Lucas: 2013 brings opportunities to effect change

Kelly Lucas
January 2, 2013
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EidtPerspLucas-sigAs I write the first of my 2013 columns, my inclination is to put on my rose-colored glasses and look with optimism toward the year ahead. While I feel that I am truly a glass-half-full kind of gal, I am also a realist and not a fan of people who stick their heads in the sand and pretend things are OK when they are not. Teetering on the edge of a fiscal cliff and still reeling in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it will take more than the turn of a calendar page to a new year to fix what is ailing our country.

The day following the shooting at Sandy Hook, I sat at Indiana University’s Winter Commencement in Bloomington and watched as my oldest child received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Of course, I was very proud of her and relieved that I got to put a huge check mark on my proverbial parent checklist. Get the kids through college: one down, two to go. But sitting here, I couldn’t help but think about the profession she was entering and how it once was considered one of the safest there was. Today, not so much. Teaching doesn’t make the “most dangerous professions” list, but the random, senseless nature of school shootings has changed the way many people think about educators. It is no longer the job it used to be.

While the national reaction to the shooting has not surprised me – we should be overwhelmed, enraged and appalled by this senseless crime – I am curious as to why this particular shooting seems to have been our tipping point. Is it the fact that small children were murdered at Sandy Hook? Probably. In his address to the nation, President Barack Obama paraphrased a quote by Elizabeth Stone, “… the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to forever decide to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” This event seems to have captured our national heart and had an impact on its rhythm. That little school in Connecticut appeared to be one of the most All-American places on the map. If it could happen there, could it happen at our children’s or grandchildren’s schools? Apparently, today, there is little we can do to stop it.

It is too early to gauge whether substantive change will occur that will better protect our schools and other public places, but the conversation has started. If anything positive can come from such a horrendous act, maybe this could be it.

My hope for 2013 is that the experts and policy-makers in the areas of mental health, public safety, gun control and other pertinent areas will put down their own agendas and come together to look for workable solutions and effect realistic change. With all due respect to those who advocate for putting armed security at the entrances of every school in America as the answer, a quick count of the number of schools in our country multiplied by the number of entrances in each tells me that may not be the most realistic approach. And as anyone familiar with a typical school day can attest, students often venture outside for educational purposes or to change classes. Stopping the bad guys at the schoolhouse doors is clearly a priority, but it is not enough. We need to address the root problems, not only the symptoms.

In 2013, we will continue to report on the issues that initiate conversation in our state and, hopefully, those conversations will lead to positive results.

Happy New Year, IL readers!•


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues