Michael Szostak

We must not be complicit in murder, regardless of the circumstances

I appreciate the local writings of Dan DeWalt, Tim Stevenson, and others who try to bring fact, common sense, reason, and human decency into addressing the disasters we are facing throughout our crumbling world.

It's becoming increasingly difficult to bring people together to address the problems we face because we lack common ground, hindered by increasingly locked-in religious, cultural, political, and ego-protecting beliefs. Most of us fall back on some or all those beliefs when we feel cornered and don't know what else to do. It is known as survival.

I'm challenging myself - and you, if you choose to join me - to find common ground in stopping the act of murder. A simple definition of murder: "The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another."

On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas murdered thousands of innocent Israelis. In retaliation, Israel is now murdering thousands of innocent Palestinians.

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There is no going back once the trigger is pulled

Given the flaws that exist in our prevention systems, we need to reduce the danger that guns pose

Many gun advocates say, “Guns don't kill; it's people who kill people.” They say that the problem with an epidemic of mass shootings in this country is a mental health issue, and that is not a reason to restrict gun ownership. If we are being honest with ourselves, as...

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Coffey: Accomplishments have exceeded expectations

In 2018, I decided to actively support Sara Coffey in her run for office. I did not know Sara well, but I initially liked her as a person and found common ground in her stated values, her priorities, and her willingness to seriously consider differing views. Admittedly, my support...

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BUHS in leadership hands that can create possibilities for change

Most of us have been taught that leadership means top-down-rule, with one person, often a man, at the top of a pyramid-type organizational structure. When that structure does not exist, it is understandable that some people become uncomfortable and insecure. Another structure for leadership of an organization is a collaborative model, without the hierarchical form of decision-making. Currently, we are fortunate to have at Brattleboro Union High School three very capable women leaders who are committed to collaboration with teachers,

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For many people in our nation, we’ve never had a democracy

What happened recently at our nation's Capitol is being commonly described as an assault on our democracy. But that characterization sounds as if it's something new and it fails to recognize the assaults that have been occurring in our country since its founding. Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), other historically marginalized people, and those of lower income have been and are continuously assaulted. Sometimes these assaults have been physical, but other times they've been in the form of systemic...

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Lawmakers, stop the bleeding by taking action against guns

Most sensible people realize that when someone is seriously wounded, you must stop the bleeding before dealing with the actual cause of the wound, or else the victim is likely to die. As recently occurred in Florida, the blood of our children is being shed while we adults debate the causes and prevention strategies. Improved background checks, competency and mental-health requirements, school-safety drills, family-unit revitalization, and spiritual renewal are all worth considering, but we've been studying this issue since Columbine...

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A restorative approach in action

On Nov. 13, approximately 50 people gathered at Brattleboro Union High School, forming a circle of understanding to address: “How are you personally affected by substance abuse in our community?” This circle, which I had the pleasure of facilitating, was conceived and sponsored by the Brattleboro Restorative Justice Consortium, composed of representatives from Youth Services, the Brattleboro Community Justice Center, Brattleboro Union High School Restorative Justice Program, the Just Schools Project, and the Bellows Falls Community Restorative Justice Program. This...

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