Maria Geryk introduces Calvin Terrell to the crowd of about 100- 125 Middle School parents/guardians and a few hand picked students
No tears were shed, nobody puked and professional counselors were not required as "social justice" speaker extraordinaire Calvin Terrell paid a return visit to the Amherst Regional Middle School -- the scene of the crime -- to "reenact" his October 2nd routine that terrorized far too many impressionable young students.
This time around school officials told parents to keep their children at home, kind of like cops separating two partners in crime during questioning so they can't compare notes.
Although nine ARHS students, all members of IGET (Inter-Generational Equity Team), were trotted out to the front of the room to tell the crowd why they are "warriors".
ARPS Superintendent Maria Geryk, the highest paid public official in Amherst, announced at the outset that no video recording was allowed (while looking directly at me).
Calvin Terrell displays a t-shirt from a racist group in his home state of Arizona
Over the course of the first two hours the affable Terrell put on a good show that was a cross between a pep rally and a religious tent revival meeting.
Audience stands for one of many interactive exercises
But the last half hour became a bit more somber as he reenacted the "visualization" exercise that was the most traumatic aspect of his controversial October 2nd presentation.
He told the attentive audience that this would be the "exact same way I did this with your kids."
He asked us to close our eyes and envision heading into our school on a cool October night holding the soft hand of a five year old girl, with our most beloved adult accompanying us, walking on our left.
Suddenly people are running, shots are fired, and we're understandably scared and confused.
A man near us pulls a gun of his own and says he's going to end this, but he's cut down by the shooter who is yelling things indicating he had been bullied. Another shot rings out, only this time it's the police doing the shooting and the perp is neutralized.
He then pauses ... and you can almost see the Hollywood-like cut to a new scene which he describes as a room in a funeral home with two coffins, one of them for a child. It's a closed coffin because the child was shot in the face with the resulting damage too great for the mortician to repair.
We then take a brief break and he asks everyone to check on the persons sitting next to them to make sure they are emotionally okay.
But in the October 2nd version I heard from a half-dozen Middle School students (one of them my daughter) there was a much closer more graphic visualization of the shooter killing the 5-year-old girl and your most beloved adult right in front of you while you helplessly watched in sheer horror.
No wonder they didn't want this talk recorded.
Terrell also made snide remarks about men who dress "in Brooks Brother suits and work in tall buildings" yet he claims the reason he doesn't want his talks recorded is to protect his intellectual property, which generates a decent income.
In this case $38,000 for ten visits to Amherst. So even if tonight was "free," it was done to protect his $38,000 contract. Kind of like a restaurant giving you a free meal because the one you paid for previously gave you salmonella.
Calvin Terrell: As photogenic as he is smooth talking
As I was taking video at the outset of the meeting (and no, I was not going to video the entire 2.5 hour presentation) a woman sitting behind me suddenly snatched my iPhone, reminding me that it was against the rules.
I was sitting in the front row seat of the PUBLIC Middle School auditorium, the same seat I have occupied over the past 24 years as an Amherst Town Meeting member. It was well below freezing tonight so keeping the auditorium warm (and lit) cost the taxpayers a few dollars.
And this event was sponsored and promoted by the Amherst PUBLIC schools to try to atone for the October 2nd mishap that was widely covered in the local media.
Social Justice does not trump the First Amendment.
Editor's note: To her credit the woman who grabbed my Iphone did apologize to me; as did Calvin Terrell to the audience late in his reenactment for having upset some students at the original October 2nd presentation and badmouthing the town after the controversy erupted in the media.