Berkley Rotary Club President Reflects on Connecticut School Shooting
"We think events like this could never happen close at home or here in Berkley. We also know that’s wishful thinking because it certainly can. What can one do?" Paul Benson asks.
It’s challenging to celebrate this holiday season after the senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. I know all of our hearts are feeling the pain and sharing the grief. Yet, there must be recovery and life will go on. The question I have is will there be anything learned from this incident, and will any changes take place to avoid it from happening again.
It seems that when something bad happens, we become reactive and then move on. Hopefully the reactive behavior is beneficial. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, no corrective action is taken. It’s like buying a home alarm system after your house has been broken into. It’s reactionary and not being proactive like buying an alarm system before the home invasion. Once again, as a result of the Connecticut incident, the conversation of gun reform will surface. We will have the discussion about identifying and treating mental illness and associate the stigma associated with it. In my opinion, our health system’s and government’s response is inadequate at best in these issues. It’s tough, especially in this economy, to be proactive in funding for better management of guns and mental illness.
We think events like this could never happen close at home or here in Berkley. We also know that’s wishful thinking because it certainly can. What can one do? I’m pleased that our Berkley Rotary Club has partnered with the school system on an anti-bullying project. Perhaps the one child we reach out to in this project will make the difference to save a life or lives. This anti-bullying joint project is much more important than I ever thought it would be when it first started. We have learned a lot about bullying and its consequences at our Rotary meetings. This came from speakers very intimate and passionate on this subject. We have started the difficult process of educating and treating our community. We are clearly being proactive and preventive. I hope we never know how beneficial this project is, especially if it prevents something like what took place in Connecticut from happening.
Our holiday concert this Monday, Dec. 17, and is even more special this year. It’s part of our anti-bullying awareness campaign. It’s coming together and getting back to normalcy again. Please feel free to invite family, co-workers, District Rotarians and friends (see below for more information). Berkley Rotarians Tappan Rout and Paul Spaniolo have been working diligently to make this event successful. Traditionally this has always been a great program and this year it should be even better.
Your comments on this perspective may be posted on Berkley Rotary’s Facebook page. On behalf of our entire Berkley Rotary family, I wish everyone the best of health and as much happiness possible this holiday season.
Rotary Club of Berkley, president
If you go
- What: Holiday concert
- When: 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17
- Where: Berkley First United Methodist Church
- Cost: Free
- Why go: Enjoy holiday songs performed by the Anderson Middle School choir and the Berkley High School a cappella choir. Refreshments will be served after the concert. The event aims to promote good will within the community; it is sponsored by the Berkley Rotary Club as part of its anti-bullying partnership with the Berkley School District.