Every couple of minutes something new trickles out about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. As I write I have a window open to the CNN coverage of the event. The very latest word is that the shooter, 24 year old Ryan Lanza, killed his mother, who was a teacher at the school, as well as slaughtering a class full of kindergartners. Twenty seven people in all are dead, including the gunman.
Among the dead is the school principal, Dawn Hochsprung, a woman who had devoted her life and career to the education of America’s young people.
It’s almost more than I can bear, 3000 miles away and without school aged children living at home. My mind cannot grasp the horror those parents are feeling. If this had happened in my son’s classroom, some 20 years ago when he was in kindergarten at Swegle Elementary School in Salem, it would have been too much to bear and I would never have smiled again.
The fact that this kind of thing is happening with a greater frequency in our country cannot be argued. Clackamas Town Center, full of Christmas shoppers a few days ago; Aurora, Colorado at a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” just a few months ago; at a campaign rally in Tucson, Arizona last year. Each an unspeakable tragedy, though about it we must speak.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, victim in the Arizona tragedy sent words of prayer and condolence to the parents in Connecticut. Her husband had this to say:
“As we mourn, we must sound a call for our leaders to stand up and do what is right. This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws – and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America. This can no longer wait.”
But it will wait. It will wait, probably forever, because we as a country must admit something that can no longer be denied. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association.
Word is that the shooter was carrying semi-automatic weaponry and an assault rifle. Within seconds of that information being shared, the gun rights advocates were obscuring the issue with talk of knives, hammers, and chains. They are good at what they do, and they can follow a script better than Meryl Streep.
That’s why they have won.
In the name of, “the Right to Keep and bear Arms’, a bunch of kids in Connecticut won’t know what Santa had for them.
I will in fact pray in just that way, but I will also pray that this might be, at last, the event that turns the national dialogue.
It won’t, but that’s why they call it a prayer.