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MurphTheSurf3 On December - 14 - 2013

 

And the skies are still weeping.

And the skies are still weeping.

I wrote this reflection at the end of the week of the Newtown funerals…

Considering the meaning of December 14, 2012.

___________________________________

FAREWELL……moments of silence and of heartache.

I am a 62 year old man. I have family and we have been spared the level of pain which our brothers and sisters in Newtown have born these past several days.

I have seen my share of tragedy.

But, these days are among the most poignant I have experienced. I am watching everything I can and reading everything I can. I am being forced to face the daily violence throughout our land wrought by guns we do not need, by a culture that embraces violence as entertainment and praiseworthy, by gun manufacturers willing to do anything they can to stay profitable, by lobbies that serve the gun industry and gun user zealots and by a society that has failed to care for those whose minds are imbalanced.

This all hurts so much. How have we come to this? We know what must be done. But is there will enough, and courage enough to take on the power of money, the power of paranoia, the power of anger and hatred? There better be.

Noah’s (Pozner) mom put it so well in her eulogy for her little boy.

“The sky is crying, and the flags are at half-mast. It is a sad, sad day. But it is also your day, Noah, my little man. I will miss your forceful and purposeful little steps stomping through our house. I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room.”

I am a political activist and I promise to devote significant effort to combating the evil done that day.

Farewell to Adam, his 19 schoolmates, the six educators whose lives were laid down for those they lovingly taught. And farewell to the man who was the instrument of so much sorrow and to the mother who bore him.

I hope we have not bid farewell to a nation where the children are safe to learn, to laugh, to love, to play, to hug, to trust.

___________________________________

One year later and it appears that the forces of darkness have won.

One year later and the  pain and courage of the Newtown community awakens in me a desire to see to it that those kids and their teaches did not die in vain.

One year later and I know so much more about how handgun  iolence touches many more than acts like Newtown day after day after day.

One year later and guns laws have changed; most of them allowing for even more access.

One year later and I am much less certain about the innate decency of my fellow citizens who seem to know how to mourn but not to reform.

One year later and I have to admit that I and my fellow activists have proven powerless in the face of an opposition with many motivations but one goal- more guns, more ammo, in more hands.

In January of 2013 two of the Newtown parents, David and Francine Wheeler, spoke of their dead 7 year old. Benjamin,  with great sadness and then turned to the subject of Ben’s older brother, Nate, who they said was so quiet in the weeks following the funeral that they were deeply worried. One night, after Nate had gone up to bed, they heard him on the steps. They turned and their 9 year old stood there holding his little brother’s Teddy Bear. With tears in his eyes he said: “You Promised to Keep Us Safe…..”

WHAT ARE WE WILLING TO DO TO KEEP THEM SAFE?

What will the next year bring?

 

In case you want to put faces to the names:

Noah Pozner http://i.i.cbsi.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2012/12/16/pozner_620x350.jpg

Veronique Pozner :http://assets.n   ydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1222466!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/2eulogy18n-1-web.jpg

David, Francine, Benjamin and Nate Wheeler: http://ww2.hdnux.com/photos/16/70/66/3902853/3/628×471.jpg

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NEWTOWN: One year later and seemingly no wiser, 9.8 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive

32 Responses so far.

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  1. agrippa says:

    Many people are no wiser.
    Many refuse to see the connection between firearms and death.

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  2. Dbos says:

    People are not built to bury their children; i lost my fourteen year old daughter to a drunk driving accident; l sit here reading this with tears rolling down my cheeks remembering her and the tragedy of her life lost; every time a child leaves this world before their time we are all that much less.

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    • Nirek says:

      Dbos, my heart goes out to you. The loss of a child is unbearable. We are not supposed to outlive our children. I have a 14 year old Granddaughter and I could not bear to lose her. She is involved in everything and has all A’s. Enough bragging.

      God bless you.

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    • kesmarn says:

      Dbos, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. This is every parent’s nightmare.

      You’re so right. When we lose one child, it’s a loss for all of us.

      And when it’s a preventable loss, the tragedy is that much worse.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      The loss of our children as a result of actions that could have been prevented and that call for action on our part is most pronounced challenge to acceptance of the status quo and yet here we are once more and that call will likely go unheeded. Some keep lighting candles in the darkness, but they get blown out; they burn down and they shed little light when there are so few of them.

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  3. DobermanMom2 says:

    Who is the “Adam” to whom your are referring in your “Farewell to Adam…” line in your comment? Was one of the first graders named Adam? Did you mean Noah, since you mentioned Noah Pozner? Am I just confused?

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  4. kesmarn says:

    Murph, like so many other Americans I really thought Sandy Hook would be the turning point. If the methodical murder of first graders didn’t move Congress to action on some measure of gun control, what would? I was almost certain that this would open peoples’ eyes to the absurdity that the NRA had become. Even thought the NRA might re-think a few things.

    Now, even a year later I’m still in a state of incredulity that — given the choice between (a) ridiculous numbers of high powered weapons in the hands of people of sometimes dubious competence and (b) our children — Americans would choose (a).

    It’s not only the guns. We seem to be a country increasingly in love with violence in general. Even sports rivalries and encounters with aggressive drivers can end up with bloodshed. We have unbelievable numbers of people in prisons, and big problems with bullying in schools. Our movies and video games are full of violence (although, unlike many, I believe that is more a symptom than a cause of the psychological malaise here). A.M. radio is full of raving, furious ranters.

    Maybe it all boils down to one deceptively simple, brief question.

    Why are we so angry?

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    • VegasBabe says:

      Why are we so angry and I might add, and who are we angry at? THAT Kesmarn needs to be not only a story here, but an ongoing one where folks can continually contribute.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      “Why are we so angry?”

      Indeed, an important question. I am a gun owner- a pistol, a rifle, a shotgun. I live in the country, far from police intervention, where hunting is a way of life. When I bought my first gun I had to have a license to do so. The gun was delivered to a local police station where I picked it up showing my license and then registering the gun. I had taken gun safety and shooting courses FROM THE NRA already which was a strongly suggested part of getting a license. I am 63. If is was ok when I was 18, why not now.

      Some keep lighting candles in the darkness, but they get blown out; they burn down and they shed little light when there are so few of them.

      The angry, the fear, seem to have overcome reason. AND what is craziest is that those who call themselves law and order conservatives close their eyes to how our laws empower the lawless to procure guns through third party buyers

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      • Nirek says:

        Murph, here in Vermont hunting is also a way of life. I used to hunt. I got back from Vietnam during hunting season 1969 and went out hunting. Every shot I heard had me flat on the ground. Never went hunting again. Sold my rifle, too.

        That said , I have no problem with hunters as long as they play by the rules. My 14 YO Granddaughter just went for the first time this season. Last summer she had a week long course in hunter safety and qualified for both bow and rifle license.

        What we need is better mental health identification and treatment. Early ID of a problem will make a big difference.

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        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          We do need better mental health identification and treatment….AND…..we need fewer guns in the hands of licensed person, and gun registrations.

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  5. VegasBabe says:

    Those are indeed wise and sweet words my friend but it breaks my heart that they seemed to only be for the Newtown victims when in point of fact, our youth in this country die every single day, every single hour across this nation. No one ever seems to cry, let alone mourn for them. They are and remain forgotten. Newtown was horrific and so are the hundreds upon hundreds whose lives are lost in the streets of urban America. They too are victims.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      My last section was meant to point that out. An expansion of the field of action.

      I should have made this quote from my essay more prominent: “One year later and I know so much more about how handgun violence touches many more than acts like Newtown day after day after day.”

      Thanks for pointing out the need to do this.

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    • Nirek says:

      V B, your point is spot on. This is exactly why we need to identify and treat mentally ill people and keep guns out of their hands. Too many shootings across America every day.

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      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I am a gun owner- a pistol, a rifle, a shotgun. I live in the country, far from police intervention, where hunting is a way of life. When I bought my first gun I had to have a license to do so. The gun was delivered to a local police station where I picked it up showing my license and then registering the gun. I had taken gun safety and shooting courses FROM THE NRA already which was a strongly suggested part of getting a license. I am 63. If is was ok when I was 18, why not now.

        The police did not know everyone who bought a gun but in those days they knew a lot more people than they do now. There was a sense of who should and should not have guns. There were expectations about gun safety and the police regularly seized weapons from homes where things had become unstable.

        I also suggest that our cultural disposition differed and that there was a culture of community that I find lacking today.

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  6. Nirek says:

    Great post Murph! As usual you make good points and a lot of sense.

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  7. Murph, we absolutely do need stricter gun control, but there are already over 300 million guns in this country that have already been sold/bought, traded or stolen.

    The gun problem is like the hard drug problem. As long as there is a demand, there will be someone out there willing to supply that demand. It’s very unfortunate and will take a long, long time to fix, if that’s even possible at this point.

    It’s a real shame that it has come down to this, but we need tougher security at schools. We shouldn’t have to, but unfortunately we do. Obviously, we can’t protect everyone, every where. But we need to really focus on keeping our schools and our children safe. We also need far better mental health care. It’s very difficult to predict those that will snap, but surely we need to pay more attention to those who may show some warning signs.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I agree. I have been repeating this point in response to a number of comments.

      I am a gun owner- a pistol, a rifle, a shotgun. I live in the country, far from police intervention, where hunting is a way of life. When I bought my first gun I had to have a license to do so. The gun was delivered to a local police station where I picked it up showing my license and then registering the gun. I had taken gun safety and shooting courses FROM THE NRA already which was a strongly suggested part of getting a license. I am 63. If is was ok when I was 18, why not now.

      The police did not know everyone who bought a gun but in those days they knew a lot more people than they do now. There was a sense of who should and should not have guns. There were expectations about gun safety and the police regularly seized weapons from homes where things had become unstable.

      I also suggest that our cultural disposition differed and that there was a culture of community that I find lacking today.

      That too is part of the broader picture you are talking about.

      I don’t know what more security looks like. I wonder how he got the shotgun into the school? I believe every student, teacher and staff member in a Colorado middle or high school now passes through a screen- of security, of metal detectors….what failed here.

      The response was certainly far better. Don’t give the shooter time to rain down carnage, but the cops were also lucky that they got to him so fast and that he panicked.

      We now know that he had been disciplined for making threats against other students on his debating team….HIS DEBATING TEAM!….and blamed the coach for the action….HOW IN THE WORLD DOES AN 18 YEAR OLD DECIDE TO KILL SOMEONE OVER SUCH A SET OF EVENTS?

      I wonder what else we will learn about him?

      SO…..I think we need to dry up the sources as best we can, but the harder work is much, much, much, harder.

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    • Nirek says:

      KT, I agree, especially about the mental health part. We need to treat the mentally ill as early as possible and with care.

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  8. Beatlex says:

    The NRA are bloodthirsty ghouls,it is ALL about sales for them.They make my stomach turn.I wonder if any of them have been directly affected by gun violence?

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I am a gun owner- a pistol, a rifle, a shotgun. I live in the country, far from police intervention, where hunting is a way of life. When I bought my first gun I had to have a license to do so. The gun was delivered to a local police station where I picked it up showing my license and then registering the gun. I had taken gun safety and shooting courses FROM THE NRA already which was a strongly suggested part of getting a license. I am 63. If is was ok when I was 18, why not now.

      The police did not know everyone who bought a gun but in those days they knew a lot more people than they do now. There was a sense of who should and should not have guns. There were expectations about gun safety and the police regularly seized weapons from homes where things had become unstable.

      The NRA in those days was very much concerned with the broader issues of gun safety and I know of cases where NRA intervention kept people from getting guns because they were “the wrong sort”. I also recall that the NRA supported legislation that put the “weapons of war” on blacklists. The NRA has supported registration and licensing. But all of that has been set aside as its boards became more and more dominated by representatives of the arms industry who faced falling sales as fewer people lived in the country and fewer sought out gun ownership. The answer- more and more guns in the hands of fewer and fewer people. The gun lobby is indeed that- it is not a right to bear arms lobby but a lobby dedicated to the freedom to sell guns without limits.

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      • choicelady says:

        I don’t own guns but do know how to shoot. Got some minimal training from a law enforcement citizens’ academy. I do support the right of self defense and hunting. For many families the latter is a critical part of their protein access when they can’t afford to purchase meat. For the former it’s not casual “defense” against a woman knocking on your front door but against real and present danger from the zealots of our nation. I’m not afraid of my government. I’m afraid of those who hate it -- and by extension the rest of us.

        I also -- being close to your age, Murph -- remember when the NRA worked against weapons of war, for gun safety and responsibility, registration. I’d actually begun to think I was nuts, so I appreciate your confirmation that something really horrible has happened to change them into those very zealots I already fear.

        I can’t identify quite when this change occurred, but the entire shift of the nation from one that had some sense of community to hyper individualism seems to have solidified under Reagan. He made racism acceptable, so the fears of “them” became a justification for social isolation AND defending yourself against: them. He made selfishness laudable and dismissed government and society as worthy parts of our consideration.

        But 20 children in a quiet Connecticut town? A charming Congresswoman, a grandmother, and a 9-year-old girl? People at a midnight movie? Unknown people in malls and on the streets? We now have equal-opportunity fear of others coupled with anti-government zealotry. EVERYONE is our enemy and thus perfect targets for our rage.

        I do not believe this is entirely a matter of mental instability. Many of the shooters have expressed extremist political rage -- this latest seems to be no exception -- as well as personal fury at injustices, real or imagined, done to them.

        What has to change is care for others including the potential shooters BEFORE they can do harm. I may be alone, but I feel great sorrow for Adam Lanza and his social isolation that morphed into such violence. No one took care of him because we affirm his right to be isolated and private so that WE don’t have to intervene.

        Hyper individualism breeds a lot of what is wrong because without the NRA teaching us about our responsibility to others as well as our individual rights, we lose the sense that we are connected. Until we find a way to restore that sense of nationhood and community, these things will continue to occur. You cannot have empathy until you see yourself as part of the whole.

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    • Nirek says:

      Beatlex,Big corporations are greedy. They are multinational and do NOT care about Americans. They only care about the $$$!

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  9. choicelady says:

    Ohhhh -- to read this afternoon that the young woman shot yesterday is NOT doing well, to fear another family will lose their child. Why?

    Thank you, Murph, for the powerful and wrenching memory coupled with reflection on the most recent violence that has harmed yet another of our young people.

    I could ALMOST tolerate the gun supporters if they’d once -- just once -- expressed a shred of compassion for these victims, especially the children. They never do. I am sick at heart wondering when our right to live a life of ‘quiet enjoyment’ will equal the Second Amendment. “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” aren’t amendments -- they are fundaments. It was not a founding principle that we should all be armed, 24/7, to keep one another at bay. We live in the most free society ever and hate our government anyway.

    And so from paranoia and Hollywood images of gun slingers, we keep letting our nation’s children be harmed or die for -- what?

    There are a number of the children who’ve not been much noticed because their families wish it to be so. One who has been is Jesse Lewis who tried and succeeded in saving some of his classmates by telling them to run. He did not make it. His father’s awesome memories of Jesse break my heart. But so do they all. And the little girl, still unidentified, who survived hidden by the bodies of her classmates. All of these children, living and dead, were not worth the notice of the NRA. And they therefore need to be in the forefront of our concern.

    Rest in peace, little ones.

    PLEASE survive and recover Claire Davis. We are hoping and praying for your life and well being.

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    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Choice….wonderful, deeply felt response. Heart rending. I kept the Time and People Magazine editions dedicated to the victims of Newtown. I also kept the Atlantic’s great followup in which they named all of the victims in the weeks before and after Newtown. MSNBC has a story on line that keeps updating the list of those gunned down in America.

      Empathy is different from sympathy. Sympathy can be token; easily given and easily forgotten. I have heard pro-gunners voice their “sympathy” and there have been times when the tone seemed sincere BUT it means nothing unless they can identify with the victims, living and dead, and ask: “What then must we do?”

      The NRA of my youth was very concerned about these issues. I was taught to shoot by the NRA and a BIG part of that teaching was gun responsibility and accountability. In those days you needed a license to own a gun and every gun was supposed to be registered. The NRA supported these laws.

      Today, the NRA is a lobby representing gun makers, retailers and traders. Empathy gets in the way of the real mission of its leadership. I cut up my NRA card long ago and I have gotten others to do the same. The NRA still holds events in this area. They seek support from the community in doing them. My coop boycotts the events. By the way, all but three members of our 25 person coop is a gun owner, including me.

      SO, all my hope to Claire, and to the other victims of armed mayhem who did not make headlines.

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    • Nirek says:

      CL, I second your post and wish the young lady a full recovery.

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