Most of the youth I work with are surrounded by caring adults who are eager to listen to them in the aftermath of a public tragedy like the mass shooting in Las Vegas. That is a good thing. I have often found that when I offer to talk to students about one of these incidents, even just to create space at youth group for them to process it, students don’t want to. They’ve done it already at school or at home, and they are eager for time to think about something else. Still, we leave the space just in case.
I wonder if the bigger opportunity isn’t to create space to explore things like violence and tragedy absent an immediate crisis and to equip youth to interpret these things theologically and to respond to them faithfully before they happen.