Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter May 5, 2000

Dear Friends,

Whatever may be said about April showers, at least two of us were reflecting that April snow falls make great snow balls! We're still waiting for the traditional May blizzard before calling it spring.

There was necessarily remembrance of the Columbine tragedy. As we were getting this newsletter under way, we were reminded how there are casualties of these crimes long after they occur. One student who was injured on that day committed suicide two days ago. He may have done it for other reasons than last year's shootings. But it didn't help. This story is depressingly familiar in places such as Washington, D.C., where things happen so often that one becomes numb to them. It's when they happen in smaller communities where it's easier to notice that we hear about them. And it's always a blow to somebody somewhere: but it seems more personal in smaller places. So we understand Laramie or Littleton better than San Francisco or New York.

The month and this anniversary also raise the question about commemorations and the effect they have on communities. There were two anniversaries of school shootings this past month. Not only was there the Columbine tragedy, but one which took place a week later in Taber, Alberta. Both communities had similar reactions. They wished to remember the event, but a great many people resented all the attention the media (and maybe we count as a medium among them!) gave them. Like the families involved, the communities are also still working through grief, and need some private space to do it. It's a need we too frequently forget.

But we were also reminded that if we don't remember them, there are people who will in a much less pleasant way. The Taber shooting was directly related to one young man's becoming obsessed with Columbine. We had another this past month. The whole story remains to be told, but another young man had been counting off not only the days, but the exact hours and minutes to the anniversary of the first fire at Columbine. He was careful to be in the library at Cairine Wilson High School in Ottawa, Ontario, at the exact minute and hour. And at that moment, he stabbed his best friend in the neck. he injured two other students and a teacher before he was overpowered. Happily, nobody was killed, nor even seriously injured. But it is a reminder that if we have to respect the need for grieving families and communities for privacy when they need it, we can not forget the incidents which caused the grief. Others will remember.

At Cairine Wilson, however, the student didn't have a gun. Otherwise we might be talking of deaths rather than non-serious injury. It's an observation which cuts two ways. Murderous people with guns are more dangerous than murderous people without them, but the simple absence of arms does not mean they are less murderous. However the balance lies, however, this does remind us of the Million Mom March scheduled for Mother's Day, May 14. The main march is at Washington, but there are going to be a number of similar events in other communities. To repeat, the best place for information about these events will be found at:

We have some other unfinished business. As we've mentioned the last two months, we've been asked for help in the case of Mike Batey. Have a look at:

to see whether you'd like to help and how.

And, we'd like to remind you about the teens' drop in center at Littleton, whose website is:

We hope this idea is finding its feet. It may be a useful model for other communities as well. It's always better to prevent Columbines than react to them.

Our message board has two important items, which we'll hope you'll look at. You may recall that we mentioned the death of Steen Keith Fenrich last month. Steen's aunt, Doreen C. Jones, has begun constructing a memorial page for him, and has left a link to her site on our message board. Thanks Doreen.

Second, you may recall the play, "The Laramie Project", which has been playing in Denver for some time now. It portrays the stories the people of Laramie told about Matthew Shepard and his death, and those who know either the city or Matthew have found it deeply moving. there has been an article in Time magazine which Mike Daviston has transcribed on to our message board. The play will soon be opening in the New York City area.

Did we miss telling you about the Millennium March, didn't we? Actually, we could make excuses - the link to Matthew's Place would take you to the Human rights Campaign, which would have told you all about it - but they likely wouldn't wash. If you're aware of anything that's happening, anywhere in the world, which we should be informing people about before it happens, we really want you to tell us. We certainly don't hear about everything, and we're also (ahem) sometimes absent-minded.

Meanwhile, since we having meditated about May blizzards, we'll close with a happier thought by Robert Herrick, a surprisingly sedentary and conventional Anglican parson of the 17th Century (you'd never tell from some of his poems!):

Come, let us go, while we are in our prime;
And take the harmless folly of the time.
So when you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade;
All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drowned with us in endless night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying;
Come, my Corinna come, let's go a-Maying.

The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team

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