May 3, 2015
Posted by Thomas Dewar on Saturday, December 15, 2012 · 9 Comments
Vent. Cry. Comfort. Take care of each other.
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I’ve worked in 4 school systems since 1997 up until I lost my job in 2009 for telling them I was going to trumpet their indiscretions and abuses of children. Regardless, the first 3 schools I worked in were for extremely troubled youth (4-12 yrs in a partial hospitalization program), then a residential facility where I taught teenagers to care for horses, then in a middle school for extremely difficult kids, including Aspergers affected ones. I loved those jobs, but got sick and tired of having to restrain them against throwing desks, threatening themselves, and threatening others. Truth be told, I made good connections with those kids so that when a “code” was called and a restraint had to be instituted, the kid saw me and usually didn’t struggle as hard on the arm, legs or other part I had. They didn’t want to hurt me, even in their moments of dispair. Other staff hated this sometimes, but oh well.
My last school job was 12 yrs at an open campus high school, the one I lost for threatening to “tell”. I was a campus safety officer, responsible for instituting the lock down in my specific building. There were 11 academic and office buildings. The drills always caused me trouble. I never liked fire drills, either. I had to lock the entire campus down one day, on order of the police, because a former student had been waving a gun around in traffic about a 1/4 mile away. It was spring break, and I was the only officer on campus. It only lasted 15 minutes, but I can tell you it was the worst 15 minutes ever. Wondering if he would come to campus and look for the security office. He was in trouble a lot. He didn’t. They caught him.
We also had what we thought were legitimate bomb threats. Notes taped to building doors overnight. Calls. Verbal. All of it. We could think we were safe, what with all the preparation and cooperation of teachers and staff, but anyone could have walked in and killed anyone. I have lots of stories, and plan to write them. Anthrax, bomb making directions, guns on campus, knives, brass knuckles, you name it. 2300 kids in one place makes it dangerous.
This tragedy in Sandy Hook won’t leave my spirit. I’m glad I don’t work in schools anymore. They seem to be filled with “these kinds of kids”, and parents are the main obstacle to getting them treated. I’ve seen it time and again. Shame on them.
I had a point to this when I started, but I can’t remember what it was. I’ll be writing about this more in my blog, I suspect. I need to get it out.
Oh yeah! I remember now. It was about my absolute attempts to get to know the kids I thought were capable of killing others. I knew their names, said hello to them every time I saw them, and created rapport. Why? So that when they came to school with a gun, I might be able to save people by knowing him. I lived with that for 12 years, getting to know them. I could probably name 1000 kids at any given moment, but those kids I watched.
There’ll be the hand wringing about why this event happened (don’t mention the G word!),
Then a search for answers (don’t mention the G word!),
Blame will be apportioned to the shooter’s home environment, upbringing or something or the other (don’t mention the G word!),
Politicians will make vague promises about getting tough and fixing something to prevent this from happening again (don’t mention the G word!)
And finally it will be time to move on to the next item in the news cycle.
Like many similar events in the recent past, this will become just another statistic. Until people start valuing their children over the Second Amendment, nothing will change in the Good-ol’ USA.
If the GOP could finally face down Grover Norquist after years of Wizard of Oz like power, and the earth continued to revolve on its axis, they can do the same with the National Rifle Association. This massacre must finally be a tipping point. If not now, then I am completely incapable of understanding why not.
Dear NRA gun lobby,
Your campaign to protect the second amendment is embarrassing.
Do you realize those yahoos, who drive around in their big trucks with guns in their gun racks and NRA bumper stickers are targets? It doesn’t take a stupid criminal to KNOW you got guns to steal.
And that Plant of the Apes Heston dude; he seems slow, I suspect it is his age. However when he stood at the podium and held up that rifle, I thought, Anne Oakley is dead, it aint your ancestors gun ownership or make and model, anymore.
One last thought. While I enjoy the benefits of the second amendment, your support and success of allowing free trade of guns at a gun show is obscene. Really? No background checks for the sale of a gun, only at gun show. That REEKS of illegal guns. Why don’t you just shoot yourselves in your foot? Please. Because your actions as a gun lobby is ruining my second amendment rights.
I’m embarrassed to be associated with any gun lobby. I turn my back. I want nothing to do with your myopic trashy, self destruction. Your followers are not my friends. I want nothing to do with you.
I am embarrassed by you.
A normal human.
I only taught school for 6 years. The first year I taught first grade with children the same age of the children who were murdered. I keep seeing their faces and thinking how young and innocent they were. It breaks my heart.
I just want to SCREAM!!!!!
Our local paper has a photo of happy and excited elementary school children arriving at the State Theatre yesterday morning with presents for Toys for Tots. My husband, as Santa Claus, is outside to greet them. While these lovely children were arriving at the movie theatre for a holiday celebration of sharing and fun, the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School were being murdered. The whole thing just takes one’s breath away.
When I need to cry and feel I am not alone, I often turn to John McDermott.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoUoXNv855g – Ye Banks and Braes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XfwN90nN8c – To the End of the Road
Digby, David Atkins, and Tristero at Hullabaloo have a series of essays well worth reading.
Words to ease pain and fear in children:
Look for the helpers
There’s lots of advice out there about how to talk to your kids about what happened today, but I think this is what I’d want to hear if I were a little kid. It’s practical and makes you feel secure, both that there is always someone around to help and that most people in the world aren’t monsters:
”When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers
And, all together now, it’s time to take on the NRA:
We aren’t shocked anymore when children are killed. It’s become a normal part of American life. The taboo has shifted from horror at the shootings to horror at talking about shooting. This is called “politicizing tragedy” as if these mass murders are an act of nature rather than an act of human evil or madness (or both) enabled by easy access to the tools of mass murder.
But let’s not go there. We will mourn the casualties the way we mourn the deaths of those in hurricanes and tornadoes. Gun violence is now a “natural” event in America, as unpredictable as the weather, and there’s nothing we can do about it except gather together in the aftermath to help the victims. Indeed, the only enduring threat these events foretell is from those who would question a culture that deifies the gun as if it were a religious symbol rather than a lethal weapon.
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