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