Tag Archives: gun violence

We Meet At Last:Parents of Newtown Victim Met With Lanza Was Good Thing And What It Has To Do With Now

Parents of Newtown Shooting Victim Meet With Adam Lanza’s Father – NYTimes.com.

Sandy Hook Tragedy Guncontrol
Tragedy struck Sandy Hook in November of last year.
When I originally come across the article and was going to do something with it, life happened [shrug] but you know what they say right? Better late than never!  Also when I was reading it back over some of the things reminded me of the what’s going on in Boston right now with the coverage of the bombers.  Also, in a  day and age where all of our media are negative and derogatory; I wanted to mix it up a bit and remain above the fray.   Thats why I thought I would share a story I thought was great, and now that Senator Reid tabled the gun debate “to pick back up later”, the one story, that most moved me; aside from the story of  teachers heroically sacrificing themselves fro their students.
 

They Come Face To Face With Their Daughter’s Killer‘s Father: 

In what was a tiny blip upon the Sandy Hook blotter, The Parker family decided to do something bold and shocking; they decided to meet with Peter Lanza (the shooter’s father) face to face.  As much as you might think this would cause quite a stir, I personally thought  that was a little bit odd,  but then I realized this is Adam Lanza that we’re talking about after all [shrug].

 I know what you’d be thinking,

[JERRRRRY!!!! JERRRRY!!!! JERRRRY!!!!! plenty of fist pumping going on in between];

frankly,

I can’t blame you. Originally I was thinking the same thing.

When I first saw the article, the only coherent thought I could get from myself went a little something like thi;s

 “awwwwww shiiiieeetttttt here we go!”

Right? I mean, come on, right????

For sure, they’re about to put the gloves on and have some good ol’ fashioned fista-cuff action.

they brawl it out backyard wrestling style, somebody goes through a picnic table?…..

 Wrong,

Just Because Its Senseless Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Still Need Answers:

The purpose of their meeting was actually much more practical than the Dr  Evil plot I had pegged them for; they were here seeking answers to those nagging questions that have continued to elude and distract them from their additional obligation which was raising two other  young daughters that were going to require their time, attention and their guidance for them to come out as strong people, especially considering what exactly happened to them there.

I’m sure meeting with the dear ol’ dad  of the young man who so recently murdered their daughter was one of if not the hardest things they’d ever had to do in their entire life; I can’t even begin to imagine what that must have felt like  Luckily, Mrs. Parker knew she would never be able to truly move on without  first trying to answer the nagging question, why, this would seem like an extremely an unnecessary risk.

What if  they were to lose their temper, cause a scene, or say things out of anger to one another, or came to blows?  That is one thing they could have done with guaranteed indemnity from him at all.   family could have done with indemnity not only did they not do anything out of foolish anger or spite.  They showed Mr. Lanza several other kindnesses  first in recognizing the fact that he was suffering just the same as they were, the grief they share even began the same day. their grief even began on the same day.

Topping off an already hard list to top, is the Parkers telling Mr. Lanza they don’t blame him for what happened to their daughter, making a public statement to that effect while they were out on the inside a statement that was picked up by multiple media sites on the basis that it seemed counter-intuitive, which we’ve already gone over, I think it i.

Humanizing Experience

In one approximately hour long conversation, with the shooters dad, in a n attempt to get the information off of the disk again equally.  In the over 2-3 months from the time of the mass shooting until now; they humanized the the members of the Lanza family, allowing them to be seen as victims of Adam’s actions as.   Prior to this, I hadn’t really given much thought to Adams father or his brother, but the more I think about it, the more worried I am that

I can’t imagine the degree to which that families Having this tenderness to them doesn’t bring their daughter back, or make their soul stop aching  avenge their soal in the eyes of otherIt’s st art  him , at least that’s probably how it would have been if aand the type of person that he was, or the motivations behind many ohis goals. seewere taking th time out of their own lives in order to better be able to and everything else off in my opinion as their ability to look beyond theriout of anger to Mr. Parker, because everyone, not  no causing drama in the media or any of the things like that we’ve come to expect.  They just wanted to learn more about his son Adam, and what could have made him do something like that, and to children of all things…..and they also offered Mr. Lanza their condolences for the loss he suffered as well.

Wow……That was seriously heavy…. .like that was some grown man big kid shit right there and despite it coming out that way, that is not me being sarcastic.

Sammy Likes It

The Parker’s didn’t have to do this, nobody even would have expected it of course   whatever small degree o f risking whatever small degree of normalcy they had built up around themselves and their other 2 small children, but they did.  They could have remained blissfully ignorant of what he had to tell them about his son, but then they’d always wonder; holding them back from fully heal still not a hair did they lift from hiseading, so they did.

I can relate to the need to get to the bottom of a thought or a question, otherwise it slowly drives you crazy insane (just more insane than I am normally in my case), I get that too; which is why I have so many apps and what-not) the point is, she knew what she needed and she asked for it, in the process it turned out they had helped Adam’s father in the process.

They humanized him for the first and only time thus far really; the media was perfectly content to allow their viewers to see the Lanza’s as some form of “other”, a distinctly lesser being therefore what they say or do to them is ok…..forget about the truth, if you’re going by  go by Nielsons system, it’s over-rated…. Just look at the coverage during the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombing if any more exhibits are necessary.

A Story Of The Internet

Out of all other stories related to what happened that day in Newtown (aside from the individual heroics and sacrifice from the day of), has made me feel the strongest, (especially since it looks like gun regulations have been put on an indefinite hold), and heres why:

For the parker family to be able to move on with their lives they needed answers to those questions that otherwise would be seared into their minds; questions about Adam Lanza and what could have happened to him to where he carried this out;  The only place to get answers to those questions was through Peter Lanza, Adam’s father, in reaching out they broke new ground as the first and only to do so.  Despite the fact they could have blown him off, they met with him and talked wit him about his son, his upbringing, and what might have happened to him, they recognized in him something nobody else has done….the pain he feels as a parent is the same as theirs regardless of the circumstances behind it

He’s a victim of Sandy Hook too, but for some reason he’s always excluded from any discussion either by purpose or design; it’s just as well, could you imagine what someone would do to him potentially, on an impulse?  We’re so quick to dish out what we’re unwilling to take, if we’d been subjected to on 10th , of the violence and repression we met Iraq and Afghanistan, many of us wouldn’t be here, our buildings would no longer be standing; then and only then we would know what it’s like to live on the other side  These are all reasons why I liked this story so much; it was just truth, no lies, no fronting no tea time .

When they reached out to him, they were the first to have done so.  They did not meet him with malice in their hearts, they only sought answers so they could heal, helping Mr. Lanza to begin doing the same in the process as he talked about his son.  Despite having, what I’m sure everyone would agree, was the tactical high ground, the advantage on the situation, they were able to recognize in him the same pain they now feel, the pain parents who’ve  lost their daughter, a father whose lost his son…….and they said they didn’t blame him or hold him responsible for the actions of his son, and they said it publicly.

Humanizing Experience Overall:

Finally for the first time, somebody had humanized him to me, for me, and all it took was for it to be framed a little differently.  Suddenly its plain to see that Mr. Lanza is a victim of Sandy Hook just as much as all the others, if not more so.  While they will all carry Sandy Hook, and it’s scar around forever, the other families don’t have the last name Lanza, therefore they aren’t ostracized (unless you count the NRA and several tasteless members of the House/Senate).

Can you imagine for one second what Peter Lanza must be going through?  Already probably having taken blame on himself, now he gets to hear those terrible things people say to themselves when they are feeling self loathing, worthless, failure, monster; only they get repeated and amplified by everybody else…..

Can you imagine the case of WHAT IF’S…..he’s most likely has….?  What if I’d done this, what if I hadn’t done that playing the blame game with nobody to snap you out of it and back into reality is dangerous business indeed.  Recognizing this, the Parkers showed him one of many kindnesses shown that day, absolving at least a fraction of what must be his terrible guilt.

Naturally, this interaction was way too PG for the media to talk about what actually made it important in my mind, so they immediately turned the topic of conversation to what Mr. Lanza had shared with them about his son, and whether they felt they had gotten the needed answers; to which they replied, yes they had learned a lot, and no they were not willing to share it out of respect for the wishes of Adam’s father.  Score the Parker family another point…..

The rarity of what the Parkers did, not intended to do, but couldn’t, but did can’t be exaggerated.  I don’t think that any more than one maybe two people would have the same reaction the Parker family did……For that, I have much respect, and felt it worthy of my time like this.

Devoting time and energy to looking at those commonalities in a world so divided;  pointing out those traits in them you find to be admirable to some degree and worth emulating; as opposed to the endless stream of negativity that flows from the vast majority of sources, crowding the good out, its very presence is poison, sucking the life and the air from all that is or one was good.

So long as we are committed to being that catalyst; facing evil head on, meeting it blow for blow; to following those positive examples laid before us when people make the right choice regardless of how difficult it must have been for them, as I’m sure it was for both the Parker parents, but they did it anyways.

I think that most of us would have ended up with the media hounding us, having given them what they wanted.  I doubt I would have been able to keep it together knowing that ultimately it was his ejaculate and its tainted seed that had whisked away my daughter, who was only in first grade and had her entire life ahead of her.

For them to look that man in the eyes and console him for his loss; WOW, that’s some heavy shit man……

It reminds me of some Ghandi, or MlK shit, dedicated in non-violent approach, ensuring they were always in the positive when it was actually needed.  They were able to sit down with the father of their daughters killers, and the people we elect to office can’t sit down and cooperate long enough to pass a fucking budget……….

Reactionary in the nuclear sense of the word….

I think that about really puts it into perspective though, in a nutshell, that’s where it lies.  We’ll devote all these column inches, and air time to these freak-shows and here you have people whose behavior we would do well  to emulate if we were ever in the same situation (heaven forbid).

Not only did the Parker’s get the answers, or at least, as close to them as they’ll ever get, and can thus now begin to focus entirely on their two other daughters who rely on them for survival and guidance in life.  Having made this first overture, it is my hope that the other families do so as well, in some setting or another.  They have the unique opportunity of having a huge community for support, the kind that only a fellow survivor would be able to offer, in an effort t eventually put this whole ugly mess behind them.

Only to come out of the fire and into the frying pan/  Faced with an uphill battle like Sisyphus and his boulder, endless struggle.

Faced with the daunting and impossible task of filling the space in their heart their son, their daughter, their spouse used to occupy.  Though I’m sure it’s a void that will never completely reach the same levels as before…..build skyscrapers from nothing but sand,

Like Sisyphus and his rock

tougher gun restrictions sandy hook elementary
MMMM MMmM Guns; tougher restrictions on the way, or are they?

I had originally intended to talk about how the parents from Sandy Hook had a unique opportunity before them to take the tragedy that had happened them and their families, turning it into a positive, trying to prevent others from having to suffer this intense pain, and their endless struggle as they did.  But it appears that came up a little bit flat now didn’t it?

For that I’d like to give a big special thanks to Senator Reid

If  we aren’t able to get sensible legislation on firearms sales then

I’ll settle for taking the behavior shown by the Parker family as an example of behavior that we could all be emulating in our own lives to some extent.  That’s the takeaway that I got from this whole situation thus far;

I’m thinking of finding ways to incorporate being more understanding into my own life as well as we speak.

I Think We Should Do More Of This:

If we can all just take a moment to recognize those more admirable qualities in others, and our similarities where there would appear to be none at face level.  out of sand…. To barely scratch the surface is to be superficial about the attempt….Once we get beyond the initial outside layer,  I think you would be surprised to find we’re all a lot more like one another than we would let on, even to ourselves.   The same needs, same fears and same desires are what drives us each individually.  Its just all about perspective…..It’s either impossible, or just a matter of time before it happens, it may just be me on this one, but I think I’m gonna  go pack soon.

Which will it be? A catalyst for change, or Sisyphus and his giant pet rock…either way, just go ahead and tell me;

So whats the Word?

Standing In Solidarity With My Ameri-Family Today Following Our Recent Loss:

Joseph Messenberg murdered in New Orleans while doing AmeriCorps
Joseph Messenberg the AmeriCorps Volunteer Murdered in New Orleans recently

I just got word the other day about yet another senseless murder that can be attributed to our nations current gun violence epidemic.  Unlike many of the other instances, this one hit really close to home for me due the victim Jonathan Messenberg, aged 18 being an AmeriCorps member volunteering his time to others when it happened.

Although it’s always tragic when someone so young has their life cut so short, this instance really broke my heart to learn about.  This particular  young man was murdered shortly after beginning his first project during his Corps year with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps which should have been a 10 month stint.  This is the same program  I participated in several years ago and credit as being a major influencing event in my life thus far.  This young man was in New Orleans to do some good for others, and it cost him his life.

In response to Joseph’s murder, NCCC has opted to remove both teams in New Orleans at the time, indefinitely.

I disagree with this response the organization has taken, unless there exists some sort of concrete evidence that his work with AmeriCorps was a factor in his death.  We do no service in shielding those we would encourage to tackle the tough issues of today and tomorrow from the very situations we would encourage them to become familiar with and take on.  Allowing what appears to  be a random act of violence thought to be in some way gang related occurring in a densely populated urban setting known to offer the inherent risks associated with violence to serve as justification for teams abandoning their current projects is a bad call all around damaging any reputation for being a committed agent of change the organization may enjoy within the communities it serves.  Rather than sticking around until the task at hand is completed, they have opted to abandon these communities, probably to the very same gangs at the root of the problem.

Reading his family’s description of him, I was able to relate to him on many levels as a person. His motivations for joining were much like my own and those of others in applying to the program; the opportunity to act upon personal convictions, helping others.  By focusing on the needs of others and not yourself for a change, you become connected to something larger and more important than your own ambitions; offering a true sense of community.  Exposure to this shared sense of community provides participants with a generally more well-rounded and healthy life perspective.

For what was essentially a selfless act by Jonathan to result in him paying the final price of his life at the age of 18 is well beyond being tragic.  My opinion is that it is one of those rare moments where the worlds twisted sense of irony is on full display, clearly visible for all to see.

Like most deaths that come as a result of gun violence, very little rhyme or reason has been left for others to begin to attempt piecing together any explanation to the inevitable question, WHY.

Ultimately it will add up to nothing more than a terrible choice by whoever pulled the trigger and the bad luck on the part of Joseph’s inadvertently being in the wrong place at precisely the wrong time. Its the only possible explanation regardless of working hours devoted to detective work, or creative ways to try to slice and dice it; this unsatisfying excuse for an explanation and its unsavory nature as close to one as will ever exist.

To know first-hand how much the program would have influenced and benefited someone like the victim, actively interested in influencing the world around them only makes the loss all the more devastating, and wasteful; if that’s even possible.

English: AmeriCorps logo
English: AmeriCorps logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For reasons we will never fully grasp,  Jonathan never had the full  opportunity to interact and grow as a conscious citizen among other people of similar interests.  He will no longer be able to later bring his experiences in the benefits of direct action to his future community or organization.  For his life to be cut short at precisely the time he stood to gain the most by virtue of his surroundings is an absolute travesty and a waste; a disservice to our future.

Gone forever is yet another potential community leader of the future both willing and able to take an active approach towards fulfilling our often neglected civic duty of ensuring we work to leave posterity with an improved product from that which we inherited.  By working to change the injustices we notice in society and not passing the buck off, we make sure that those who follow are less likely to become burdened with fixing the broken remnants of decrepit or discredited ideologies or entities they had nothing to do with.

For someone driven enough to turn their beliefs into actions to be cut down by men a lesser quality and scruples than himself only further salts an already festering wound.

what a waste, what an utter waste.

Speaking from my own experiences with the same program, as well as the general consensus of those I shared that experience with, I know that his time with AmeriCorps and what it taught him would have changed his life in so many meaningful ways; if only he had that opportunity or option.

I know that I can speak for all service oriented members of the AmeriCorps family both past and present when I say he is on our minds today as we reflect upon our shared loss; he is gone, but not forgotten.  My thoughts go out to his AmeriCorps teammates, his friends and most importantly his family as they mourn their sudden loss; may the ideals he stood for live on within each of you helping to guide your actions toward helping to carry out his goal of creating a better society than the one we currently live in, ensuring his memory and his passion will continue to live on.

It is my sincere hope no more of these tragedies are required in order for us to urge our elected leaders away from the lofty rhetoric surrounding the issue on both sides and down a path of common sense in our approach to gun control in this country.  Even by settling on things like mandatory background checks which it is generally agreed should already exist (unless of course you’re the NRA) offers the potential of decreasing the number of gun related deaths we now see.

http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2013/04/18-year-old_americorps_member.html

Treyvan Martin Case Update: Zimmerman No Longer Seeks Immunity Under “Stand Your Ground” Law Prepares For Trial

George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin case update: Why Zimmerman’s lawyers abandoned the immunity hearing

Pre-trial immunity hearing
In shocking move, Zimmerman elects to skip immunity hearing that could have ended trial if ti found him to have acted according to Stand Your Ground law….Elects to go to trial instead.

ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE TEAM BACKS OUT OF IMMUNITY HEARING: IS THIS A SIGN?

Zimmerman’s defense team was due to have a pre-trial hearing where they argued there case that he should be immune from prosecution under Florida’s  stand your ground law next month.  His defense team has scrapped those plans in effort to better prepare for the actual trial which begins in June.  Zimmerman’s defense team would still be able to pursue the stand your ground defense if they chose to do so, it just won’t offer the immunity it would have if his defense team had been prepared.   Zimmerman has still plead “not guilty” and maintains that he shot Treyvan Martin in self defense for fear of his life.

Treyvan Martin would have turned 18 in February had he not been tragically killed a year ago.

WILL THEY BE PREPARED NEXT TIME?

lt will be interesting to see what happens by June, to me his defense teams failure to have been fully prepared and then canceling the pre-trial hearing which would have established his immunity from the actual trial based on the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida.  What little we have seen or heard from him or about the trial in general hasn’t come across as being very appealing in the way it presents him to the public.

Defense Team May Have Caught Break With Witness:

If this weren’t enough excitement, Zimmerman’s defense team will finally be able to question the girl who was on the phone with Martin, following her statement that she did not attend his service due to being hospitalized for trauma proven to be false.  This dishonesty could discredit any testimony she would give and potentially will disqualify her as a witness.