There’s an internet post circulating about the Sandy Hook shootings that is articulate and powerful. Many sites claim the post was written by Morgan Freeman but it was actually posted to Facebook by a man named Mark from Vancouver. Here is the post:
You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.
It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. [Name removed] and [name removed] are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.
I have no idea what faith Mark from Vancouver is, but his sentiment is very Heathen indeed. At least the part about who we should remember. I’ve written before about my unwillingness to speak the name of those who’ve committed atrocities. As a culture we tend to hand out fame as a prize for evil behavior. I don’t want to be a part of that. But just as an example, try this:
1. Name as many serial killers as you can off the top of your head. (Go ahead. Give yourself a minute to do it.)
2. Name as many Nobel Peace Prize winners.
My second list is pathetic compared to the former, and I don’t go out of my way to look up murderers. However, unlike Mark claims, I have found one site that celebrates the fallen without mentioning the criminal. I read as much as I could before overwhelming emotion made it too challenging to go on, for they are the ones whose names we should be speaking. They are ones whose stories we should tell.
A couple notable people stood out to me: the principal Dawn Hochsprung who died charging at the gunman, trying to protect her students, and teacher Victoria Soto who died putting her own body between the gunman and her students. These women died with selfless courage, and they should be remembered as heroes.
Others who survived the ordeal (or at least hopefully did; two of those I mention are unknown, so whether or not they survived isn’t known) deserve to be mentioned as well:
- Mary Ann Jacob, a library aide who ran out of her classroom to warn others, returned, and then–realizing her classroom door wouldn’t lock–blocked her door with a filing cabinet and got her children into a closet. She and her children all survived.
- Another (unknown) teacher shoved a student into closet after the bullets began flying in the hallway they were both walking through. The 8-year-old student, Bear Nikitchyuk survived.
- An unknown custodian risked his life running through the hallways after the shooting began to warn teachers.
These are the stories that need to be told. These are the people who should be remembered. I have heard the name of the gunman, but I strive to block it from my memory, and his name shall not pass my fingers or my lips.
The Princesses send love and sympathy to Newtown, Connecticut, particularly the children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary as well as their families. When a crime of this magnitude strikes, the dead have a life cut short and the living will carry a scar for the rest of theirs.We cannot fathom what Sandy Hook families are feeling right now. May your ancestors gather around you in peace and comfort.
+ Featured Image: Flowers for those who died in the Sandy Hook shootings, from Voice of America