What kind of a world are we making for our children?


Another bulletin comes on the TV about another shooting, this time in a mall in Maryland.

What bothers me most about my reaction is that I’m not shocked. Shootings around this country are becoming a commonplace thing. Do you even pay attention any more when those “special bulletins” come on TV interrupting the violent program you may be watching, (You might even not be watching TV, you might be playing those realistic killer video games. ) Could there be a connection? Duh, yes.

What worries me is my little grandson. He’s so sweet and innocent. What kind of world does he have to look forward to? Is he going to have to be locked down in his house at certain times of the day.

I remember when I went to school. It was one of the safest places in the world. The thought that somebody would come in the school and harm the children was the farthest thing from anyone’s mind. Everything was orderly, and kids didn’t have to be frightened.

I did see changes come  when I was still teaching school. We had several lock downs because of the rumor of drive-by shootings. Those guns again.

Something tells me that our gun policy is not working. It’s getting more and more like the wild west every day. I’m thinking even the wild west isn’t as wild as our society is becoming these days.

I heard some conservative woman on TV suggest that we should lock more people up in mental institutions to solve this problem. As far as she could see, the problem had absolutely nothing to do with too many guns. I won’t even dignify her by mentioning her name. (She is the one with the long blonde hair and the irritating voice. )

It looks like I’m going to do most of my shopping online. I’ll try not to worry about the future. But I really wish my grandson’s mother would start thinking about the benefits of home-schooling.

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The Mirror: A fictional story


Kelsie and her husband, John, were sleeping in her parent’s old bedroom. Her mother couldn’t bring herself to sleep in the bed she had shared with the love of her life for thirty-five years. It was too soon after the funeral. She decided to sleep in Kelsie’s old bedroom.

Suddenly, the sound of a deafening crash woke Kelsie up from a deep slumber. John didn’t stir.

She walked up to the big mirror that had been on the wall ever since she could remember. It had shattered into hundreds of tiny pieces. It’s as broken as my heart, she thought.

When she was little, her daddy would pick her up and walk to the very same mirror. “Look at us,” he said. They would smile at each other.  He continued picking her up when she was old enough to stand on her own two feet. She sensed that her father didn’t want her to grow up too fast.

She liked the secure way she felt when he held her. She liked the smell of his aftershave, Old Spice, and she liked to rest her head on his shoulder. After a few minutes, he would place her on the floor and ask, “How much does Daddy love you?”

“This much, Daddy,” she would say while spreading her two little arms as far as they would stretch. Then they both laughed, and her daddy gave her a big hug.

Even when Kelsie was a young married woman, her father sometimes walked with her to the mirror. He gave her the same big hug, and they smiled as they looked at their reflection.

“You won’t ever forget your old father, will you?” he asked.

“Of course not,” she replied.

She wondered if he looked into the mirror right before he walked outside on the day he died.

He left his wallet, keys, and a note neatly stacked upon the dresser in front of the mirror. The carefully crafted note was in his distinctive handwriting. He wrote that it was the only thing he could do because he was afraid. Afraid that he would never get out of the hell he was already experiencing every day. He was afraid he would be fired from his job before he got a chance to retire. He didn’t want to be a burden to his wife or children.

His depression started when he knew he had to leave his job because he was going to turn the mandatory retirement age of sixty-five. His poverty-stricken childhood left a deep scar. The thought of losing everything opened it up again. He was afraid no one would hire him because he was getting too old. The fear enveloped him and wouldn’t let him go.

His family tried to think of ways to help him. How could their loving father and husband suddenly turn into a stranger? He no longer smiled. He mulled over every decision he had ever made. His wife took him to a doctor who couldn’t help him. Their only hope was that one day he would wake up and be the person they had always known.

A reprimand at work put him over the edge.

Kelsie remembered how it all ended on a hot summer day when a shot rang out behind the garage of her childhood home. A home where she always felt so safe.

She pondered her father’s fate. Was there a hell in which he was wandering for eternity, was he up in heaven, or was he just a part of the earth now?  Surely, God would forgive him. He’d done nothing but help other people all his life. He had never said one mean word to anyone. He was a giver, and a comforter. Everyone adored him.

Kelsie brought herself back into the present. She needed to pick up the tiny pieces of the mirror. She wondered why no one else heard it break.

A  white light appeared on the shattered mirror. Suddenly, the pieces of the mirror flew off the floor and came together in one piece again. It was like watching a movie running in reverse.

Kelsie smelled “Old Spice.”  She looked up in the mirror and saw the daddy of her childhood holding six-year old Kelsie. He had on his old white T-shirt, khaki pants, and brown loafers. Little Kelsie was wearing her favorite frilly pink dress, lacy socks,and  patent leather shoes. Her long brown ponytail was fastened with a shiny silk pink ribbon.

Big Kelsie tried to reach through the mirror, but the cold hard surface of the mirror stopped her.

Her father looked lovingly at little Kelsie. You are my precious girl, and that’s why you’ve been chosen to be my messenger. Tell everyone to forgive me. I made a terrible mistake, and now I’m sorry. I want you to tell Mommy and your brother and sister that I’ve  been granted a chance to see you all again one day. My punishment is seeing how much I hurt the people I love.

“Of course, I’ll tell them Daddy,” said both Kelsies at the same time.

The white light became brighter and suddenly she could barely see her father and little Kelsie.  Her father carefully let go of little Kelsie, and she disappeared.  He turned toward the light. Eventually, he became  a part of it.
Kelsie looked down, and saw a small piece of the mirror shaped like a heart sitting on the dresser. It was on top of the pink silk ribbon from little Kelsie’s ponytail. She found the heart space where the broken piece belonged. She picked it up, and pressed it against the mirror.

Two tears slid down Kelsie’s cheeks. “I promise I will never forget you Daddy. I forgive you,” she said.

The piece melded into the heart space.

She picked up the shiny pink ribbon and ran toward her old bedroom to deliver her father’s message.

The Tragedy in Newtown: When are we going to start having an adult discussion? Hatred isn’t going to get us anywhere.


Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I went to a temple service. I am a regular participant, but today I was going to find some answers to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  I like the Rabbi, and I like the services.  Today, it was a small gathering.

During Jewish services a part of the morning is devoted  to discussing the Torah . While discussing the Torah, the conversation got around to those killings in Connecticut. This event was on everyone’s minds.

All of these recent shootings weigh heavily on me, as they do on everyone else.  Something has to be done. There has to be a defense against these sick sad people.  What can be done?  I don’t have the answer to this question. But I’m certain making the schools armed camps isn’t the answer. I spent a considerable amount of time working in the schools, elementary, middle and high-school. I had a chance to see what really goes on there. It is a complex place, and talented educators should be admired. It’s an important job.

People have to get real
This is going to get worse before it gets better.  It’s lovely to think we don’t need to protect the children. It’s great to think we can go shopping, to the movies, and to hear political leaders speak without some nut coming out and wiping most of the people away. Unfortunately, while we’re all getting angry at each other, another sad insane person is probably plotting the next catastrophe.

I hope we all find a way to come together and act like responsible adults.

Why?
I guess we’ll never really know the answer to that question.  Some people make simplistic guesses, but that’s not satisfying to me. I was impressed with what the Rabbi read to us just before the service ended.  He read the eulogies  Noah Pozner’s  mother and uncle made at his funeral. These were published shortly after his funeral.

By The Associated Press 12/17/12 09:57 PM ET EST
From mother, Veronique Pozner:
The sky is crying, and the flags are at half-mast. It is a sad, sad day. But it is also your day, Noah, my little man. I will miss your forceful and purposeful little steps stomping through our house. I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room.
Most of all, I will miss your visions of your future. You wanted to be a doctor, a soldier, a taco factory manager. It was your favorite food, and no doubt you wanted to ensure that the world kept producing tacos.
You were a little boy whose life force had all the gravitational pull of a celestial body. You were light and love, mischief and pranks. You adored your family with every fiber of your 6-year-old being. We are all of us elevated in our humanity by having known you. A little maverick, who didn’t always want to do his schoolwork or clean up his toys, when practicing his ninja moves or Super Mario on the Wii seemed far more important.
Noah, you will not pass through this way again. I can only believe that you were planted on Earth to bloom in heaven. Take flight, my boy. Soar. You now have the wings you always wanted. Go to that peaceful valley that we will all one day come to know. I will join you someday. Not today. I still have lots of mommy love to give to Danielle, Michael, Sophia and Arielle.
Until then, your melody will linger in our hearts forever. Momma loves you, little man.

from his uncle (this is only part of it….)

t is unspeakably tragic that none of us can bring Noah back. We would go to the ends of the Earth to do so, but none of us can.

What we can do is carry Noah within us, always. We can remember the joy he brought to us. We can hold his memory close to our hearts. We can treasure him forever. And all of us, including the family, the community, the country and the world, can honor Noah by loving each other and taking care of each other. That’s what Noah would have wanted.

Noah, we love you so much, we miss you dearly, and we will never, ever forget you.

I got some of what I was looking for when I walked in the temple today. But not close to what I need to understand this.

Your thoughts?

A BalletMet Production of “The Nutcracker” Doesn’t Disappoint but today it makes me a little sad


Vzevolozhsky's costume sketch for The Nutcracker.

Vzevolozhsky’s costume sketch for The Nutcracker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the day after the shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Yesterday, I watched all the news shows. I can’t watch them today. It’s too disturbing.  These shootings are just beyond comprehension. What could drive a person to shoot 20 children? Who was he? Why did his mother keep guns in her home?

Why do we always end up focusing on the murderer? I’m guessing it’s because the thought of someone human doing these things is so incomprehensible.

Today, I dragged myself out of the house to watch Columbus BalletMet’s version of The Nutcracker. The last time I’d seen a production was twenty-six years ago.

I usher for the Ohio Theater in Columbus, Ohio. It’s one way to help the community and see different events for free. Columbus does have a lot to offer as far as culture goes: the symphony, Broadway on tour, guest artists, lectures  and my favorite, Columbus BalletMet. This dance company does a lot of contemporary dance as well as the classics. The dancers are young, energetic, beautiful, artistic and talented. i never walk away disappointed.

It took me by surprise
I had forgotten that little girls come with their mothers and fathers to these shows. The little girls were dressed up in frilly colorful holiday dresses.  I hardly saw anyone wearing jeans or T-shirts. It was sweet and so nostalgic.

I couldn’t help but think of the children who were murdered yesterday. They were about the ages of many of the little girls who were so thrilled to be seeing this famous ballet for the first time. I couldn’t stop thinking of the  grief -stricken parents who lost their precious children.

BalletMet didn’t disappoint

I  was enchanted with the production. It was beautifully staged, the music charmed me and the costumes were extraordinary. It was a memorable production and cheered me up a little.

But, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t stop remembering all those little girls who will never get to get dressed up and see
The Nutcracker with their parents.

It’s  really time to do something to stop the violence. Don’t you agree?

Give it Up Piers Morgan: Americans are gun happy


Piers Morgan at CES 2011.

Piers Morgan at CES 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Poor Piers Morgan. He keeps trying to understand why there are so many guns and assault weapons floating around in this country.  It doesn’t make sense to him.

He can’t quite get why we all want to arm each other, and blow ourselves away. He doesn’t understand the American way.

He just had a forensic psychiatrist on his show who wouldn’t quite agree with him about available guns being the reason people commit mass murder.

They brought up the fact that terrorists are not as crazy as the guys shooting up people for no good reason.

In my opinion, a guy who straps bombs onto is as crazy as the latest mass murderer.  It is true that if these guys do survive blowing themselves up, we like to make sure their executed.

Look at Timothy McVeigh, the  home- grown terrorist from Oklahoma. At least we killed him. Good thinking. (I doubt if anyone misses him.)  Unfortunately, the guy who helped him is languishing in jail.

Alan M. Dershowitz, the lawyer, was also on pointing out that it only makes common sense that too many guns around causes people to use them. Crazy or not. Suicide, murder, robbery, etc.  He was even pointing at his head to get his point across.

Makes sense to me too.

Piers ought to give it up.

Americans are never going to change their minds.  This is gun country and it’s not going to change any time soon.