ETSU professor on turning Las Vegas tragedy into teachable moment for students


Here is our region, people are feeling for the victims of Las Vegas tragedy. News 5's Tiana Bohner was at a vigil in Johnson City, Monday night.

She also spoke to a professor at ETSU about how he plans to turn this tragedy into a moment of teaching.

As investigators rush to get answers in Las Vegas, a moment of silence was held, two thousand miles away in Johnson City.

"We just have to do something," Kingsport resident Sharon Brown said. "It just can't continue. It's insane!"

That something was simple: a candle-lit vigil for victims

"You feel very helpless and you feel like you need to do something," Johnson City mayor David Tomita said. "I think this is one of the things you do. You get together and re-affirm the strength of your community."

"Together we have more in common than what divides us," one of the vigil's organizers, Kate Craig said

Meanwhile, just down the road at ETSU, professor Daryl Carter is taking a different kind of action. He's folding this tragedy into his lesson plan.

"We have to be bold and courageous," he told his students. Carter is a history and political science professor.

"When you talk about history, people think about it simply as numbers, dates and locations," he said. "But we are about people."

So when he hears labels like 'the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history,' he's frustrated.

"It's absolutely dangerous because people are trying to top the last shooter," Carter said.

And he's worried people, including his students, may be forgetting the most important part: the victims.

"We're so accustomed to hearing about it, praying about it, then moving on," one student said. "Whereas the victims and their families - they don't get to do that."

"These were real human beings," Carter said. "They're not just numbers."

So Carter plans to keep the conversation going in his classrooms so that his students use their degrees to make a difference.

"I'll talk about it, write about it, that's the most important thing you can do with history," another student said.

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