My thoughts: Crisis management is a multi-step process. In a cases as overwhelmingly horrific as what happened in Connecticut and China were, people need time to come to terms with what happened. They need to get past the phases of grief (see the Kuber-Ross five phase model or the 7 Stages of Grief discussed on recover-from-grief.com). Initial leadership reaction, in my opinion, should be to help people to deal with their grief and get to the “Acceptance / Hope” phase as quickly as possible.
A public display like the one President Obama provided in the video above does a few things: 1. It helps to make what happened real for America. This happened. It was important enough for the President to acknowledge. We can not deny it. 2. It gives everyone permission to feel grief. The President wiped away tears and spoke as any parent in America would – from a place of pain. 3. It tells us that resources will be provided and we will get through this. 4. It gives us a specific action step we can do right now – hug our children and tell them we love them, and reach out to those who need our support. As difficult as it is emotionally for him to do, he stood up with a broken heart and expressed what we all needed to have expressed.
At the time this video was published, I think this is the best anyone could hope for from a leader. A specific, more comprehensive plan of action is something that comes once people have had time to process.
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