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Teacher: 'There Are No Words' After Newtown

South Huntington educator contemplates tragedy.

 Dennis Callahan is a teacher at Whitman High School and president of the South Huntington Teachers Association.

There are no words to describe the tragedy of the Sandy Hook elementary school. 

There are no words to describe the sorrow I feel when I contemplate the slaughter of six-year-old children in their classrooms.

There are no words to describe my frustration in our American culture that views gun ownership as a right which trumps personal safety in a public space.

There are no words to describe the incomprehensibility of a society that glorifies violence over compassion for other human beings.

There are no words to describe my disbelief at the fact that our nation continues to ignore the plague of depression and other mental health disorders.

These are the facts of Dec 14 in Newtown Connecticut.

The shooter killed his mother.  In fact he shot her repeatedly.  How does this level of mental disorder go untreated?  There are no words.

The guns used in the attack were legally owned and registered to his mother.  How is this possible?  There are no words.

There are no words to describe our collective confusion as we try to comprehend last Friday’s events.

There are no words to quantify the powerlessness we feel as we watch 20 sets of parents plan funerals for their most prized possessions.

How can we explain the fact that in 2001 one man attempted to hide a bomb in his shoe and so now we all take off our shoes before we board an airplane but, more than a decade after Columbine, we fail to protect our children at school?  There are no words.

There are no words to describe the emotion of a parent that will never again embrace his child or hear his laughter or wipe her tears.

There are no words to describe the surreal juxtaposition of hearing Christmas carols as the television reports the details of the horrific moments from last week.

There are no words to describe the numbness I feel when I hear the phrase “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Try telling that to a family that just buried their kindergarten age child. There are no words.

Try telling that to the mother whose son was killed last month by a stray bullet in the inner city.  There are no words.

Try telling that to the father whose daughter will be gunned down next week as she walks home from school after dark.  There are no words.

We live in the richest, most prosperous nation that has ever existed.  And we continue to ignore the issues of guns, violence and mental disorders.  There are no words.

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