~ A bit of joie de vivre, a comprehensive joy of life, with an occasional edge.

Friday, February 15, 2008


What has happened to our sense of values?

Was watching the news today and this evening, appalled by what I was seeing again, by history again repeating itself.

Steven KazmierczakOn Thursday, Valentine's Day, Steven Kazmierczak, armed with three handguns and a brand-new pump-action Remington shotgun he had carried onto the Northern Illinois University campus in a guitar case, stepped from behind a screen on the stage of a lecture hall, and opened fire on a geology class.

Kazmierczak killed five students and then himself.

University Police Chief Donald Grady said that the 27-year-old had become erratic in the past two weeks after he had stopped taking his medication. But that seemed to come as news to many of those who knew him, and the attack itself was positively baffling.

Investigators learned that a week ago, on February 9th, Kazmierczak walked into a gun store in Champaign and picked up two guns, the Remington shotgun and a Glock 9mm handgun. He bought the two other handguns at the same shop, a Hi-Point .380 on December 30th and a Sig Sauer on August 6th.

All four guns had been bought legally from a federally licensed firearms dealer. At least one criminal background check had been performed... Kazmierczak had no criminal record.

Most of us have seen this story plastered all over the media, so I'll go no further about it, but it did get me to thinking on multiple tracks; about history repeating itself, about media coverage, about my own beliefs in the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms), and thoughts about why such things happen.

Had been writing an angry reaction to this entire story when I happened upon a friend's journal on this topic... and it stimulated another thought, and that had to do with values. This is the reaction as I posted as a comment, with a few additions:

Maybe if we who are parents would put down the remote controls to our television sets for an extra ten minutes a day and discuss values. with our children, it might make a difference.

It Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 2002 - click here for full viewreally wouldn't be all that hard to do. Values could come from many different sources... things that shaped our own lives when we were young; spiritual things if a religious family; our success (and failures, being honest); even silly pranks that we may have pulled at a young age (this from my son, who's reading this with me)... it's your own choice here.

Values are not chuckling over the latest episode of Family Guy or The Simpsons, or who was the best talent on American Idol. If one wants to find values to discuss from television, there's always the Discovery Channel, A&E, the History Channel and such.

Right now one of our local channels is running the film Hotel Rwanda, the true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda, when almost 1,000,000 Rwandans where massacred in a 100 day period. You can see the trailer here, but it's a pretty brutal subject.

Click here for more on the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda.

My son had seen the previews for this film, we talked about it (I've seen it before), and it was his choice to watch... and yes, we will discuss it later. It's been called an African Schindler's List, another film that he's already seen. And yes, this one will help shape his own values.

We agree on many things and differ on others, for he's always been encouraged from a very young age to not follow the crowd, but to shape his own opinions, his own sense of values.

Without values, we end up with situations like the tragedy we saw at Virginia Tech and the others that we've been seeing in the news. And values like this have to be taught from home, and not from our school systems.

It takes just taking a few extra minutes each day to do this, that's all.

The news today reported that Steven Kazmierczak's father, Robert Kazmierczak, appeared on the porch of his Lakeland, Florida home and pled for privacy, telling a reporter “Please leave me alone. I have no statement to make.” Reporters had been trying to contact Robert Kazmierczak after it was discovered his son was responsible for the killing of the five students before taking his own life.

The Polk County (Florida) Sheriff’s Department had been requested to notify Robert Kazmierczak that his son had died, and shortly after being notified Kazmierczak found several reporters in his yard.

He made a brief appearance, saying “It's a very hard time. I'm a diabetic.” Kazmierczak requested that the reporters leave, then broke down in tears and went back inside the house. It has been reported that he recently lost his wife as well. It's very difficult to imagine putting one's self in this grieving father's shoes.

From all that we know, all that has been reported, Robert Kazmierczak had instilled a sense of values within his son, so maybe my thoughts above are only a partial solution to this ongoing problem.

Many Larger view here.years ago, as young Marine, I took an oath that I would l support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and have lived by that oath... once a Marine, always a Marine. I was raised with firearms, and learned to shoot at an early age, skills that I proudly carried into my adult life. Was at a certain point fulfilled by my shooting skills as a expert and sharpshooter, both with pistols and rifles.

Times change, though, and I gave away my last personal firearm, a 9mm Beretta automatic pistol in the early 1980s as I just hadn't fired it in a number of years, even on a range.

But now my own beliefs in our right to bear arms as outlined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution are in grave doubt, and as a result of all of these wanton acts of firearm violence, am now looking more closely at the Brady Campaign to prevent Gun Violence.

Sometimes we all have to take stock and re-examine our own values.

And now I have a film and its values to discuss with my son...


Heartsapocolypse said...

Very thoughtful, honest and moving journal. Yes, if we just spent a few moments with our kids talking about the things that really matter, how much of this kind of violence and tragedy can we prevent? The whole second amendment issue has long been a catch 22 for me. It all bears a second look and some serious consideration.
Thanks for this, you are saying what needs to be said.

Marlowe said...

Very thoughtful article, John. I too have been questioning some of my values as it relates to guns. I am a bit torn. While I agree with you that times have changed since the second amendment was enacted, I am not convinced, even in the wake of the senseless tragedies that have been perpetrated by those with deranged mind with firearms, that we ought to overturn this important right. I am from Kentucky originally and spent many years in such far flung places as Oklahoma and Texas. I am a gun owner and have always had guns and have always enjoyed shooting. I have always considered a gun to be my first line of personal self defense. I taught my children to shoot guns at a young age. I also taught them guns=n safety and how to be responsible about gun ownership. I must admit, however, now that I am older and have lived in the Northeast for the past 12 years, guns are no longer central to my life. I have give some of my collection away and now have only a shot gun and a couple of revolvers. its been a while since the last time I went shooting. (months). Most of my friends are rather shocked that I own guns. An of course I am always shocked when a tragedy occurs such as the gunning down if student a a university or other similar type of happenings. Still, in all, I have to come down on the side of the rights of gun owners. I wouldn't want the government to take away my rights to own a gun. It is fundamental to who we are as free people. As the following quotation by Thomas Jefferson point out, the unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than the armed man. Perhaps if an armed man had been in the auditorium where the shooting took place the outcome may have been different. I do support strict controls and responsible gun ownership.

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’

— Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

Anonymous said...

Media silence on jewish high school massacres
yesterday, a lone gunman massacred 4 american students and injured 18 at a university. The guys name was steve Kazmierczak. A jew

This Jewish surname of KAZMIERCZAK was an occupational name for a cantor in a synagogue. The name was derived from the Hebrew CHAZAN, and it also spelt CHASAN, HAZZAN, KHAZAN, CHASINOFF, KHAZONIVCH and CHASINS, to name but a few

well so what you may say.

well over the past 10 years nearly all the american high school massacres have been carried out by Jews.


Including Columbine
Pearl High School massacre
Red Lake Massacre
Columbine Massacre
Oklahoma City Bombing Natalee Holloway murder

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