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View Diary: Newtown? Sandy Hook? Call it 12/14 (141 comments)

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  •  I do not remember the exact date of (11+ / 0-)

    the Triangle Fire, but I do know that it was a pivotal event in history which brought about radical changes in our labor safety and fire safety laws.  It was a horrible event that proves that we as a society can choose to make the world better in the wake of a tragedy thereby honoring the victims by saving millions into the future.

    History, name, place and context are important, I think.  I don't think about Newtown as a bad place as a result of this horrifying tragedy.  I think about how it is an example of a really nice place (I used to spend time in that area in the summers when I lived in NYC) that is just as much at risk of a tragic event as any place in America is.  In the context of a gun debate, it represents, along with the other gun-related mass shooting tragedies in recent years - a clear signal that we are not doing something right in how we manage gun rights and ownership in this country.

    Turning the event into a date - detached from geographical location - detaches it from the people closest to the tragedy - and, I think, that detachment has liabilities including making it easier for people far away to pretend that it is not their problem.  Trust me when I tell you that that is already happening - to the point where I scolded an FB "friend" two days ago for sharing a link full of those conspiracy theories.  I have friends in the Newtown area.  I explained to that FB person that they are real people and that the event was real and not some crazy conspiracy.  He posts about guns and god a lot and so I told him to pray for you all in that region without overtly telling him to stop being myopic about his guns.  He wrote back chastened and said that they had been praying for you.  I told him to keep it up.

    The point of that story is that we can't let the people fall out of the discussion.  The discussion about the 2nd Amendment has to be about both guns and people - about people's lives and their right to a peaceful civil democratic society.  The gun marketing lobby has done a very good job of making victims into abstractions - to make people forget, not believe and/or detach themselves from these tragedies.  That has got to stop.

    For me, if we are able to enact reasonable changes to our laws that would help us to have a more peaceful and safe civil society, Newtown will become a mecca of sorts - a place where horrible tragedy struck, but also and more importantly a place in which we as a society found the strength to make meaningful changes that would help save lives well into the future.  I am humbled and grateful to the parents of the children who are working towards change even when their process of grief is so early and so raw.  If only we were all as strong and unselfish in the face of such awful tragedy and loss.


    •  I pass the suggestion to you all because (7+ / 0-)

      Newtowners suggest it. I don't think people will ever fall out of the discussion.

      But it is what it is, and people will call it what they call it.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 09:06:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes they will. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Greg Dworkin, UFOH1

        I'm just sharing my thoughts.

        Of course, I never liked and probably never will like "9/11".  I think that names are more personal than numbers.

        •  With the 9/11 attacks though, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          inclusiveheart, alice kleeman

          what name do you give?

          Not World Trade Center, because that diminishes the impact of the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of the plane in Pennsylvania. And I'd avoid any name that invoked Islam because we've already got a huge amount of Islamophobia in this country (and indeed, phobia of anyone who is "other").

          With tragedies, whether natural or human-caused, it's common to attach them to a name, whether a location (Loma Prieta, Jonestown) or the name of the disaster (Katrina, Sandy). 9/11 was so widespread that it makes more sense to use the date rather than a location.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:00:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I actually say - The NY World Trade Center and (4+ / 0-)

            Pentagon attacks on September 11th, 2001.

            Honestly, the lack of specificity of 9/11 has made it more of a world terrorist day (see Benghazi among other attacks since) than a day to which we can point and say "we did something good in honor of those people's lives that were mercilessly taken".

            That tragedy was co-opted to lead us into a war under false premises; erode our Constitutional rights; undermine American democracy; to turn parts of our government on its citizens instead of on those who really threaten us; and to militarize our society.  I'd be totally pissed off if that had happened as a result of my death.

            DC and NYC are two of my hometowns.  That day was scary, difficult and sad as hell.  But the days, weeks, months and years afterward as I saw critical elements of our Constitutional rights dismantled were worse for me.  I am really tired of people who live in bum-f*ck-nowhere that a terrorist would ever bother to go telling me that giving up some of our most important democratic principles because a group of assholes attacked the United States.

            I hope a much more sane and reasonable conversation comes out of the massacre of those children.  I hope that our society looks for better solutions rather than devolving to the lowest common denominator or taking the easiest path.  The people lost out after the attacks on September 11th, 2001 - hopefully they won't lose out on this front, too.

          •  I guess the other thing about the (3+ / 0-)

            massacre of these children is that it was one in a succession of similar gun attacks where many people were randomly killed.  Do we take the dates of all of the most recent attacks and list them and do the dates give us any real sense of what happened?  

            The diary lists the towns of the other shootings above - if the diarist had just listed the dates of those shootings would you know what he was talking about?

            These are all local tragedies that add up to an ongoing national tragedy.

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