What Will This Become?


On January 13, residents of Newtown, Connecticut gathered to discuss the fate of Sandy Hook Elementary where 20 first graders and six staff were slaughtered December 14, 2012 by a 20-year-old using a military-style rifle.

Should the school be demolished?


Become a park?

A center for peace education?

Designated a shrine?

I am trying to imagine this, as I think about taking my children to their schools years ago. I see them now, J and H, each running after the car the first few days. I was a wreck, looking in the rearview. Those little arms reaching for me. Pulling to the curb, I would lean across and open the door. “Come on.” Then I’d drive around the block, stop, and accompany J, and years later, H, delivering each to what I believed was the safety of his classroom and teacher.

I am trying to imagine, as I think of my own childhood and the elementary school within walking distance of our house. I see a vast front yard, a side playground, and steep steps my best friend Janie and I pogo’d up and down.

Barack Obama called December 14, 2012 the worst day of his presidency.

I am trying to imagine the horror of this day. I am imagining the horror of this day. Hearing about the shooting. Rushing to the school. Saying, “Please, not my child. Not my child.” And knowing that if it is not my child, it is someone else’s.

It is someone else’s in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and all areas targeted by US barbarism.

It is someone else’s when a funeral procession, wedding party, any activity is ended by a drone attack. Just as it has been and will persist during the tenure of Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the candidate who opposes only the “dumb wars,” who promised to close GITMO, who has a “kill list,” and who has authorized the use of more unmanned aerial vehicles than his predecessor George Bush.

Just as it will continue to be under the “leadership” of any jingoist.

But the worst day of Obama’s presidency—12/14/12 when 20 American children were massacred in Newtown.

I am trying to imagine that building in Connecticut. Regardless of its razing, any alteration in appearance, or what it is named, it will be remembered always as a place of tragedy.

I am trying to imagine how many gatherings there may be of family members and community residents, discussing whether or not to level, camouflage, beautify, after more Newtowns. More Anywhereville schools. More mall and theater shootings, certain to continue here at home—actually  the collateral damage of a war-worshipping society and an economic system that profits from the deaths of human beings, from the destruction of all life, really.

And I am trying to imagine the families, so many now, in the countries ravaged by US greed. Have they gathered to ask, “What will this place of unbearable loss become?

Do they wonder what we’re thinking, those of us thousands of miles away, with their children’s blood on our hands, those of us who really do know that each act of imperial violence is committed not just in our names but by us?

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore or less:missybeat@gmail.com

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey
November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
November 23, 2015
Vijay Prashad
The Doctrine of 9/11 Anti-Immigration
John Wight
After Paris: Hypocrisy and Mendacity Writ Large
Joseph G. Ramsey
No Excuses, No Exceptions: the Moral Imperative to Offer Refuge
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS Thrives on the Disunity of Its Enemies
Andrew Moss
The Message of Montgomery: 60 Years Later
Jim Green
James Hansen’s Nuclear Fantasies
Robert Koehler
The Absence of History in the Aftermath of Paris
Dave Lindorff
The US Media and Propaganda
Dave Randle
France and Martial Law
Gilbert Mercier
If We Are at War, Let’s Bring Back the Draft!
Alexey Malashenko
Putin’s Syrian Gambit
Binoy Kampmark
Closing the Door: US Politics and the Refugee Debate