength that you can rely upon day by day."

Rob Steele, who's the fiancé of late Mary Marshall, said he was in disbelief when the recent mass shootings in California plagued the news.

"For me, it just makes me more, and more angry every time I see another one happen, no matter where it is," Steele said. "It's going to happen, it's going to happen to you, so we need to start making changes before it happens to other people."

While the City of Raleigh's support resources, such as mental health support and blood donation in response to the mass shooting remain, organizations such as Moms Demand Action have seen an increase in the number of volunteers since the October mass shooting.

"As humans and as members of communities, we are struggling to heal, but for many of us, we find that action can be an antidote to despair," Megan Delaney with the Wake County Moms Demand Action group said. "We are coming together as a community to look for solutions as a community."

While some people can bounce back after difficult times, mental health expert and NC native Dr. Lakleishia Izzard said how there's different ways that people can be affected by traumatic events.

"We've seen that it can cause more anxiety among individuals who are indirectly affected," Izzard said. "We also have seen higher increases in depression ... low birth weight as it relates to maternity. There can be hypervigilance where people can be on edge because of what has happened in their community."

Steele echoed Izzard.

"You talk to some of the residents of Hedingham, the ones who were not directly affected by losing somebody, but were directly affected because the shooter walked through their backyard and they saw them, or they heard the gunshots and heard the screams, or the kids that were outside playing and saw this guy walking through the neighborhood with a shotgun after hearing gunshots, those people are terrified," Steele said, adding how the sound of fireworks can be triggering.

"PTSD is an expected reaction to something like this," Steele said. "Those people who couldn't get into their homes because they were locked out of the neighborhood by the police while they were searching, especially those that had kids at home. For all of them, they were all terrified."

Although healing is a process, Rabon says there's been light in the community.

"One of the great things is three's been a greater connection," Rabon said. "There's been people who've come alongside of their neighbor to be a help and an encouragement, and strength to them as well."

There have been 608 mass shootings in the United States this year, a group says, a figure which is more than double the amount from just eight years ago.

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