A Year After Sandy Hook, What's Changed? Nothing

A Year After Sandy Hook, What's Changed? Nothing

Our short attention span is as short as ever

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the horrific school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed 26 lives and changed nothing.

Of course it cruelly changed the lives of the families who lost loved ones. And maybe it moved some people to, as President Obama said after another mass shooting, “hug our childen a little tighter.”

But as for lasting changes to the gun or entertainment industries, which blamed one another for the deaths? Nothing.

Also read: Did ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Earn That School Shooting Scene?

And of course there haven't been any Sandy Hook-inspired laws from a Congress officially designated the least productive in U.S. history.

Great work, everybody.

How little have things changed? The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch notes that gun companies are one of the hottest stocks this holiday season. In September, “Sons of Anarchy” kicked off its season with a school shooting, and hardly anyone made a peep about whether that was thoughtful.

Also read: Newtown School Shootings: Why Are Networks Interviewing Kids?

How many children have to die before we change our attitudes about guns and violence? Apparently more than 20. That was the number of children killed a year ago, along with six women who died trying to save them.

As The Associated Press notes, Obama and the first lady lit 26 candles in the White House to remember the lives lost. But he hasn't been able to do anything more lasting than a candle.

Gun restrictions the president supported were shot down by the National Rifle Association and stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Also read: Boston Marathon Bombings: Twitter, Vine, and a Faster Terror

The NRA took the position that guns don't kill people: Movies and TV shows and video games kill people. That led to a brief period of caution in Hollywood, when executives talked the talk about being sensitive in their portrayals of violence, but mostly kept doing what they were doing.

Is there anything wrong with that? I don't know. Because almost no one in the entertainment industry wants to even touch the question of whether fictional stories can inspire actual violence.

When I asked Fox entertainment chairmen Kevin Reilly last year if he thought any work of art has ever inspired any real death, he looked at me and asked, “Are you serious?”

Well, yeah. It seems like something we should think about, if we're going to have film and TV ratings. Especially in a country where kids killing kids in “The Hunger Games” get a PG-13, but two women doing what people in love do in “Blue Is the Warmest Color” get an NC-17.

Even Quentin Tarantino has started rejecting questions about movie violence. But after Sandy Hook and before he went silent on the subject, he told “Fresh Air” that it's “totally disrespectful” to bring it into the discussion: “Obviously the issue is gun control and mental health.”

Oh right, mental health — another thing we haven't done anything about.

Why not? Because, collectively, we have no attention span. We've been distracted by serious stories, like the Boston Marathon bombings, and stupid ones, like Miley Cyrus twerking. Today, Miley yields 565 million Google results compared to 236 million for “Sandy Hook.” Bear in mind, this is the Sandy Hook anniversary. Cyrus, somehow, is barely in the news at the moment.

We haven't had another Sandy Hook, thank God. But God's the only one we might want to thank. Because the rest of us haven't done much of anything to stop it from happening again.

  • X

    Speaking of short attention spans, I couldn't even read this article because there are 3 grammatical/spelling errors within the first 3 sentences. Who the hell proof read this story?

    • http://www.facebook.com/gerard.kennelly Gerard Kennelly

      obama murders people with drones
      why isn't that an issue like sandy hook ?

    • John W. Chapman

      Nobody proofed it for substance, either. Many states have changed practices and funding for school security. Some have armed teachers. Some have passed “constitutional carry” laws. New York and Colorado have passed laws, The Colorado laws got two lawmakers recalled. Also, NY and CA have proposed going door to door and collecting (read that seizing) guns, and have taken preliminary steps toward doing so. The ideologue idiot who wrote this article is incapable of reading and recalling the very considerable body of news covering the many “changes” since Newtown. In the alternative, he lies about reality because it does not fit his very obvious biases.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gerard.kennelly Gerard Kennelly

    cyrus makes people happy (and jealous)
    sandy hook makes people sick
    but they want to be able to defend themselves all the same

  • http://twitter.com/warriorpoet23 Josh Buesching

    Everything changed. To think that an entire year has gone by and according to you, Tim, nothing changed is wholly wrong and naive at best.

    Pointing the fingers never solves the problem. Especially pointing them to an inanimate object. It's also not easy to deal with the downfall of such an atrocity, especially since there's no way we get closure but through time now.

    Just because useless gun control legislation didn't make it's way across the country, doesn't mean nothing changed. I think that we finally understand that people are responsible for their actions and not their “stolen” weapons.

    It's still a crime to steal. It's still a crime to injure and kill people. If you, Tim, and I were to have dinner and one of us said something to one another and we get into an argument where were eventually have to agree to disagree and we shake hands and walk away, that's societal norms being played out.

    But let's say during a dinner event, someone at our table doesn't like what you say and goes bezerk, stabbing you with his fork. This is generally referred to as a crime called assault. And yet, say this goes viral and word gets out. Do we then ban the fork? Do we limit the fork to only two prongs? 4 prongs are too many and indicate an “assault” fork. What about sporks?

    We have a lapse in understanding of criminal behavior and yet, our prisons are filling up with more and more non-violent perps daily. So what do you do about it?

    Stop worrying about types of guns and continue to prosecute those not following current law. Make those illegally obtained firearm charges stick and for longer. 10 years is still a long time to be in jail. I also think an overhall of our mental health system is needed. Easier options for help for those that need it.

    The media is not responsible. Firearms are not responsible. The only and sole blame for atrocious actions are those who carried it out. If Adam Lansa pulled the trigger, than it's Adam Lansa's fault. Not Adam Lansa's stolen AR-15.

    Hug your children, buy a firearm, and instruct yourself and your child on how to be mindful and vigilant with a firearm and not afraid of it.

  • Joe bones

    With my states leading dummy stopping everything in Washington nothing will get done. Yes I'm from Texas and yes I'm ashamed of Ted Cruz.