Monday, December 17, 2012

Light the Candles

Like most people in this country, I spent the better part of the weekend trying to come to terms with what happened at an elementary school in Connecticut.

I'm not going to weigh in on the matter of gun laws, or gun restrictions, or gun anything.  I'm not sufficiently educated on the subject to feel that I can offer an informed opinion.  But I have a few opinions on other matters that I would like to share, and some related links besides.

1.  Remember the victims.  Forget the shooter.

A meme was circulated on Facebook over the weekend, in which Morgan Freeman was incorrectly attributed with having advised us to learn and remember the names of the victims, rather than the name of the shooter.  While the quote was a hoax, it was good advice.  It's suspected by many that a lot of the shooters in these crimes do what they do so they can be remembered.  Look at the Columbine incident - the names of the two shooters became household terms, but how many of the victims' names are remembered by the public?

The New York Times offered this list to help us remember the lost.  Note that the shooter is not on it.

2.  Honor a hero.

The final death count, not including the shooter himself, was 20 children and 7 adults.  The youngest of the adult victims was Victoria Soto, age 27, a first-grade teacher.  Miss Soto spared several families anguish on that horrible morning.  As soon as she heard the gunfire, she knew something was up and she managed to hide all of her students inside closets and cabinets in the classroom.  The shooter came in and she told him that her students were in the school gym.  He shot her, and only her.  She died for her students, all of whom were unharmed.

There is a petition on the White House website to posthumously award Miss Soto the highest possible honor that can be given to a civilian, the Medal of Freedom.  If you haven't already signed, I hope you will.

3.  Fight fire with... wings.  Motorcycles.  Costumes.  Anything but more fire.

As you may have heard, the wonderfully deplorable Westboro Baptist Church has announced their intention to picket the funerals of the victims, in yet another twisted attempt to 'prove' that this is what God wants for our nation because of homosexuality.  Speaking as a Christian, I'm fairly sure God doesn't actually work that way.  But the thing to remember about the WBC is that their secondary hobby is suing the pants off of people who use violence against them.  So you have to be smart about how to counter-protest.

The good people at Mental Floss (awesome magazine) rose to the challenge, and gave us ten non-violent ways to keep them from creating more chaos.  I particularly like the suggestion of using their presence as a fundraiser.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

4.  "Look for the helpers."

One other thing being circulated on the social media, and this one attributed correctly, was something said by the late (and, especially at times like this, deeply missed) Fred Rogers.  I've seen it printed onto a number of graphics in the past few days, so here's one of them.  (Made by the admin at, posted at

And if you want to be one of the helpers, the United Way has established a fund for the victims.  You'll find more details here.

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