ILNews

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. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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