And, by the way, kudos to Brian Williams and NBC News, who accurately captured the tone, the feeling, and the ambiance of the town. That's hard to do, but they did a good job of it without being intrusive.
My sincere and heartfelt thanks for the messages of good will, thoughts and prayers from everyone. But the obvious, next question is "what can we do"? Believe it or not, there's no easy obvious answers.
That's why, to me, the idea of having a conversation about gun control makes so much sense. Discussion can often lead to enlightenment.
Let me point you to two thoughtful articles that illustrate the above points. The first, from Nate Silver, look at language and usage:
There is, of course, no way to monitor the conversations that take place in living rooms around the country. But we can measure the frequency with which phrases related to gun policy are used by the news media.That's a reason right there to enter the discussion and not cede ground.
If the news coverage is any guide, there has been a change of tone in recent years in the public conversation about guns. The two-word phrase “gun control” is being used considerably less often than it was 10 or 20 years ago. But the phrase “gun rights” is being used more often. And the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is being invoked more frequently in the discussion.
The second, and in many ways more important, article is from the NY Times and examines the difficult conversation.
Dr. Irwin Redlener, who is the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and has worked on school violence issues, said there were steps that could be taken to try to limit school violence, like limiting entry, developing an explicit disaster plan that includes strategies to lock down schools and pursuing close ties with the local police.That's very true (Sandy Hook had those systems in place), but not a reason to avoid the conversation.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “random acts of severe violence like this are not possible to entirely prevent.”
As a Newtown resident, I don't speak for the town. But I'm looking for answers just like you are, and I believe discussion and conversation is an important way to find them.
It's a start, and it might just do some good. It might even open the door to talk about the other topic people don't like to talk about, mental health. But let's start by making sure that gun control and gun rights are part of the national discourse.