Brave responses to the Sandy Hook shooting

Friday’s tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut shook the nation and the world. Some are arguing than any discussion of gun violence “politicizes” the tragedy. I would argue that by avoiding the issue of gun violence we shrug off our responsibility to prevent more tragedies. Is accepting the status quo, which is extremely politicized by NRA lobbying, the best way to honor those who died? I don’t think so.

Some nut jobs on the right, from gun advocates to elected to officials, are missing what should be the takeaway from the shooting. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) wants more guns, not fewer, arguing that had the principal been armed, she could have shot the killer. A Nevada Assemblywoman wants to allow college students to bring concealed weapons to  their campuses. And Mike Huckabee creatively attributes the shooting to the absence of god and the presence of “tax-funded abortion pills.”

Luckily, others have responded with more sensitivity and common sense. While not mentioning gun violence per se, President Obama hinted at the need to address it, saying, “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics.” As I’m writing this, over 154,000 people have signed a petition (which Samhita linked to) calling on Obama to introduce gun regulation legislation. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA).  Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have all called on Congress and/ or the President to act. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has vowed to introduce a new assault weapons ban on the first day of the new Congress:

I’m going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill is going to be introduced in the House, a bill to ban assault weapons. It will ban the sale, the importation, and the possession — not retroactively but perspectively… The purpose of this bill… is to get weapons of war off the streets.

Let’s make sure this happens.



Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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  • natasha

    I am disappointed that Feministing would use the term ‘nut jobs’ in an article. Phrases like this only serve to further the stigma against the mentally ill. I don’t believe that is intentional on your part, it is very common for people to use words like these along with ‘psycho’ or ‘crazy’, and I myself have been guilty of it; but we need to refrain from it and check ourselves as often as possible so we don’t continue to use ableist language. I have suffered from mental illness, anxiety and depression, for most of my life and, especially in the wake of the tragic shooting, have felt isolated and shamed by all the rhetoric surrounding it such as the popular, ‘No healthy person could ever do such a thing. He must have been mentally ill’, before anyone really knew anything about Adam Lanza. This discourages people to reach out for the help that they need for fear of being ostracized and compared to mass murderers. So please, try to avoid potentially making the mentally ill feel like freaks or immoral in the future.

  • Dave Francis

    My son has Autism and has drawn a knife on his Mother several times. It’s very sad that the opponents of gun control dribble out of the woodwork, like the political maggots they are demanding new gun laws when there is a traumatic incident as the one in Massachusetts. However there are limits to what help you can receive from the medical profession as my family has found out. THERE IS LITTLE INTERVENTION OR ASSISTANCE TO HALT THIS TERRIBLE NEUROLOGICAL BRAIN IMBALANCE. ONCE AGAIN IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY AND THE SILENCE FROM THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES WHO ARE BENEFITING FROM THIS ISSUE WITH BUCKETFUL OF DRUGS.OF COURSE THERE IS ANOTHER FACTOR THAT THE GUN ADVOCATES SAY LITTLE ABOUT, IN THAT THE DRUG COMPANIES MAY BEAR SOME RESPONSIBILITY IN THE INJECTIONS CONTAINING SMALL AMOUNTS OF MERCURY GIVEN TO BABIES AT TIME OF BIRTH. In addition an only small contribution is evident to the growing problem of Autism, which is reaching uncomfortable proportions? More money is needed for research relating to the Autism Spectrum Disorder, which thousands of families must deal with on a daily basis. There are no guns in my household and yet I do not blame gun owners, who possess them to protect their families from criminals who will circumvent any new gun laws.