It seems just a few short days ago, I was preparing and presenting a speech for our graduates about tolerance and trust. I encouraged them that there are things that will happen in life to shake our safety and security when others act on fear and anger.
And, on the weekend, we faced the latest challenge to our belief in what we think the world should become when senselessly, fellow human beings were slaughtered because of hate and intolerance. My heart is broken and I’m left numbed by the long string of atrocities that span the globe. Fear and reproach have no borders of boundaries, it seems, crossing all ethnic and cultural lines and founded in the wrongheaded belief that diversity somehow cripples us.
Somewhere along the way in our development as a species, we have lost track of the common goal of humankind. Like many of you, I’m sick of moments of silence and empty rhetoric. I was always brought up believing that our commonly held goal was not to write laws that carefully restricted access to guns, but that our true aim was to craft a world where weapons of any kind would no longer be necessary nor allowed. I teach children so that they will aspire to craft a planet that values people over property and were “peace and prosperity for all” is the commonly held goal.
In my heart, I’m standing with the families and friends of those who lost their lives in Orlando. I’m also thoughtful of those who have died in similar circumstances around the world, that do not make the mainstream press, but who have succumbed to a similar mix of anger and ill will. Terrorism in all its forms and locations is just wrong.
I believe, as many have stated, that one thing is true. If we seek to fight the crazy person wielding the gun and make him our enemy, we are missing the point. It is not about the gun or the man wielding it. It is about the beliefs that inspired his actions and about how we, as teachers of each successive generation, inspire something far better in the minds of the children we serve. We need a world of peace and understanding, now more than ever. It makes our tenet at AAS of “Respect Self AND Others” particularly poignant.
I wish you well as we leave school in the shadow of these events. I hope you find and inspire peace and tranquility throughout the summer. I wish you safe travels and an equally safe return here or arrival to your new destination. To a school of 65 nationalities that is also diverse in all other ways possible, I can say only one thing: I love each and every one of you!!