A columnist of heart and mind

A columnist of heart and mind
Interviewing the animals at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. L-R: Bobo the sheep, Gideon the miniature donkey, me, Tumbleweed Tommy the miniature donkey, Juan the alpaca, Coco the pony

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tragedy In Connecticut

Charlotte Bacon, 6.

Daniel Barden, 7.

Olivia Engel, 6.

Josephine Gay, 7.

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6.

Dylan Hockley, 6.

Madeleine Hsu, 6.

Catherine Hubbard, 6.

Chase Kowalski, 7.

Jesse Lewis, 6.

James Mattioli, 6. 

Grace McDonnell, 7. 

Emilie Parker, 6. 

Jack Pinto, 6. 

Noah Pozner, 6. 

Caroline Previdi, 6. 

Jessica Rekos, 6. 

Avielle Richman, 6.

Benjamin Wheeler, 6. 

Allison Wyatt, 6.

Rachel Davino, 29
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27

 I want you to read their names one last time before we forget them forever, as we surely will. Within a few weeks we'll have moved on to more important things, like Lindsay Lohan, the Kardashian sisters and the NFL playoffs. And all the brave talk about finally doing something to curb the proliferation of guns and the glorification of violence in our culture will be swept away like New Year's Eve confetti on New Year's Day.

Until the next time. Then we'll repeat the charade all over again.

Do I sound angry? It's because I am. Angry at the shooter, of course. And his mother, too. She knew she had a troubled kid on her hands, so what did she do? Instead of taking him to a psychiatrist, she took him to the shooting range. Great parenting, mom.

But I'm also angry at you. And me. We keep allowing these things to happen. We elect politicians who are scared to death of the gun lobby, and then we wonder why they do nothing except mouth pious words about this not being the right time to talk politics. (Translation: Let's put off the discussion until memories fade and people don't care anymore.)

I've been watching this dance going on since President Kennedy's assassination almost 50 years ago. You'd think that would have been enough to convince people that we were on a slippery slope, but it wasn't.

Neither were all the tragedies that followed, including the Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy assassinations, the attempted assassination of President Reagan, the massacre at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the shootings at Gabby Giffords' town hall in Tucson, or the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. or the shopping mall in Oregon or Virginia Tech. The pattern was always the same: a lot of breast-beating in the immediate aftermath, followed by business as usual.

If anything, the trend is going the other way. The night before the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Republican governor of Michigan signed a new law making it OK to bring concealed weapons to schools, churches and day care centers, and other Republican-dominated states are poised to do the same thing.

As for President Obama, he talked a good game during the 2008 election, but the only gun legislation he's signed in the last four years is one making it OK to bring concealed weapons into the national parks, although his speech at the prayer vigil Sunday night gives hope for improvement.

So spare me the teddy bears and the balloons and the  flowers. Spare me the prayers and the solemn vows. I'll believe we're serious when we actually do something, not before.

Think I'm being too cynical? OK, prove me wrong.