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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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