On Tragedy and Refusing Passivity

I've been thinking about the events of this morning, and about the people of Newtown, CT, less than an hour from the town that was my home for seven years.  I've been thinking about the state and country I will vote in, in perpetuity (or for as long as I live abroad in a country whose tight gun control laws are getting ever looser).

That these tragedies repeatedly happen in schools - in places of refuge and caretaking - fills me with anxiety, grief, and terror. How are we going to protect our children, our students, and our teachers?

Also, this: analyzing why a tragedy happened and what we can do to prevent its recurrence isn't the same as co-opting it cravenly for a political agenda.

It's rage against the impotence and vulnerability these events make us feel. It's a refusal of passive acceptance that this is the way things just are in our country, our world. It's turning grief into action, and protecting the future. In many cases, people hold the political beliefs they do BECAUSE of events like this; they respond to them politically in the hope of changing the world for the better, not just as another opportunity to bicker with their ideological opponents. You can disagree with the routes people suggest for solving such a thorny social and political problem (and that discussion can forge more effective policy and activism), but please don't deride them for SEEKING a solution in the depths of their horror.

The irony here is that trying to shut down discussion, and to treat these events as if they are independent from the political realities of our nation, IS ALSO the expression of a political agenda. A political agenda that respects the status quo more than people's lives.