It takes a monster to kill children. But to watch monsters kill children again and again and do nothing isn’t just insanity—it’s inhumanity." – Amanda Gorman
Dear GSE Colleagues,
I cannot believe I am writing to you once again to offer consolation, support, and words of sadness after another instance of mass murder. Today, the community of Uvalde, TX is forced to confront the unthinkable and unimaginable. I’ve got to be honest; I am struggling to find words that come even close to sounding supportive or hopeful. I am absolutely outraged and disgusted that those elected to the most powerful offices in the land sleep well at night knowing that their actions (or inactions) directly contribute to the murder of innocent human beings. 21 human beings are dead. That is an undeniable fact. Another undeniable fact is that it is too easy, way too easy, for people to gain access to assault weapons in this country.
Let me be very clear – without guns, specifically semi-automatic weapons of mass destruction, the hate and dehumanization that allows a person to choose to murder others might not be as life-threatening. This does not mean we don’t do everything in our power to address systemic hate and dehumanization, far from it. We all have roles to play to prevent the death of innocent people. Getting guns off of our streets is necessary but it is not sufficient.
We must do more in our schools to foster a true sense of mutual respect among human beings. This cannot be done by hollowing out our curriculum or restricting what teachers can and cannot say in the classroom. We must use our education system to break the scourge of hatred, violence, racism, and dehumanization that is eroding society and sending us, to paraphrase David Frum, into a downward spiral toward barbarism. This is where we, as a community of scholars, can and should make a difference.
I know we are still reeling from the mass shooting in Buffalo and have very little to offer others as we feel unmoored ourselves. Please do what you can to reach out and lend support or comfort to those around you who are hurting or paralyzed with fear to send their children to school or the supermarket. Reach out to your spheres of influence and let them know you are there if needed.
Suzanne Rosenblith, PhD
Dean and Professor
Graduate School of Education
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York