Tag Archives: CT

Meet up with me on Sat., March 23!

By filmmaker Michael Moore

The response to my Newtown letter this week has been overwhelming. It is so very clear to everyone that the majority of Americans have had itwith how we as a country have recklessly allowed the NRA and the gun manufacturers to get away, literally, with murder.

That, right now, is going to come to an end.

The “tipping point” against the gun madness has taken place because of the tragic slaughter of 20 little children in Connecticut. This time, the shock and horror didn’t subside after a few weeks, as it did after the 30+ massacres since Columbine. This time we haven’t been able to shake it from our collective consciousness. This time – and the NRA knows this – this time we the people aren’t going to quiet down. We are demanding real action.

In the past few days, a number of people and grassroots groups have suggested to me that we do something to use ‘Bowling for Columbine’ to rally thousands – millions – to come together and kick off a massive spring action to get gun control laws passed. I love this idea and I have agreed to participate in helping to launch it.

So, next Saturday, March the 23rd, on the 10th anniversary of the evening that ‘Bowling for Columbine’ won the Academy Award, MoveOn.org is sponsoring a screening with me in New York City and other groups are joining together to ask you and thousands of others to host a nationwide gathering in your homes where you invite friends and neighbors to come over and watch the movie together – and then, afterward, I will join you LIVE, via the Web, in your living rooms to talk to you, take your questions/suggestions and decide what we are all going to do.

I am asking the nearly five million of you who receive this email, plus my 1.5 million followers on Twitter and my nearly 800,000 Facebook friends, to set aside next Saturday night, March 23rd, and invite people over to your home to watch my movie and have a talk with me and others who will lead this mass movement for gun control action.

Over the next few days I will send you more details, but I just wanted to get the word out today, after so many thousands of you have written me via email and Twitter, and ask you to hold the date for next Saturday and start to get the word around to your friends and family. I’ll let you know the easiest ways to get a copy of the film for free or nearly free so you can show it in your living rooms. And I’ll let you know how to “beam me in” when the movie is over. By the end of that night, my hope is that we will have a peaceful but fierce army of millions making their voices heard to those who represent us on Capitol Hill. We will, instantly, vastly outnumber the NRA and the gun lobby.

And for the sake of our children and the future of this great country, we will win.

Let everyone know – next Saturday, March 23rd, we’re all getting together to watch ‘Bowling for Columbine’ in thousands of “house parties” across America, and I will be there with you, thanks to the wonders of 21st century technology.

See you on the 23rd in your living room! Now is the moment to make this happen.

America, you must not look away (How to finish off the NRA)

By Michael Moore, filmmaker

The year was 1955. Emmett Till was a young African American boy from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi. One day Emmett was seen “flirting” with a white woman in town, and for that he was mutilated and murdered at the age of fourteen. He was found with part of a cotton gin tied around his neck with a string of barbed wire. His killers, two white men, had shot him in the head before they dumped him in the river.

Emmett Till’s body was found and returned to Chicago. To the shock of many, his mother insisted on an open casket at his funeral so that the public could see what happens to a little boy’s body when bigots decide he is less than human. She wanted photographers to take pictures of her mutilated son and freely publish them. More than 10,000 mourners came to the funeral home, and the photo of Emmett Till appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.

“I just wanted the world to see,” she said. “I just wanted the world to see.”

The world did see, and nothing was ever the same again for the white supremacists of the United States of America. Because of Emmett Till, because of that shocking photograph of this little dead boy, just a few months later, “the revolt officially began on December 1, 1955” (from Eyes on the Prize) when Rosa Parks decided not to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The historic bus boycott began and, with the images of Emmett Till still fresh in the minds of many Americans, there was no turning back.

In March of 1965, the police of Selma, Alabama, brutally beat, hosed and tear-gassed a group of African Americans for simply trying to cross a bridge during a protest march. The nation was shocked by images of blacks viciously maimed and injured. So, too, was the President. Just one week later, Lyndon Johnson called for a gathering of the U.S. Congress and he went and stood before them in joint session and told them to pass a bill he was introducing that night – the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And, just five months later, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

In March, 1968, U.S. soldiers massacred 500 civilians at My Lai in Vietnam. A year and a half later, the world finally saw the photographs – of mounds of dead peasants covered in blood, a terrified toddler seconds before he was gunned down, and a woman with her brains literally blown out of her head. (These photos would join other Vietnam War photos, including a naked girl burned by napalm running down the road, and a South Vietnamese general walking up to a handcuffed suspect, taking out his handgun, and blowing the guy’s brains out on the NBC Nightly News.)

With this avalanche of horrid images, the American public turned against the Vietnam War. Our realization of what we were capable of rattled us so deeply it became very hard for future presidents (until George W. Bush) to outright invade a sovereign nation and go to war there for a decade.

Bush was able to pull it off because his handlers, Misters Cheney and Rumsfeld, knew that the most important thing to do from the get-go was to control the images of the war, to guarantee that nothing like a My Lai-style photograph ever appeared in the U.S. press.

And that is why you never see a picture any more of the kind of death and destruction that might make you get up off your couch and run out of the house screaming bloody murder at those responsible for these atrocities.

That is why now, after the children’s massacre in Newtown, the absolute last thing the National Rifle Association wants out there in the public domain is ANY images of what happened that tragic day.

But I have a prediction. I believe someone in Newtown, Connecticut – a grieving parent, an upset law enforcement officer, a citizen who has seen enough of this carnage in our country – somebody, someday soon, is going to leak the crime scene photos of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. And when the American people see what bullets from an assault rifle fired at close range do to a little child’s body, that’s the day the jig will be up for the NRA. It will be the day the debate on gun control will come to an end. There will be nothing left to argue over. It will just be over. And every sane American will demand action.

Of course, there will be a sanctimonious hue and cry from the pundits who will decry the publication of these gruesome pictures. Those who do publish or post them will be called “shameful” and “disgraceful” and “sick.” How could a media outlet be so insensitive to the families of the dead children! Someone will then start a boycott of the magazine or website that publishes them.

But this will be a false outrage. Because the real truth is this: We do not want to be confronted with what the actual results of a violent society looks like. Of what a society that starts illegal wars, that executes criminals (or supposed criminals), that strikes or beats one of its women every 15 seconds, and shoots 30 of its own citizens every single day looks like. Oh, no, please – DO NOT MAKE US LOOK AT THAT!

Because if we were to seriously look at the 20 slaughtered children – I mean really look at them, with their bodies blown apart, many of them so unrecognizable the only way their parents could identify them was by the clothes they were wearing – what would be our excuse not to act? Now. Right now. This very instant! How on earth could anyone not spring into action the very next moment after seeing the bullet-riddled bodies of these little boys and girls?

We don’t know exactly what those Newtown photographs show. But I want you – yes, you, the person reading this right now – to think about what we do know:

The six-year and seven-year-old children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School were each hit up to eleven times by a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The muzzle velocity of a rifle like the AR-15 is about three times that of a handgun. And because the kinetic energy of a bullet equals one-half of the bullet’s mass multiplied by its velocity squared, the potential destructive power of a bullet fired from a rifle is about nine times more than that of a similar bullet fired from a handgun.

Nine times more. I spoke to Dr. Victor Weedn, chairman of the Department of Forensic Sciences at George Washington University, who told me that chest x-rays of a person shot with a rifle will often look like a “snowstorm” because their bones will have been shattered into fragments. This happens not just because of the bullet’s direct impact, but because each bullet sends a shock wave through the body’s soft organs – one so powerful it can break bones even when the bullet didn’t hit them. A video here shows what the shock wave looks like in the “ballistic gelatin” used by experts to simulate human tissue. (Would Gabby Giffords have survived if shot by a rifle rather than a Glock pistol? Probably not, says Dr. Weedn; the shock wave would have damaged the most critical parts of her brain.)

As horrifying as this is, there’s more; much more. Dr. Cyril Wecht, past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, told me this:

The kind of ammunition used by the Newtown killer would have produced very extensive, severe and mutilating injuries of the head and face in these small victims. Depending on the number of shots striking a child’s head, substantial portions of the head would be literally blasted away. The underlying brain tissue would be extensively lacerated with portions of hemorrhagic brain tissue protruding through the fractured calvarium and basilar skull, some of which would remain on portions of the face…actual physical identification of each child would have been extremely difficult, and in many instances impossible, even by the parents of any particular child.

We also know this, according to Dr. Wecht:

In one case, the parents have commented publicly upon the damage to their child, reporting that his chin and left hand were missing. Most probably, this child had brought his hand up to his face in shock and for protection and had the hand blasted away along with the lower part of his face.

Veronique Pozner, the mother of Noah, the six-year-old boy described by Dr. Wecht, insisted that the Governor of Connecticut look at Noah in an open casket. “I needed it to be real to him,” she said. The Governor wept.

The pictures showing all this exist right now, somewhere in the police and medical examiner’s files in Connecticut. And as of right now, we’ve somehow all decided together that we don’t need to look, that in some way we’re okay with what’s in those pictures (after all, over 2,600 Americans have been killed by guns since Newtown) – just as long as we don’t have to look at the pictures ourselves.

But I am telling you now, that moment will come with the Newtown photos – and you will have to look. You will have to look at who and what we are, and what we’ve allowed to happen. At the end of World War II, General Eisenhower ordered that thousands of German civilians be forced to march through the concentration camps so they could witness what was happening just down the road from them during the years that they turned their gaze away, or didn’t ask, or didn’t do anything to stop the murder of millions.

We’ve done nothing since Columbine – nothing – and as a result there have been over 30 other mass shootings since then. Our inaction means that we are all, on some level, responsible – and therefore, because of our burying our heads in the sand, we must be forced to look at the 20 dead children at Sandy Hook Elementary.

The people we’ve voted for since Columbine – with the exception of Michael Bloomberg – almost none of them, Democrat or Republican, dared to speak out against the NRA before Newtown – and yet we, the people, continued to vote for them. And for that we are responsible, and that is why we must look at the 20 dead children.

Most of us continue to say we “support the Second Amendment” as if it were written by God (or we’re just afraid of being seen as anti-American). But this amendment was written by the same white men who thought a Negro was only 3/5 human. We’ve done nothing to revise or repeal this – and that makes us responsible, and that is why we must look at the pictures of the 20 dead children laying with what’s left of their bodies on the classroom floor in Newtown, Connecticut.

And while you’re looking at the heinous photographs, try saying those words out loud: “I support the Second Amendment!” Something, I’m guessing, won’t feel right.

Yes, someday a Sandy Hook mother – or a Columbine mother, or an Aurora mother, or a mother from massacres yet to come – will say, like the mother of Emmett Till, “I just want the world to see.” And then nothing about guns in this country will ever be the same again.

Pack your bags, NRA – you’re about to be shown the door. Because we refuse to let another child die in this manner. Got it? I hope so.

All you can do now is hope no one releases those photos.

NRA promises “fight of the century”

From The Guardian: – R. T.

NRA promises ‘fight of the century’ over President Obama’s bold gun control plan

By Ewen MacAskill and Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

Students participate in a prayer service for victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, mass shooting at St. Rose of Lima School in Miami on Friday, December 21.

Students at the St. Rose of Lima School in Miami participate in a prayer service for the victims of the Newtown, Conn., massacre. CNN

President Obama pledges to use ‘full weight’ of his office to get sweeping reforms aimed at curbing gun violence.Link to video: Obama unveils significant new gun control reforms

Barack Obama mounted the biggest challenge in two decades to America’s deeply ingrained gun culture on Wednesday, announcing a sweeping set of proposals to ban automatic weapons, limit magazines to 10 bullets, introduce universal background checks for all firearms buyers and increase scrutiny of mental health patients.

At a carefully stage-managed White House press conference a month after the Sandy Hook school massacre, Obama said the US had waited too long to tackle gun violence and it was time to act.

Flanked by a group of schoolchildren, Obama said: “This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged, and their voices should compel us to change.”

Obama said his reforms are intended to reduce not just these killing sprees but the everyday gun violence suffered across the US. In the month since Newtown, 900 Americans had been killed by guns, he said.

“In the days ahead, I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” he said.

The National Rifle Association immediately vowed all-out opposition to his proposals, warning it was preparing for “the fight of the century”…

to read more, click on the link below …

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/16/obama-gun-control-plan-nra#_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe%2C_renderstart%2Concircled%2Conload&id=I2_1358535552109&parent=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.guardian.co.uk

Important stories on the massacre at Newtown, CT … and a song …

A song for America – a Beatles song sung beautifully by a regular guy. A regular person, just like the men and women who died trying to save those school children. It’s the regular folks in this country who have always done the angels’ work. … . Let’s keep it going. Let’s make history. Let’s change our gun laws in a big way. click on link below. – R. Tirella

Newtown, CT shooting: Photos from the scene
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From The New York Times: R. T. ‘These Tragedies Must End,’ President Obama says
obama-guns-remnick.jpg
President Obama crying as he tells the nation last week of the  little kids who were murdered. Little five and six year olds huddled together in their classroom as they were shot three to eleven times each by a gunman whose mother, a teacher at the school, was a gun enthusiast. The madness must stop. BAN ALL ASSAULT WEAPONS. MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO BUY GUNS AT GUN SHOWS WITHOUT A BACKGROUND CHECK. BAN GUNS/WEAPONS THAT HOLD MAGAZINES WHICH HOLD MORE THAN 10 ROUNDS, THESE WAR WEAPONS ALLOW GUNMEN TO SHOOT MANY BULLETS INTO THEIR VICTIMS WITH JUST ONE PULL OF THE TRIGGER. THEY DO NOT HAVE TO STOP TO RELOAD. RELOADING TIME MAY HAVE GIVEN FOLKS IN CT THE CHANCE TO INTERVENE. … R. TIRELLA
By MARK LANDLER and PETER BAKER
Published: December 17, 2012
NEWTOWN, Conn. – President Obama vowed on Sunday to “use whatever power this office holds” to stop massacres like the slaughter at the school here that shocked the nation, hinting at a fresh effort to curb the spread of guns as he declared that there was no “excuse for inaction.” In a surprisingly assertive speech at a memorial service for the 27 victims, including 20 children,
Mr. Obama said that the country had failed to protect its young and that its leaders could no longer sit by idly because “the politics are too hard.” While he did not elaborate on what action he would propose, he said that “these tragedies must end.” The speech, a blend of grief and resolve that he finished writing on the short Air Force One flight up here, seemed to promise a significant change in direction for a president who has not made gun issues a top priority in four years in office. After each of three other mass killings during his tenure, Mr. Obama has renewed calls for legislation without exerting much political capital, but the definitive language on Sunday may make it harder for him not to act this time. “No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society,” he said.
“But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.” He added that “in the coming weeks I’ll use whatever power this office holds” in an effort “aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.” “Because what choice do we have?” he added. “We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” … To read more, click on link below:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/us/politics/bloomberg-urges-obama-to-take-action-on-gun-control.xml?f=19 *************************** From The Wall Street Journal:

New Calls for Gun Limits

By LAURA MECKLER and GARY FIELDS Several lawmakers Sunday called for reintroducing a ban on assault weapons in the wake of Friday’s deadly school rampage. President Barack Obama is also likely to propose gun-policy changes, according to two administration officials.

Churches in and around Newtown, Conn., held vigils and special services to help comfort those affected by the shootings that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Video by WSJ’s Evan Simon.

Both members of the community and visitors in and around Newtown, Conn., are erecting makeshift memorials to honor the victims of the shooting spree on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

How do Americans handle their grief in the days following the deadly Connecticut school shooting? Lauren Kenney, bereavement services manager at Hospice By The Bay, offers some insights.

WSJ reporter Anton Troianovski reports from Danbury, Conn., on the investigation and the aftermath of Friday’s deadly shooting in Newtown. Photo: Reuters.

Simon Constable discusses the latest on a Connecticut school shooting that left at least two dozen dead with Aaron Rutkoff and Devlin Barrett. Photo: AP.

In an update about Friday’s mass shooting, Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police cited a major concern regarding the spread of false information via social media. Image: Associated Press.

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy spoke of the tragedy of Friday’s shooting, noting that similar unfortunate events have unfolded elsewhere across the nation recently. Photo: Associated Press.

Mr. Obama, on Sunday evening in Newtown, Conn., said that the nation as a whole is failing in its duty to protect its children and that “we will have to change,” without specifying what changes are needed. He said that no law can prevent all violence, but “that can’t be an excuse for inaction.” The White House is looking at various options, and the scope and details of the president’s approach aren’t clear. One possibility likely to be considered is a ban on high-capacity magazines, the devices attached to firearms that store large numbers of bullets and reload them rapidly. … To read more, click on the link below: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324677204578183781498008140.html#articleTabs%3Darticle *****************************************

From The New Yorker:
December 14, 2012

WHAT OBAMA MUST DO ABOUT GUNS

Posted by 
Barack Obama has been in our field of vision for a long time now, and, more than any major politician of recent memory, he hides in plain sight. He is who he is. He may strike the unsympathetic as curiously remote or arrogant or removed; he certainly strikes his admirers as a man of real intelligence and dignity. But he is who he is. He is no phony. And so there is absolutely no reason to believe that his deep, raw emotion today following the horrific slaughter in Connecticut—his tears, the prolonged catch in his voice—was anything but genuine. But this was a slaughter—a slaughter like so many before it—and emotion is hardly all that is needed. What is needed is gun control—strict, comprehensive gun control that places the values of public safety and security before the values of deer hunting and a perverse ahistorical reading of the Second Amendment. Obama told the nation that he reacted to the shootings in Newtown “as a parent,” and that is understandable, but what we need most is for him to act as a President, liberated at last from the constraints of elections and their dirty compromises—a President who dares to change the national debate and the legislative agenda on guns.
So far, Obama, who has shown far greater nerve on a range of issues from health care to gay rights, has held himself hostage to the political adage that there is no ground to be gained in proposing anything stronger than piecemeal gun legislation. He has held himself hostage to the electoral calculus that swing-state voters—in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Colorado, for starters—would reject him if he went deeper on the gun issue. But he won those states. Now it is time for him to risk their affections—to risk disapproval in general—in the name of saving lives. The Obama-Romney debates were disgraceful in a number of ways: their obsession with the phony Benghazi issue (which has now sunk Susan Rice as a potential Secretary of State); their failure to debate the world beyond Israel; the lack of a single question about climate change. One of the most dispiriting exchanges came when Candy Crowley of CNN had a woman named Nina Gonzalez ask about gun control: 

QUESTION: President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. What has your Administration done or planned to do to limit the availability of assault weapons? OBAMA: We’re a nation that believes in the Second Amendment, and I believe in the Second Amendment. We’ve got a long tradition of hunting and sportsmen and people who want to make sure they can protect themselves. to read more, click on  link below:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/12/what-obama-must-do-about-guns.html#ixzz2FKp3uXVr

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