FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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?

Renovated?

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

More articles by:

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 24, 2019
Elliot Sperber
The Parable of the Flax Seed 
July 23, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Why Boris Johnson is Even More Dangerous Than Trump
Christopher Ketcham
The American West as Judeo-Christian Artifact
Jack Heyman
Whitewashing American History: the WPA Mural Controversy in San Francisco
David Mattson
Through the Climate Looking Glass into Grizzly Wonderland
David Macaray
Paul Krassner and Me
Thomas Knapp
Peckerwood Populism is About Political Strategy, Not Personal Belief
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange and His Wiki Wicked leaks
Howard Lisnoff
What Has Happened to the U.S. Since the Kids Left Woodstock?
Victor Grossman
“How Could They?” Why Some Americans Were Drawn to the Communist Party in the 1940s
Gary Leupp
Minnesota, White People, Lutherans and Ilhan Omar
Binoy Kampmark
Lunar Narratives: Landing on the Moon, Politics and the Cold War
Richard Ward
Free La Donalda!
July 22, 2019
Michael Hudson
U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
Evaggelos Vallianatos
If Japan Continues Slaughtering Whales, Boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Mike Garrity
Emergency Alert For the Wild Rockies
Dean Baker
The U.S.-China Trade War: Will Workers Lose?
Jonah Raskin
Paul Krassner, 1932-2019: American Satirist 
David Swanson
U.S. Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?
Robert Fisk
American Visitors to the Gestapo Museum Draw Their Own Conclusions
John Feffer
Trump’s Send-Them-Back Doctrine
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
Landscape of Anguish and Palliatives: Predation, Addiction and LOL Emoticons in the Age of Late Stage Capitalism
Karl Grossman
A Farmworkers Bill of Rights
Gary Leupp
Omar and Trump
Robert Koehler
Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War
Susie Day
Mexicans Invade US, Trump Forced to Go Without Toothbrush
Elliot Sperber
Hey Diddle Diddle, Like Nero We Fiddle
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail