Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Will our anger be buried alongside Newtown’s dead?" Jay Bookman

A flag flies at half mast on a dark, wintry night in Newtown, Conn. This week, the townspeople will bury their dead, including the bodies of 20 young first-graders murdered by an assailant who broke into their school. Coffin manufacturers have donated the 20 small caskets that will be needed in the burials. (AP)
The Bushmaster .223, the weapon used by Adam Lanza to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Each victim had been shot three to 11 times, according to the coroner's report. Lanza is reported to have brought multiple 30-round magazines to the school, and at the time of his death at his own hand still possessed hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Robbie Parker, the father of six-year-old Emilie, has had to explain her death to her two siblings, ages 3 and 4. "They seem to get the fact that they have somebody they're going to miss very much," he said.
December 17, 2012
An excerpt from President Barack Obama’s message to Newtown and the nation, delivered at a prayer vigil Sunday night (entire text available here):
“Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around. With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice. And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm.
And yet, we also know that with that child’s very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them. They’ll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments. And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.
And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.
This is our first task — caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?”
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no.”

The answer is no.

– Jay Bookman

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