Newtown, then a new day

Tragedy in Connecticut demands real, meaningful action

For too long, our gun culture, our violent culture, was untouchable. It was barely dealt with during the presidential election campaign. Bob Costas took immense grief for daring to mention it at halftime of a football game 13 days before Sandy Hook. And forget about Congress, because why address public safety when a 100 percent rating from the NRA guarantees a safe seat?

All of that is gone now. Instead, it’s time to ask our legislators, at the state and federal level, to license guns to make sure they are in the hands of safe, responsible people. And it’s long past time to erase, once and for all, the absurd notion that it’s an attack on freedom to ban the sorts of automatic weapons whose sole purpose is to kill people.

No act or regulation, no matter how comprehensive, will bring back the women and children of Newtown whose stories and memories will stay with us the rest of our lives.

At least it will mean that they did not die in vain. We owe it to Dawn, Mary, Vicki, Lauren, Rachel, Anne Marie, Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle and Allison. And we owe it to all the tens of thousands of others through the decades gunned down before their time.

Violence and madness might never end. But our ability to tolerate it must end, now.

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