Not again!

I got this email from McAdams, who teaches in Nebraska, this evening: “Survived my first shooting today. Both of my principals were shot in the main office. Both in critical condition. The shooter was a senior. He committed suicide.”

At this posting, one of the victims has died. McAdams described her as “..nice to everybody, a real grandmotherly type.”
McAdams is fine, and I am so grateful I want to cry.
My local news didn’t mention the incident, but instead led with the fact that a regional chain store was going to offer its merchandise online.
The student, the son of a police detective, was apparently angry because he was suspended earlier in the day for an infraction of school policy. I forgot what McAdams said it was, but I thought the suspension was reasonable. ABC news reported: In a rambling Facebook post filled with expletives, Butler warned Wednesday that people would hear about the “evil” things he did and said the school drove him to violence.

He wrote that the Omaha school was worse than his previous one, and that the new city had changed him. He apologized and said he wanted people to remember him for who he was before affecting “the lives of the families I ruined.” The post ended with “goodbye.”

Now is not the time for preaching…but I can’t help myself.
1. When you care about people, or when they make your load a bit lighter, or if they do you some small kindness, you should let them know. I heard about this man who decided to write a thank you card every day to someone he wanted to recognize and acknowledge. I thought it was a nice idea, but a little over the top and hokey. I think I am going to do it, too. I mean really, how many times do I have to learn and forget the same lesson? Life is unpredictable and short. Our greatest gifts are the relationships and connections we are lucky enough to enjoy, and we should cultivate and nurture them.
2. In order to save money, many school districts are cutting teachers and increasing class size, even in elementary school. Vote no and protest vigorously against any law that forces students to have less contact with competent, concerned adults. A kid is at school for the majority of every day. If that time is wasted, we may never get it back. Teachers cannot bond with 10 classes of up to 40 kids each, and this sort of action is harmful to everyone involved.
3. Please remember that even though there are some bad teachers and administrators, most people who devote their lives to education want to be good, and they try, even when they really don’t feel like it.
4. We must guard against becoming desensitized by bad news or the feeling that we are being overwhelmed and always strive to make things better. Do good, and don’t give up.
To my friends who read this blog:
Dear Friends,
This is my first post of the new year, and I think it is fitting that it concludes with this thank you note.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to get to know me better than you already do. Some of you have been my friends since I was a kid; some have known me all my life. For you to still be interested in my thoughts, feelings, and bullshit rantings is so touching; I can’t tell you how much it really means to me. You make me feel special and smart. It’s everything to know that you care.
Thank you for your comments. I read them all. Twice, at least.
Thank you to those of you who are new, or who I don’t see often, for keeping up with me, even though I am not on Facebook.
I love writing this blog; it makes me feel better, and I like having a record of my thoughts. Still, I think if it weren’t for those of you who I know read it, I don’t think I would keep it up, and that would be a shame, because I learn so much from it. So thanks again.
I wish you all happiness, health, hope, growth and opportunity in 2011 and beyond. I really love you, and you know who you are – and you know I know, too!
Take care of yourselves.