Friday, December 14, 2012

Going to School Shouldn't Be a Death Defying Act

We all awoke this morning to the horrific news out of Newtown, CT. Twenty young school children were dead at the hands of a 20 something gunman who after killing children, some school administrators and teachers, turned the weapon on himself, taking with him any chance of an explanation. As I write this, it also appears that before the perpetrator went to the school, he killed his mother at home, a teacher at the school.

This is every parent's nightmare to put it mildly. When you send your child off to school, you assume it's a safe environment to learn and grow, with teachers who care more about your child as a person than they do about their teaching subject. I recall vividly as a high school student hearing the praises that were being bestowed upon a retiring teacher in an assembly. I did not have the privilege of having this man as a teacher. When it was time for this wonderful man to speak he simply said, "I don't teach (enter subject here). I teach students!"

We are just now hearing reports of the courage of staff members who acted in the best interests of the students, getting them out of harm's way while bullets flew. A deeply emotional President Obama, obviously thinking as much as a parent as the leader of the country, did not look for any silver linings in his words which were marked by pauses to brush away tears. He was leading the grieving that has started not only in the U.S but around the world.

Watching CNN report the news as it unfolded, probably the worst part for me, outside of the news itself, came from an FBI agent who has been involved in the many school shootings that have taken place in recent years. When asked by Wolf Blitzer if he could ever imagine anything like this happening, his reply was, "Yes, and it will happen again until we finally decide to take action." He went on to say that to date, after the grieving ends, the country moves on, with nothing done to change the situation. President Obama called upon government leaders to put aside any differences to take the action necessary to stem this tide of violence, in this case against truly innocent young people.

To all the parents out there reading this, give your children an extra hug tonight! For me, after I hit "publish" I'm going to Skype my grandson Lucas in Ontario to tell him Grandpa loves him!

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