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Feb-29-2012 01:13printcomments

Letter to the Editor re: School Shooting

Tragedies like this will be avoided when people learn to criticize contempt--in ourselves and others, and make choices for respect for the world and people around us.

Ohio school shooting victims: Danny Parmertor, Demetrius Hewlin and Russel King
Victims: Danny Parmertor, Demetrius Hewlin, Russel King

(RIVERDALE, NY) - From time to time, carries Letters to the Editor and while we can't publish every submission, we do enjoy sharing our reader's thoughts, particularly about terrible events like the recent school shooting in Ohio.

Tim King, Executive Editor


Dear Mr. King:

My heart goes out to the friends and family of the students of Chardon High School who were shot in the attack by another teenager. As a person who worked in NYC high schools, I know how much young people need to know that the cause of such violence has been understood and can be changed. As the question "Why did this happen?" is asked once again, I want very much for your readers to know that the answer exists!

Eli Siegel, the American educator and founder of Aesthetic Realism, explained that every person’s largest desire is to be fair to the world and people, but we also have a competing desire:

T.J. Lane facebook

to have contempt, defined as “the addition to self through the lessening of something else.” Contempt can be ordinary, such a making fun of a neighbor, but-taken further-it is also the cause of all cruelty and violence.

Persons quoted in various news articles describe the suspect as an outcast and also as having friends. Whichever is so, I am sure he also had enormous contempt for the world and people, some of which is evident in his writings online. Had he seen other students as like himself, as having similar hopes and fears, he could not have done what he did!

Mr. Siegel wrote:

"As soon as you have contempt, as soon as you don't want to see another person as having the fulness that you have, you can rob that person, hurt that person, kill that person." (James and the Children, 1968)

Tragedies like this will be avoided when people learn to criticize contempt--in ourselves and others, and make choices for respect for the world and people around us. You can find out more at


Marion Fennell

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COLLI March 2, 2012 7:25 pm (Pacific time)

A good start on eliminating contempt might be to work toward actually teaching brotherhood in our school systems. Occasional lip-service will not do it. It will take a concerted effort and regular discussions. A drowning man accepts the hand of a rescuer and for a moment . . . they are brothers. There is our starting point . . . extending that helping hand and being grateful for that extended hand. This will not be an overnight conversion to the light but something that will take generations to bring about. The point is that every trip must have a beginning in order to reach a destination.

Logan February 29, 2012 3:43 pm (Pacific time)

In order for children to learn limits and values, they must be taught. The values should be modeled by the adults around them. Think about that for a minute, then consider how world leaders and governments treat each other. Is it any wonder our children have so much contempt and hatred? It is modeled for them every minute of every day in the news and other media by our very own world governments and leaders. So sad.

stephen February 29, 2012 6:09 am (Pacific time)

From my studies, I have found more often than not, that anti-depressant use causes this type of violent behavior, along with suicide....When I grew up, everyone made fun of everyone, and maybe some hurt feelings etc, but no violence..I blame it on hollywood/entertainment industry, and anti-depressants. If the kid was smoking pot, the news would be shouting it from the mountain top, but when its anti-depressants, they do their best to cover it up...

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