Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Moving on but never letting go

I sense a subtle shift in mood in the media, maybe even in the people now that Newtown is five days behind us and the absolute shock is wearing off. We have too often grieved over tragedies for a few days, while they were prominent in the media, and then moved on. This time is different. We will never ever forget the children of Sandy Hook, but we are moving on. The media is beginning, slowly of course, to cover other subjects, and the national mood is turning toward dealing with the issues raised by this tragedy.
I read that Senator Diane Feinstein intends to introduce a bill on the first day of the legislative session proposing banning assault rifles and large magazine clips (I may not even get the terminology right here). Some conservatives are also proposing sensible gun control measures, including restoring the ban on assault rifles which Congrees, to their shame, let expire without action.
There is also a lot of attention being paid to mental health. The letter known as "I am Adam Lanza's mother" has gone viral on the internet and the author appeared on the TODAY show. She emphasized the helplessness of families, a feeling I'm sure Nancy Lanza knew only too well as she tried to deal with her disturbed son. Perhaps her mistake (in addition to stockpiling weapons) was to keep her trials a secret. One of the lessons we must learn is to wash away the stigma of mental health. We cannot deal with what is hidden in the closet.
Another facet of the whole problem is raising its head--the violence that pervades our culture on TV and in the movies. I see it in some of my grandchildren who accept violence as a part of life. Too often, on cartoons, they see people shot, fall down, only to rise again. Censorship is an ugly word; self-censorship is strength, but profit and greed too often rules the day.
Of course the past weekend brought out the worst in some people, like the Texas legislator (of course it would be Texas) who proclaimed that what we need is more guns and the people who advocate arming teachers. And then there's the appalling story of a man who said on Sunday, "Get the nigger off TV. We wanat to watch football," when major networks pre-empted programming to show President Obama's talk in Newton. I hope that story isi apocryphal but probably it illustrates that deep vein of hatred that runs throughout our nation.
No, we will never forget but we are beginning to work together toward healing by taking action. I so hope I am not wrong in saying this time we really will look at ourselves as a nation.

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