Newtown has been the object of countless acts of generosity since 12/14. Whether through sympathy or a sense of kinship — that we’re all in this difficult and dangerous world together — perfect strangers have declared themselves citizens of the emotional territory of Newtown and have done their part to support through donations, both cash and in-kind, Newtown’s future recovery. Next Tuesday, Newtown’s actual citizens will have to declare themselves on the matter of the town’s future by voting on a budget. As we know, the sum of a town is not simply what one finds on the bottom line of a ledger, but in the accounts of expenses and revenues for 2013-2014 there is much that defines the town’s inclination toward its own future.
Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. People kill people quite rapidly with certain well-appointed guns. In realizing this, Connecticut’s legislature turned its back on the NRA hard line that there should be no limits on the efficient lethality machined into a gun, because guns are benign just sitting there in the gun case. Of course, they are also designed with stocks, grips, recoil reduction and other innovations to make them easy to pick up and use, sometimes by the wrong people. So now that the Connecticut gun debate appears to have boarded Air Force One with President Obama on Monday and flown off to Washington, the discussion in the state needs to bring equal fervor and discernment to our system for delivering mental health services. While it is incorrect to assume gun violence has nothing to do with guns, it is equally flawed to assume that placing restrictions on certain guns solves the problem.
Doing nothing was never an option. But in the wake of the December 14 massacre of children and educators at the Sandy Hook School, the question quickly arose: What kind of something would Connecticut’s lawmakers do in response to the tragedy? This week, the state’s legislative leaders answered that question with a bipartisan bill that the Democratic Senate President Pro Tem, Donald E. Williams, Jr, called the “strongest and most comprehensive gun bill in the United States.” While that may be remarkable in and of itself, the thing that showed that 12/14 profoundly changed the political calculus in Hartford — at least on this issue — was that Republican Senate Minority Leader John McKinney stood with his Democratic colleagues to announce that roughly half of the GOP’s Senate caucus would also support the measure. He was proud, he said, that so many legislators understood that “some issues, and this one in particular, should rise above politics.”
Despite the sincere and sustained attempts by the people of Newtown to have serious discussions about the many issues that have come eddying into the public realm from the deeply personal grief and shock of the December 14 massacre at Sandy Hook School, the continuing co...
Mental health professionals know that traumatic events occupy our minds, quite literally, in ways that can derail lives and stress families at their foundations. And when the trauma is as horrible and incomprehensible as the 12/14 shootings at the Sandy Hook School, the long-term impact on individuals, families, and even the community can be particularly acute. While Adam Lanza’s soul-searing crime has focused legislators and the political class on the issue of mental health interventions for emerging sociopaths, it is useful to remember that there are mental health problems that exist both as antecedents and consequences of violent crime. On either side of the equation, when these problems are downplayed or ignored altogether, we risk launching a legacy of dysfunction down the generations, where antecedents beget consequences and vice versa.
Our inclination to peel back the layers of bureaucracy to save a little money and a lot of complexity makes us loathe to suggest the need for another town agency. But as we witness the growing controversy surrounding plans to build 136 houses in a “cluster” development on 136 acres on Castle Hill, we think this proposal desperately needs to go before a Board of Irony.
They say all politics are local. And nothing gets more political and more local than deciding how to divide up a community’s property taxes. Newtown’s budgetmakers are used to doing their work with taxpayers inviting themselves into their meeting rooms to look over their shoulders at line items, to listen to department heads justify expenses, and ultimately to offer their own opinions at hearings, in letters to the editor, in social media, and eventually in the voting booth. The big local issue in Newtown this year has, through the agency of the horrible 12/14 tragedy at Sandy Hook School, imprinted itself on the agendas of local meeting rooms across the country. School safety it item #1 on everyone’s list of priorities.
Some would say Governor Dannel P. Malloy was a man of courage for vowing not to raise taxes going into FY2014, where a $1.2 billion revenue shortfall awaits him. And it seems he is undertaking this daunting mission armed only with a fertile imagination and some well-hone...
There was a great thunderclap of consensus in the days following the 12/14 attack on Sandy Hook School that something has to change. The crime, which left 20 first graders and six school personnel dead, was so shocking and so wrong that the calls for action were immediate and widely supported across even the yawning political divide in this country. The inquiries into what and how much change would be possible began quickly, and soon focused on three areas: gun control, school safety, and mental health.
Notwithstanding persistent calls for a cool-headed, information-driven debate on gun violence, this week there was plenty of evidence of emotion-driven action on the issue of guns. Marchers were back on this streets this week, raising the heat this time in Hartford. And ...