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Gun makers toil in shadow of tragedy in Connecticut

The violent events in Newtown, Conn., took place very much in my part of the world. That is, in New England, which is quite a different place from other parts of this country. I know that from having lived in various of these.

If you’ve lived in the U.S., you know, we are one country, but very definitely, not a whole place. Our regions dominate our daily living personalities, our expectations and our behaviors.

Just as in Oslo, two years ago, this sort of event is rocking souls. You see, we are not the wild west where people need to carry arms and shoot down the government. We are the epitome of democratic processes, and have the highest voter involvement rates in the entire U.S.

It is a wise thing that the National Rifle Association has chosen to keep its mouth shut day after day after day since this event. The largest, and most historic rifle and pistol companies are on the Connecticut River, at the border in northern Connecticut with Massachusetts. Today, I went into our local gun shop, which also sells lots of fishing materials, not to give them a hard time, but because I wanted to purchase the sort of boxes they sell for “fly-fishing” hooks….you see, these are fabulous for contemporary women’s earrings intended for pierced ears.

I wasn’t in a long line at the local gun store, but the clerk, when I asked, said they’d been very busy. Oh, God. May they have been busy with trout guys!

I don’t think that the assault weapons used were made in my town because we don’t have but an old tack manufacturer now out of business. But all the ‘bore’ weapons that the Western U.S. likes to claim as theirs, were made in “my” backyard, effectively, in southwestern Massachusetts, near Springfield, and just below in Connecticut. Both locations are within a very few hundred miles, less than 200 kilometers, from where this killing event happened.

Nobody is talking about this in the media at present. They will. The providers are in my backyard. That is, they are where the train I take to New York City shifts from one railroad line to another. This is not something in another part of the world.

Teachers. I am sure that any situation in this country or where there are other events close to home reflecting a society in stress, or worse, one out of control, brings forth the greatest calls on the teachers in local schools, to respond realistically to those in front and among themselves. God give all those who need to be among the living the strength to support others and also, yes, also themselves. I’m spending Christmas in the area west of Chicago, a suburb, and our hostess teaches kindergarten. So, this very age group. She reports that yesterday morning as she sat at the piano and sang with all of them, she just about lost it….in waves, she said, the sadness, and relationship crops up in waves we do not expect.

My dear friend Marvin reports that the minister of the United Church of Christ (the old Congregational Church) in Newtown, Conn., is someone whom she knew as a teenager, growing up parallel to Marvin’s daughter Mena. That guy’s faith community in Newtown Connecticut has experienced this complex set of events and his ‘people’ will need support through our prayers and his presence for a long time to come.

Marvin says that Matthew was a caring and giving teenager. God give him the strength to deal not merely now but in the many days and months to come, the endurance to provide a ministry he never expected.

Carol Bortell Hess is a Jaffrey resident.

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