Unspeakable Horror… Again

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.

Dawn Hochsprung


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.


Close your eyes, precious children. We have given you a scary world.

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Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings

Kim Hastings is a 1984 graduate of Northwest Christian College. He cut his journalistic teeth as sports editor of a paper in his home town of Fortuna, CA, and, later as a columnist for the Longview Daily News in Longview, WA. He saw his first Oregon game in 1977 and never missed a home game from 1981 until a bout with pneumonia cut his streak short in 1997. He was one of the proud 3200 on a bitterly cold night in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1989 for the Independence Bowl, and continues to be big supporter of Oregon sports. He is an active participant on the various Oregon Ducks messageboards as "TacomaDuck."

  • geauxdux

    Good article, but it’s factually incorrect. The shooter was 20 year old Adam Lanza. Ryan is his older brother.

    • hokieduck

      At the time he was writing, the news sources were reporting it was the older brother whose ID was at the scene.

  • Ed

    I can understand having an opinion and voicing it as you grieve. I have a 2 1/2 year old and was tearful and sick to my stomach about this terrible event. But reacting with illogical talk of gun control is just not right. Banning a type of weapon that looks bad (assault weapons for example) wont stop this. The same terrible event could happen with revolvers. And even banning every gun won’t stop this. Gun violence is commited with largely illegally or non-regulated gun purchases. I know this is a hard time and an equally hard discussion, but it is not logical to think that some one who plans such an act of terror will choose to not kill in a massive level just because they can’t go buy the gun legally. No one talks about the thousands of crimes and deaths prevented by armed citizens. Instead we react to these tragedies with thoughts of banning certain types of weapons. It’s just not logical. But I can understand, when our hearts are on fire and our tears flowing, that we are not always thinking straight. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families of these senseless killings!!

  • informedvoter

    I lost a lot of respect for fishduck for posting this article. This is a sports forum, keep the politics out of it. Your job is to report about sports not your irrational views about gun laws in the aftermath of a horrific event.

    • fishduck

      We have different views from all the different writers at this site
      concerning sports and yet it is hard to ignore a tragedy of this
      impact. These are the views of this writer and do not represent the opinions of everyone at FishDuck.com, especially the principal.

      • informedvoter

        You can write about the event but saying ” We are a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association.” Is far from writing about the event. The author also goes on to say ” Within seconds of that information being shared, the gun rights advocates were obscuring the issue with talk of knives, hammers, and chains.” Clearly he is using this media outlet for his own political agenda. If you are a sports writer than be that. His views might not be shared with everyone at fishduck but it is the responsibility of fishduck to monitor what is released through their platform.

        • fishduck

          I completely agree with you. We have not had this challenge come up before on the site…the issue of mixing politics into articles. I have learned from other sites that you don’t mix sports, politics and current events, and wanted to us learn from this example and why we steer from it.

          The purpose of a sports site like this is to be an escape from the realities of life, and this article illustrates why. I do not wish to have his or my political views waved in front of fellow Oregon fans and have division among my feathered friends.

          We are a new site still…and learning, and we have to establish our policies on this. We are now, and thanks for your feedback on this.

          • informedvoter

            Thank you for understanding the mistake made by your author and your willingness to correct the issue. I hope your words are true and that fishduck will be a place for entertainment not social lobbying.

  • Duckalum77

    Agree that this is not a suitable topic for a sports site, but while the topic is open, I will say, I thought it was already against the law to kill people. The shooter clearly did not pay attention to this law; why would anyone believe he would pay attention to any other law that anyone were to pass, including gun bans? Even a total nationwide confiscation of all guns, something only the lunatic fringe might suggest, could have had the most remote chance of stopping this from happening, and even that is not a certainty, as guns, like drugs, would instantly begin to traffic from other countries were a national ban and confiscation to be the case. If he had wanted guns, he would have been able to get them.

    I was a public school teacher for 30 years and have spent the past 4 years visiting almost every secondary school in my area as someone who trains teachers. There is NO guarantee of safety for anyone in a school, and the things that people do to make themselves feel better are just that. Crisis training helps, but even then, there are no guarantees.

  • common sense

    Fishduck has just lost me as a reader. The age of your site is a lame excuse allowing the politicization of a sports website.

    • fishduck

      You are massively over-reacting. This is the first and last political article, as I could have deleted it this morning, but decided to leave it as an example of how we don’t want to create acrimony among fellow ducks. Hundreds of articles and you leave over one?

      Other sites such as eDuck have even created an extra board, The Woodshed, for political discussion because the arguing was hurting their forum years back before adjusting to it.

      We are adjusting too. We will remain a sports board.

      But it IS interesting the very high standard so many posters hold us to; even when they disagree–they state their case very well. We want to serve the high-brow “Next-Level” fan, and will stay away from politics in the future.

      • informedvoter

        Why should we not hold you to a higher standard? Perhaps you should have taken it down to avoid this type of reaction. Pro gun or anti gun, Bob Costa or Ted Nugent, everything has its place where it could be discussed. I saw the title and thought a player had been arrested or a top recruit de-committed. I was totally blown away to find myself reading about the tragedy from yesterday. This is a good site with interesting articles and so long as the political agendas of its writers stay hidden I will continue to read. If they don’t, I will stop.

  • Jerry

    I’m obviously in the minority, but I thought it was a well written work. The writer said that he was working on it while the news was still breaking. His heart was hurting. When should we talk about guns and violence?

  • Alan

    I have been following this site with interest all day. Just 1 question. Would the author of this piece be getting this much grief about “politics on a sports site” and from the “principal” himself if he had written a pro-gun piece? Probably not.

    • fishduck

      Alan…that comment from you is a disappointment to me. I have always been open and above board on everything with this site. A Pro-Gun article would have angered my Pro Gun-Control friends, and I would not have condoned that either. This site is meant to get away from the serious stuff, and learn more about our beloved Ducks, and not talk politics.

      This is what happens with politics….it becomes very intense and people begin flinging personal insults, which is the opposite of what the 50 of us who work so hard for the site want.

      The longer this thread goes…the more damage it does to all.

  • hokieduck

    As soon as I began to read this article, I knew that a virtual sh#tstorm would follow. That people would be irate that a “sports site” would dare to comment on a tragedy. That Bob Costas would “ruin Sunday Night Football” talking about the repercussions of a murder/homicide perpetuated by an NFL player with a gun.

    And, yes, to an extent, I agree. If this site became a site where political statements were made on a consistent basis and posts were common about socially/politically/culturally divisive things, it would cease to be a sports site and would lose its appeal.

    The tragedy in Newtown, however, was not just some ridiculous thing that some ridiculous and ill-placed article was written about and posted on the wrong site. Newtown was the kind of incident which reverberates into the very soul of this nation. Its horrors are universal. It demands that we stop and think and share and *talk* about what occurred … in literally *every* venue where people have the opportunity to come together and exchange ideas.

    As a nation we are so polarized and we focus on the differences rather than on the similarities. I think that is what makes social discourse so difficult. We here on Fishduck share so many commonalities. We love, LOVE, college football and the Oregon Ducks. We love that the writers give us something more meaningful to digest than the common sports media do. We come here and we learn. From the writers, the coaches they talk with, and from each other.

    Can’t we at the very least allow Kim Hastings the room to grieve publicly with us, his sporting comrades? Yes, he obviously said something which he believes which is very, very different than what a lot of those of us who come here believe. But cannot we give one another leeway to express our differences and listen to one another and maybe just maybe take a step or two toward common understanding and compromise?

    Yes, this is a sports site. But this was an AMERICAN tragedy that reaches out and devours all of us in its heinousness. Can’t we allow for that as friends and fellow Ducks? Can’t we answer him by saying, “Hey, Kim. I couldn’t disagree with you more on the hows and whys of this tragedy. But I read through your words your pain and anguish. And I, too, feel those same emotions.”

    We have to find a way to talk with one another instead of yelling at one another and threatening to “leave” if we are occasionally offended by another’s viewpoint. In times such as the aftermath of Newtown, I simply think that any and all forums and places and sites are the right places to talk and to reach out to one another.

    This tragedy is simply too big and raw to corral into an “appropriate” place. Everywhere and nowhere is appropriate in this regard. It would be more inappropriate to ignore it.