LFT responds to the tragedy in Lafayette

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Statement by LFT President Steve Monaghan

(July 24, 2015) Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the senseless, tragic shooting in Lafayette last night. It is especially poignant to learn that two of the victims are our colleagues, high school teachers who were simply taking in a movie on a Thursday night.

We are grateful that their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, and we salute the courage of these teachers who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. We believe they do truly exemplify the best of who we are as professional educators, and as human beings.

But, we must gently assert that this event would have been no less tragic had the victims not included members of our own profession. This was, in the words of a Facebook, commenter, simply “A terrible thing.” This was another in a series of senseless, tragic things.

The awful confluence of mental derangement and easy access to firearms has brought death and destruction to theaters, churches and schools without regard to the demographics of the victims.

From Aurora to Sandy Hook to Charleston, just to name the highest-profile atrocities, thousands of innocent Americans have lost their lives to armed individual madness and political paralysis. Most incidents never make national news because they involve family members or known associates killing each other. But the toll is an American tragedy and it is staggering.

Shots ring out nightly in far too many American and Louisiana neighborhoods, while too many elected leaders acknowledge the victims and heroes, express condolences, shake their heads, and shrug as if to say there’s nothing we can do.

Yet, many of our cities are awash in unconscionable levels of violence. There are - there must be - things that we can do.

Our prayer and our hope is for leadership that sees the need for conversations we must have regarding appropriate treatment for those with mental illness, and adequate protection for the rest of us against the ravages of unbridled violence.