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  • After the Town Hall

    So I watched the CNN Town Hall as part of research for a story I’m writing on school shootings. In many respects, it had the feel of a community wake and the start of a larger conversation that is 20+ years too late.

    You can’t help but be moved by the raw words and visceral responses of a community traumatized by yet another horrific incident on one our nation’s campuses. Kudos to those who went into this knowing they would be roasted, such as Rubio.

    Most of all, kudos to those who said the time for talk is over. Don’t say something; do something.

    It’s worth noting those who were conspicuous by their absence. Why did the governor and the FBI not show? Why won’t state leaders engage these kids in public?

    Why? That’s the lingering question no one seems to be able to answer. But the tide could be turning.

  • More Thoughts on Schools and Gun Control

    I’ve been giving the situation in Florida a great deal of thought over the past several days and have a few observations:

    1. What makes this school shooting different than similarly horrific incidents is you have a community of teens who has had enough and is willing to do something about it. Say what you will about timing, grieving and place for these types of debates, but denying the power of these future leaders to galvanize and force change at a time when our government is stuck in its same-ole, same-ole battles is the equivalent of impersonating an ostrich. (An ostrich that, BTW, can’t decide whether to bury his/her head in the sand or a chosen part of his/her anatomy.)

    2. Saying these kids are fake actors or are having their statements written for them is a either a blatant misunderstanding or utter lack of respect of their intelligence and values.

    3. These digital natives are smart, pissed and have access to tools to bring their message to a worldwide audience in a nanosecond. They have no patience for platitudes, thoughts and prayers, no matter how sincere we are. Lip service is out; action is in. The fact that they are grieving openly while demanding change is not something that should be dismissed, but heralded.

    4. We talk about the current generation’s lack of civic engagement. And yet, when kids become engaged about something that goes against society’s longstanding beliefs/mores, we try to dismiss or disparage them. You can’t have it both ways. A bedrock of engagement is the knowledge that people can and will disagree before reaching consensus, and being comfortable enough in ourselves to allow that to happen in a civil manner. If, sadly, the pain and suffering of others is what has to happen to bring change, then we should be applauding them for their courage instead of denigrating them or dismissing their opinions.

    5. Note that I’m not making a blanket statement about gun control, espousing conspiracy theories, or disparaging the values and beliefs of others. There’s plenty of that going around already. My hope is that this level of engagement from our kids — the ones we claim are our future leaders — can be appreciated, respected and, ultimately, valued.

    #CNNTownHall #StudentsStandUp #ParklandStudentsSpeak

  • Jill Featured in NBC Story

    Jill is featured in this anti-bullying piece that was produced by NBC News. The piece aired on a number of NBC-owned stations this week.

  • Random Thoughts: January & February

    Metaphor for life: Candle burning at both ends

    The brain does some strange things when it is on overload. And mine has been overloaded more than usual recently. So here are a few random thoughts jotted down over the past six weeks or so...

    • Subtle: Another word not in the average teen's vocabulary. Nuance: Not even in the same dictionary.

    • Sometimes you try and succeed. Sometimes you try and fail. Sometimes, you just try.

    • I'm not sure what bothers me more: Brian Williams being suspended for telling lies, or Bill O'Reilly defending him.

    • It's Mondays like this that make you wonder how the Duggars weren't the Donners in a past life.

    • State of the Union with a Democratic president and Republican Congress =  Really glad I didn't play the "bipartisan" drinking game.

    • Our adopted cat must have been a dog in a past life. And apparently he pissed someone off during the reincarnation process.

    • Shouting Freebird at a concert should be just as punishable as saying Fire! in a crowded theater.

    • The day Newsies reported the highest grossing week in the history of Chicago theatre, fans of Billy Elliot marked the third anniversary of the show's closing on Broadway. When Newsies played to huge crowds in Charlotte, Broadway marked the fifth anniversary of the Ragtime closing. Theatre in January. Sigh.

    • Classy player. Classy guy. Congrats to Craig Biggio on a much deserved honor — the Baseball Hall of Fame!

    In the spirit of true bipartisanship, I think we can all agree on one thing: Ewww...