For Weleetka residents, the consequences of Sunday's double-slaying won't end soon.
"The reality of life has intruded on their community,” said Stewart Beasley, an Edmond psychologist who has counseled survivors of other traumatic situations, including the Edmond post office massacre.
Adults are likely to worry more about their children and feel less secure. The longer the case is unsolved, the more unease will grow — especially since investigators think the killer or killers may live in the small community.
"It kind of shakes the foundations of their security that one of their own may have done this,” Beasley said.
Children are particularly susceptible to fear. Those too young to understand what death is will still be aware that their parents and older siblings are behaving differently, he said.
Older children, those in middle school and high school, may feel the need
to spend more time with their peers.
"They will probably want to get together and comfort each other,” Beasley said.
Reactions will certainly vary. While some children will want to discuss what happened, others will grow silent and withdrawn. Some may suffer insomnia or nightmares or even begin sleepwalking.
"When kids are ready to talk, they'll tell you,” Beasley said. "They may not talk about it for weeks, and then it'll start coming up more and more frequently.”
The intense media scrutiny is a blessing and a curse for a community trying to heal, he said.
"They're getting more information than they usually would,” he said, "but it's fueling rumors like crazy.”
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