This letter to the editor of my local paper was one of my earliest pieces of public writing, provoked by a series of school shootings which are now so common place as to be listed on Wikipedia.
Yesterday’s attack on Democratic Representative Giffords (at a grocery store!) resulted in the death of a 9 year old girl (among others), and is yet another wake up call–this time with regard to the inciting nature of our country’s political discourse.
Whose responsible for the attack? We all are. Just as I was responsible for my toddler’s exposure to killing as a form of entertainment.
To the Editor
I was glad to see the issue of violence in schools addressed in the health column last week. I appreciated the related commentary he shared from Vermont Public Radio. In reflecting on the number of shootings in schools across our country, I too felt the “wake up call.”
Now that murder has found its way into our classrooms, we can no longer “distance” ourselves from the effects of the violence that is so much a part of the outside world. The VPR commentator spoke of a new commitment to getting violence out of our children’s lives. As a parent and educator, I fully agree, but I think it is ironic that we work so hard to monitor our children’s world without changing our own.
Just this past week, my two-year old began talking about death and shooting. He picked that up from a clip of a movie my husband and I were watching over a month ago. It left a huge impression.
As a society, we are fooling ourselves if we think we can separate the world of adults from the world of children. The number of deaths in our country’s schools this past year is proof that this line no longer exists.
Wilmington, Vermont, 1998