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. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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