Sunday, December 16, 2012
A grim Barack Obama made a powerful speech tonight from the Sandy Hook Elementary School auditorium, where he told residents not to lose heart in the wake of the devastating shootings that last Friday took 27 lives, including 20 children, 5 teachers, 1 school psychologist, and the gunman aged 20.
He slowly read the names of these innocent children, just 6 and 7 years old:
“Charlotte . . . Daniel . . . Olivia . . . Josephine . . . Ana . . . Dylan . . . Madeleine . . . Catherine . . . Chase . . . Jesse . . . James . . . Grace . . . Emilie . . . Jack . . . Noah . . . Caroline . . . Jessica . . . Benjamin . . . Avielle . . . Allison.”
The speech, it should be noted, came from his own hand and heart.
He then turned his attention to the living, which is where this column usually heads. It should be read and thought about by everyone, but especially by Family Court judges, Family Court “specialist” lawyers, Family Court “child evaluators”, the justices on the Courts of Appeal, the justices on the State Supreme Court, and the mothers and fathers caught up in the throes of divorce and the, always, always, unavoidable betrayal of their children.
Obama said “This town reminds Americans what should really matter. . . ”
He pointed out that the nation is failing at what he called “our first task,” which was to care for the children of the nation. “It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.”
He then asked: “Can we truly say that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we are doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? . . . a chance at a good life, with happiness and with purpose? If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We are not doing enough, and we will have to change.”
We can’t tolerate this any more. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”
I hope I will be excused for focusing my thoughts on our living children – all ages, from young to old. They are still with us, they are not lost, and we still have a chance to get it right. Let this be a way of making amends for the dead.
The result of what Adam Lanza did was evil, no question about that.
But was his intent evil? I don’t think so, because I don’t think that children are inherently evil.