On Saturday, Glen hosted the We Are All Newtown Blogathon. If you haven't seen these diaries yet, you will find the links at the bottom of this diary. Please share widely. The theme of We Are All Newtown was taken from Monte Frank's article, Newtown is no longer just a place, but a movement, originally posted in the Guardian on Monday, December 9. In his article, Monte Frank introduces us to his friend, Rev Saylor, whose son, Shane Oliver, was gunned down last October. Shane was twenty years old.
Oliver, a young man with a hand crippled by a stroke at birth, was deeply in love. He died trying to defend his girlfriend from the unwanted and crude advances of the man who killed him, says his grief-stricken father. Oliver and his girlfriend were at the apartment complex where Oliver was shot picking up a payment from one of Oliver’s customers. He had a fledgling business buying, fixing and selling cars.Rev Sam Saylor, speaking at the Mother's United Against Violence rally says this:
I'm sick and tired of Newtown. I'm sick and tired of hearing about Newtown. Newtown this, Newtown that, I don't want to hear about that. I want you to know about Shane, the beauty of Shane. … We were with Vice President Biden a month and a half ago, and he understood our rage because we are an appendage, a footnote in this discussion around the world. We matter! Violence did not happen in Newtown; it did not start in Newtown. It happened in the streets like Hartford and Bridgeport and New Haven. And I realized something, sitting next to a father from Newtown in Danbury when Vice President Biden came. When I was sitting next to him, he was crying. He cried like I cried. His tears were wet like my tears. They were full of pain like my tears were full of pain. He had rage like I raged. If he could have his child back, he would have his child back now. You can have Newtown. They didn't ask for this. And I'll be darned if I let publicity – over-publicity – about Newtown separate me from that father and his tears. I realized that I am Newtown. We are all Newtown.
Following Rev Saylor, it is Monte's turn to take the podium. It is then that he has the realization that we are all Newtown and we are all Hartfod, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Aurora, Tuscon, Virginia Tech and Columbine because...
We all stand united in our quest to end the parade of pain. We all seek peace. PEACE.The blogathon was a vehicle to offer remembrance, honor and respect. Comments in each diary convey loss, sadness, anger, grief and hope, peace and love, analogous to Newtown's message:
Saturday, December 14, 2013, Valley News by Janell Ross
The Gun Victims Who Seem to Count for Less
Young black men in particular live in the awkward space where they are the nation’s most frequent victims of deadly crime but are also feared and believed to be its most frequent perpetrators. When they are shot and killed, many law-abiding Americans who may consider themselves “ordinary” often assume that these young men are thugs engaged in crime, who were killed while engaged in something they should not have been doing, says Laurence Ralph, a Harvard University anthropologist who studies gang violence, public sentiment about crime and those who have been disabled as a result of it.
“There is absolutely a kind of discrepancy between the way we see spectacular events like Newtown,” says Ralph, “their visibility in our consciousness and mainstream culture, and the everyday kind of violence that is seen almost as normal, perhaps even deserved. The idea that threats exist elsewhere and the people who face them most often do so because of choices they have made can be comforting.”
But behind this kind of thinking are the beliefs that make people say things like “This isn’t supposed to happen here” after incidents such as the massacre in Newtown and simply shake their heads about a death like Oliver’s. It is a presumption that some people are unquestionably innocent, or at least deserving of protection and safety, and some people are not, Ralph says.On the South and West sides of Chicago, every single day, mostly black and minority children and young adults are killed on a daily basis. These deaths don't occur in the same way 'tragedies' like Sandy Hook or Aurora occurred. The tragedy here is that every day young minority, black children, and young adults are killing each other by guns. According to HeyJackass, 441 people were murdered, the equivalent of 17 Sandy Hooks, and at least 1,800 were shot and wounded in the year since Sandy Hook brought this epidemic to the forefront and spurred some congressional members to attempt to take action.
HeyJackass continues to ask,
Of the 441, 58 children (17 and under) have been murdered since then. Aside from maybe one or two high profile, politically expedient cases, can anyone name much less recall any of the events of the 2,200+? Nope.I consider and I know that many here on Daily Kos also consider every single one of these deaths a tragedy no matter where or how it happened. It is up to us to make sure all groups of individuals are represented on Daily Kos. Better yet, all people as one with no suggestion that any one person is more worthy than another simply because of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, religion, socio economic status etc... We at Daily Kos have a responsibility as progressive members to work on these narratives. We have much room for improvement.
The only difference here is that one is considered a tragedy and the literally thousands of others are statistics.
Chicago Murder, Homicide & Crime 2013 Stats taken from HeyJackass.com
As of 12/01/2013, there were 334 homicides in which the victims were black. There were 75 homicides in which the victims were Hispanic, and 8 victims who were white. By percentage respectively 80.1%, 18%, and 1.9%.
Below is a nominal snap shot of daily tragedies occurring but without the prominence that the children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School received. I have not heard their names on the news nor have I ever seen their faces - and for this I am saddened, and I am sorry. Their deaths are no less important than another.
May their memories be a blessing.
Posted 9/30/2013 Marcus Rush, 19-Year-Old Chicago Man, Shot and Killed and 15 More Wounded by Weekend GunFire
For more images please see the slideshow at Huffington Post, Crime in Chicago.
Last night my daughter came home with this assignment:
Imagine you had a hundred dollars, but you couldn't keep it. You had to give it away to a person or charity. To whom would you give it? What would you want them to do with it? Write a one paragraph essay.This is what she chose to do with it:
If I had a hundred dollar bill I would give it to somebody that can buy $100.00 worth of guns. I would want them to melt them down to art. I don't want people to buy guns to kill each other. I don't want them to kill animals for hats, jackets, shirts, socks, pants and shoes. Another reason is sometimes people get too crazy and shoot a lot of people or animals for no reason at all. Lastly, if there are less guns there would not have been the Sandy Hook shooting.
"We Are All Newtown" DiariesKitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate.
Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.