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Letter: Life is precious and fleeting

Published 10:42am Monday, December 24, 2012

Letter to the Editor

In lieu of the recent Newtown tragedy, I asked my creative writing class (a mix of juniors and seniors) whether they felt safe at our school, and even though I was assured the kids indeed felt safe, I could tell some of them were talking tough as young people have a tendency to do. They also asked questions I could not answer.

I encouraged them to watch and read the news for the facts as they become available, but to be careful readers around the editorials. I explained (to the best of my limited ability in such matters) that new gun laws and new issues pertaining to mental health issues will most certainly be the focus of national dialogue heading into any next elections or discussions of changes in workplace protocol at many levels.

Most of them felt guns should be allowed in our society, but many questioned the need for public ownership of military assault rifles. Some asked me if I felt safe. To me safety in a public building is a relative term and a matter of perception because it can change in an instant. I’m sure the folks around Newtown or the movie theater in Colorado or the religious temple in Wisconsin or the mall in Oregon or the military base in Texas or the training facility of the Kansas City Chiefs would agree. I’m fairly confident that anyone who values life would agree with my statement. Life is both precious and fleeting.

What bothered me most about the Newtown murders was the fact it was perpetrated against little people who couldn’t have possibly fought back even if they had wanted to do so. I told my students that life is cruel sometimes. It seemed like a lame answer to some of their questions, but with the recent wave of shootings, I’m pretty sure some of them have already figured that out on their own.

Tim J. Brennan,

English teacher at Southland High School,

lives in Austin

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