It is now two weeks since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. And while we are mourning the loss of the 17 innocent victims, the blame games are now taking central stage:
From the FBI’s failure to act on a tip that Nikolas Cruz was dangerous and a serious threat; to Scot Peterson, the resource officer who waited four minutes outside the building where the shooting was taking place; to Broward Sheriff Scott Israel for how his office handled complaints about Cruz in the years before the shooting; to how his deputies failed to act during the shooting, etc., etc.
I have heard that hindsight is 20/20, making it easy for some of us to point our fingers and say what should have been done, or what we would have done. Why, even President Trump is reported to have said that had he been there, he would “have run into the building unarmed.” Don’t see how that would have helped the situation.
Meanwhile, 17 innocent souls are gone from among us. Some of them died shielding others from harm.
I wasn’t there on that fateful day, so, it is hard for me to say what I would have done under the circumstances. I do believe that had I been there and recognized the bangs as gunshots, I would have first dialed 911, assessed the situation, and would have done what I could to help others who had been shot. Apparently, that is what some of the those who died, and some survivors, did.
In such cases it is only right for investigators to ask: “What could we have done to have prevented such a horrible crime?” or, “How could we have reached out to a young man who had already exhibited serious mental problems?” or, “How do we prevent this from happening again?”
One of our president’s answers to the situation is to arm our teachers. It won’t work, Mr. President. Our teachers already have a lot to deal with in the classroom. Why would you want them to take on the added responsibility of carrying firearms?
Meanwhile, our children are showing us how to get things changed. They are demanding better gun laws and are saying “Never Again.” And while some adults and lawmakers seem to turn a deaf ear to the cries of these brave, young Americans, I stand in solidarity with them. I pray for them and for the families of the latest victims of gun violence.
Clearly the youth of our country realize that now is not the time to focus on who is to blame, but to deal how to stop the killings if our gun laws are not changed.
Some of the young people who have met with state and federal lawmakers have lost dear friends in the Parkland shootings. Their cries have not always been met with respect from our elected officials. They have had to deal with the loss of their friends, while mounting a campaign to see that it doesn’t happen to anyone else. They have put their grieving aside, in order to get the message out that things have got to change.
And change must happen, people. Surely the nation that can launch great spaceships to orbit the earth; that can put a man on the moon, and that has some of the greatest minds in the world — surely we can find a solution to these killings. Can’t we put aside our selfishness and meet our young people half the way to come up with a solution?
Listen up, lawmakers. Nobody wants to kill the Second Amendment. We just want to come together with you to find a way to stop the killing of our children. That’s all. It’s not such a tall order. We can do this. We can stop this violence from happening again.
Holocaust survivor honored
Warm congratulations to Miriam Klein Kassenoff, a Holocaust survivor, who was honored by the Jewish Legislative Caucus on Feb. 13 in Tallahassee for her outstanding work in the Jewish community.
Kassenoff, who is director of the School of Education and Human Development’s Holocaust Teacher Institute at the University of Miami, received the honor at a breakfast as a part of the first Jewish American Heritage Week (Feb. 12-16). The commemorative week was established by Rep. Emily Slosberg of Delray Beach, and Sen. Daphne Campbell of Miami-Dade County.
In her acceptance speech Kassenoff thanked Slosberg and Campbell for choosing her for the recognition. “It has been a long journey for me, coming from Nazi-occupied Europe as a young Jewish child fleeing, running, and hiding, clutching my parents’ hands, and finally reaching freedom in the United States of America.”
AIDS national prayer week
The National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS will be commemorated March 4-11 at churches, synagogues and mosques throughout the country.
In keeping with the commemoration, Miami-Dade’s Churches United for HIV/AIDS Prevention will have its annual Pastoral Prayer Breakfast at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 6, at Bethel Apostolic Temple, 1855 NW 119th St., where the Rev. Carol Nash-Lester is the pastor. The Rev. Howard Rose, pastor of Greater Fellowship Missionary Baptist church will be the guest speaker.
At 7 p.m. on March 9, the “Sing for A Cure” concert will be at the church and will feature international gospel recording artist Debra Snipes and The Angels.
The week is an annual HIV awareness campaign that mobilizes faith communities and highlights the contributions and impact that pastors and their congregations are making in areas of HIV prevention: testing, direct service, advocacy and community engagement. During the week, all faith-based organizations, and houses of worship are asked to pause for a moment of prayer for the healing of HIV/AIDS during their worship services, and also provide AIDS information to their surrounding communities.
For more information, call the Rev. Darryl K. Baxter at 305-978-7100. Baxter is an associate pastor at Bethel Apostolic Temple, president of The Family Foundation and is the Churches United Conference chairman. You may also call the Rev. Marquise Hardrick, senior pastor of Trinity CME Church in Miami and co-chair of Churches United Conference. His number is, 305-373-7162.
Jewish Book Series
The Meet the Author Jewish Book Series at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center, will present two free events during March.
On March 7, the center will present Aaron Raskin, author of “Thank You G-d for Making Me a Woman.” He is the spiritual leader of the only orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn Heights, New York. His book aims to show that it is a mistaken belief that Judaism values the male contribution to its daily liturgy and life more than the female.
At 7:30 p.m. March 26, at Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus, 20350 NE 26th Ave. the center will present David Dalin, author of “Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court, from Brandeis to Kagan.”
Dalin’s book examines the lives, legal careers and legacies of the eight Jews who have, or who currently serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a conservative rabbi and has authored 11 books.
The Meet the Author Jewish Book series is a collaboration with seven other Jewish organizations, agencies, and synagogues.
Each program includes a complimentary reception and book-signing following the author’s presentation. Books will be available for purchase. For more information call David Surowitz, series coordinator at 305-932-2400.
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