United States

Dec 17, 2012

In Connecticut, it’s too calm and too practised

The meditative reflection on display after the Newtown massacre seems too polished and well-practised. It's a particular condition of a more general process -- fatalism encroaching on daily life.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


By the time the bishop came to the lectern at the Bridgeport council chambers, to read the names of the dead — the children and the teachers — of the Sandy Hook school, the air was already being broken by raspy coughs and sniffles. The crowd of 200 or so, white and black in equal measure, suits and track suits, Sunday church dress and leather jackets, had assembled, it seemed, in a few minutes.

At a quarter to five I’d been standing beneath the portico of an empty city hall. Then they had come, poured in from the vacant lots and the multi-storey carpark, the shabby main street. We had had Amazing Grace, we had the schools superintendent, the senior counsellor giving out homilies utterly inadequate to the situation. The crowd had started quiet, and got quieter. By the end of the speeches the silence was like a gasp, air removed from a room.

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39 thoughts on “In Connecticut, it’s too calm and too practised

  1. paddy

    A truly excellent piece, about an utterly appalling event.
    Thanks Guy.
    Just hoping that this time, the polished response might crack, so there’s some vague hope of real change.

  2. gerard

    The real killers are the pro-gun senators. While they did not pull the triggers, neither did those Serbian,Bosnian, Croation generals. The killing of twenty children is a crime against humanity and a direct result of the pro-gun lobbyists in the US. Stop further murder and sign the petition please!

  3. [email protected]

    Yes. As always, you are spot on Rundle.

  4. SusieQ

    Yes, excellent Guy, well done. What more can be said?

  5. syzygium

    “The details of what happened in the school, pieced together and published in the Hartford Courant, simply do not bear reading about, and I suggest you trust me on that. The adults were brave, and they died; the children were terrified, and they died. No other useful information is imparted.”

    That’s excellent advice Guy, I will take it. In our 24/7 voyeuristic news world, more reporting like this is what’s needed. Thanks again and a beautiful piece. Just heard Obama’s speech and more or less lost it myself. There is hope there that this time, things will change.

  6. gerard

    The real killers are the pro-gun senators that are holding, like the true gangsters they are, a nation to ransom with their pro-gun ‘right to bear arms’ mantra.
    This was not only heinous but also a crime against humanity. And, those pro-gun senators,are, like those Croats, Bosnian, and Serbian generals, just as responsible for the deaths of so many.
    Bring them to The Hague at let the International Court of Justice deal with them.

  7. Andybob

    A two thirds majority in both House and Senate
    Ratification by 75% of States

    All it takes for the USA to change its gun culture and revoke the Second Amendment is for enough people to want that change and elect politicians reflecting their view.

  8. Jonathan Maddox

    Correction — it’s the National Shooting Sports Foundation (US gun retailer’s association, http://www.nssf.org/) that’s headquartered in Newtown, Connecticutt, not the Sporting Shooter’s Association (Australian sporting body, http://www.ssaa.org.au/) which is headquartered in the Western Sydney suburb of Plumpton, NSW.

  9. Jonathan Maddox

    Once more, without URLs.

    Correction — it’s the National Shooting Sports Foundation (US gun retailer’s association) that’s headquartered in Newtown, Connecticutt, not the Sporting Shooter’s Association (Australian sporting body) which is headquartered in the Western Sydney suburb of Plumpton, NSW.

  10. Glen

    Gun control is another of those diabolical challenges. Like some grotesque combination of big tobacco (profit mad pedlars of death, BS PR, manipulated opinion) and big climate. By the latter, I mean that, like CO2 in the atmosphere*, guns last a very long time and can be near impossible to extract. The US has 300 million of them.

    I vividly recall, years ago, some Californian friends oiling up their guns as the after dinner activity. Among them was a WW1 Lee-Enfield. (They were surprised that I knew how to dismantle it — they didn’t. Cadets of course, where I fired one.) It was still in perfect order and the ammunition is readily available, all set for your next massacre. Which is, of course, what it was designed for.

    (* The average lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 100 years. Around 20% lasts for thousands of years.)

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