Are Shooting Victims Collateral Damage Sacrifices to the Gun Worship God?


Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons

Are Shooting Victims Collateral Damage Sacrifices to the Gun Worship God?

Independent’s Eye by Joe Gandelman

Journalists often exaggerate by using the phrase “shattered lives.”

But when it comes to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, it isn’t an exaggeration.

What parent in their worst dreams could EVER think that when they kissed their little child goodbye in the morning, two hours later, their kid would be in a room with classmates, their teacher dead, screaming in terror as a demonic young man dressed in black systematically pumped 3 to 11 bullets into their little bodies?

The shooter’s brutality in seeking to specifically murder small children brings to mind a book I read years ago that still haunts me. It detailed the Nazi’s brutal program to exterminate Jews — just as the shooter in Sandy Hook clearly was trying to exterminate little kids. One passage included a description of Nazis positioning one child in front of another and shooting the first so the bullet then also killed the second…just for “fun.” Another detailed Nazis hurling groups of Jewish children off a cliff, then burying them — even the surviving, moaning, injured ones.

The Newtown massacre is potentially the /911 of American mass murders. In 9/11′s aftermath America the greatest threats to America’s homeland have been from within the homeland. After 911 America was (for a while) united in national resolve to pull out all stops and go after terrorists and to make it harder for them to attack the United States ever again. Will it be the same here?

The difference is the bottom line: some seemingly consider shooting victims “collateral damage.”

The victims are treated as mere sacrifices to the right to unfettered gun ownership and NRA preferences. They are deaths to be mourned but never allowed to SERIOUSLY change the status quo. Anyone who assertively argues it’s time for change is attacked as trying to take all of America’s guns away in an attempt to discredit or defeat them.

Mass murder by people with guns are reducing America’s once-safe-for-sure places. Subtract colleges, fast-food restaurants, malls, movie theaters, high schools — and now that quintessential “safe place,” the elementary school.

I never met them but I personally KNOW the adults and kids who perished in Newtown.

From September 2011 through May 2012 I drove 49,000 miles doing programs in 260 schools throughout the nation in my non-blogging incarnation. I saw schools locked up during school hours and mindful of threats. I spent much time talking to kindergarten and first grade kids about their interests, hopes and dreams. I saw caring parents, teachers and students trying to create a family environment in school. I encountered dedicated teachers and administrators who loved their students. I told friends: “They would literally give their life for their kids.”

And now some did.

Will it be different this time?

Or does our society now handle these events with an increasingly sanctimonious formula: expressions of grief, perfunctory outrage, nice-sounding vows for change — and the power of special interest money trumping all in the end?

Can it possibly be that when faced between preventing more cold, innocent corpses, politicians could opt instead for cold campaign contribution cash?

So far Republicans and the NRA are largely mum over the issue of a seriously regulating guns. So here’s a prediction about real gun control reform:

Don’t. Hold. Your. Breath.

It’s unlikely to happen no matter how many heart-wrenching sidebars we read or see about families who’ll never be the same, past victims who aren’t the same — and gravesites of young people who should not have been lying in the ground for many years to come.

Copyright 2012 Joe Gandelman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate

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13 Comments

  1. You have to be wrong! You must be wrong! Or else there is no hope for us as a community, society, or nation; and deservedly so.

  2. If this tragedy doesn’t make things change, then I’m not sure any would.

  3. Thank you for this thoughtful post, Joe — as ominous and sad as it may be– and especially thank you for the personal touch about the schools and children you have visited.

    Sadly, I think we will discover in the next few days, perhaps as early as Friday, as a certain organization re-enters the debate, that in fact your following statement will prove to be accurate:

    The victims are treated as mere sacrifices to the right to unfettered gun ownership and NRA preferences. They are deaths to be mourned but never allowed to SERIOUSLY change the status quo.

    I pray to God that I am wrong….

  4. After 911 America was (for a while) united in national resolve to pull out all stops and go after terrorists and to make it harder for them to attack the United States ever again. Will it be the same here?

    The difference is the bottom line: some seemingly consider shooting victims “collateral damage.”

    The answer to your question is, unfortunately, “no.” We will not come together, in part because the shooter wasn’t some foreign, dark-skinned invader we can easily dehumanize. He was one of our own.

    There is a glimmer of hope, though. Another one of our own – Timothy McVeigh – considered the 19 children he slaughtered at the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City to be “collateral damage.” The nation was so horrified by his act that, for a time, the “militia” movement which produced McVeigh and his co-conspirators lost a considerable amount of steam. Blowing up a daycare center was just too much for the people who’d been swept up into that world, and they abandoned it in droves.

    It took the movement awhile to make a comeback (it seems to have coincided with November of 2008 for some reason), and I’d bet dollars to donuts that contained on that young man’s now smashed hard drive were anti-government rants.

  5. What DDW said.

  6. For once I believe meaningful action will be taken. I have hunted and fished my entire life (74) yrs. I have never wanted or needed an assault rifle or automatic weapon to bag my game. These weapons belong ONLY in the hands of Law Enforcement or Active Duty military personnel. As far as protecting your family/home? a good revolver and/or shotgun will do nicely. If one cannot hold off any serious threats until help arrives with those?, chances are ,more armament would have made little difference. Banning the assault rifles, reducing pistol magazine capacities, and treating metal illness while enforcing background checks would all be steps in the right direction.

  7. Well said and thank you, Proud Pragmatism. Such reasoned thoughts carry double weight, in my opinion, when they come from a hunter, gun sportsman or gun enthusiast.

  8. PP, back to the old bolt action stuff, eh.

  9. Thanks for the link YM. The NRA responses have been so unbelievable, I seriously doubt this tragedy will make any difference.

    These people are paranoids running around with the absolute belief that everyone should be armed with weapons. Our elected officials seem to agree.

    All these congressmen and senators that take campaign contributions apparently have no trouble sleeping at night, and are so good at rationalizing they no longer see a connection to themselves in all these gun related deaths.

    This is blood money, and this is legislation designed to further the interests of a very powerful, very well connected, very twisted organization.

    Would nationwide protests against the NRA make our politicians think?

  10. Thank-you for the excellent post Joe. I too hope you’re wrong about gun control reform but I fear you are right. The first commenter is correct. There is no hope for our society if the monied interests are trumping democracy, regardless of how cleverly they cloak that awful truth. Our soul as a nation has been under seige for some time now, this is just the latest (and a particularly sad) chapter.

  11. Oh DDuck, that is NOT what PP said.

  12. Rambie, if you ban semis, then the bolt has to be used or a slider on a shotgun.

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