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Monday, December 17, 2012


On Friday morning I wrote a post on the killing of Najia Seddiqi, yet another women’s rights activist and official who was murdered last week in Afghanistan, only five months after the assassination of her predecessor, Hanifa Safi. Then I heard the news about the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

At first I combined both atrocious events, but I could not post that piece even though the events shared a common thread, that of senseless violence. I decided that my post on Najia should wait, for I had to respond to the colossal tragedy that happened in Newtown separately. How could I not? 

But what could I write? That it is imperative that this country should have an honest debate about its violent nature? That the time has come for both the Federal Government and civil society to finally debate in earnest America’s gun culture, the power of lobbying groups, especially the gun lobby that is one of the most powerful influencing groups in American politics? That we should talk about the politics of mental health and the bureaucratic hurdles families of mental patients have to go through to get the help they need before they give up?

Yes, I should discuss these issues, but so have many others.

What else could I write? That like most people in the US and abroad who saw the news, I was shocked, saddened, dismayed, petrified, and angry? That I hope that these sentiments will remain with the American public long enough to prompt these debates, which will hopefully result in necessary changes, from safer built schools to political and cultural change?

I could write about these issues, but many pundits and politicians have debated them this past weekend. 

I could tell you -- though that will not be original either -- that as a grandmother of two children ages five and seven I could imagine in my darkest fantasy the faces of the beautiful twenty murdered young children to be the faces of my grandchildren, because in the prevailing environment the Sandy Hook massacre could happen in any suburban town in America. But that vision was too horrific to bear. 

I could tell you that I could imagine my daughter and son in law being in that firehouse, awaiting news about their children. But I could not bear that thought either.

I too am a teacher, though my college students are much older than those who attended Sandy Hook elementary school.  At least once I had a seemingly threatening situation with a disturbed student. My school and I took the necessary measures immediately. But sometimes, especially after a school shooting, I visualize a situation when a distraught student enters my classroom with a gun.  Would I act as bravely as the six slaughtered Sandy Hook officials and teachers did? I should never have to find out. 


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