Bill Moyers: Remember The Victims of Sandy Hook, and Reject the Violence
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The bells rang for the lost: Charlotte Bacon, Olivia Engel, Ana Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Madeline Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, and Allison Wyatt. All were six years old.
Daniel Barden, Josephine Gay, Chase Kowalski, and Grace McDonnell were 7.
Six adults died with them: Mary Sherlach, Anne Marie Murphy, Dawn Hochsprung, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino, Victoria Soto.
It helps to say their names, to rescue them from the statistical anonymity that always settles over these awful events. It helps those of us distanced from the loss to imagine, even grieve, the emptiness in the homes and hearts of those who loved them. They will never forget. We mourn, move on, and too soon forget. And then it will happen again one day, and we will scratch our heads and ask ourselves, “Was the last time Newtown? Or Columbine? Was it Aurora? Or that college in Virginia?” And once again we will mourn, move on, and too soon forget.
There is an old Hassidic saying that, “In remembrance is the secret of redemption.” But America forgets quickly, and gives no lasting indication it seeks redemption from its fetish with guns, its romance with the free market of violence. With the sport of it all. The show must go on. It’s our right. At any price. What were their names again? Oh, yes, Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Dylan, Allison, Dawn. Poor things, such a tragedy. Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.
And so we make our peace with violence. And make ourselves over in its image. A state senator in Missouri, a life-time member of the National Rifle Association, is pushing a bill to require that all first graders be enrolled in the NRA’s gun safety course. First-graders. Six and seven years old. Pledge Allegiance to the flag. Lock and Load. Our new Head Start.
A state senator in Tennessee’s Republican legislature says he will introduce a bill that would allow the state to pay for secretly armed teachers in classrooms. Saintly Miss Simpson, packing heat. Hey, Mr. Russell, it’s show and tell, can we see your Glock 9? After the Newtown killings, a sixth-grader at an elementary school near Salt Lake City brought a gun to school, saying he wanted to protect himself and his friends. Instead, allegedly, he used it to threaten some classmates. As The Good Book says, get with it, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Ready. Aim. Fire.
And for the child who has everything this season, how about body armor? A Utah company named Amendment II offers a new line of it for kids. Mother Jones Magazine reports sales have tripled in one week. A Massachusetts company is promoting The Bullet Blocker, a “rugged computer backpack designed for work or play.” Made of the same materials used in bullet-proof police vests, currently on sale for the holidays for $199.99. And on Facebook, an outfit called Black Dragon Tactical that sells vests and other combat gear sent this message: “Arm the teachers, in the meantime, bulletproof the kids.”
This market never closes. America’s turned violence into a profit center. And if you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, no need to wait for Santa; his sleigh couldn’t even hold the heavy weapons. Step this way. Black Friday is every day. And we have something for everyone, from cradle to grave. From cradle to grave.