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Opinion: Resolved To Do Better

Six months ago today we grieved along with families in Newtown and throughout the world, as we heard  the story of the twenty children gunned down as they learned, and the teachers who died trying to save them. 

Our grief had a familiar feeling for both of us; a madman armed with an arsenal of dangerous weaponry changed our lives forever too. After shooting Gabby in the head and leaving her for dead, the gunman shot and killed Roxanna’s beautiful daughter Christina-Taylor, a bright, determined nine-year-old girl who had come to meet her congresswoman. 

The grief of the parents of children killed in Newtown – like the families of those killed in Tucson – doesn’t diminish with anniversaries. It takes no holidays. It is not diluted by the passage of time, in contrast to its impact on our leaders, who have promised action, but were stopped by special interests. The grief of families who lose their loved ones, is, trust us, almost immovable. It is with us all every day.

Today, we send our love to the families of Newtown – the dads who won’t have their children with them on Father’s Day this weekend, the siblings who play catch and soccer alone.  We know that the attention paid to anniversaries can feel surreal, as life without our loved ones is measured in moments and hours, not public markers.

We think of all the grieving families, brutally fractured by gun violence, in our country today. Today is also the one week anniversary of the shooting in Santa Monica, CA,  a shooting eerily reminiscent of the Tucson and Newtown shootings.  We think of the family of Carlos Franco, who was killed in his car along with his daughter, Marcela Franco. Carlos Franco was a groundskeeper at Santa Monica College where his daughter planned to study;  moments before he died, he left a telephone message for his wife – letting her know they were late and that he loved her.

These are moments that stay with us forever. The last conversations, the last glimpses, the plans made and not kept as gunfire erupted.  We do not choose the grief we feel – but what we do choose is what our grief is to us – what it motivates us to do. Today, we  choose and pledge that we will take our grief, and on behalf of our loved ones and those lost in Newtown, in Santa Monica, in Aurora, and so many places that don’t make headlines, we will not stop fighting until our government has come to its senses.

Our country, we know, is with us.  Americans in every state support common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence.  Congress is out of step with their constituents by not immediately passing these measures that will save lives.

Without them, people will be killed who would otherwise live. Roxanna reminds us that her daughter Christina-Taylor was not “lost” – she was taken. By violence.  Her mother made sure she had buckled her seatbelt for the drive over to meet Gabby, and that she had given Christina-Taylor a sweatshirt to keep her warm. 

What the grieving families with whom we share a terrible bond all know is that they did not fail their children in the hours and moments before their deaths.  What they now expect is for the government to do its job and to care for families throughout this country – any one of us – who could be the next victims of random and tragic gun violence. 

We cannot bring Christina-Taylor, or the beautiful, bright faces of the first graders of Sandy Hook Elementary, back.  We can tell you that, from where we stand, two years after our gun violence tragedy, we grieve our losses the same. But we have also gained clarity of purpose, and we take great joy from standing shoulder to shoulder with each other, loving stranger’s children enough to say, as if they were our own, we must do better. 

More stories like this: 12/14, , Gabrielle Giffords, Roxana Green

Comments

Revenge by proxy.

You have experienced pain and heartbreak no one should have to experience. This I understand. I also understand you want to punish someone for this tragedy and have no one you can reach. You need a proxy, someone to take the whipping, the lynching. Gun owners are your target group. Had these laws you want been in effect 6 months ago, would your children be home safe now? Would this crazy person have been unable to strike out at you? I cannot begin to know your pain and anger, but it was not the weapon that killed your children, it was the man with the weapon. It was not us.

Gun Control and the Newtown Massacre

In all the thousands of pages generated on the Newtown massacre, I have yet to see one word on the state of security as it existed on the day of the attack. Were the school doors locked? How did the killer gain entry? Were there bars or metal mesh backing up the glass? Were the internal doors sturdy and capable of being locked or barricaded? What about automatic alarms to notify law enforcement?

The gun control crowd grabbed this tragedy with both arms, and tried to plow legislation thru that affects every American citizen in the country. Never mind that Connecticut already had far more stringent laws than most states, or that the proposed legislation would not have prevented the crime even if it had been in place that terrible day.
We have had school shootings before; with those examples before them, what protections were put in place by officials to harden the targets and provide internal defenses?

We have to deal with a handful of these monsters every year, that think it a fine thing to butcher children. the Israelis have to deal with thousands. I have a picture of a class of Israeli children being guided by their teacher between buildings; the young woman has a M1 Carbine slung over her shoulder. You see, the Israelis learned a long time ago that you do whatever it takes to protect your kids, to hell with sensibilities and political correctness.

My family fought in the Revolution, the Civil War, WWI; well, we didn't miss many of them in the last 240 years. We've obeyed the laws, done our jobs, and never hurt anyone; yet every time someone walks into a "gun-free zone" and kills a bunch of defenseless people we get fingers wagged under our noses.

Before you go off on "Gun Nut" and "heartless idiot", answer me this: of the remaining schools in Newtown, what concrete security measures have been put in place to see that this horror doesn't happen again? Ever heard of copy-cats?

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