Despite the fact that I have the date tattooed on my left forearm, the one-year anniversary of the Newtown elementary school shooting snuck up on me. I didn’t realize it was only a few days away until I decided to listen to an episode of “On the Media” during one of my morning walks. The discussion centered on the recent release of the 911 tapes from that day (Connecticut state law requires 911 tapes to be released), and the decisions by some media outlets to air the recordings while others said they would not.
I know there’s something in American culture that craves that voyeuristic thrill of listening in on someone else’s tragedy, and yet my opinion on whether the tapes should be broadcast or not wasn’t what set my teeth on edge as I listened to the debate. What did me in was one tiny word in a quote by CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. As he was making the case for CNN airing the recordings, he said:
This is a major event in American history. The Congress almost voted gun control because of this. I think that means it’s something that the public needs to know about.
If a “major event in American history” – the intentional murder of 20 6- and 7-year-olds and six of the adults tasked with educating them – merits only an “almost” on gun control legislation, then what in the name of all that is good in the world is it going to take to remove the word “almost” from that sentence?
“Almost” is letting cowardly legislators off the hook.
“Almost” is pretending we care enough to do something.
“Almost” is an affront to the people whose children and loved ones died at Sandy Hook Elementary.
“Almost” is not acceptable.