|"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." ~Maya Angelou|
Today, ten years ago, two students took the lives of thirteen people, injured twenty-three others and sent ripples throughout the Denver metro area/state of Colorado before killing themselves. Though I was not a high school student at the time, I remember that day vividly. The lockdown, the news, the tears, the overall helplessness. It hardly seems that ten years have passed.
My heart go out to those who lost their loved ones that day, including the Harrises and Klebolds (though their children were the perpetrators, they too lost children that day). They will never be able to hug them, hold them, tell them how much they are loved and appreciated.
But despite what happened that day, there were many instances of courage and sacrifice. The predominant example, of course, is that of Dave Sanders, the teacher who was shuttling students to safety when he himself was shot, dying later in a classroom. There was the teacher who made the first 911 phone call, the SWAT team members from surrounding precincts called that day, the principal...I could list them all and not have enough space. The indelible spirit that arose from that day is still lingering, even after Columbine made the history books.
Whenever I think of that day, several images and thoughts come to my mind. A group of girls speed walking home and one of their fathers pulling up. Frantic parents reading the lists of students that were accounted for at the nearby elementary school. Crying students. Knowing my pastors' daughter was in the elementary school next door. But one image of courage will always supercede them: the image of Patrick Ireland, waving the policemen over from the library window. Such will and determination, such drive. According to several news sources, Patrick is doing well now, married, a CSU graduate and a field director with Northwest Mutual. He sustained injuries that day and had to relearn how to speak, read, walk. But his story shows us that even though it may be hard, one can overcome a seemingly huge damaging event.
|"What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow." ~Nathaniel Hawthorne|
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." ~Thomas Jefferson
Today in the State of Iowa, where I currently reside, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously struck down a law prohibiting gay marriage in the State of Iowa, declaring it unconstitutional. This makes Iowa the third state in which gay marriage is legal, after Massachusetts and Connecticut and, expectedly, people on both sides of the issue had adverse reactions to the ruling.
Personally, I applaud the decision, but at the same time, I know that this is only one step in the long, arduous battle ahead. The court's decision brings a lot of ire from those who feel the judges went against the will of the people.
Well, I would like to say that history has shown us that the will of the people isn't always right. Loving v. Virginia and Buck v. Bell are two decisions, with differing outcomes, that deal with ideas that concerning the majority of the populus. In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriages were unconstitutional, much the chagrin of many people. In Buck v. Bell, the Supreme Court upheld a statute underwhich the plaintiff, Carrie Buck, had to undergo compulsory sterilization because she was deemed "feeble-minded" and a threat to the gene pool. The idea of purifying the gene pool, or eugenics, was very popular at the time of this decision and many states passed similar statutes/laws, effectively forcibly sterlizing roughly 64,000 individuals between 1907 and 1963.
As much as people on both sides of this issue wage their battles, this issue is not going to go away easily. However, I feel there is a solution. I think that federally, marriage rights should be granted to consenting, nonrelated adults of any sexual orientation with one caveat: the government should not force religious institutions to marry individuals they do not wish to marry. I feel this is a fair solution as everyone will be subject to the same legal rights/privileges and churches/synagogues/mosques are not forced to marry individuals that they cannot marry due to religious convictions. Besides, I'm sure there are officiants that will perform religious ceremonies for same-sex couples. I think most people will like this solution if politicians subscribed to it more.
As some of you may know, I am participating at my college's Relay for Life on March 27-28. Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, and the funds go towards cancer research, patient support, advocacy programs, and education.
At the risk of being presumptuous, I'm sure most of you reading know someone or at least of someone who has battled cancer. Some have won; some have not. I, myself, am participating especially for my grandfather, who battled the disease some 23 years ago, and is currently battling another bout.
Please consider donating to this wonderful cause. I know with these tough economic times money is hard to come by, but even the smallest donation will be greatly appreciated.
If you wish to donate online, follow these instructions:
1.) Go to www.relayforlife.org/iowastate
2.) Click on "Donate"
3.) Type in "Emily Ringle" in the appropriate slots.
4.) Click on my name. This will take you to my personal page, where you can donate there or print an offline donation form.
The site is secure, so your personal information is not at risk.
Thank you all very much. In the words of the American Cancer Society, "Having cancer is hard. Finding help shouldn't be." Again, any donation is greatly appreciated.
|This entry is in response to a friend's recent blog. I hope she understands that I respect her and though I disagree with many of the opinions she has posted, I hope she takes no offense to whatever I may say. That goes for any other person reading my blog. I welcome comments but please don't take offense to what I may say and be respectful in your discourse.|
I am 22 years old, due to turn 23 this October. Compared to the vast majority of people in my demographic, I considered myself decently informed politically. I go to school in Iowa which had a whirlwind of political activity this past year. I go to a university which has a large amount of conservative students and (thanks to my boyfriend) I watch the Fox News Report with Shephard Smith and the O'Reilly Factor daily. Since my sophomore/junior year in high school, I have taken part in discussion with my conservative classmates and those experiences always ended on good notes. During my tenure in college, I have continued to partake in some political discussion but, for better or worse, more wary of who I discuss my opinions with. While there are many people who have been civil and have taught me a thing or two, there are also a good number who have disrespected me greatly. Most attacks can be whiddled down to calling me an atheist, stupid, or, my least favorite/most hurtful, that I "should do some research".
It never ceases to amaze me how people, whether left or right leaning, refuse to listen to an opposing view point and are quick to make personal attacks. In my limited experience, the greatest offenders seem to be college students. Furthermore, I don't usually, if at all, talk to adults old enough to be parents or grandparents about politics. My reasoning, my fear is that I won't be taken seriously and instead be more or less reprimanded due to my age. Is it an unfounded fear? Perhaps. I do feel it is somewhat legitimate and I'm sure I'm not the only young person that feels this way.
In terms of the upcoming general election, I have two cents to put in. First, I believe that there will be LOW voter turnout. There are many conservatives who dislike McCain and many on the left dislike Obama. Those who do turn out and vote will more than likely vote along party lines. I personally believe that regardless if you register in either party or as an independent, a responsible voter examines each candidate and their issues and vote based on that information, not because the candidate had D or R after their name. I, personally, am a Hillary Clinton supporter (go ahead and groan...) and as of right now, will not be voting for either Obama or McCain. I will write in a candidate as my vote. I know that it can be regarded as a wasted vote but that's how I feel at the moment. And even though my vote may not contribute to the presidential election, I know there will be issues on the ballot that I can have a voice in.
I had more to say but my train of thought derailed somewhere. I do apologize for the jumbleness of the entry; it's hard to organize my thoughts at times.