Where Heart Shift Happens. Teaching the Science of Sustainable Health. What works for 7 future generations? "Do not go where the freeway may lead - Go instead where there is no path and build - A Green Road"
One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.
Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.
It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.
That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.
On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much,' were most of the comments.
No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.
Several years later, one of the students was killed inVietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.
The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.
As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Mark's math teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Mark talked about you a lot.'
After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.
'We want to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket 'They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.'
Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.
'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As you can see, Mark treasured it.'
All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home.'
Chuck's wife said, 'Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.'
'I have mine too,' Marilyn said. 'It's in my diary'
Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at all times,' Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: 'I think we all saved our lists'
That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.
The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.
So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Let your friends know they are special too. Tell them, before it is too late.
And One Way To Accomplish This Is: Forward this message on. If you do not send it, you will have, once again passed up the wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful.
If you've received this, it is because someone cares for you and it means there is probably at least someone for whom you care.
If you're 'too busy' to take those few minutes right now to forward this message on, would this be the VERY FIRST time you didn't do that little thing that would make a difference in your relationships?
Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.
Fwded; Email THE MURDER OF LARRY HOOPER By Arlene-Marie December 20, 2005 (Edited for punctuation and clarity.) On October 18, 2004, Arthur Shelton, a self described Christian and Eagle Scout, murdered hisfriend and roommate, Larry Hooper, because Hooper didn't believe in God.
On December 18, 2005, after many months of postponements, Arthur Shelton, with his defenseattorney, Seymour Swartz, appeared at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit, Michigan,before Judge Gregory D. Bill to face charges of murder in the first degree brought by AssistantProsecuting Attorney, Christina Guiruis.
The trial began with the taped phone call Arthur Shelton placed to the Taylor police departmentin Taylor, Michigan, October 18, 2004, at precisely 12:44 AM. Shelton sounded calm and pridefull when he told the dispatcher he had just shot "the devil himself" with a revolver and a shotgun because "he (Hooper) didn't believe in God."
Shelton told the dispatcher he was "still armed and ready to shoot again in case he moves. I want to make sure he's gone." When the dispatcher asked how many times he shot the victim Shelton replied, "hopefully enough."
Throughout the 15 minute phone call Shelton often repeated, "I'm a Christian and an Eagle Scout and I wouldn't lie," and "don't worry about me, I'm fine, but he's the devil." The dispatcher struggled to persuade Shelton to lay down his weapon and go outdoors with his arms raised. Shelton resisted, as he feared Hooper might not be "dead enough", but eventually complied.
Dead enough was an understatement. When the police arrived they were confronted with the grizzly scene of Hooper sitting upright on the couch with his head blown away and his brain laying on his hand. The autopsy report presented by the prosecutor was gruesome to be sure, but, for the record, Larry Hooper tested negative for all narcotics and alcohol.
Testimony by the arresting officer and the officers transporting Shelton to the police stationrevealed that while the officers were interested in gathering details about the incident,Shelton was obsessed with talking about God, the Eagle Scouts and stating he "would not talk to anyone who didn't believe in God but that he would talk to the police because he felt they believed in God."
On the second day of the trial the court played the videotape of the late night interrogation with Arthur Shelton. He appeared calm, cooperative and enjoyed the cookies and milk he wasserved. Once again Arthur was obsessed about talking about God and the Eagle Scouts.
He stated he "was not sorry for a second that he killed Hooper." He stated, "In the eyes of the law I was wrong and will probably spend the rest of my life in prison, but in the eyes of God I havekilled an evil person -- the devil himself." And when Arthur took the witness stand in his own defense he reiterated much of the same ideas.
Day three of the trial we heard summary arguments. The defense had little problem proving that Arthur is obsessed with religion, God and Eagle Scouts and pleaded for a verdict of not guilty due to insanity. The prosecution had little problem proving that Arthur was competent, knew the difference between right and wrong and called for a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree.
As this was a wavered trial Judge Bill rendered his verdict quickly -- guilty ofsecond-degree murder with mental illness. On December 19, 2005, we returned to Judge Bill's court to witness sentencing of Arthur Shelton. The prosecution asked for the 'high end' of punishment - 25 to 45 years, while the defense was still pleading for not guilty due to insanity or, at the very most, a soft sentence at the 'low end' of punishment 15 to 22 years.
Judge Bill invited Shelton to make a statement and after fumbling for words Shelton stated he was sorry that Larry was dead but he did a job that had to be done. He stated that he actually, "saw fire and smoke coming from Larry's eyes and knew he was the devil himself."
Judge Bill proceeded to tenderly read letters written to him from Shelton's family members pleading for leniency. Shelton sat facing the audience and blew kisses to his tearful andsometimes sobbing family. In the end, the now stern-faced Judge Bill pronounced sentencing -- 25 to 45 years. Shelton was stunned and tried to negotiate the sentence stating, "I'm 50 years old and that is as good as a life sentence." Judge Bill responded, "Mr. Shelton you gave Larry Hooper a life sentence by committing one of the most heinous murders to come before my court."
(In a private conversation, the prosecutor, Ms Guirguis, explained that Michigan law requires that Shelton must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole.) I add now a disgusting chain of events that took place in the courtroom, the hallways, the lobby of the court building, the staircase outside of the courthouse and even the ladies bathroom. George Shiffer and myself attended day one of the trial.
Upon arrival we were asked who we were and I gave the court my American Atheist business card. Word that we were Atheists traveled fast in this court room that offered very limited seating and the only others in attendance were 11 members of Shelton's family who immediately began taunting George and me with "the people from hell, evil, and devils."
At breaks they waited for us in the hall and continued with more of the same while adding "God loves you" and blowing us kisses and shoving their crosses (worn on chains around their necks) in our faces. Several of the women even followed me into the bathroom and did their best to intimidate me with their crosses. Through it all George and I never flinched, but at the conclusion of the day I reported this taunting to the Officer of the Court who admitted that they were aware of the problem and escorted us to the elevator, past and to the disappointment of the waiting group of good Christians'.
On Day two when George and I, together with Joe Milon, entered the court room the taunting began immediately. Within an hour the Judge announced that those making gestures and faces had better cease or they would be removed. For the balance of the day the Christians wore their neck crosses on their backs, as we were seated in the back row, while constantly flopping them about with their hand.
When we returned from lunch (without court escort) the Christians were waiting for us on the seventh floor and lunged at us with small signs they had painted -- 'Jesus lives', God loves you' -- and, again, thrusted their crosses within 2 or 3 inches from our noses.
Tempers flared and a brief shouting match began. Brief because the court officers were there in a flash. Day three found Atheist Lee Helms in the same taunted position of the previous days though he was not known to the court or the Christians. At the conclusion of the day an officer of thecourt detained him stating they have been having trouble with 'those people' (Christians) andescorted him to the elevators.
Even with all that behind us, December 19th, the day of sentencing, was still a horrificexperience for myself, George Shiffer, Joe Milon, Lee Helms and Marty Maier. When leaving the courtroom the 'Christian' Shelton family lay in wait for us in the hallway. Their tears dried,they surrounded us shouting these comments: "The one good thing of all of this is that another Atheist is dead and the world is better off for it" and "The only good Atheist is a dead Atheist."
Submitted by: Arlene-MarieMichigan State DirectorAmerican Atheists www.michiganatheists.org PO Box 0025Allen Park, MI 48101
My own note: We obviously have a long way to go in teaching tolerance, empathy, diversity training, peaceful conflict resolution and bullying prevention in our schools.
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