Today marks the fifth anniversary of the shooting massacre of 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Do you recall that devastating day? Do you remembering the photos of parents engulfed in the searing torment of unutterable tragedy?
You would have thought that would have been the day – that would have been the moment – for a national reckoning on gun violence in our country.
Think again. Scores of efforts to enact common sense gun laws at the federal level have failed. Consider the sentiment of Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. “It’s heartbreaking for me,” he told Newsweek, “that gun violence in this country has gotten worse, not better since Sandy Hook. We were sure we’d pass background check legislation, but I misunderstood the power of the gun lobby."
Gun violence continues apace – both dramatic mass killings as well as of the shootings of one, two, three innocent victims, which the news barely covers.
One meta-study shows that since Newtown a child has been killed in this country at least every two days. This is an absurdity and a national horror. It is also a colossal failure of moral and political leadership.
We should all infuriated by Congress’s inability to expand background checks for gun sales at gun shows and over the internet. Further, we must also ask ourselves why banning bump stocks is controversial? What perversion of our political system (and national consciousness) has made these measures controversial?
It is Chanukah. We strive with all our might to bring ever more light into the world. Innocent lives ended by gun violence…that is darkness. Our voices of mourning and protest…that is light.
Tonight, along with congregations and communities around the country, we at EHNTJC are holding a vigil to call attention to the tragic absurdity of our nation’s loose gun laws. Our 7 pm minyan will be slightly expanded by brief readings calling attention to this issue.
I hope to see you there.
L’shalom and Share the Light!
Rabbi Jeffrey Weill