The bells seemed to toll exceeding slowly. They instructed us to dwell on each loss, each human being. Hundreds huddled in the rain struggling to keep their candles lit as the bells peeled 26 times. It should have been 28 times.
I stood with a group of teachers in Newtown, Connecticut. Dawn Hochsprung was from my town, born and raised, and was a parent of five. As principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, she tried to stop this latest mass killing spree.
In the United States there are 87 gun deaths and 183 gun-related injuries each day, according to the Centre For Disease Control (CDC) and the University of Chicago. There were 17 mass shootings alone in 2012.
The insane proliferation of guns has to stop. The madness has to stop. The National Rifle Association's (NRA) proposal to arm teachers, nurses and librarians is a reflection of the madness.
It is important to expose the economic roots of the madness. Why? Because therein lies the political base of the NRA leadership and the gun lobbies.
Fifty-one thousand gun stores feed this madness. There are more gun stores than grocery stores or McDonald's branches in the US.
The gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson mades $48.5 million in the last quarter alone. Freedom Group, a gun manufacturer which makes semi-automatic weapons including the one used in the Newtown school massacre, has made over $200 million on such sales. Wall Street does the financing.
Sports announcer Bob Costas raised the issue of gun proliferation after the partner of gridiron player Jovan Belcher was fatally shot, and Belcher subsequently committed suicide.
Costas was roundly criticised for his statement on guns and especially for doing it during a football game on national television.
CNN polls on both issues are running 2:1 against Costas. Does the fact that both victims were African-American account for some of this negative reaction? It happened before the tragic events in Newtown.
The Mayors Against Illegal Guns Campaign offers some solutions. These include a criminal background check for every gun sold, a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and making gun-trafficking a federal crime. A ban on handguns must be added to this list as evidence from Britain, Germany and Australia shows it would lead to a dramatic drop in gun deaths.
These steps would have the added effect of slowing the gun-running into Mexico and the carnage in the border areas.
The analysis and solutions put forward by the Connecticut Peace Council, especially the connection to the the US's continual war footing, are a necessary addition.
We must never forget the students massacred at Ohio's Kent State University and Jackson State University in Mississippi, during the US war in Vietnam. The US culture of violence has multiple roots. Profits are the taproot.
But the discussion and the actions can't stop here. An item that can be fought for in every state and town, and raised on the national level, is to make US parks gun-free zones.
This can be taken up with local park commissions and town councils. It is one way for mass participation and for deepening consciousness locally on the need to transition to a culture of peace.
Looking down the road, it is time for revolutionary boldness. Article 1, Section 3 of the US constitution states that "the Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state."
It does not say the Senate is to be a millionaires' playground. Too many representatives get support from the gun and military industrial complex lobbies. This has to end.
A Senate of people's movements, to replace the millionaires' club, is a proposal that needs the light of day.
Every two years primaries in each state nominate representatives of labour, peace, women, people of colour, environment, LGBT and other social justice movements in some agreed upon ratio by a broad people's alliance of these organisations.
If such a people's Senate were in place, would an event like the Newtown massacre have occurred? Would an assault weapon have been as readily available to the mentally unstable shooter?
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