NLTA Vice-President

Dedicated to my grandfather, Baxter Langdon; small in stature but walked tall with integrity...

Friday, 17 June 2016

A Virtuous Response to a Senseless Crime...

In "our darkest hour", to act with selflessness and a ‘belief in the greater good’ is the true demonstration of power.

During a week filled with global acts of terror and hate, we lose another one of our own - Robert Hall (taken and killed as a hostage in the Phillipines). This tragedy can be viewed through different painful lenses...that of the horrific experience of being the hostage or being the family member who waits in silence hoping that by some ‘grace of god’ the captors have a change of heart...both of which bring great pain and suffering.

When hearing of Mr. Hall’s tragic passing, I was struck with sadness for this gentleman, great sympathy for the family, and deep anger for the absurdity and asinine nature of this event. It wasn’t until I read a statement from Mr. Hall’s family that I was able to somewhat process and appreciate the impact that this man and his family have had on our country, and our efforts in the war against terror.

“Our family, even in our darkest hour, agrees wholeheartedly with Canada’s policy of not paying ransom,” the Hall family said in the statement. “We stand with the ideals that built this country; strength of character, resilience of spirit, and refusal to succumb to the demands of the wretched.”(The Canadian Press)

In his book ‘Leadership’, General Rick Hillier describes the challenge of building morale within the Canadian Forces and how each member and family’s selfless contribution to ‘the cause’ has resulted in a heightened respect for the Canadian Forces and its impact worldwide.

It is in the same light that I view the actions of Mr. Hall’s family...truly virtuous (and Canadian) indeed.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

How do we explain this one?

After my initial devastation of hearing of the shootings at a gay night club in Orlando that killed 50 people and wounded another 50+ (the largest mass shooting in American history), my mind went to my own kids and my students I work with every day.

Why did this happen? How could this happen? How do I attempt to explain this situation when the questions start...? Should I have the answers? Moreover, how do I open up discussion with my LGBT+ students?

This was a hate crime...end of story.

It is my fear that the magnitude of this act will become overshadowed (and this is starting to occur already) by the American gun control debate or “another” terrorist attack (can’t believe I just wrote that).

In discussing this with our children and students, it is vital that we keep focus where it is required...on the disregard for human life that was demonstrated and to then offer hope and reassurance that the steps we take from day to day reach out, lend a helping hand, make a difference, etc. are largely outweighing this gross display of inhumanity.

Underlying this incident, like many others in our history, is the battle that the LGBT+ community faces from day to day, striving for acceptance, respect, and equality. And as allies for the LGBT+ community, we all have a role to play in chipping away at local and traditional perspectives, that classify anything other than heterosexuality or male / female binary as being sinful or wrong.

As Newfoundanders & Labradorians, it is time to shed the ignorance and narrow-mindedness that religion and history has enshrouded us with and start seeing our LGBT+ children, students, neighbors, relatives, colleagues, citizens, for who they are...equals.

Why do 'these people' need a pride parade? Now you know why...