Tag Archives: school children

Harvest of the Month – 6 month success! News from Farm to School!!!

Even as the streets of Boston were covered in winter’s snow and ice, students at Boston University were enjoying farm fresh foods thanks to the creative chefs at BU Dining andHarvest of the Month, an initiative of Mass. Farm to School. Harvest of the Month is a statewide local foods campaign encouraging schools and other institutions in the Commonwealth to feature a different locally grown crop on their cafeteria menus each month.

This was the pilot year of Harvest of the Month, which ran from September 2013 through February 2014. Mass. Farm to School supported 117 public school districts, plus 11 independent schools and 9 universities in implementing the program this school year.  Participating institutions committed to locally sourcing and menuing the featured crop at least twice during the month.  Mass. Farm to School provided promotional materials and resources to link the cafeteria meals to other areas of the school, such as the classroom and school garden, with activities and local food, nutrition, and farming curriculum.  Mass. Farm to School also shared recipes for use in school meals and at home.

Featured local foods were chosen carefully, keeping in mind their nutritional value, tastiness, availability, volume required to serve so many eaters, and for flexibility in school meals.  Some, like apples and tomatoes are familiar to just about everyone, while others were less familiar, especially to young students. (Kale salad for school lunch? Why not!).

Read more…

Partnerships make it work
A few Harvest of the Month participants were surprised to see carrots as the featured crop in February.  Carrots are a good storage crop, meaning that they can be kept fresh long after the fall harvest.  And, thanks to an innovative program of the Greenfield, MA-based Western Mass. Food Processing Center, chefs aren’t limited by the short New England growing season.  The Food Processing Center freezes locally grown crops at the peak of the season for use in institutional kitchens year-round.  The Processing Center and Mass. Farm to School work together to make sure that school food chefs across the state can access this unique local product.

The Western Mass. Processing Center froze almost 5000 pounds of locally grown vegetables in 2013 and has plans for expansion in 2014.  “We are creating a year-round market for Massachusetts farmers and helping shorten the distance that food travels from field to plate no matter what time of year,” noted Food Processing Center Director, John Waite.  Food service management company Chartwells, purchased 1,820 pounds of frozen carrots for its 60 Massachusetts K-12 schools.  Anther 2,140 pounds went to 71 Chartwells schools in RI, CT, NY, and NH.

Click here to read Harvest of the Month stories from Boston University and Farmington River Regional School in Otis.

Good news for those looking for more Harvest of the Month!

Harvest of the Month is part of a broader strategy to get kids eating healthier foods all while supporting local farmers.  Michael DeChiara, Executive Director of Mass. Farm to School explains, “Harvest of the Month is a tool for celebrating healthy foods and the dedicated farmers in Massachusetts who are committed to nourishing our communities.  When young people know where there food comes from, they are more willing to try new foods and develop healthy eating habits.  Harvest of the Month is helping cultivate the next generation of local foods enthusiasts who will ensure that Massachusetts agriculture continues to thrive.”

Mass. Farm to School plans to expand Harvest of the Month to a 12-month program beginning in September 2014, allowing students across the state to experience the delicious bounty and diversity of Massachusetts agriculture in every season.  Stay tuned for registration information coming this spring.

 

In Other News

Kudos! Mass. Farm to School’s Worcester Kindergarten Initiative program is receiving Community Harvest Project’s Educational Partner Award.  The award will be given at an event at the CHP farm later in April.

Wholesale Success workshop wrap up. Mass. Farm to School, along with
the Western MA Food Processing Center and Farm to Institution New England recently hosted a workshop for New England farmers interested in selling to the wholesale market.  The workshop was funded by the USDA and the “Wholesale Success” curriculum was provided by trainer Atina Diffley of FamilyFarmed.org, a national organization committed to expanding the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food.  In addition to the workshop, at lunch, the 47 growers networked with representatives from 9 wholesale distribution and purchasing companies serving the region.  We were happy to be a part of this farm business and food safety training, and to provide an engaging opportunity for business relationships to develop. The feedback we received has encouraged us to host more events like this in the future

 

Meet up with me on Sat., March 23!

By filmmaker Michael Moore

The response to my Newtown letter this week has been overwhelming. It is so very clear to everyone that the majority of Americans have had itwith how we as a country have recklessly allowed the NRA and the gun manufacturers to get away, literally, with murder.

That, right now, is going to come to an end.

The “tipping point” against the gun madness has taken place because of the tragic slaughter of 20 little children in Connecticut. This time, the shock and horror didn’t subside after a few weeks, as it did after the 30+ massacres since Columbine. This time we haven’t been able to shake it from our collective consciousness. This time – and the NRA knows this – this time we the people aren’t going to quiet down. We are demanding real action.

In the past few days, a number of people and grassroots groups have suggested to me that we do something to use ‘Bowling for Columbine’ to rally thousands – millions – to come together and kick off a massive spring action to get gun control laws passed. I love this idea and I have agreed to participate in helping to launch it.

So, next Saturday, March the 23rd, on the 10th anniversary of the evening that ‘Bowling for Columbine’ won the Academy Award, MoveOn.org is sponsoring a screening with me in New York City and other groups are joining together to ask you and thousands of others to host a nationwide gathering in your homes where you invite friends and neighbors to come over and watch the movie together – and then, afterward, I will join you LIVE, via the Web, in your living rooms to talk to you, take your questions/suggestions and decide what we are all going to do.

I am asking the nearly five million of you who receive this email, plus my 1.5 million followers on Twitter and my nearly 800,000 Facebook friends, to set aside next Saturday night, March 23rd, and invite people over to your home to watch my movie and have a talk with me and others who will lead this mass movement for gun control action.

Over the next few days I will send you more details, but I just wanted to get the word out today, after so many thousands of you have written me via email and Twitter, and ask you to hold the date for next Saturday and start to get the word around to your friends and family. I’ll let you know the easiest ways to get a copy of the film for free or nearly free so you can show it in your living rooms. And I’ll let you know how to “beam me in” when the movie is over. By the end of that night, my hope is that we will have a peaceful but fierce army of millions making their voices heard to those who represent us on Capitol Hill. We will, instantly, vastly outnumber the NRA and the gun lobby.

And for the sake of our children and the future of this great country, we will win.

Let everyone know – next Saturday, March 23rd, we’re all getting together to watch ‘Bowling for Columbine’ in thousands of “house parties” across America, and I will be there with you, thanks to the wonders of 21st century technology.

See you on the 23rd in your living room! Now is the moment to make this happen.

America, you must not look away (How to finish off the NRA)

By Michael Moore, filmmaker

The year was 1955. Emmett Till was a young African American boy from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi. One day Emmett was seen “flirting” with a white woman in town, and for that he was mutilated and murdered at the age of fourteen. He was found with part of a cotton gin tied around his neck with a string of barbed wire. His killers, two white men, had shot him in the head before they dumped him in the river.

Emmett Till’s body was found and returned to Chicago. To the shock of many, his mother insisted on an open casket at his funeral so that the public could see what happens to a little boy’s body when bigots decide he is less than human. She wanted photographers to take pictures of her mutilated son and freely publish them. More than 10,000 mourners came to the funeral home, and the photo of Emmett Till appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.

“I just wanted the world to see,” she said. “I just wanted the world to see.”

The world did see, and nothing was ever the same again for the white supremacists of the United States of America. Because of Emmett Till, because of that shocking photograph of this little dead boy, just a few months later, “the revolt officially began on December 1, 1955” (from Eyes on the Prize) when Rosa Parks decided not to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The historic bus boycott began and, with the images of Emmett Till still fresh in the minds of many Americans, there was no turning back.

In March of 1965, the police of Selma, Alabama, brutally beat, hosed and tear-gassed a group of African Americans for simply trying to cross a bridge during a protest march. The nation was shocked by images of blacks viciously maimed and injured. So, too, was the President. Just one week later, Lyndon Johnson called for a gathering of the U.S. Congress and he went and stood before them in joint session and told them to pass a bill he was introducing that night – the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And, just five months later, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

In March, 1968, U.S. soldiers massacred 500 civilians at My Lai in Vietnam. A year and a half later, the world finally saw the photographs – of mounds of dead peasants covered in blood, a terrified toddler seconds before he was gunned down, and a woman with her brains literally blown out of her head. (These photos would join other Vietnam War photos, including a naked girl burned by napalm running down the road, and a South Vietnamese general walking up to a handcuffed suspect, taking out his handgun, and blowing the guy’s brains out on the NBC Nightly News.)

With this avalanche of horrid images, the American public turned against the Vietnam War. Our realization of what we were capable of rattled us so deeply it became very hard for future presidents (until George W. Bush) to outright invade a sovereign nation and go to war there for a decade.

Bush was able to pull it off because his handlers, Misters Cheney and Rumsfeld, knew that the most important thing to do from the get-go was to control the images of the war, to guarantee that nothing like a My Lai-style photograph ever appeared in the U.S. press.

And that is why you never see a picture any more of the kind of death and destruction that might make you get up off your couch and run out of the house screaming bloody murder at those responsible for these atrocities.

That is why now, after the children’s massacre in Newtown, the absolute last thing the National Rifle Association wants out there in the public domain is ANY images of what happened that tragic day.

But I have a prediction. I believe someone in Newtown, Connecticut – a grieving parent, an upset law enforcement officer, a citizen who has seen enough of this carnage in our country – somebody, someday soon, is going to leak the crime scene photos of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. And when the American people see what bullets from an assault rifle fired at close range do to a little child’s body, that’s the day the jig will be up for the NRA. It will be the day the debate on gun control will come to an end. There will be nothing left to argue over. It will just be over. And every sane American will demand action.

Of course, there will be a sanctimonious hue and cry from the pundits who will decry the publication of these gruesome pictures. Those who do publish or post them will be called “shameful” and “disgraceful” and “sick.” How could a media outlet be so insensitive to the families of the dead children! Someone will then start a boycott of the magazine or website that publishes them.

But this will be a false outrage. Because the real truth is this: We do not want to be confronted with what the actual results of a violent society looks like. Of what a society that starts illegal wars, that executes criminals (or supposed criminals), that strikes or beats one of its women every 15 seconds, and shoots 30 of its own citizens every single day looks like. Oh, no, please – DO NOT MAKE US LOOK AT THAT!

Because if we were to seriously look at the 20 slaughtered children – I mean really look at them, with their bodies blown apart, many of them so unrecognizable the only way their parents could identify them was by the clothes they were wearing – what would be our excuse not to act? Now. Right now. This very instant! How on earth could anyone not spring into action the very next moment after seeing the bullet-riddled bodies of these little boys and girls?

We don’t know exactly what those Newtown photographs show. But I want you – yes, you, the person reading this right now – to think about what we do know:

The six-year and seven-year-old children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School were each hit up to eleven times by a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The muzzle velocity of a rifle like the AR-15 is about three times that of a handgun. And because the kinetic energy of a bullet equals one-half of the bullet’s mass multiplied by its velocity squared, the potential destructive power of a bullet fired from a rifle is about nine times more than that of a similar bullet fired from a handgun.

Nine times more. I spoke to Dr. Victor Weedn, chairman of the Department of Forensic Sciences at George Washington University, who told me that chest x-rays of a person shot with a rifle will often look like a “snowstorm” because their bones will have been shattered into fragments. This happens not just because of the bullet’s direct impact, but because each bullet sends a shock wave through the body’s soft organs – one so powerful it can break bones even when the bullet didn’t hit them. A video here shows what the shock wave looks like in the “ballistic gelatin” used by experts to simulate human tissue. (Would Gabby Giffords have survived if shot by a rifle rather than a Glock pistol? Probably not, says Dr. Weedn; the shock wave would have damaged the most critical parts of her brain.)

As horrifying as this is, there’s more; much more. Dr. Cyril Wecht, past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, told me this:

The kind of ammunition used by the Newtown killer would have produced very extensive, severe and mutilating injuries of the head and face in these small victims. Depending on the number of shots striking a child’s head, substantial portions of the head would be literally blasted away. The underlying brain tissue would be extensively lacerated with portions of hemorrhagic brain tissue protruding through the fractured calvarium and basilar skull, some of which would remain on portions of the face…actual physical identification of each child would have been extremely difficult, and in many instances impossible, even by the parents of any particular child.

We also know this, according to Dr. Wecht:

In one case, the parents have commented publicly upon the damage to their child, reporting that his chin and left hand were missing. Most probably, this child had brought his hand up to his face in shock and for protection and had the hand blasted away along with the lower part of his face.

Veronique Pozner, the mother of Noah, the six-year-old boy described by Dr. Wecht, insisted that the Governor of Connecticut look at Noah in an open casket. “I needed it to be real to him,” she said. The Governor wept.

The pictures showing all this exist right now, somewhere in the police and medical examiner’s files in Connecticut. And as of right now, we’ve somehow all decided together that we don’t need to look, that in some way we’re okay with what’s in those pictures (after all, over 2,600 Americans have been killed by guns since Newtown) – just as long as we don’t have to look at the pictures ourselves.

But I am telling you now, that moment will come with the Newtown photos – and you will have to look. You will have to look at who and what we are, and what we’ve allowed to happen. At the end of World War II, General Eisenhower ordered that thousands of German civilians be forced to march through the concentration camps so they could witness what was happening just down the road from them during the years that they turned their gaze away, or didn’t ask, or didn’t do anything to stop the murder of millions.

We’ve done nothing since Columbine – nothing – and as a result there have been over 30 other mass shootings since then. Our inaction means that we are all, on some level, responsible – and therefore, because of our burying our heads in the sand, we must be forced to look at the 20 dead children at Sandy Hook Elementary.

The people we’ve voted for since Columbine – with the exception of Michael Bloomberg – almost none of them, Democrat or Republican, dared to speak out against the NRA before Newtown – and yet we, the people, continued to vote for them. And for that we are responsible, and that is why we must look at the 20 dead children.

Most of us continue to say we “support the Second Amendment” as if it were written by God (or we’re just afraid of being seen as anti-American). But this amendment was written by the same white men who thought a Negro was only 3/5 human. We’ve done nothing to revise or repeal this – and that makes us responsible, and that is why we must look at the pictures of the 20 dead children laying with what’s left of their bodies on the classroom floor in Newtown, Connecticut.

And while you’re looking at the heinous photographs, try saying those words out loud: “I support the Second Amendment!” Something, I’m guessing, won’t feel right.

Yes, someday a Sandy Hook mother – or a Columbine mother, or an Aurora mother, or a mother from massacres yet to come – will say, like the mother of Emmett Till, “I just want the world to see.” And then nothing about guns in this country will ever be the same again.

Pack your bags, NRA – you’re about to be shown the door. Because we refuse to let another child die in this manner. Got it? I hope so.

All you can do now is hope no one releases those photos.

Governor Deval Patrick …

By Rosalie Tirella

… should follow the great advice of Boston Mayor Tom Menino: Appoint a GUN-CONTROL ADVOCATE AS INTERIM SENATOR to replace John Kerry, soon to be US Secretary of State. President Obama is gonna need all the help he can muster to get Congress to pass his sensible gun control legislation.

The NRA has promised The Fight of the Century when it comes to even the most common sense gun control, like universal background checks, banning weapons of war, limiting the amount of ammo in a round.

The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School only took 10 minutes to carry out! Ten minutes to slaughter 20 children and six adults. Ten minutes! Because of the type of gun Lanza, the murderer, used. It only took a few pulls of the gun trigger and hundreds of bullets ripped into the flesh of babies. Gangland bloodbath. That’s what America experienced at Newtown, Conn.

News reports stated there were at least three bullets in each dead child. Maybe if the murderer had a less lethal weapon, a weapon that forced him to stop after 10 bullets, stop to reload, some adult could have jumped him, tried to stop the carnage. One adult did throw herself in front of the gunman to protect the little kids. A totally selfless act of love.

THIS WILL ALL HAPPEN AGAIN, AT ANOTHER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL if we don’t enact sensible gun control laws.

Listen to Tom Menino, Governor Patrick: Appoint a gun control advocate

Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns

By Michael Moore, filmmaker

After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA’s. Their bullying power to set gun policy in this country is over. The nation is repulsed by the massacre in Connecticut, and the signs are everywhere: a basketball coach at a post-game press conference; the Republican Joe Scarborough; a pawn shop owner in Florida; a gun buy-back program in New Jersey; a singing contest show on TV, and the conservative gun-owning judge who sentenced Jared Loughner.

So here’s my little bit of holiday cheer for you:

These gun massacres aren’t going to end any time soon.

I’m sorry to say this. But deep down we both know it’s true. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep pushing forward – after all, the momentum is on our side. I know all of us – including me – would love to see the president and Congress enact stronger gun laws. We need a ban on automatic AND semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets. We need better background checks and more mental health services. We need to regulate the ammo, too.

But, friends, I would like to propose that while all of the above will certainly reduce gun deaths (ask Mayor Bloomberg – it is virtually impossible to buy a handgun in New York City and the result is the number of murders per year has gone from 2,200 to under 400), it won’t really bring about an end to these mass slayings and it will not address the core problem we have. Connecticut had one of the strongest gun laws in the country. That did nothing to prevent the murders of 20 small children on December 14th.

In fact, let’s be clear about Newtown: the killer had no criminal record so he would never have shown up on a background check. All of the guns he used were legally purchased. None fit the legal description of an “assault” weapon. The killer seemed to have mental problems and his mother had him seek help, but that was worthless. As for security measures, the Sandy Hook school was locked down and buttoned up BEFORE the killer showed up that morning. Drills had been held for just such an incident. A lot of good that did.

And here’s the dirty little fact none of us liberals want to discuss: The killer only ceased his slaughter when he saw that cops were swarming onto the school grounds – i.e, the men with the guns. When he saw the guns a-coming, he stopped the bloodshed and killed himself. Guns on police officers prevented another 20 or 40 or 100 deaths from happening. Guns sometimes work. (Then again, there was an armed deputy sheriff at Columbine High School the day of that massacre and he couldn’t/didn’t stop it.)

I am sorry to offer this reality check on our much-needed march toward a bunch of well-intended, necessary – but ultimately, mostly cosmetic – changes to our gun laws. The sad facts are these: Other countries that have guns (like Canada, which has 7 million guns – mostly hunting guns – in their 12 million households) have a low murder rate. Kids in Japan watch the same violent movies and kids in Australia play the same violent video games (Grand Theft Auto was created by a British company; the UK had 58 gun murders last year in a nation of 63 million people). They simply don’t kill each other at the rate that we do. Why is that? THAT is the question we should be exploring while we are banning and restricting guns: Who are we?

I’d like to try to answer that question.

We are a country whose leaders officially sanction and carry out acts of violence as a means to often an immoral end. We invade countries who didn’t attack us. We’re currently using drones in a half-dozen countries, often killing civilians.

This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to us as we are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves. We slaughtered 600,000 of each other in a civil war. We “tamed the Wild West with a six-shooter,” and we rape and beat and kill our women without mercy and at a staggering rate: every three hours a women is murdered in the USA (half the time by an ex or a current); every three minutes a woman is raped in the USA; and every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the USA.

We belong to an illustrious group of nations that still have the death penalty (North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran). We think nothing of letting tens of thousands of our own citizens die each year because they are uninsured and thus don’t see a doctor until it’s too late.

Why do we do this? One theory is simply “because we can.” There is a level of arrogance in the otherwise friendly American spirit, conning ourselves into believing there’s something exceptional about us that separates us from all those “other” countries (there are indeed many good things about us; the same could also be said of Belgium, New Zealand, France, Germany, etc.). We think we’re #1 in everything when the truth is our students are 17th in science and 25th in math, and we’re 35th in life expectancy. We believe we have the greatest democracy but we have the lowest voting turnout of any western democracy. We’re biggest and the bestest at everything and we demand and take what we want.

And sometimes we have to be violent m*****f*****s to get it. But if one of us goes off-message and shows the utterly psychotic nature and brutal results of violence in a Newtown or an Aurora or a Virginia Tech, then we get all “sad” and “our hearts go out to the families” and presidents promise to take “meaningful action.” Well, maybe this president means it this time. He’d better. An angry mob of millions is not going to let this drop.

While we are discussing and demanding what to do, may I respectfully ask that we stop and take a look at what I believe are the three extenuating factors that may answer the question of why we Americans have more violence than most anyone else:

1. POVERTY. If there’s one thing that separates us from the rest of the developed world, it’s this. 50 million of our people live in poverty. One in five Americans goes hungry at some point during the year. The majority of those who aren’t poor are living from paycheck to paycheck. There’s no doubt this creates more crime. Middle class jobs prevent crime and violence. (If you don’t believe that, ask yourself this: If your neighbor has a job and is making $50,000/year, what are the chances he’s going to break into your home, shoot you and take your TV? Nil.)

2. FEAR/RACISM. We’re an awfully fearful country considering that, unlike most nations, we’ve never been invaded. (No, 1812 wasn’t an invasion. We started it.) Why on earth would we need 300 million guns in our homes? I get why the Russians might be a little spooked (over 20 million of them died in World War II). But what’s our excuse? Worried that the Indians from the casino may go on the warpath? Concerned that the Canadians seem to be amassing too many Tim Horton’s donut shops on both sides of the border?

No. It’s because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period. The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live in the suburbs or the country. When we fantasize about being mugged or home invaded, what’s the image of the perpetrator in our heads? Is it the freckled-face kid from down the street – or is it someone who is, if not black, at least poor?

I think it would be worth it to a) do our best to eradicate poverty and re-create the middle class we used to have, and b) stop promoting the image of the black man as the boogeyman out to hurt you. Calm down, white people, and put away your guns.

3. THE “ME” SOCIETY. I think it’s the every-man-for-himself ethos of this country that has put us in this mess and I believe it’s been our undoing. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You’re not my problem! This is mine!

Clearly, we are no longer our brother’s and sister’s keeper. You get sick and can’t afford the operation? Not my problem. The bank has foreclosed on your home? Not my problem. Can’t afford to go to college? Not my problem.

And yet, it all sooner or later becomes our problem, doesn’t it? Take away too many safety nets and everyone starts to feel the impact. Do you want to live in that kind of society, one where you will then have a legitimate reason to be in fear? I don’t.

I’m not saying it’s perfect anywhere else, but I have noticed, in my travels, that other civilized countries see a national benefit to taking care of each other. Free medical care, free or low-cost college, mental health help. And I wonder – why can’t we do that? I think it’s because in many other countries people see each other not as separate and alone but rather together, on the path of life, with each person existing as an integral part of the whole. And you help them when they’re in need, not punish them because they’ve had some misfortune or bad break. I have to believe one of the reasons gun murders in other countries are so rare is because there’s less of the lone wolf mentality amongst their citizens. Most are raised with a sense of connection, if not outright solidarity. And that makes it harder to kill one another.

Well, there’s some food for thought as we head home for the holidays. Don’t forget to say hi to your conservative brother-in-law for me. Even he will tell you that, if you can’t nail a deer in three shots – and claim you need a clip of 30 rounds – you’re not a hunter my friend, and you have no business owning a gun.

N.R.A. creating a new normal in USA: It is OK to slaughter school children

Photos: Town in Sorrow After Shooting

I thought, at minimum, the N.R.A. would sign on to background checks at gun shows/for private sales. Nope. This brings American life to a new low: We are telling the world that the massacre of innocent babies is OK in America. This will lead to more massacres of innocent babies in America.

School children-massacres – it will become the new normal in America.

President Obama needs to step up and issue some executive orders. NOW. – R. Tirella

Photos: Community in Sorrow After Conn. Shooting

***********************************

From The New York Times:

N.R.A. Calls for Armed Guards in Schools to Deter Violence

By 
Published: December 21, 2012

WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association on Friday called for schools to be protected by armed guards as the best way to protect children from gun violence.

The group, long the most vocal and influential organization generally opposing stricter regulation of firearms, said that steps other than gun control, including cracking down on criminals and fighting violence in the media and on video games, would be most effective.

Wayne LaPierre, the group’s executive vice president, read a statement at a news conference but did not take questions. He also criticized violent video games and spoke of the need to deal more effectively with the mentally ill.

Gun-free school zones identified by signs, he said, “tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to effect maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”

If guns are used to protect banks, airports, and politicians, he asked, why is it “bad when it is used to protect our children in their schools?”

“It’s not just our duty to protect them, it’s our right to protect them,” he said.

During the news conference, which was broadcast live on multiple cable channels, protesters repeatedly interrupted, raised a banner saying “NRA killing our children” and shouting similar messages, such as “N.R.A. has blood on its hands” and “ban assault weapons now.”

In the days immediately after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the N.R.A. remained largely silent as pressure mounted for stricter regulations of guns and other measures to confront violence.

On Tuesday, it scheduled the news conference, saying that it is “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to make sure this never happens again.” But it offered no specifics.

He accused the news media of being “consumed by hatred of the N.R.A.”

The N.R.A. has about four million members, and exerts its influence on lawmakers through campaign contributions and by rating their votes on gun related legislation.

According to polling data released on Thursday by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, public attitudes about gun control have shifted only modestly since the Newtown shootings. “Currently, 49 percent say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 42 percent say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns,” the center said. Five months ago, opinion was almost evenly divided on these questions; four years ago, a majority said they favored stricter gun control.

To read more, please click on link below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/22/us/nra-calls-for-armed-guards-at-schools.html?hp&_r=0

More stories/videos/photos on Newtown, gun violence. Click on links below.

Photos: Community in Sorrow After Conn. Shooting

APTOPIX Connecticut School Shooting

“Let’s get M.A.D.D. about Guns” and other articles about the massacre of the first graders at Newtown

State police led children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., after a shooting was reported there. Go to related article »

From The New York Times. – R. T.:

Joe Nocera

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times – Joe Nocera

Let’s Get M.A.D.D. About Guns
By JOE NOCERA

Published: December 18, 2012

On May 3, 1980, a 13-year-old girl named Cari Lightner was killed by a drunken driver. A terrible alcoholic, the man had three prior drunken driving convictions. He had just come from a bar, on the back end of a three-day binge.

Within weeks, Cari’s mom, Candy Lightner, co-founded M.A.D.D., or Mothers Against Drunk Driving. All over the country, mothers fed up with the unwillingness of politicians to do anything about drunken driving flocked to the organization. Within a few years, M.A.D.D. had persuaded President Ronald Reagan to support a national drinking age of 21, and it had pushed through state laws toughening the penalties for driving while intoxicated. Perhaps most important, M.A.D.D. turned a dangerous behavior that had long been socially acceptable into a taboo.

I was out of town on Friday, when the Newtown, Conn., massacre took place and could only connect to my loved ones by phone. My fiancée wept uncontrollably: “I can’t imagine what it would be like to drop Mackie off at school, and never see him again,” she said, referring to our 2-year-old son. My grown daughter also cried.

Listening to them – and seeing how powerfully affected the country has been by this horrible slaughter of children and their teachers – I couldn’t help thinking about M.A.D.D. Its success came about because its founders tapped into a wellspring of anger that had been quietly building – just like the current anger over the recent spate of mass killings. But it also came about because mothers could give a human face to the consequences of political inaction: their own children. How do you trump that?

Sadly, thanks to the elementary school shootings on Friday, children are now inexorably linked with the kind of mass killing that has become far too common. On Sunday, at the vigil in Newtown, President Obama explicitly cast the country’s lax gun laws as a failure to protect children. I have no doubt his remarks were heartfelt, but they were also politically shrewd. Rarely has the National Rifle Association been so silent. …

to read more, click on the link below:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/article?a=1007693&f=28&sub=Columnist

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To read other stories about this PREVENTABLE  American tragedy, please click on the several links below. LET’S BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS – NATIONALLY. Let’s – on federal level – institute BACKGROUND CHECKS on EVERYONE who buys guns at gun shows/through private dealers. LET’S DO THIS TODAY! – R. Tirella :

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/nyregion/amid-the-whiz-of-bullets-seeking-comfort-in-song.xml?f=19

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/blogs/renewed-and-some-new-support-for-gun-control.xml?f=19

 

PHOTO:  Mourners gather for a candlelight vigil at Ram's Pasture to remember shooting victims, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/art/1006817/28?sub=Columnist

 

http://mobile.boston.com/art/35/metrodesk/2012/12/17/mass-governor-says-renew-push-for-tougher-gun-regulation/qwrhw0d6ObDt18ibJhldJP/story


http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/newtown-sandy-hook-school-shooting/hc-timeline-newtown-shooting-1216-20121215,0,5058106.story

 

Important stories on the massacre at Newtown, CT … and a song …

A song for America – a Beatles song sung beautifully by a regular guy. A regular person, just like the men and women who died trying to save those school children. It’s the regular folks in this country who have always done the angels’ work. … . Let’s keep it going. Let’s make history. Let’s change our gun laws in a big way. click on link below. – R. Tirella

Newtown, CT shooting: Photos from the scene
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From The New York Times: R. T. ‘These Tragedies Must End,’ President Obama says
obama-guns-remnick.jpg
President Obama crying as he tells the nation last week of the  little kids who were murdered. Little five and six year olds huddled together in their classroom as they were shot three to eleven times each by a gunman whose mother, a teacher at the school, was a gun enthusiast. The madness must stop. BAN ALL ASSAULT WEAPONS. MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO BUY GUNS AT GUN SHOWS WITHOUT A BACKGROUND CHECK. BAN GUNS/WEAPONS THAT HOLD MAGAZINES WHICH HOLD MORE THAN 10 ROUNDS, THESE WAR WEAPONS ALLOW GUNMEN TO SHOOT MANY BULLETS INTO THEIR VICTIMS WITH JUST ONE PULL OF THE TRIGGER. THEY DO NOT HAVE TO STOP TO RELOAD. RELOADING TIME MAY HAVE GIVEN FOLKS IN CT THE CHANCE TO INTERVENE. … R. TIRELLA
By MARK LANDLER and PETER BAKER
Published: December 17, 2012
NEWTOWN, Conn. – President Obama vowed on Sunday to “use whatever power this office holds” to stop massacres like the slaughter at the school here that shocked the nation, hinting at a fresh effort to curb the spread of guns as he declared that there was no “excuse for inaction.” In a surprisingly assertive speech at a memorial service for the 27 victims, including 20 children,
Mr. Obama said that the country had failed to protect its young and that its leaders could no longer sit by idly because “the politics are too hard.” While he did not elaborate on what action he would propose, he said that “these tragedies must end.” The speech, a blend of grief and resolve that he finished writing on the short Air Force One flight up here, seemed to promise a significant change in direction for a president who has not made gun issues a top priority in four years in office. After each of three other mass killings during his tenure, Mr. Obama has renewed calls for legislation without exerting much political capital, but the definitive language on Sunday may make it harder for him not to act this time. “No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society,” he said.
“But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.” He added that “in the coming weeks I’ll use whatever power this office holds” in an effort “aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.” “Because what choice do we have?” he added. “We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” … To read more, click on link below:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/us/politics/bloomberg-urges-obama-to-take-action-on-gun-control.xml?f=19 *************************** From The Wall Street Journal:

New Calls for Gun Limits

By LAURA MECKLER and GARY FIELDS Several lawmakers Sunday called for reintroducing a ban on assault weapons in the wake of Friday’s deadly school rampage. President Barack Obama is also likely to propose gun-policy changes, according to two administration officials.

Churches in and around Newtown, Conn., held vigils and special services to help comfort those affected by the shootings that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Video by WSJ’s Evan Simon.

Both members of the community and visitors in and around Newtown, Conn., are erecting makeshift memorials to honor the victims of the shooting spree on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

How do Americans handle their grief in the days following the deadly Connecticut school shooting? Lauren Kenney, bereavement services manager at Hospice By The Bay, offers some insights.

WSJ reporter Anton Troianovski reports from Danbury, Conn., on the investigation and the aftermath of Friday’s deadly shooting in Newtown. Photo: Reuters.

Simon Constable discusses the latest on a Connecticut school shooting that left at least two dozen dead with Aaron Rutkoff and Devlin Barrett. Photo: AP.

In an update about Friday’s mass shooting, Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police cited a major concern regarding the spread of false information via social media. Image: Associated Press.

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy spoke of the tragedy of Friday’s shooting, noting that similar unfortunate events have unfolded elsewhere across the nation recently. Photo: Associated Press.

Mr. Obama, on Sunday evening in Newtown, Conn., said that the nation as a whole is failing in its duty to protect its children and that “we will have to change,” without specifying what changes are needed. He said that no law can prevent all violence, but “that can’t be an excuse for inaction.” The White House is looking at various options, and the scope and details of the president’s approach aren’t clear. One possibility likely to be considered is a ban on high-capacity magazines, the devices attached to firearms that store large numbers of bullets and reload them rapidly. … To read more, click on the link below: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324677204578183781498008140.html#articleTabs%3Darticle *****************************************

From The New Yorker:
December 14, 2012

WHAT OBAMA MUST DO ABOUT GUNS

Posted by 
Barack Obama has been in our field of vision for a long time now, and, more than any major politician of recent memory, he hides in plain sight. He is who he is. He may strike the unsympathetic as curiously remote or arrogant or removed; he certainly strikes his admirers as a man of real intelligence and dignity. But he is who he is. He is no phony. And so there is absolutely no reason to believe that his deep, raw emotion today following the horrific slaughter in Connecticut—his tears, the prolonged catch in his voice—was anything but genuine. But this was a slaughter—a slaughter like so many before it—and emotion is hardly all that is needed. What is needed is gun control—strict, comprehensive gun control that places the values of public safety and security before the values of deer hunting and a perverse ahistorical reading of the Second Amendment. Obama told the nation that he reacted to the shootings in Newtown “as a parent,” and that is understandable, but what we need most is for him to act as a President, liberated at last from the constraints of elections and their dirty compromises—a President who dares to change the national debate and the legislative agenda on guns.
So far, Obama, who has shown far greater nerve on a range of issues from health care to gay rights, has held himself hostage to the political adage that there is no ground to be gained in proposing anything stronger than piecemeal gun legislation. He has held himself hostage to the electoral calculus that swing-state voters—in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Colorado, for starters—would reject him if he went deeper on the gun issue. But he won those states. Now it is time for him to risk their affections—to risk disapproval in general—in the name of saving lives. The Obama-Romney debates were disgraceful in a number of ways: their obsession with the phony Benghazi issue (which has now sunk Susan Rice as a potential Secretary of State); their failure to debate the world beyond Israel; the lack of a single question about climate change. One of the most dispiriting exchanges came when Candy Crowley of CNN had a woman named Nina Gonzalez ask about gun control: 

QUESTION: President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. What has your Administration done or planned to do to limit the availability of assault weapons? OBAMA: We’re a nation that believes in the Second Amendment, and I believe in the Second Amendment. We’ve got a long tradition of hunting and sportsmen and people who want to make sure they can protect themselves. to read more, click on  link below:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/12/what-obama-must-do-about-guns.html#ixzz2FKp3uXVr

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Protecting yourself from the H1N1 flu (just because it’s spring, doesn’t mean it’s over)

By Worcester School Committee member John Monfredo

“Be concerned but do not panic,” stated City of Worcester’s Public Health Commissioner Dr. Leonard Morse.

Throughout the country there is apprehension among the public about the danger of this particular kind of flu, H1N1. President Obama has declared the H1N1 flu outbreak a national emergency, allowing hospitals and local governments to speedily set up alternate sites for treatment and triage procedures if needed to handle any surge of an outbreak.

This year in Massachusetts there have been more than 1,500 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu, with 13% of those cases hospitalized. Across the nation 36 children’s deaths have been attributed to the H1N1 virus. In the Town of Grafton, schools were closed for a few days due to high absences with students and staff.

We all have experienced the seasonal flu in past years, so what’s so different about the H1N1 flu? Although seasonal flu is most dangerous to those with weak immune systems, such as young children and the elderly, the H1N1 virus appears to be a threat to healthy, young adults. Continue reading Protecting yourself from the H1N1 flu (just because it’s spring, doesn’t mean it’s over)