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April, 2001

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School Shootings
by Leonard J. Pellman

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It was all over the news for weeks. It was the topic of special reports on the Today show and all the news and information programs on our nation's airwaves . . . the shootings at Santana High School. And it struck very close to home for us.

I was on my way to pick up my daughter from kindergarten at 11:15 AM on Monday, March 5th when the first news flash broke through on my car radio. At that time, Santana High School was only 6 miles from my daughter's school, 10 miles from my house, and 5 miles from my dojo. We have several friends whose children were attending Santana High School. The news was stunning: 2 victims known dead, 13 others wounded, countless more emotionally traumatized. By the time my daughter and I returned home, my wife had already received a call from friends of ours, whose grief-stricken daughter had been standing right next to one of the boys who was shot. My wife immediately went to their house to console and counsel them.

While she was still at their house, the girl received a call from her best friend, who had also been nearby and was distraught and feeling utterly helpless and hopeless in the aftermath of the tragedy. Within minutes of that call, my wife was racing to their house to counsel with another traumatized family. But her work was far from done! She spent most of the afternoon and evening helping to coordinate the massive effort for the following day, arranging for clergy and counselors to be available to the hundreds who would need them.

At 7:30 Tuesday morning, she was at Sonrise Community Church, just blocks from Santana High School, where dozens of pastors and counselors met with hundreds of victimized people throughout the day. Of the more than 20 people my wife spoke with during the day, the most difficult was the mother of one of the boys who was killed in the shooting. The two women sobbed together in their shared grief, but my wife was able to explain to the mother that there was indeed a hope for her son. Click here, if you want to see how a child's faith gave hope and promise to a grieving mother.

So, what does this tragedy have to do with karate-do or iaido? Could traditional martical arts somehow have prevented this horrible shooting? What could a centuries old, traditional martial art possibly have to do with the bitter realities of this 21st century tragedy? Click here to find out.

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2003   Leonard J. Pellman

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