Girls' deaths draw a torrent of sympathy

By Susan Simpson Modified: June 11, 2008 at 12:34 am •  Published: June 11, 2008

Shiricka of Okemah left a message of hope.

"I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.”

Why the outpouring?
Cindy Washington, a licensed professional counselor at Oklahoma State University, said the random, senseless nature of the deaths is difficult for even strangers to comprehend. "It makes everyone feel vulnerable. It could happen to them. It scares them.”

Washington said people also want to do something. "Sending a message gives you a sense of helping in some small way.”

"Just knowing that many people reached out is meaningful,” Washington said. "It's an acknowledgement of their loss. It demonstrates to this family that people care and are sharing in their sorrow.”

David Knottnerus, an OSU sociology professor, said electronic media access quickly spreads news of such tragedies, which can lead to a collective outpouring of grief and outrage, human traits that serve to reinforce societal beliefs and morals.

Guest book: Taylor Dawn Paschal-Placker Guest book: Skyla Jade Whitaker has disabled the comments for this article.

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