Editorial: How many vigils?
The list is long and sad beyond expression.
Stockton, Calif., Cleveland Elementary School, 1989 — five dead, schoolchildren.
Littleton, Colo., Columbine High School, 1999 — 13 dead, high school students.
Blacksburg, Va., Virginia Tech, 2007 — 32 dead, mostly university students.
Ft. Hood, Texas, 2009 — 13 dead, many soldiers serving their country.
Manchester, Conn., 2010, Hartford Distributors — eight dead, workers.
Aurora, Colo., 2012 — 13 dead, movie goers.
Newtown, Conn., 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School — not the first elementary school, unbelievably — 27 dead, mostly young children.
Charleston, S.C., 2015, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church — nine dead, worshipers.
San Bernadino, Calif., 2015, 14 dead.
And now, Orlando, Fla., 2016 — 49 or more dead, people out dancing at a gay bar.
And that doesn’t come close to exhausting the list. There are more senseless shootings, more tragic deaths. Some 30,000 Americans a year are killed in gun violence.
What is our response?
In 2012, Wilton held a candlelight vigil in honor of the Sandy Hook victims. Last year, dozens gathered to remember those killed in Charleston. Last week, the meeting place was Norwalk City Hall.
How many vigils must we have? How many moments of silence?
Wilton’s Congressman Jim Himes (D-4th) walked out on last week’s moment of silence in the House of Representatives. Good for him!
He noted the House had done that five times just last year, interrupting their routines “for 10 seconds. Done. Over. On to the next thing. Not me. Not anymore.”
His colleague, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), took a different tack. He started talking and didn’t stop. For 15 hours he spoke until the Republican leadership agreed to bring several gun measures up for a vote. They were defeated. No surprise.
Some say guns are not the issue, terrorism is. These atrocities do evoke terror, but how many did ISIS have a hand in? Not Stockton, not Columbine, not Sandy Hook, not Charleston.
Regardless of the underlying reason, people who are evil or insane can buy deadly military weapons and the firearms industry has a lock on so many of our politicians. We are left with the unfathomable sadness of so many families and friends, and the loss of so many lives, over and over again. What do we do? We shake our heads. We go to vigils. We pray.
It won’t stop until we make it stop.