Newtown, Connecticut will forever be synonymous with a kind of violence that most of us will never understand. The best we can hope for is that in time it will be seen as a milestone, a turning point in our former passivity, and frustration, and inaction. Maybe we will finally be moved to do something, rather than just a couple of days of words and tears, balloons and stuffed animals and then…nothing.
We need to stop wringing our hands and gnashing our teeth over the absolute power of the gun lobby. A very smart friend suggested that we all join the NRA. Every one of us. Work to subvert from within. Smart thinking.
A bigger, possibly Sisyphean challenge is how to undo what we as a society have done—the nearly boundless campaign spending that makes NRA contributions so attractive to those seeking elected office; the increasingly violent movies and video games that are consumed primarily by our society’s young men, who are more often than not the brutal assailants in these massacres; and the blurring of the line between reality, reality TV, and the 24-hour news cycle.
Because, really, our need for entertainment is insatiable; what we accept as entertainment is appalling. CNN and Fox are less about news than about theater, providing viewers with an onslaught of graphics and provocations and very little useful information. Look at the reporting from Newtown—the killer’s brother was identified as the murderer for hours! The killer’s mother was identified as a teacher at the Sandy Hook school for days! The murderer was alleged to have been let into the school. He shot the doors out!
Those are just the inaccuracies. What about the news media tweeting to parents and relatives of children in Newtown, looking for interviews? And the interviews themselves. Is it just me, or is it beyond irresponsible to put children who survived the rampage on camera? While we should not avert our eyes from this horror, we cannot and must not watch the news the same way we watch “Hoarders.” And expect as little from it.
Let’s all engage in some smart thinking and determine what we can do, each of us, all of us, actively, passionately and permanently, to honor the children of Sandy Hook Elementary.