There is perhaps no human experience more painful and devastating than the loss of a child. But knowing that your child’s life was extinguished by an insane murderer is without question the worst of all. It’s been nearly four months since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and tomorrow, Monday April 8th, is the day when proposed gun legislation drafted in the wake of the Newtown tragedy arrives in Washington.
A vast approval and swift implementation of news laws to prevent such tragedies from ever happening again would make perfect sense. But Washington is the last place on earth anyone should look for reason. The Washington Post writes, “The possibility that after weeks of stalled negotiations senators might be on the cusp of a breakthrough comes as President Obama and his top surrogates will begin on Monday their most aggressive push yet to rally Americans around his gun-control agenda. Even though polls show that a universal background check system is supported by nine in 10 Americans, the president has been unable to translate popular support for the measures into legislative momentum on Capitol Hill.” Gun lobbyists and the NRA continue to wield a disturbing amount of power in the halls of American political institutions, but if there’s anything that could turn that sad state of affairs around, it would be the personal stories of loss and devastation that have emerged from the parents, families, and community of Newtown. Earlier this evening I watched 60 Minutes‘ powerful interview with some of the parents of the Sandy Hook victims, and it was impossible to keep from crying.
This report is so riveting I would consider it mandatory viewing for every single politician in the United States who is about to cast a vote on the proposed new gun legislation. There has been a great deal of important discussions on mental health and gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, but if this legislation doesn’t pass, it’s time for another important worry to emerge — the mental health of Washington politicians themselves.