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April 18, 2013

Bitter Anguish Over Gun Control Defeat: Key Pics of Sandy Hook Families in DC

If last month’s Armed Services “Military Sexual Assault” hearing brought raw emotion and a call for humanity to Capitol Hill, that exercise turned out to be constructive and cathartic. That’s in profound contrast to yesterday, however, in which the disabled Gabby Giffords and the Sandy Hook family members put themselves on the line only to have salt poured on their wounds.

The photos from the Senate defeat of gun control yesterday really require little elaboration. The gravity of the vote, and the trauma and deep losses that elicited it, stripped away any artifice of the political photo op. All I know is that, watching that video of the post-vote Rose Garden statement by Obama and Mark Barden, the Sandy Hook representative, I felt my own anger mix with some tears.

Like a bookend, this shot from the Capitol of Senators and Newtown family members emits the same grief as those faces at the White House. I was only a little less furious with Reid when I heard he switched his vote to “no” to facilitate further tries. It’s the stricken Blumenthal back center though who, at this point, has become the Senator from Sandy Hook.

This might be a tangent but, similar to the the scenes from that Armed Services session (that subcommittee hearing prompted and chaired by female Senators), we see a “that same touch” here. That’s Senator Patty Murray in the center with Newtown family members Carlee Soto and Erica Lafferty.

Finally, one might argue that this is a throw-away shot with the kid accidentally entering the frame. On a symbolic level, however, the image largely capturing the opposition business-as-usual on a monumentally spineless day, the kid is incredible. He’s a witness for all the kids this (already cripplingly narrow and compromised) legislation was all about. And then, the gaze is like a living editorial — the look of either “seriously?” or  ”you’re killing me.”

(photo 1: screenshot/ photo 2: Alex Wong/Getty Images. caption: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) speaks as Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) (L), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (3rd L), Sandy Hook victim Vicki Soto’s sister Carlee Soto (2nd L), Sandy Hook victim Dawn Hochsprung’s daughter Erica Lafferty (4th L) listen during a news briefing after a vote on the Senate floor April 17, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Senate defeated a bipartisan proposal by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) to expand background checks on firearms purchases and close the so-called gun-show loophole. photo 3: Mark Wilson/Getty Images. caption: Sandy Hook victim Vicki Soto’s sister Carlee Soto (R) and Sandy Hook victim Dawn Hochsprung’s daughter Erica Lafferty (L) are hugged by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) (C) after a vote on the Senate floor April 17, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. photo 4: Mark Wilson/Getty Images. caption: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (C) stops to talk on his way to a vote on the Senate floor April 17, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Senate rejected a proposal by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) to expand background checks on firearms purchases and to close the so-called gun-show loophole.)

  • 1nancy2

    Look at the faces of the parents who had their children blown to pieces and weep with them. The NRA paid their ransom to the losers in Congre$$. We will vote them out in ‘14. Have faith.

  • Alicia

    The third picture of the three girls hugging seems surprisingly upbeat for someone who is grieving so hard. The majority of Americans are celebrating right now, so ask yourself this… Who is really grieving?! Americans? No. Politicians. Yes. Another attempt at stripping away our civil liberties was eliminated. GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE, our government kills people and people kill people. Notice how the bombs in Boston are being explained by a BOMBER, not a single thing about bombs, bomb supplies, etc.

    • JJ

      Oooops! Pressure cookers and nails are not designed to kill. Guns are. Your cliches are wholly unpersuasive. And I pray that none of your loved ones is shot or – more likely – shoots themselves. Peace.

      PS: Most Americans support gun control. Read the polls. And, of course, a majority of Senators do too. I guess you are not too concerned with democracy?

    • boomerangst

      Where is this majority you mention? Celebrating? GMAB–not out here in the USA–not the USA I know. Why are you here? Go back to Faux news and wrap yourself in your fear.

  • Alicia

    It would be nice to read an article with no bias for once. RIP the age of unbiased journalism.

    • bks3bks

      Ho, Ho, Ho. When was that, exactly? *All* sources are biased. Every single one.


  • JJ

    Nice post.

  • bystander

    Maybe Charles Pierce at Esquire is right (only a generic link b/c I think the system chokes at more than two). If the Manhin-Toomey amendment was indeed single issue, with the support of 91% of the public, then perhaps:

    We are a violent people. We are an armed people. We are a people intent on permitting mayhem and slaughter. We are a people intent on providing the means for mayhem and slaughter.

    And, we mistake all of this for freedom. I was pleased to note that my two Senators from a “gun loving” (though fairly highly educated) state voted in favor of the bill. That isn’t to say that my faux-libertarian representative wouldn’t have contributed to its defeat in the House.

    Undoubtedly, we will see more pictures like these in the future. And, some will yet, mistakenly, call it freedom.

    • undergraduate

      Sorry, chief. We understand perfectly well what freedom is. And freedom has consequences, good and bad. The only way to elminate the bad is to surrender freedom. Too bad that far too many of you don’t really understand that.

  • undergraduate

    Actually, heartless as this may sound, I look at the pictures above and I am not sympathetic in the least. Sorry. But I am not willing to surrender the Constitution of the United States because it would, perhaps, make a few people, or even a majority of several thousand people (perhaps) polled “feel better.” If we have become a nation that is so easily swayed from the principals upon which the Founders built our Republic –one that has endured far worse for 230 years, then we are truly lost. The folks above may be saddened and disheartened by the results in the Senate. I for one am gratified that the Constitution remains intact. Temporarily, because folks like these are not going to give up.

    • Thomas

      You’re confusing the Constitution with your interpretation of it. Stay in school, kid.

    • glennisw

      What kind of heartless bastard are you? You’re not sympathetic? Even though you have a differing opinion about the interpretation of policy, you don’t sympathize with people who’ve had their six year old children blown to bits?

      I think your interpretation of the Constitution is ill informed and dead wrong, but it’s compounded by your lack of humanity in the service of a superficial crackpot bumper-sticker slogan. It sickens me. I truly hope that it is due to your youth, and that you will grow out of it.

      When you have children someday, I hope that they will not be sacrificed to the gun god you seem to worship, but if they are, I will surely sympathize with your loss.

  • bystander

    I would love to know how many of the “freedom loving, civil liberties supporting” commenters thumping the desk for the second amendment have called their Senators regarding CISPA? How many follow ioerror or csoghoian on twitter? Or, how many are habitues of Glenn Greenwald’s columns? Or, whether those Tree of Liberty aficionados are really just Constitutional and Civil Liberties dilettantes? One note songs because the only “warm fuzzy” they really get is gazing at their guns?

  • Dave McLane

    According to my understanding of English, “Bitter Anguish Over Gun Control Defeat” is a bit misleading as it’s not about actual hit-the-ground gun control, but rules on pieces of paper gun control so I would change the title to ‘Bitter Anguish Over “Gun Control” Defeat.’ I feel anguish over those who were killed at Newtown and I’m in favor of how to stop such use of guns, but I fail to see how rules on pieces of paper are going to make it happen, just a Rules of the Road don’t stop people killing people with their cars.

    • Thomas

      Whose fault is that if you don’t understand the connection between law and behavior? Is that somebody else’s fault, for not explaining it to your satisfaction? Shouldn’t you be responsible for your own failure to grasp the significance of laws if you’re going to participate in any conversation about public policy?

  • bresson2

    I love the last pic. Rubio being his vacuous, smarmy, sleazy self. The guy stuck on the listening end squints in exasperation. And anchoring in the left foreground, the out-of-focus key to the picture: a child whose face is a precocious awareness of the anguish of the moment, the anguish of a child realizing how utterly unjust and insane the adult world is. His nonverbal thought as he looks right at us: “Can you believe this idiot??!!”

  • ccnc

    Can you put a link up here that show the gun control polls cause I haven’t seen them, Switzerland has one if the lowest crime rates in the world is an guess what 90% of them have guns I have owned guns all my life an mine haven’t hurt anyone

  • Thomas

    Another lecture from Professor “I am not sympathetic in the least.” Do me a favor and start cleaning your gun a little more frequently.

  • Dave McLane

    In my hard won experience, there no simple connection between law and behavior.

  • black_dog_barking

    Your hard won experience in the untoward side effects of the interaction of law and behavior in the matter of ubiquitous deadly weapons is not really in the same league as the hard won experience of those children and parents in Newton CT. FWIW.

  • Dave McLane

    My hard won experience includes situations created by Mother Nature that makes Newtown or Boston look like a picnic. The point I’m raising is that it’s not possible to eliminate such events by putting our emotional feelings on pieces of paper, and even though we can translate those feelings into concrete action, those actions can never make us or every body totally safe.

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