Photo by Cynthia Black, from Church of the Redeemer post on their Memorials to the Lost
A variety of stories marked the third year since the Sandy Hook school shooting, in which 26 victims were shot by a gunman.
Writing in the Hartford Courant, Lenny and Veronique Pozner write about the grief they still feel at losing their six year old son Noah; and the frustration they’ve experienced after being targeted for harassment by conspiracy theorists who believe that the shooting was fake. They name one of the loudest voices as belonging to professor James Tracy, of Florida Atlantic University, a man who prolifically shares his feelings about the shooting online and has been reprimanded by his university for his behavior.
He’s not the only one; in early November, during an annual charity run in the memory of victim Victoria Soto, a Brooklyn resident interrupted the event to tell the mother of Soto that she was part of a hoax. The man was arrested on breach of peace charges.
At Sandy Hook, students–and teachers–will be in school for the first time on the anniversary of the shooting. Newtown has chosen low-key observances for the tragic remembrance, and the largest event will be held at the annual interfaith community service at Trinity Episcopal Church. As in previous years, the service will be a quiet one, taking consideration for healing and restoration for survivors. From the Associated Press:
It will include prayers, music and time for lighting candles, but not a lot of speeches, said the Rev. Matthew Crebbin, pastor of Newtown Congregational Church and coordinator of the Newtown Interfaith Clergy Association.
“It’s more a day of reading the sacred text, prayers. People can light candles,” Crebbin said. “We know that anniversaries can be very challenging times for people. For some it has waned, but for others the anniversary is a retraumatizing time.”
The New York Daily News checked in with members of the Newtown community, with photos and remembrances from the families and neighbors who lost loved ones.
In policy and statistics, Mike Brucker and Polly DeFrank write that an American kid has died by a gun every other day since the day of the shooting. Brucker and DeFrank note that their findings are probably lower than the real number, as they’ve compiled it from publicly available statistics, which do not always include suicide victims. The two explore the data to try to determine if children are safer from guns today than they were three years ago.
Church of the Redeemer, an Episcopal church in Morristown, New Jersey, has put up 46 shirts with the names of victims on them as part of their memorial, “A Memorial to the Lost”.
Delores Watson, writing for The Observer Voice, notes that gun laws have become looser since Sandy Hook, and asks why these rights are expanding. Watson is writing about more than mass shootings, and quotes the Rt. Rev. Thomas C Ely, Bishop of Vermont:
“As we want to emphasis here, the tragedy of gun violence goes across the board, not just in terms of mass shootings, but suicide.”
While not directly linked, the University of Austin hosted two very different protests this weekend; pro-gun activists held a mock shooting at the university, across the street from All Saints’ Episcopal Church and other students counter-protested by wielding dildos and toys that produce fart noises. Clergy and volunteers from All Saints’ cleaned up after the mock shooting, washing off the fake blood and chalk outlines that the pro-gun event had left behind.
Andrew Dobbs, who organized the counter-protester, was quoted on the ideas behind the two protests.
From the Houston Chronicle article:
“This isn’t about guns necessarily. This is about scaring our community. This is about a choice between fear and a little bit of good humor,” Andrew Dobbs, a UT alumnus who organized the “mass farting” counter-protest, told the crowd. “We are in a scary time right now and lots of scary things are happening, and some people want us to be more afraid.”
Why do you think gun rights are expanding? What is the significance that the people who believe Sandy Hook was staged also favor unlimited gun ownership? Do you think the Episcopal Church should be doing more?