April 12, 2013

Regarding that massive chip on your shoulder...

We all die.  Some of us sooner, later, more tragically, or more heroically than others.  But we all die.

What happens, at that point, to the deceased, is solely a matter of personal belief.

What happens, at that point, to the surviving friends and family is also a matter of personal belief.  Some mourn the dead for a period of time, then cherish their memory, recall them fondly, and get the hell on with their lives. At the other end of the spectrum, are those who incessantly memorialize and use the death of a loved one for their own agenda.  And those people are at odds with my personal beliefs.

I did not lose a child in a school shooting.  I cannot begin to imagine the unbearable pain such parents go through.

I have lost a parent, grandparents, other family and friends to cancer, heart disease, drunk driving, murder, drugs, carelessness, and unfortunate timing, among other reasons.  While some of those deaths were preventable at the time, I never took up a banner and used the circumstances of my heartbreak to manipulate other people into changing their lives to accommodate my desires. 

Some of the parents of the Sandy Hook Shooting victims were flown to D.C. this week, on Air Force One, no less, so they can use the deaths of their children to influence the gun control debate.  Several of the families have had calling cards, with photos of their deceased children, printed.
But there’s nothing subtle about the way some of them conclude their visits: by leaving behind a color card with a photo of their slain relative. Nicole Hockley, who introduced President Barack Obama in Hartford this week, hands senators a card with three photos of her son Dylan, who was 6 when he was gunned down. One frame shows him grinning, in a Superman shirt.
“Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06 – 12/14/12,” the card says. “Honor his life. Stand with us for change. NOW IS THE TIME.”
Wow.  Do you think she did that all on her own?  Did she sort through six year's of photos and mock up the three-photo spread on Shutterfly?  If not, who is the crass politician that staffed it out to some graphic art intern?  And these people think that what they are doing honors the lives of their children?

In what I used to call "a stunning display of hypocrisy", but now seems to be par for the course, the Sandy Hook parents, while parading photos of their dead children on Capitol Hill, also found time to scold Fox Broadcasting and the producers of the show "Glee!" for airing an episode that included a school shooting plot-line.  "Too soon," they said.

It wasn't that long ago that most of the world observed a prescribed period of mourning when a loved one died.  While it might seem overarching to expect these parents to dress in black and stay home for six months to a year, the principle is sound - we need a time to grieve, and we shouldn't ignore the fact that, in our deepest time of grief, we don't make the best decisions, or see things clearly.

I cried the day of the Sandy Hook shootings - I grieved with those families, just as I mourned the loss of every life on September 11, 2001, and just as I feel empathy for every family that loses a loved one.  I read the obituaries every day and feel a sense of loss for people I have never met.  I am not a callous person.  But losing a family member, friend, spouse, or even a child, no matter the circumstances, doesn't make your loss more significant than any other, does not make you any better than me, or give you any claim to try to control the laws that affect other people's rights.

1 comment:

kerrcarto said...

This dog and pony show on the graves of children to push a political agenda is bullshit. The president makes my stomach turn.