Jim posted this on Facebook last week; we thought it worth restating here:“Like everyone I was angry and sad over the week following the senseless mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. I found two charitable foundations that have enabled me to condemn these acts by directly helping impacted families: The Dayton Foundation and The El Paso Community Foundation. Help if you can.I turned to the relentlessly tolerant and optimistic words of Elie Wiesel who I had the privilege of knowing; it has been three years since he passed, but his words will always inspire me and humankind (See above). Those words capture so much, including the hope that we can find the next young male who has such an intense hate for his world. And then, instead of excluding him as too odd or awkward, we talk to him and listen to him to find out why; and maybe change the course.
I also had a conversation with retired Giant’s wide receiver Victor Cruz on Thursday while in East Harlem. We didn’t discuss football (I’m no Giants fan!) but we did talk about the cleats inked with “R.I.P. Jack Pinto” that he wore in December 2012 and ultimately gave to a grieving 11-year old Ben Pinto, who had lost his brother in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. What struck me about what Cruz did was that it was selfless and human and it made a difference. In a self-absorbed society we must push harder for ways to be selfless and human.
I was shocked by the yelling and finger pointing that followed these events on social media: isn’t it obvious that this contributes to the problem? How is the next would-be killer, lurking on social media, impacted by these sour exchanges? And how can we possibly work together and do what needs to be done to prevent the next tragedy if we aren’t even having a reasonable conversation?
I hope through all this we have a genuine national ‘conversation’ about this problem, about guns and health, and do what it takes to ensure a better and safer country. But no action can have an immediate enough impact so let’s look at what we can do locally and personally right away:
(1) Let’s support and advance local efforts to make our schools and other public spaces safer. I commend the CCSD Board of Education and administration for taking action on school safety, including at the last BOE meeting where the updated District Wide Safety Plan was presented and a commitment to School Resource Officers was made. The Town (our Police Chief and Sup. Greenstein) also deserve credit for pushing for SRO’s;
(2) Let’s tone down the rhetoric on social media and talk to each other in person; and
(3) let’s be more tolerant in our communities and include more people in our lives who might be isolated and different before they turn for the worse.
Share your ideas with each other and let’s all listen and consider them because we all share a common interest in keeping our community and families safe.”