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Lesson Plans

Guns and Co.tragedy

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
S. Henneborn (heneborn)
Fri, 23 Apr 1999 15:07:09 -0600

This has become a very interesting thread. We all have immediate opinions and
emotions and when we fire off those opinions. We make assumptions and we don't
think about where they will land. The music teacher at my school is
continually suggesting that I take a little time to cool my jets before I
speak. It has saved me a lot of "Take it back's" I have struggled with that
all my life. You think that you see clear, simple solutions. You just don't
know what baggage another person has to carry around.

A very good thing about this list is that we can throw something out for
discussion and immediately a flood of opinions come pouring out so we get a
picture from many sides. I have been so upset about CO. that I haven't slept
in days so that is why I am spilling out all these words at 3:00 in the
morning! Maybe if I could sleep I wouldn't be ranting like a wild woman. It
has been very helpful to write this and if you wade through to the end thanks
for listening. Whether any one reads or not it has been good to vent and
imaging someone listening. Whew!

Humans have a tendency to simplify things when it should be our experience
that humans are extremely complicated and assumptions will always find
exceptions. The assumption that the posting from a Texan who knows how to
shoot a gun is a Gun Nut is a big leap many people take. I grew up in Texas,
Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico. learned to fire a gun at age 8. Needed to
have one (.22) under my bed when I was a teen and lived in a very dangerous
situation. For about 8 months a large group of clean cut middle class young
men terrorized our town and as far as I know none were ever charged. They set
fires, raped, killed, and assaulted in their short reign of terror.

This Colorado thing has upset me and brought back memories that I keep on the
back burner. There has been a lot of talk about how this is a result of
current conditions. Look again!

(If I named the town you wouldn't believe me - Good schools - good
neighborhoods) 1952~ 3 kids were murdered by these kids in my Jr. High --1
hung by his own belt from a light fixture in a classroom after a basketball
game. I remember him at the ball game. He was a simple, good natured kid. He
liked to annoy the "big boys" for attention. The second was a chubby boy who
was teased a lot. He was found wrapped in barbed wire on the playground early
one morning. The third was my friend who was abducted by a clean cut young man
in front of my eyes. I was screaming at her not to get close to his car but he
was cute and enticed her. She wanted to see his new red sports car! Found her
body 3 days later. Police yelled at me and a third friend because we didn't
get the license #. I could draw him but it didn't help. No one at school
talked to us about any of this. I know the FBI (or some other letters) was
involved because one of their young agents undercover was killed at the little
store where we bought gum and candy. An older kid in my study hall warned me
not to go buy gum that day. He insisted that I not go outside the building.

The paper reported women raped in their homes. People got big dogs!

I was stalked by a young man I didn't know, who told me what he was going to
do with my body parts. I got away from him by being more clever than he. My
mom dropped me off at church to meet friends. As I walked toward the church a
young man stepped out of a recess in a building. Made my neck hairs crawl. I
went into the door of the first public building like I had been taught (before
all this) to do if I felt in danger. People had gone home and I saw no one.
I heard him come in after me and so I pressed the elevator button to the 4th
floor and walked quietly to the 7th. I hid there for hours in a corner, under
a table with chairs and big boxes pulled up around me. He searched the floors
and kept telling me what he planned to do when he found me. Most of the words
I didn't know but the tone I GOT! I did understand what he was going do do
with my body parts. I won't share that. All I saw of him were his jeans and
boots when he stood near my table. In the evening a large party of people came
into the building but I still stayed under my table until I heard my mother's
frantic voice asking if anyone had seen me.

All this terror began suddenly and disappeared as quickly as it came. I never
knew more that what I read in the paper or discussed with my mother. My mother
must have been frantic . She met my bus every day and we stayed close to
home. My dad was in Korea.

I learned to fight to defend myself. That was in 1952. Don't think there is
anything new here! I didn't live in fear I just learned to watch my back and
take precautions just like I do now when I go to NYC or a mall. This is
probably where I got my don't f- with me attitude! Other wise you were mince
meat . I think there were lots of tough kids who felt empowered by all this
and felt free to bully their classmates. 2 of the sweetest girls I knew
from another Jr. High filed their belt buckles so that one edge was sharp as a
razor and when they whipped those off and started whirling them over their
heads the harassers scattered!

We students rode public busses to school. Our bus driver on the afternoon run
was a sweetheart and he stayed at the stop 'till we reached the door of a home
close to the stop. One afternoon my friends and I got off and he waited for
us to get to the door. There was one old woman and a young man still on the
bus. I don't need to describe the rest. No one from school ever talked to us
about the death of our bus driver. We read about him in the paper. The old
lady gave a description but nothing happened.

None of these people were killed with guns I would not have a gun in my
house now but I don't think I will need one here. I believe strongly in gun
registration and in responsible use of fire arms but humans, being what they
are, I will only be happy in a world where guns are in museums where people
will marveled at the primitive tool man used to use! There are no simple
answers. My husband, who taught Slavic Studies as a teaching fellow at
Harvard, gave me a civics lesson on the history of the Albanians. That was an
eye opener for me! I think I know so much and I don't know SQUAT !

I get disturbed when people know a few facts about me and think they can sum
me up. I've had people assume that because I am a Southern Baptist preachers
kid from Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina (Yeah, I lived there, too)
that I would be tight assed and prejudice. very inconsistent with marching
for civil rights and marching for gay rights and having a jewish husband. I am
very conservative and extremely liberal at the same time. I try to assume
that about everyone else but often forget it and start putting people in
boxes. Then something shakes me, opens my eyes and I have to sheepishly look again.

Thanks for listening.

Feeling as safe as anywhere in NJ