20 dead kids
Right around 10am EST yesterday my phone blew up with a 911 call from one of the employees at work whose sole purpose is to scour every inch of the internet, radio, television, and police bands for news as it happens. He put the police band that he’d been listening to on speaker and it came through loud and clear: there was a major shooting in a small town and they (initially) were way past double digits in fatalities. While any shooting scene is a horrible tragedy, this one was going to be particularly heinous as all of the victims were 10 years old and under.
Well beyond the horror of that mental picture, I knew what was about to unfold: every news agency in the world was about to descend on a small town that had no notoriety until this. Politicians were about to step up to the microphones that they found the brightest and shiniest to announce their calls for gun control, and pundits the world over were about to dust off their best tie and toupee so they can tell us all, very somberly, how something like this could possibly unfold in a civilized nation such as ours.
I was right.
Journalistic blood lust driving every news agency who pays the bills in ratiings has hit new heights, to the point that I’m embarrassed to be part of that club. It makes me physically ill to see a picture of journalists surrounding people at a prayer service to get an above the fold shot. They’re not respectfully shooting with the long lenses or remembering that those kids are someone’s loved ones, they’re right up in people’s fucking faces. The amount of respect for the people of Newtown? Absolute zero.
News agencies got the partial name of a shooter, and reported it wrong. As a result, the villagers armed with torches went after the wrong guy:
Friday afternoon, after CNN’s Susan Candiotti reported that a twentysomething Ryan Lanza — from Newtown, Connecticut, and living in Hoboken, N.J. — was the man involved in the Newtown school shooting, the Internet decided to do a little sleuthing that led to the wrong conclusions. The media and masses instantly headed to Facebook, where it found a profile for a twentysomething named Ryan Lanza — from Newtown, and living Hoboken. Photos and details began to emerge as apparent facts about the dead shooter, until wall posts on the since-deleted profile (screen shotted and tweeted by two of Lanza’s friends) seemed to change the narrative: this Ryan Lanza was alive, and he was telling the Internet it had the wrong guy — everything may have seemed right, but everyone was so very wrong. “It wasn’t me,” Ryan Lanza said.
When stories like this break, fact checking goes completely out the window. Every news agency out there wants to get the scoop, and be the first one to report the latest “fact”. Sadly, the trend is that if they’re wrong they’ll apologize later. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, right?
During this afternoon’s news conference with the coroner, one particularly idiotic journalist asked if the victims suffered:
Saturday, 4 p.m. The medical examiner just spoke briefly with reporters to confirm that all the victims died of multiple gunshot wounds. “I believe everybody was hit more than once,” he told reporters. He also said he believed that the rifle was the primary weapon Lanza used. When asked if any of the victims suffered, he said, “if so, not for very long.”
Um, you fucking asshole – they were kids who were shot. Their suffering began as soon as the terror started. Whether or not they actually got shot and suffered on the floors of their classroom bleeding to death has NO journalistic value in the slightest and if anything at all, is going to provide a source of torture for the families left behind. The amount of intelligence or public need-to-know in that question? Also, absolute zero.
Mike Huckabee, former presidential wannabee, turned talking Fox head, thinks that those kids are dead because there’s no prayer in the schools:
“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?” he said on, yes, Fox News.
“[W]e’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability — that we’re not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment… If we don’t believe that, then we don’t fear that.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present another asshole.
And, rounding out the most insidious behaviour out there on this tragedy are politicians who use this opportunity to try and bash Obama on gun control. Here’s half this pack of jackals:
1. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): “If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”
2. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY): “We cannot tolerate mass shootings as a mere inconvenience or a normal part of our everyday lives. Easy availability of the deadliest weapons to the most dangerous people has cost countless lives and caused immeasurable suffering, never more so than today. Our expressions of sympathy must be matched with concrete actions to stop gun violence.”
3. Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA): “As a nation, we are again confronted with an act of terrifying mass gun violence. While the coming days should be reserved for grieving, as a legislative body, and as a people, we must consider what can be done to improve our laws to prevent the continuation of this horrific trend.”
If you have the stomach to see the rest of the, you’ll notice it quick just like I did: not a single expression of remorse or sympathy for the victims or their families. Any politician willing to stand on the bodies of dead kids (and adults) to try and justify their positions on the Hill need to be horsewhipped.
These blowhards, along with all the others screeching for gun control need to get a clue: we already have gun control, and it’s a sad failure. The Brady Act was designed to prevent the guns getting out there, into the wrong hands and guess what? Despite all these restrictions, it still is happening with stunning regularity:
Section 922(g) of the Brady Act prohibits certain persons from shipping or transporting any firearm in interstate or foreign commerce, or receiving any firearm which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, or possessing any firearm in or affecting commerce. These prohibitions apply to any person who:
- Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
- Is a fugitive from justice;
- Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance;
- Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution;
- Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States;
- Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
- Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced U.S. citizenship;
- Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner, or;
- Has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
- Has a record of being a felon
Adam Lanza didn’t circumvent the gun control laws, he exploited his mother’s lack of foresight. The guns he used to kill everybody in that school were legally registered to his mother, and she paid for not having the foresight to put them in a gun safe with her life. And yes, for the record, I am a gun owner. The firearms I own are legally purchased, registered in my name, and kept in a safe that has hot access. (meaning that they are locked down tight in the safe, and there’s a completely secret way to open it immediately if I needed to in a life threatening situation). Do our gun control laws need an overhaul? Of course they do.
Now is not the time to discuss that. It’s about showing some level of compassion for the families, and about remembering that are 20 dead kids who’ll never grow up. Anyone who doesn’t remeber this or have the capacity to understand it needs to stay away from the Sandy Hook tragedy. Show the town some respect and regret. Give them their space and time to mourn.