Friday, August 23, 2013

AC360 interviews school employee from school incident near Atlanta; the importance of "stepping up", in person, when challenged to do so

The later into August it gets, the lazier network programming gets, except for news.  And for everything critical out there, right now it still seems that CNN is running away with a  pennant just like the Atlanta Braves.
Last night (Thursday, August 22, 2013), Anderson Cooper spent most of his hour interviewing Antoinette Tuff, the school (McNair Discovery Learning Center in Decatur, GA) bookkeeper who singlehandedly talked the young man threatening the school with a weapon down into surrender.  The link for the episode, and video, is here
Tuff met 911 dispatcher Kendra McCray on the program.

There’s no need to re-summarize all the details, which are all over the news.  This incident had a safe conclusion, unlike Sandy Hook; from a policy viewpoint, we come back to Piers Morgan and his questions as to how someone like Michael Brandon Hill, who had been on psychiatric medications, still got access to weapons. 
The startling aspect of the story was the way Tuff opened her heart to the young man, to talk him into surrender.  She even said she loved him.  I could not have brought myself to say something like this.
A few years ago, I worked as a substitute teacher in Arlington VA and Fairfax County schools (middle and high).  Sporadically, unpredictable situations could occur, especially with special education students (who could not be avoided). I have to admit that I did not “step up” to these in ways that could be more personal than I was prepared for.  That’s one reason I no longer do this job.

A lot of moral capital comes out of situations that we don’t choose to be in but must step up to.  A lot of the capacity for longstanding relationships to form and persist (marriages) come from this capacity.   And there seems to be an unpleasant inverse.  If one doesn’t step up when challenged, one loses one’s rights later if one becomes a victim.
AC360 spent a little time at the end with Hannah Anderson, rescued after James Lee DiMaggio was shot by law enforcement, in a horrific series that apparent had domestic causes.
AC360 did not get to covering the Duncan, OK “boredom” shooting of Australian baseball player Christopher Lane by teens James Francis Edwards and/or Chancey Allen Luna, with Michael Dwanye Jones as an accomplice.  Erin Burnett covered it, however on her 11 PM Outfront program on CNN.  The most recent information seems to be that this was a gang initiation shooting.  Overnight, there is news of a horrific beating of an 88 year old in Spokane, WA that sounds gang-related, and of a mass shooting near Miami, FL.  Piers Morgan will have a lot more ammunition tonight. 

Is all this happening because of no-parenting or bad parenting?  Does it have to do with the "right people" sometimes not even having children at all?  Or does it have to do partly with social disconnection, that invokes everybody?  Pastors will have a lot to say about these matters.

Wikipedia attribution link for courthouse in Decatur.  My last visit, 1971 (to grad school friends);  my last visit to Atlanta, 2004. 

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