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10:39 a.m. - April 23, 2007
I'm Going To Make A Difference
I know I promised a rant today. In fact, I promised a week of rants.

But something changed my mind over the weekend. And I need to share it, but I also need to share why I wanted to rant in the first place.

I was all wound up when I saw this article, stating that some people out there in right-wing nutball land were ‘blaming the victims’ at Virginia Tech for ‘being passive’ and just waiting to get picked off.

Oh, that got me incensed.

First, it’s a cheap political ploy to use those victims to declaim the ‘liberal’ values we’re teaching.

Second, have those folks ever BEEN in the midst of a shooting incident? Well, have they?

I have.

In high school, we took our Economics class exams in the school cafeteria, because our room was small and the desks were close together. The cafeteria in the old high school wasn’t that big, either, it had booths with plastic benches on either side, and it was as big as a two classrooms basically.

My senior year, after everyone finished with the exam, we were just waiting for the bell. My bud Toast and I were assigning Dungeons and Dragons alignments to everyone in the room. After we got done with that, we were just hanging and all of a sudden we heard a ‘pop’.

Someone had firecrackers. Then we heard a moan, and another pop. We turned, and we saw a classmate of ours (who was not in our Econ class) with a gun, and he fired one more shot into the gut of another classmate who was in our class.

The gunman then fled. It took me about a minute to process what I saw. I was just numb.

In looking back, had the gunman wanted to, he could have picked off more of us. Many of us were just frozen.

In situations like this – it’s all instinct. I’m sure if some of us had military training or other training, we would have acted differently. But we could not believe what we were seeing, and for most of us that left us just motionless.

The person who was shot survived, and the gunman was caught and served time, and when he emerged he was totally reformed. It was all about a love triangle.

Anyway, the point is this – you do not have the right to sit on the sidelines and judge anyone’s actions during a spree like that. Did anyone say that during Columbine? I don’t think so.

From what I read, after the initial shooting spree, when the gunman moved to other rooms, some people got their heads cleared up and did act to stop him. But the poor victims who were in the first room probably were just frozen in fear. And I know what that feels like.

So that’s what got me angry, and I was just going to follow on with a week long rant-fest. I had subjects all picked out. I was channeling my inner Howard Beale.

But Sunday, I changed my mind.

As you read, Friday night we hosted a information session / fundraiser for the Youth Service Bureau for their car seat safety program that they run in conjunction with the local fire department.

The director of the YSB also talked about other programs, and one really struck a chord with me. So much so, that in the fall I will go through the training and volunteer for it.

It’s the CASA program.

In a county like ours where there are plenty of families in need, and children that suffer due to parental abuse and neglect, this program provides hope because the children HAVE a voice in the county. The judges in this county take the role of the CASA very seriously and take their recommendations seriously.

The time is not right to complain about people making asses of themselves with foolish statements. The time is right for me to work in this community. In the fall, I’m going to go to the training class (they only train twice a year) and I WILL make a difference.

I also have sent an email to the director of the local Family Crisis Shelter. I am on the board, but on Sunday I thought that I really needed to do more stuff for them. So I will see what needs to be done.

What will go by the wayside will be covering sports for the local paper. I’m at a place where I’d like to give more time to the town, especially since it looks like that we’re going to be here as a family for a while (a long while) and this town needs help.

Sitting in church, I felt at ease with myself, totally, for the first time in a long time because I felt that God was telling me what my purpose is right now. I am to be the loving husband and father, and help my church and my community grow and prosper.

That’s a lot more important stuff than ranting about things you can’t change anyway.


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