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This is the time of year when media members write articles setting forth their ideas of what has been the best and worse (stories, people, lies, winners, losers, etc) of the last 12 months. Consider the following my 'worst story about us' for 2013.
As of December 10th, 194 children ages 12 and under had been killed by gunshots in 43 states.....
127 of the children died from gunshots in their own homes, while dozens more died in the homes of friends, neighbors, and relatives.
72 of the young victims either pulled the trigger themselves or were shot dead by another kid.
In those 72 cases, only 4 adults have been held criminally liable.
At least 52 deaths involved a child handling a gun left unsecured.
In the wake of the Newtown slaughter of 20 first graders last December, many Americans were looking for the federal government to do something to help protect, at least, America's children. But nothing happened. Nothing was passed, nothing was done.
Instead, many of the usual suspects turned the Newtown tragedy into a painfully out-of-touch debate about "freedom." It was, I think, an ugly time.....the ugliest of this year.....and now there are 194 more dead children, all under 12 years old, all killed by guns.
The failure of our elected officials to arrive at a consensus which might diminish the threat of gun violence to our nation's children...is The Reverend's story of the year. And it is not a heartwarming story.
We are often bombarded with 'but what about the children' stories when debt and deficits are the topics under discussion. But when children are systematically killed by gunshots, we're told that it is the cost of "freedom." A cost....for some, as of yet, unknown reason....we must bear.
Yes, change comes slowly in a messy democracy like ours. One in which the threat of gun-enthusiast voters voting against an incumbent is now always a threat. And yes, the NRA and other pro-gun activist groups fund the campaigns of our congresspeople. But when it comes to killing children under the age of 12 with guns, shouldn't, you know, those children have advocates in Washington too? Or, is that simply too much to ask?
There have been many negative human attributes prominently on display this year. It's been a year of shamelessness in many ways. The apparent lack of compassion or empathy exhibited by many this year towards the poor, the unemployed and the elderly stand out as especially shameful. But 20 first graders slaughtered with a military style weapon.....and 194+ children under 12 killed by gunshots this year.....and we do nothing as a nation?? Absolutely nothing?
That's just sad. And maddening. At the same time.
And that's why I've picked this issue as my 'news story of the year.' It's not a particularly uplifting story....certainly no heartwarmer....but it is a story which Americans should never forget. When the lives of our children and future children were on the line this year......literally.....our political leaders decided there was nothing that could be done.