Wednesday is the 10th Anniversary of Sandy Hook

Anniversaries are a funny thing. They tell us that it has been x amount of years since a certain event happened. Though it would be nice if every anniversary was a happy one, the truth is that they can’t be.

Wednesday is the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre.

December 14th, 2012 is a day that is burned into my memory. It was an ordinary day, and I was at work when the news made its way around the office. I remember that one of the women I worked with at the time mentioned something about the firearm that was used. Like all of us that day, I was glued to the television when I got home. The loss of 26 innocent souls, most of them young children is a feeling that I never want to experience.

I can’t help but wonder who those kids might have become. What teenage antics would they be up to? Where would they be applying to college? What future careers would they be dreaming of? It still hurts that we will never have the answers to these questions.

What kills me is that ten years later, we are still debating gun control laws. There is nothing (in my mind) to debate about. Do we want to keep our kids safe? Do we want to send them to school, unafraid that they will come home at the end of the day? The answer should always be yes. To make that yes a reality, we need our legislators to do their part. Otherwise, Sandy Hook and every other school shooting will become just another statistic.

Unfortunately, there are too many in this country who will say no.

May their memories forever be a blessing. Z”L.

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We Send Our Kids to School to Learn, Not to Die

When I was younger and in school, the purpose of the experience was to receive an education. It was not to be target practice for someone who had no business having access to firearms.

On Tuesday, a young man walked into a high school in St. Louis and started shooting. Two lives were lost, a teacher and a fifteen-year-old student. The shooter was killed by police.

The family of this boy claims that they did everything when it came to his mental health problems.

The point, as I see it, has once more been proven. Did this boy have a mental illness? The evidence, as we have it so far, points to yes. However, that does not preclude the fact that this tragedy and others of its ilk are and were preventable.

I would love to know why a civilian needs access to an AR-15. This is why we need common-sense gun control laws. If this child has not been able to get his hands on that weapon, then both of his victims would still be alive.

May their memories be a blessing. Z”L.

P.S. The girl who was killed was less than a month away from her 16th birthday. For anyone who thinks that we do not need to legislate against gun violence should consider this fact before stating that there is no need for measures of this kind.

American Morning is a Must-See Short Film

School shootings have unfortunately become a standard headline in America these days.

American Morning, is a short film written, starring, and produced by Stephen Dexter. It is the story of Connor Mathis, a music teacher who survived a school shooting and was able to save all but one of his students. Two years after the fact, Connor is living with his father (played by Richard Schiff) and still reeling from the consequences of his actions. Plagued by nightmares and grief, he decides to make a statement when he sees that those in power are doing nothing.

My first reaction was wow. The mental health aspects of living through an event of this nature are so in your face that it is impossible to ignore. The choice he makes (which I will not give away, just watch to the end), speaks to the helplessness that I think many of us feel.

If you are not heartbroken and blown away by this short film, then I don’t know what to say.

Thoughts On Pink’s New Music Video “Irrelevant”

Art and artists have a unique way of revealing truths about the world.

Earlier this week, Pink released her new video “Irrelevant“. In the video, she claps back at the haters while speaking about the crap that we are dealing with at the moment. Women’s rights, abortion, school shootings, January 6th, etc are all spoken of in the manner that only Pink can.

I could go on, but I will let the music speak for itself.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings Book Review

School used to be a place in which we nurture the minds and futures of the next generation. It has in recent years, become a place of death and heartache.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings, by Loren Kleinman and Amye Archer, was published in 2019. Inspired by a text sent by one of the students who survived the Parkland shooting, the book follows the history of school shootings. Interviewing survivors and family members of the victims, the reader is taken into the emotional heart of the experience and the reverberations that last long into the future.

I really enjoyed this book. It hit me in the right place. I was both angry and sad. I was angry about the lives that were lost. I was sad for the families who would never see their children grow up. What struck me was that most, if not all of the shooters fit into a certain type. They are mostly angry white males who have a grudge and turn to violence to get back at those who they feel have wronged them.

The aspect of the book that has stayed with me was the responses from those who survived Columbine and the other shooting that occurred in the late 1990s. Many of us who were on the verge of adulthood back then are now parents. Though it has been decades since they were nearly killed, hearing the news immediately took them back to that day. It is a reminder that trauma of this kind never truly leaves us, regardless of how many years have passed.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings is available wherever books are sold.

Best Movies of 2021

  1. Quo Vadis, Aida?: This harrowing tale of one woman’s choice to save her family or save as many people as she can during the Bosnian War is as powerful as a film can get.
  2. Mass: Two sets of parents meet after one of their sons has killed the other in a school shooting to figure what happened. Along the way, they are forced to answer questions that are painful and difficult.
  3. Spencer: This fictional take on Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) and what might have occured during Christmas in the early 1990’s is a unique take on the myth of the late royal.
  4. Belfast: A young boy is growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 1960’s. As he starts to transition from a child to a young adult, he begins to realize that nothing is ever a simple as it seems to be.
  5. Black Widow: After ten years, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) finally gets the movie she should have gotten. Trying to atone for her past while living in the present, she must face reality and make up for mistakes.
  6. Framing Britney Spears: This Hulu documentary took viewers in the life and career of Britney Spears and how it has changed since her father took control over both.
  7. West Side Story: Steven Spielberg’s adapation of this beloved musical takes it into the 21st century while retaing its message about prejudice and lack of opportunity.
  8. The Eyes of Tammy Faye: Jessica Chastain not only brings Tammy Faye Bakker back to life, she reveals the real person behind the punchline.
  9. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: This latest addition to the MCU is more than just the first all Asian cast. It is the story of a complicated father/son relationship and a young man who cannot run from his fate.
  10. Moxie: A shy teenage girl stands up to the sexist bullshit at school and empowers her fellow female students in the process.
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This will be my last post of 2021. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing tonight, have a safe and happy New Year. See you in 2022.

Charging the Parents of the Oxford High School Shooters is Absolutely Necessary

Another week, another school shooting in America.

On Tuesday, a 15-year-old boy (who shall not be named in this post) walked into Oxford High School in Michigan and started shooting. He killed four classmates and wounded seven others.

This firearm was given to him by his parents as an early Christmas present less than a week before the massacre. His parents have been charged with four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter. As of yesterday afternoon, they were absent from their court appearance.

Ryan Busse, a former executive from a major gun company, published his memoir recently. Introduced to weapons as a young man by his parents, he received a message very early on how dangerous they could be.

Though forcing the shooter’s parents into court will not bring back the teenagers who were killed, I am hoping that it sets a moral and legal precedent. They could have made it absolutely clear that there were caveats and responsibilities attached to this gift. Just as a sixteen-year-old is limited to where they can drive once they get their license, the rules about where and when he could use it should have been crystal clear.

Instead, his parents gave him carte blanche to do as he wanted and as a result, the lives of four families will never be the same.

Maybe the memories of these innocent souls forever be a blessing.

Thoughts On the Anniversary of the Sandy Hook School Shooting

Seven years ago, the students and staff entered Sandy Hook elementary school as they would any school day. By the time the school day ended, 26 people, mostly six and seven-year-old students were dead.

If these children were alive today, these children would either be twelve or thirteen years old. They would be on the brink of teenage-hood and everything that comes with being a teenager. But they will never experience what it is like to be a teenager or anything else for that matter.

If I had a time machine, I would go back in time and try to stop the massacre of innocent life. But time machines do not exist. The only thing we can do is move forward and remember the lives who were taken far too soon.

We can also honor their memory by preventing another massacre of this ilk. Common sense gun laws and assistance for those with mental health issues are not a 100% foolproof to prevent another Sandy Hook. But they can go a long way in helping drastically cut down the number of young people who are killed in school.

May the memories of the 26 people killed that day and hundreds of others who died in mass shootings since them be a blessing. Z”l.

When Did School Shootings Become the New Normal?

When we send our children to school, we hope that what they learn will help them to become responsible and functioning adults. We don’t send them to school to be killed by their peers.

There was another school shooting today. Just as the school day began at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, a sixteen-year-old student started to shoot his classmates. As of just a few hours ago, two students were killed and three were injured. The accused gunman is in the hospital with a self-inflicted gun wound.

When did school shootings become the new normal in America? I’d like to turn on the news and see that our children have come home from school safe and sound. In fact, I would like to turn on the news and not hear that innocent lives have been taken because those in power are pussy-footing around gun control.

When I was in school, the idea of a student bringing a gun to school and shooting and/or killing their classmates was a nightmare confined to the world of fiction. The kids today are growing up with this as a reality.

How many innocent young lives will be taken before something is done? What will it take for Congress to finally pass reasonable gun control laws?

I can only imagine the grief of the families of the students killed. May their memories be a blessing and may the loss of these children finally light a fire under the proverbial behinds of those who can stop this madness.

While Kendrick Castillo and Riley Howell Stood Up, Many of Our Politicians Quivered In Fear

A hero is one who puts the needs of others over their needs.

Kendrick Castillo and Riley Howell are heroes in every sense of the word. When gunman entered their respective schools and started shooting, Castillo and Howell ran in the direction of the shooting instead of running to safety. They gave their lives in service of their schools, saving the lives of their fellow students.

While these young men stood up against gun voice, many of our politicians quiver in fear. Instead of doing their jobs and protecting our young people by enacting common sense gun laws, they allow these shooting to happen while repeating the standard response of “thoughts and prayers”.

They accept money from the NRA and other special interest groups without question, but when our children die in school because of guns, their response is as weak as a limp noodle.

We have a Presidential election coming up next fall. I have a challenge for the Democrats who are running: come up with common sense gun control laws. Don’t just say what you think we want to hear. Tell me, as a voter, how you will protect us from gun violence while respecting those who are responsible gun owners.

Our children and our future depends on it.


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