An American Teacher’s Voice about the Dallas Ambush

To prove my American bona fides, I am posting this after watching the entire MLB Home Run Derby, including the entertaining final round between Giancarlo Stanton and Todd Frazier. Miami’s Stanton beat my hometown slugger, Frazier, 20-13. Good American fun.

This last weekend, I had been trying to figure out how to address my online summer class about the Dallas massacre and two preceded killings of black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. I confess that I’d like to take the easy way out and not mention it, but then I don’t suppose I’d be well-representing my position as a professional representative of the community. The following is an excerpt from the announcement I posted for my class this day, a day after the deceased soldier in my life, Sgt. Timothy Allan Guffey, would have turned 33, if he had not taken his own life because of George W. Bush’s war:

Dear class. It’s still difficult to process the brutal events of last week, yet the demented slaughter of five police officers and two needless shootings of black men by police officers within the short span of three days have beset the nation with a need to reflect. It is necessary to grieve, and it is equally necessary to struggle with issues of racial tension, mental illness, public violence, gun classification and legal ownership, and national security. I’d like to invite students to read one (or all) of the three articles I included this morning in Additional Readings about reaction to the Dallas ambush as the subject matter for the Reflective Essay (…or next week, you could make it the central subject matter or argumentative thesis for our final paper, the Argumentative Research Essay).

[The three articles I included are as follows, in last year’s MLA citation format:

“This City, Our City.” The Dallas Morning News. The Dallas Morning News, Inc., 9 July 2016. Web. 10 July 2016.

Wolf, Leon. “The Uncomfortable Reason It Came to This in Dallas Yesterday.” RedState., 8 July 2016. Web. 10 July 2016.

Dyson, Michael Eric. “Death in Black and White.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 7 July 2016. Web. 10 July 2016.

I wrote a bit about the minutiae of the on-line class after this. I concluded with a summary of the concept of America, since we had concluded a session about conceptual writing and extended definition.]

I love my country, and it saddens me to see such civil unrest in America this summer. However, I will not give into despair because the country I know and love does not give into our fears. We love and support our neighbors, and we provide hope and opportunity to our most indigent citizens. This country is strong, and we will persevere despite the nay-saying. This is the country I know and grew up in, and many people have attempted to persuade me that America has become fundamentally different. I am having trouble seeing America as if we are on some inevitable spiral down the metaphorical toilet, because frankly, we have seen worse times than this. America will endure. America is more than any one individual citizen. It is an aggregate, made up of the best parts of all of us together, and we cannot be torn asunder when we are united as one.

Scott C. Guffey


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