Remember Newtown, at a distance and with deliberation
One year has passed since young, sinless children at Sandy Hook Elementary were slain by a deranged shooter, who walked into a haven of education and let fly a torrent of bullets from an automatic rifle.
Twenty first-graders and six educators fell. Media immediately descended on Newtown, desperate to tell their stories and how they were made to be so short.
The frenzy lasted for months. Newtonians came to grips with raw emotion in front of microphones, providing testimonials of the next generation in this small Connecticut town, relaying the stories of unrealized potential and of the brave folks who risked their lives to protect another.
Now, Newtown wants room to breathe.
“The community is choosing to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook tragedy in ways that are quiet, personal and respectful – centered on themes of kindness, love and service to others,” Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra said in a written statement Monday as reported by USA Today.
The national newspaper went on to report its reporters wouldn’t cover the anniversary from Newtown. CNN has also said it would refrain from traveling to the site to report on one year gone.
This reprieve from public mourning is warranted. Nothing new or fresh can come from forcing a still-grieving community to recall a heinous act that seared it. The story has been told; grant the wounded some space to heal on their terms.
At the same time, we shouldn’t forget Sandy Hook. The shooting highlighted nationwide deficiencies in diagnosing and treating mental illness and ignited discussion on national gun laws, which allow for semi- and full-automatic weapons to be in the possession of too many unbefitting citizens.
On guns, there exists a wide swath a gray between abolishment and the status quo. Universal background checks, at the very least, should once again be considered, and the discussion needs to be open and honest so as to stymy the misinformation propagated the last time the measure came up for Senate review. Selling firearms freely to anyone interested under gun-show loophole is a direct affront to regulations already in place.
Leaders in our school districts, too, should continue to remember the fragility that comes with a lack of security. To use the refrain money is tight is to concoct a curt excuse that amounts to Russian roulette.
Vulnerabilities must be eliminated, because as has been proven time and time again, it only takes one person a few moments to crack a weak system and unleash hell on earth.