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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Like a Phoenix...

"I read the news today oh, boy."
The Beatles - A Day in the Life

This blog post is a reflection on the tragic events which took place this past Friday, December 17th in Newtown, Connecticut: the senseless massacre of 27 individuals, 20 of whom were children no older than my own son.

I started this blog in January of 2011 as an educator focused on using technology and experimenting with the medium but also as a platform to express comment and debate regarding current events.  One of my earliest posts was a discussion of the shooting of Congresswoman Kathy Giffords of Arizona.  It's sad to me that  almost two years since then the American public has been witness to more displays of gun violence in malls, movie theatres and houses of worship.

It seems in my lifetime, 1970's onward, the proliferation of guns has had a hamrful effect on our society.  My opening quote from the Beatles was written by John Lennon, another victim of gun violence in 1980 here in New York City.  The news I read today was terribly sad.  The innocent children had their whole lives ahead of them.  Despite the overall tragedy of this sad event, the actions of the slain principal and teachers, as well as the actions of the survivors, showed the personification of the words selflessness and bravery as they defended their children from harm.  As an educator, their example is one I will take back to my classroom in the days, months and years ahead.  I also offer my prayers to the families of the victims and to the survivors as they begin the healing process.  That road towards healing will be arduous and there are no easy remedies which will heal the pain and suffering Newtown is feeling. 

However, if there is any good that might come out of this tragedy perhaps it can follow these two tracks.  First, there must be a concerted collective will of the citizens to have "rational" discussion on the accessibility and need for semi-automatic guns.  I respect our Constitution and I respect the 2nd Amendment.  I don't want to see any of our rights reduced or repealed but our founding fathers did not envision the sheer firepower of today's arms.  Is it a necessity for the individual to have this kind of firepower?  For what use would the individual have the need for such arms?  These are just two questions I would ask gun manufacteurs and gun enthusiasts. 

Second, without getting specific on the recent perpetrators of gun violence, it seems that there is a similar script in play everytime: the lone nut.   Access to weapons for these individuals must be restricted.  Also, mental health services should be promoted and provided to these indivduals.  Also, I am astounded that no family members noticed or even kept an eye on some of these individuals before they acted out with such destructive force.  What does that say about the current state of families?

Like the mythical bird the Phoenix, thru this tragedy perhaps a rebirth from the ashes of a great tragedy can take place.  One where we as a citizenry demand a stop to the incessant and  mindless gun violence.  One where we as educators can ensure our children a safe learning environment. In this holy Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa season, let the light shine as a refuge for those mired in the dark and feeling hopeless.


  1. Read your article and like it. But I dont understand how his mother, Nancy would take him for gun practice when obviously he was off. Your take?
    Jennifer Watts

  2. Jen,

    Not sure of the wisdom of Nancy taking her son for gun practice. This young man, I choose not to use his name, in my opinion was years in the making. All I've heard was that he was socially inept. His own brother hadn't talked to him since 2010. That's tragic. When all communication is lost, well you see what happened. Very tragic results. Nice to hear from you Jen