Merry Christmas, Sandy Hook.
Eventually we will forget you. We will forget the horrific details. We will forget your names. We will forget how we felt.
We say we won’t forget. We say this time it will be different. We won’t let the politicians wriggle off the hook or the gun lobby to control the debate. Not this time. But will we really do anything different this time than all the times before? We promised all those victims all these times before we wouldn’t forget and we did and we wouldn’t let it happen again, yet it does.
What’s so different this time?
After all, you weren’t our kids. Someone else will mourn you. Someone else will walk past your empty bed. Someone we don’t know who live somewhere we’ve never been will mourn you.
We’re Americans. We love our kids. We love our guns too. Don’t ask us to choose between the two because you might not like the answer you get.
Sandy Hook will be forgotten. The media will move on to another tragedy in another place. They know the next atrocity is always just around the corner. This is America. There is always another atrocity just around the corner.
I’m not a “ho-ho-ho” kind of guy when its a good December and this has not been a good December. Adam Lanza is The Grinch That Killed Christmas.
It isn’t a Merry Christmas and the holidays aren’t all that happy. Sandy Hook takes its place along Columbine, Red Lake , Virginia Tech among the bloodiest school shootings in our country’s bloody history. Certain places seem inconceivable to be targeted to become a slaughterhouse. Churches and schools head the list, but as history has proved time and again. Nowhere is off-limits. Everyone is eligible to be a victim.
In the wake of Sandy Hook, Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas. It seems like denial of reality. Adam Lanza and the lurking monsters like him are the Grinches That Killed Christmas.
As sure as the night follows day, there will be those eager to speculate about what happened, why it happened and how it can be prevented. Some of this contemplation will lead to constructive suggestions. Most will be useless. What’s left will be useless bullshit. That’s when its time to tell the NRA to move over and make some room for media. They have to take their share of the shame.
For the most part the press has done some very good writing and reporting on this tragedy. It’s hard to balance the public’s right to know with the Newtown families need to grieve, but most of the media have conducted themselves in a responsible, respectable manner. Which means there are those who have done some very bad writing on this tragedy.
Meghan McCardle wrote a long-ass piece for The Daily Beast where she pondered possible solutions and offered and one “you’re yanking me, right?” proposal.
I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once. Would it work? Would people do it? I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.
Yes, that’s an excellent idea. Adam Lanza would have been foiled if only those cowardly six-and-seven year old children had overcome the natural urge to cower and run for cover and instead had rushed the gunman en masse.
Come on, kids! Dogpile on the shooter!
No way that wouldn’t end well. Perhaps Miss McCardle also believes the Japanese kamikazes were a brilliant military tactic too.
There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. In this school of 450 students, a sizeable number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K–6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female. There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees. Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers. The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, seemed to have performed bravely. According to reports, she activated the school’s public-address system and also lunged at Lanza, before he shot her to death. Some of the teachers managed to save all or some of their charges by rushing them into closets or bathrooms. But in general, a feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm. Male aggression can be a good thing, as in protecting the weak — but it has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools and the education schools that train their personnel. Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.
To her credit, at another point in her essay Allen observes, “This is stupid advice.”
Allen is absolutely right. Her advice is stupid. A male janitor doesn’t mean he’s a male action figure. Had there been one big, strong man working a Sandy Hook that would have meant…nothing. At his bullshit fest of a press conference, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre said, “The only way—the only way—to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun.”
None of this helps prevent the next Sandy Hook. And it’s coming. We all know it is.
If you were looking for a Christmas Eve message of joy and glad tidings you will be disappointed. The joy is not there. The tidings are grim, not glad. Lives have been lost . Hope has been crushed.
There’s not a lot to be merry about.
According to the FBI, mass murder is described as “a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders. These events typically involved a single location, where the killer murdered a number of victims in an ongoing incident.”
The week started with the shooting rampage in a suburban Portland, Oregon mall with Jacob Tyler Roberts using a stolen AR-15 semi-automatic to kill two people and wound a third seriously.
Roberts would not qualify as a mass murderer. His is a shooting spree. The families of his victims could hardly care less.
Mass murder in America seemed to culminate with the Columbine killings in 1999 which left 12 dead. Then came the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre where Seung-Ho Choi gunned down 32 and wounded 15 others and reset the body count meter until today’s gruesome events. The timeline of death since Columbine to Newtown is a long and bloody one.
The United States averages 20 mass murder events a year but surprisingly though this is a violent country, it is not as violent as it once was. This is a fact worth noting.
But oh, when we do kill, we kill with purpose, we kill with passion and we kill in big numbers.
We will search for the meaning in the midst of madness. We will say we must delay a debate on guns until the dead have been counted and buried and a respectful interval has passed, but in truth, there is no debate and the issue has largely been settled in this country. Guns are popular. Restrictions on guns are not.
We’ve had a debate about guns in America. Guns won. Everyone else lost.
The defenders of guns will trot out their time-tested lines about how guns aren’t the problem; people misusing guns are. They will point to another act of school violence that occurred the same day in China where a madman with a knife wounded 22 children and one adult. The difference is none of those children died as opposed to the 20 children, six adults, plus the gunman who perished in Newton, Connecticut.
The NRA would sooner see a shooting spree every day before they would support legislation limiting the right to own any damn guy you want.
Something must be done. This is insane. We’re gunning down little boys and girls and their teachers as they try to defend them. If our youngest and most innocent are not safe from mindless violence none of us are. What that something is, nobody seems to know. Or if they do, nobody has the courage or the will to take on the gun lobby.
The spark of the holiday spirit was not burning brightly in me before the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Now it has been extinguished entirely.
The world is a beautiful place. The people on it? Not so much.
- Fuck You, Guns (jezebel.com)
- Expect More Shootings and More Horror (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- They Shoot Children, Don’t They? (zengardner.com)
- A Timeline Of Mass Shootings In The US Since Columbine (thinkprogress.org)