Newtown woman, US civil society call for movement against gun violence
Can the US overcome a fatal block on legislation some say would prevent the recent rash of mass-shootings?
Much as lobbyists and the firearms industry aim to address the issue of mass-shootings in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, Newtown residents and US civil society are struggling to find a way out of a legislative stalemate they believe is keeping guns in the hands of the murderers who claimed a host of American lives in 2012.
Amy Domini is a resident of Newtown, Connecticut who attended the elementary school, where 20 children and six adults were killed in a hail of gunfire Friday.
Here's what she had to say to Vancouver Observer readers:
I grew up in Newtown when it was a dairy farm center, population 4,000. Sandy Hook Elementary School was brand new when I began attending second grade there. I've watched, with limited interest, many reports on many atrocities. But I spent most of Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a cycle of tears.
Innocence lost. That's what I keep thinking. I suppose I am referring to my own innocence, for that's what the town gave me. The Newtown of my childhood was a hilly wonderland. My childhood was wandering around woods alone, finding a vernal spring, staring into the eyes of a small warbler, following a snapping turtle across a cow pasture. Or it was in small groups, the neighborhood kids meeting in a graveyard, calling ourselves the Vampire Club. Bowling for 25 cents in the basement of the town hall. Suffering the boredom of church. Camping out in the back yard. And yes, learning to shoot, with pride, the ground hogs that popped up with great regularity.
The madness must stop. I will be doing what I can, and hope all of you will be too.
A fatal impasse
A rash of high-profile mass-shootings like the one that struck Domini's hometown last week spanned the United States this year.
In July, a gunman killed 12 people in Aurora, Colorado at a midnight showing of the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. The next month, another gunman affiliated with White Supremacist groups, whom many said was targeting Muslims, killed another six people at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.
Momentary discussions on 'gun control' punctuated each of these incidents, but neither of the candidates in the November presidential election made a firearm ban part of their campaign platforms, fearing a crippling public outcry against any abrogation of the Constitution's Second Amendment “right to bear arms.”
The start of a movement?
An activist and teacher based in Oakland, California, Kristin Hull, believes the killing of young children in the latest massacre may be a decisive event in the nation's push to ban firearms.
“I think the possibility is there for this to become a movement. This one has a different energy around it than others have in the past. We are really all feeling that it's time to end violence now and people are ready to take a stand,” Hull said.
“The solution has to be multi-pronged and it has to come from every different level. Legislation is a start.”
Phone call advocacy
Hull spent nearly 30 minutes on hold, phoning the NRA Monday.
“I was thrilled that it was taking that long, because I took it to mean that so many people were calling [in response to Newtown], so I felt a kind of solidarity with them,” she said.
When Sarah from the NRA picked up, Hull says she told her “I'd like to register my complaint.”
“As soon as I said that, she said, 'Ok, you have registered your complaint,' and hung up.”