Posted by: suek2001 | October 2, 2015

The freedom of learning is no more..

The news out of Oregon is not good….10 dead…20 injured….another shooting..another disaffected, mentally ill guy taking his anger out on people that probably never met him or hurt him…and a community college campus is shaken…

I haven’t followed all the details too closely as I really am tired of reading of all the violence and hate in our world….I did hear one detail that struck me…all the classroom doors open to the outside…

…and that made me ponder……and reflect on my time at a Community College in the early 1990’s….

I graduated from Fort Myers High School..one of the oldest schools on the Fort Myers, FL region..storied history…and legendary for those who were the outgoing type…For me, it wasn’t all that special..I wasn’t on any teams or involved in any high-profile activities all that often….

The campus was an enclosed one…and the only time you walked outside was when  you had to walk from the main building to the gym complex..or to the community pool nearby..or to the stadium…

As graduation neared, I heard talk of kids decided what school they wanted to attend…and some of the ones with less money, contemplated going to the local community college….

I know I did..I tried out for a Rotary Club Scholarship and lost….(the saga still is in my brain all these years later)…

Yet, the wealthier kids wanted to go to the big time colleges..FSU…University of Florida…and beyond…(Interestingly, I would eventually go on to Bible College and all my credits would transfer, saving me about 2 K in additional school debt!)

I wound up going to Edison Community College..took their entrance exam..filled out the financial aid papers…and thanks to the awesome Pell Grant, it was all free…

I took courses…in math…in humanities…in writing…a wide range of things….Still, aside from my favorite Literature class(RIP Talbot Spivak)…I recall sitting in the cafeteria with friends..I found a group of friends through an on-campus Christian club…we’d talk politics..faith…and card games for hours…

20 years later..and I still recall most of their names and faces…we were there trying to move forward in our lives…and trying to better ourselves through education…and fighting the stigma that we weren’t really getting an education because..after all, it was a community college…

One of my favorite things about this college was that it was an open campus…and you could walk from building to building outdoors….

When you’re stuck inside a high school..or any school for that matter, there’s something about that confinement that can make you feel like you have no freedom….

For me, I felt free walking outside, enjoying the sunshine…enjoying watching the trees bend to the wind….and I felt like I was a part of life..not walled off from it…

I hurt for those kids that died yesterday….I hurt for the injured….I hurt for their loss of friends and family…and I also hurt for their peace that was shattered…

All they wanted to do was better themselves..through learning…they chose to go there…they chose to take those classes…and they paid with their lives…

That sense of joy at experiencing a nice day outside as you are walking to class is gone…that sense of safety of going to a small school in a rural area is gone….and for what?

There is speculation the gunman wanted kill Christians…and that takes this hideous crime to another level of horror…We might never know what this punk was thinking…

Today, I just mourn and pray….and reflect…and wonder..when will it end?

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