Friday, June 7, 2013

Sadness in Santa Monica

Two comments on the shootings today near my house in Santa Monica:

1) Another assault-weapon rampage.  With a knife or even a handgun, fewer people would have died.  

2) The address of the father and brother of the shooter (all three now dead) tells me so much.  It's half a block from the public elementary school my kids attended, Edison Language Academy.

This is the low-income neighborhood of Santa Monica, made up mostly of Latinos and a few African-Americans and others.

The shooter was probably unemployed and about the same age as my kids (26 to 31).  He probably had mental problems and did not have the money to get help--the medications, psychiatrists, therapists he obviously needed.

I'm feeling grieved for his mother and other family members, as well as for the others killed and their families, and for the persons wounded.  So many people have been touched by this tragedy.

For several years after a fatal stabbing at a teen party attended by one of my kids in 2001, I worked with others in a coalition for violence prevention in Santa Monica.  That group was later superseded by  LA Voice, part of the Pico National Network for neighborhood improvement:

One of my friends in the violence prevention group died last November, and in her honor some friends began the Katherine K. McTaggart Scholarship for Violence Prevention.  This May for the first time we awarded a scholarship to the graduating student at Santa Monica High School who had been the most active in preventing violence.

We did not prevent today's violence, but this kind of work is one step in the right direction.  Another step would be making preschool available to all children--a program President Obama mentioned in his inauguration speech last January.

Harriet Beecher Stowe said, "One step fairly taken in the right direction goes farther than any amount of agonized back-looking."

Let's take two steps in the right direction: BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS and MAKE PRESCHOOL EDUCATION AVAILABLE to all families that want it.

Another option is to send a donation to the Katherine K. McTaggart Scholarship for Violence Prevention, care of SMHS Alumni Association, P. O. Box 5592, Santa Monica CA 90409-5592.

For details about the shooting, see this article and future updates in the Los Angeles Times:,0,5835846.story

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