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Where We May Also Place Our Thoughts

by Sudhama Ranganathan Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 at 6:52 AM

On December 14, 2012 my home state of Connecticut experienced one of the worst school shootings in American history claiming 28 lives all told. Once a rarity, murderous rampages have become an all too common occurrence in American society. Within a week there was another one, and just a couple of weeks prior another. There were at least fourteen spree killings this year in the US alone, and the death toll is no doubt staggering. ( ( What we once called “going postal,” something that happened once every few years, not only has become commonplace, but has gone from workplaces, to schools, to shopping centers and beyond.

Smiley face

Whenever these shootings happen, they capture our attention as a nation. When our fellow Americans are killed we should always feel shock, sadness and sympathy for them. After all, they are a part of us and every flame contributes to the burning soul of our nation. It is a mystery why people suddenly flip and decide to go kill people. The mystery as to why they do it leaves us shaking our heads and instinctively looking at each other as if someone else might have a clue, but of course they never do.

Nevertheless, it rocks our nation every time, just as the shootings in Connecticut did on December, 14 of this year. Why did that mentally unstable child have access to weapons bought by his mother? Why was he allowed to accompany his mother and be trained on those weapons at a gun range with his mother supervising him? Why had no person or persons at the gun range sounded an alarm and/ or notified authorities?

Whatever the case, we all wondered out loud that day in horror as we saw the news unfold. So many dead, and so young. We never doubted why they would cover such a tragedy and felt it was warranted. All those children that never had the opportunity to live to see whatever gifts life had waiting for them in the future. They will never grow to adulthood to find happiness, meet people they find significant to them and raise families of their own.

They did not even get to experience Christmas this year with their parents, siblings, relatives and friends. They won't get to sled down hills, ice skate, ski, throw snowballs, build snowmen, build snow forts, lick icicles or catch snowflakes on their tongues this year or any other. We should have compassion for their parents, grandparents and siblings especially, as it must cut so deep especially for them.

We might think about them this holiday season. We may choose to remember them, and all we have to be thankful for that they will never get to see or experience. We may think of their short lives snuffed out far too soon. We should think of their families and the pain they suffer through this year. We may also think of their communities and the impact it has had on them. Perhaps, we may choose to direct our thoughts towards the young children that inexplicably lost their friends and perhaps themselves had to endure the oppression and terrorism of a gunman made unstable by whatever things made him so.

And, it isn't only places that suffer shooting sprees that suffer hurt, pain and loss as a result of unnecessary and violent tragedy. As we place our thoughts with Newton, Ct, we may take the time to place our thoughts with others also. In Hartford, Ct., by year's end there will have been a projected 30 murders, and perhaps we may place our thoughts for a short time there also. Maybe we will place our thoughts with all the families and loved ones alongside the victims of the 19 people projected to have been murdered in New Haven, Ct., by the end of 2012. Along with Newton, Hartford and New Haven, perhaps we'll also choose to place our thoughts with communities in Bridgeport, Ct., that will suffer an estimated 21 murders by year’s end. So many lives tragically ended senselessly before their time.

There are other communities and places across the nation we may choose to place our thoughts with also. Perhaps we will choose to place our thoughts with those in Los Angeles, Ca., where, by year’s end, a projected 223 lives will have been lost to murders. Let's place our thoughts with those that will and have suffered by year’s end in the city of Houston, Tx., by which time 322 people will have been murdered. Let's place our thoughts with the city of Phoenix, Az., where by year's end some 130 lives will have been senselessly snuffed out.

Let us also think about Detroit Mi., where, by the end of the year 321 people will have been murdered for no good reason. We may also choose to place our thoughts with Chicago, Ill., where at the end of the year it's believed 359 people will have lost their lives. We may choose to place our thoughts with those that will have to suffer the all too soon tragedies of the projected 347 murders that are to happen there this year. We may also think about the city of Atlanta, Ga., where, by year's end some 73 lives will have been cut short, a result of murder.

As we do this, perhaps we'll give thought to Newark, N.J., where 90 murders will have taken place by year's end. We may want to send love to NYC, where, all told, murders are expected to be over 515 by the end of the year.

From the time span between December 14, 2010, when the Sandy Hook Massacre took place and December 21, 2012, one week later, shooting deaths in America were over 100. ( That is a startling statistic, especially considering the fact that the defense industry contributed the most money to this year's presidential winner, though they contributed to both. Despite how people think political parties line up in this country, truth is, it's not always that way at all. We can do better and we need to do better.

As a resident of Connecticut, I say to the nation this holiday, when we think of Sandy Hook, let's wrap our arms of warm and caring compassionate thoughts around all these places, and the many others not on the list. Let us lift them simultaneously moving them up, up, up ,up and up so the light will shine on them all.

Let us think of them as one, and send our love and thoughts in whatever form we may to the victims, the families, the loves ones, and the communities of all of them. None have suffered more or less, and none are more important or less. Each life lost to senseless murder, just like those senselessly and uselessly lost each and every time a Palestinian murders an Israeli or an Israeli murders a Palestinian, is of equal value and worth and none is more important or better, and is useless body slaughter each and every time. Let's remember that at this time of the year when we think of peace and good tidings in our country, and never forget the shootings and murders that have occurred.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to

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