Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Between the Lines of Fear and Blame

I've struggled for a way to write about "Norwich politics" which, in theory, is the point of this Wednesday weekly (or weakly) drill. I'll concede that I don't often do so with the same regularity a certain brand of spaghetti is enjoyed in an area of a city celebrated for the color of its Sox, but I do try. As a matter of fact I've been told by family and friends on numerous occasions that I can be very trying.

This is a week where Newtown is everywhere. And to me, that means Everywhere is Newtown, including  Norwich. That so many people from across Norwich joined hands Saturday evening to remember those whose hurt will never heal in a town very like our own in so many ways may be all the solace possible for so many people who worry about the country we have become.

Reading, as have you, of  the ceaseless stream of seemingly random violence in places as diverse as Denver, Chicago and Portland to name just three in recent days and weeks did not prepare any of us in any way when all of that happened here in the state we call home.

For those, like me, who question the existence of God, there can be no doubt, arguments about angels dancing on the head of a pin notwithstanding, that evil is real, alive and that it came to visit a place we associate with safety, succor and security, an elementary school filled with adults who gave the fullest measure of devotion to save those least able to save themselves, the children.

I cannot pretend to have any original insights into what happened in Newtown. All I can offer is to hold the parents, siblings and friends of those who were murdered in my thoughts as the survivors hold them in their hearts. I'd hope for better days for all of them and all of us but hope and the belief that better days are coming may have also been casualties last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Newtown helps remind us (me, at least) to keep things in context, perhaps better than we have in recent months. And by that, I mean 'pressing issues' such as the 'fiscal cliff', the ongoing state budget shortfall, and the economic doldrums we find in our own city's borders and across our region. All matters of utmost concern, requiring serious and strenuous effort by people of every political persuasion working together with open minds and enough shared good will to do what we all know needs to be done. We've lacked the will and have paid the price.

So too is it with Newtown. We choose to see each incident of inchoate violence as isolated, as a singular  tragedy, rather than as a part of one larger and endlessly continuing episode of an anger so profound we fear  any effort to address issues such as personal responsibility and gun control by insisting emotions are too raw or 'it's too soon.'

In reality it's not soon, it's too late, much too late for brave, young teachers and even younger children and  grieving relatives who will be put very small coffins into the cold, cold earth, attempt to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and who will carry until their dying day a hole in their hearts that time will not ever heal.

I'd like to think the downtown police station in Norwich is still important, or how ethical accountability by all officials, elected and appointed, is deserving of comment but all of that is for another day. Today is a day to hold our loved ones closer and see in their eyes a reflection of how each of us can be the difference in the world, today and everyday.
-bill kenny

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