Reflections Upon The Massacre and the Memorial Service

President Obama and numerous members of the clergy speak, attempting to bring catharsis and peace to the people of Newtown and to other people of goodwill.

No doubt like many Americans, I watched the lengthy memorial service from Newtown, Connecticut Sunday evening seeking catharsis, some aid in digesting the inexplicable and the horrific.

It was inspiring to see clergy from all organized faiths coming together in the cause of peace and reason, and to hear words from President Obama. The most moving part of the service to me was what occurred on camera before it began: the standing ovation afforded the beloved and extraordinarily-gifted first responders as they entered, and individuals in the audience that were obviously family members of the victims collapsing in prolonged and tight hugs into the arms of others that are in the same position.

As I expected, the president recognized that this was not a policy address, but a memorial service, thus he spoke only in general terms about what we need to do in the hope of saving precious innocent lives in the future. It is clear that he will finally seek to act to restrain unlimited access to guns that are designed to kill as many human beings as possible within a short period of time. He appropriately noted the folly in concluding that we are powerless to take any action designed to keep children and other potential victims safe.

Following the service, New York Times syndicated columnist Frank Bruni was interviewed. He said that due to the age and innocence of the multiple Newtown victims, he senses a change in the mood in the country, that many will press to shove aside the National Rifle Association and take action, and he inveighed that we have a duty to act even if it will not be perfect or assured of success, that it would be worth it if one massacre a year might be prevented or the lives of a few children saved.

I would suggest that anyone who believes that there is any one quick fix, or that our societal problems can be solved through one solution is being naive. Many phenomemena have been pointed to in the days since the massacre: rampant untreated mental illness, the gun culture, easy availability of high-powered firearms, the putrid entertainment culture, the violent video games this killer is said to have played incessantly, desensitizing him to pulling the trigger of a gun, and the lack of religion in our schools. I believe it is instructive to note that the rate of gun ownership in Israel is roughly the same as it is in the United States, yet Israelis do not go into schools, shopping centers, or movie theaters to engage in slaughter.

In viewing a sampling of massacre coverage from both CNN and Fox News Channel, both used opportunities to sensitively portray the victims and to tell us something about their lives. Following the service, both inexplicably delved into not only focusing on the killer, but repeatedly putting large photographs of him on the screen, something which I find to be reprehensible. What is wrong with the management of these networks? Why do they not recognize the legitimate theory that those who seek to commit suicide after murdering as many innocent people as possible seek in death what they were not able to achieve in life, that they want to be known and remembered? God forbid that more mentallty deficient individuals are out there with the desire to replicate the evil that was thrust upon the good people of close-knit Newtown in part due to media aggrandizement.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

J. December 18, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Kid with problems. No proper treatment. Father bails (happens alot). Wingnut/endtimer mother. Access to guns. Massacre. It's not that complicated. No need to cast about for anyone to blame other than his parents.
Roger December 18, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Quoting, "... the president recognized that this was not a policy address, but a memorial service, thus he spoke only in general terms about what we need to do in the hope of saving precious innocent lives in the future. ..." Whoa, not so fast. While the President had many relevant things to say, he really branched off into the policy arena with the "... I will do everything that this office holds to ... so that this does not happen again." This statement may have gained him support, but it was delusional and irrelevant to the memorial service. Apparently, he could not resist straying off the path of memorializing the deceased, but rather chose to us the occasion for laying groundwork for legislative proposals that will follow soon. This was neither the time, or place, so such advocacy. Having said that, the political rhetoric in Washington DC over the weekend, and on Monday was filled with more promises of "stopping the violence." Do these folks hear what they are saying, or read what they write? In case people are unclear about the word "leverage," please pay attention. What has happened in the political arena in the past couple of days gives deep meaning to the word. As I posted elsewhere, how much knee-jerk legislation has produced the desired outcome, but rather produced unintended consequences (e.g. dealing with new manufacture and imports, while leaving 2.5M arms in circulation)?


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