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One of the cool aspects of teaching college is that I get to learn things from my students that I would not otherwise learn. My need to learn from them most often occurs because I live in a very different world than they do, especially in regards to my relationship to technology. For example, this past week, some of my statistics students taught me about a game for their smart phones called “four pictures, one word”. Asking the player to find the one word that is associated with four pictures, it is kind of like those standardized tests from your youth, the ones where you had to make comparisons among things. I remember questions that said things like “pen is to paper as hammer is to what?” The question left the test taker to choose the best option, given the original comparison.

 I could not help but think of those the other morning, when I read a column in our local paper. It was written by a citizen of Sandy Hook, Connecticut, who is working to make some sense of the tragedy there. It talks about the shootings in Newtown, Ct. as they related to the shootings last year in Chardon, Ohio. It seems that the folks of Newtown, Connecticut were blissfully unaware of what happened in Chardon, Ohio one year ago this past Wednesday. The author asked the question of whether things would have been different if more people had been aware of the carnage in Ohio.

I have written about both events, as I grew up not far from Newtown, Connecticut, and now live about that same distance from Chardon, Ohio. Indeed, both towns are similar, both quiet and protected; somewhere that a parent would think would be a safe place to raise a family. The anniversary of the Chardon shootings still brings me to tears, as I watch high school students gathering to support each other one year later and to seek to define their school in the wake of such tragedy. No teenager should have to deal with such life and death issues; such things are for grown-ups, and even we try to avoid them. The shootings from Newtown, still raw, only serve to make the anniversary all the more painful. I am again struck with the realization that there must be a way to do a better job at protecting our children as they venture out into the world.

And so, as I have done before, I ask my readers if they have any ideas to share with those who make policy as to how we can prevent such horror in the future. I don’t want to write any more columns about children being shot as they go about their day to day activities. How can we make sure that next 365 days are not as bloody as the last?

P.S. This week I am also remembering the birth of my sister who would have been forty four on Monday. This world misses you, little sis!

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