Samuel Zeif and Stoneman Douglas

I can’t get over how important and powerful Samuel Zeif’s presence was at the White House on Wednesday, February 21, 2018. You can read his words here. Listen here. His words were excellent and most moving, but what has stuck with me personally even more was his crying. 


Male crying is something we hardly ever see, and we need to see much more of it.

All too often society teaches that masculinity and crying (especially, public crying) are totally separate 

Samuel Zeif gave the nation a powerful example and showed that crying and masculinity are not mutually exclusive categories.

Masculinity = crying. 

On a related note, I love what the governor of New York said about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the response by its students:

I think the high school students are showing more leadership than their elected officials.

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda

Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives

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6 replies

  1. So true. Many of these students are extremely articulate, in fact, more articulate than the adults we have heard speak. I like the fact that they bring up some aspect of the Declaration of Independence that laid down the very basis of the existence of a separate US from Britain. The 2nd Amendment came long after the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and it is about time that we stop the shutting down of any discussion of it and what it means.

    I heard one commentator on PBS mention that putting guns into the hands of teachers is cheaper than hiring another security guard. I think she was referring to what Trump said, or someone else who entertained the thought of having armed teachers in schools. AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!! They are not willing to pay for security at all, are they? Don’t all teachers who are so armed deserve hazard pay? Don’t ALLL teachers today deserve hazard pay? We keep relegating parental responsibility to them, and now we want to relegate policing to teachers as well? If we want to hire supermen and superwomen, we have to be willing to pay for that attribute. You get what you pay for. Even mental health counselors would be cheaper than hiring security guards, and they might actually prevent mass shootings instead of just responding (or not, as we have seen recently at Parkland) after an incident starts. Once again, very few people are considering that the problem is complex and has to be addressed from all aspects, not just gun control, security guards, better FBI and local authority response, mental health.

    We keep looking for a “magic bullet” that will solve everything. But we are not looking at the obvious “magic bullet” at all. No one has mentioned that mass shooters tend to hit large schools where kids can blend into the crowd easily and be missed and ignored by anyone, where bullying can occur easily because they just do not have enough adult supervision there. (Enrollment size is often not reported at all in the news–are reporters clueless as to mechanisms?) Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky. where there was a mass shooting, is considered a “small” school with 1369 students enrolled there. That could hardly be considered “small.” In fact, all high schools bigger than 200-300 should be considered “large,” and thus a more likely target for mass shooters, whether they had been enrolled there or not.

    Large schools are a result of districts wanting to hire fewer teachers and hoping on a dime that all kids will be treated as individuals. Is that working very well? Maybe the “magic bullet” is to confine all high schools to no more than 300 students, all middle schools to be no more than 100 students, and all pre-K and K-6 schools to be no bigger than around 20-30 individuals. After all, that will tend to blend in best with an age-appropriate number of people that the child can reasonably get to know within the span of time they spend there. The anonymity that most kids will face when entering a larger school than they can handle is just what magnifies the trauma that many kids come from in their homes.

    And it appears that early childhood trauma may predict the most likely mass shooter (along with some other factors), from what little we know of those shooters who were still alive after the shooting. Furthermore, the kids would probably transition easier when their neighborhood school is just that, a large house at the end of the block, and very close to the one-room schoolhouse that served so many people in the past. We have to get back to basics when thinking about what is best for the kids and stop trying to squeeze them into smaller and smaller budgets. We might find that security is fairly easy to provide with small schools, and the individualistic treatment they get might turn out better scholars in the long run. After all, aren’t those the primary reasons we send our kids to school? or is it just to satisfy the bean counters who want to say what our literacy level is?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The entire lack of debate about banning assault rifles is due to a desire to cater to the fantasies of people about guns, not about 2nd amendment rights. Someone spoke about the “gun culture” as opposed to those who buy guns to hunt or for protection. The AR-15 has no place at all in the latter two, but boy, it sure seems that it is solely allowed to fulfill some fantasy. It can’t be used to respond to a so-armed school shooter, simply because that shooter is just sending a spray of bullets to kill as many people as possible. The person who wants to take down such a shooter would never use an AR-15 to do this because it will kill just as many people as the mass shooter does. (This reminds me of a scene I will relate below).

    But, that’s the point about hiring someone to be the responder, who has had experience in the military, especially in sniper shooting. Few police ever get that kind of training, so even they are poorly equipped to take down an AR-15 shooter.

    Several years back (maybe after the Virginia Tech shooting incident), Katie Couric did a documentary where an experiment was done in a university lecture hall, where various students were armed with paintball guns. Some students were trained as snipers in the military, others only had target shooting practice, others had no training. A mass shooter armed with another fake assault rifle appears in the classroom. Students are running screaming for cover. Some are shot by both armed students and the mass shooter, some only shot by other students. The sniper-trained student couldn’t get a shot off at all because there was no opportunity to do so safely. Do any of the armed school staff get sniper training? If not, isn’t it just a poorly thought out plan to protect students?

    The scene: One day NPR reported on two elderly people who were having an argument outside their apartments on the a common balcony, and both pulled out a handgun and started shooting. The police showed up there to find bullet holes everywhere, on the porch floor, the railing, the walls, the ceiling, but neither shooter was even grazed, despite being only 20 feet apart. Ah, another cost of Parkinson’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree! I want to join in and say I agree! I agree!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well it seems that yesterday the castrati in Washington, DC have gotten tired of listening to the students and no solution is even being considered in Congress.

    Liked by 1 person

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