Archive for March, 2009

Sad and disturbing news

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Today there was another shootout at a German school. A former student killed nine students and three teachers, then fled the school (possibly because the police were entering the scene) in a kidnapped car, finally killing himself during a shooting with the police some 40 km (25 miles) away.

It’s the first shootout at a German school in which people were killed since the one in Erfurt in April of 2002.

Deutsche Welle: Teenage Gunman Takes Own Life After German School Shooting.

“Police in Stuttgart have confirmed the death of a gunman in a school-shooting incident that left at least 15 victims dead and several injured near Stuttgart in the southwest of the country.”

Spiegel: Germany Shocked by Teenager’s Killing Spree.

“Germany was in shock on Wednesday after a 17-year-old youth killed 16 people in a shooting rampage that began at his school, where he shot dead 10 pupils and three teachers. He later took a gun to his own head during a shootout with police. His motive remains a mystery.”

I’m not only concerned because I’m a teacher myself and the school where this happened today is quite similar to my own but also because it happened in a town where a friend of mine works. A lot of his colleagues have children in the school, and the town is small enough that many people know each other. At his company they were told to shut the gates and the window shutters, and for hours many of his colleagues didn’t know how there children were.

Update:

BBC News: German school gunman ‘kills 15’.

“Fifteen people have been killed by a teenage gunman who went on a rampage in south-west Germany, officials say.
Among the dead were nine pupils, eight of them girls, and three teachers at the Albertville secondary school in the town of Winnenden, north of Stuttgart. “

New York Times: Teenage Gunman Kills 15 at School in Germany.

“Winnenden, Germany — A teenage gunman killed 15 people, most of them female, on Wednesday in a rampage that began at a school near Stuttgart in southern Germany and ended in a nearby town, where he then killed himself after the police wounded him.”

Spring?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I spoke too soon. Winter was back today, we got a few centimeters of snow while it rained at lower elevations. It’s above freezing, though, so I expect it to be gone again soon. However, this may not be the last time it snows this season. Last year we had snow on easter. Oh well.

In more interesting news, Alwin is back and posting at code:TheWebSocket;. Long time no see, Al! Glad you’re back!

Spring!

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Wow, a month and a day passed since my last posting… and winter turned into spring.

After returning from the USA and Canada last summer, I often replied to questions about our vacation that I loved the area we traveled to, but that we’d seen more snow in Canada in July than we had had during the past two winters here in our German Mittelgebirge. Well, it seems like this winter was out to prove me wrong. We had snow several times, for several days or even weeks at a time, and it was a lot more snow than we had during the past two winters. The first snow came in November, and the last bist was just a short while ago.

Yesterday and today were the first days that felt like spring. It was decidedly warmer than before, and even sunny. The crocuses in our garden were blooming, and the air smelled like spring. André and I went for a walk (not a very long one because I am battling a stubborn bout of sinusitis at the moment) today and enjoyed every bit of it even though it was quite windy on top of the hills. It was really great to see the catkins on trees and bushes and others signs of spring. Also, I saw a red kite for the first time since they moved south for the winter. (Take a look at the great photo on Wikipedia!)

Last year we had snow as late as Easter, so we’ll see how long the spring weather holds (it started to rain tonight), but the longer days and better weather do much to improve my mood. Now if only there weren’t four very busy weeks with a lot of work between now and the Easter holidays… I’m already looking forward to a couple of weeks off from school.

André took some photos today, but hasn’t uploaded them yet, so here’s one he took last year.