Thank you for your contribution [“Finding solace in works of art,” Style, Dec. 17] to the healing process that is beginning to unfold across our country after the Newtown, Conn., tragedy. For wounds that may never bind, art indeed offers a most potent salve.
There was just one discordant note. Art and architecture critic Philip Kennicott asserted, “I think seeking consolation during a tragedy that hasn’t affected you is histrionic, and a bad form of sentimentality.” He was quite right to suggest that those closest to the tragedy — the families of the victims and the residents of Newtown — have the keenest claim to grief. But to suggest that those of us with no direct connection to the terrible event should not feel disturbed and have no need for comfort is to profoundly mistake the nature of tragedy. As with an earthquake, the impact of a tragedy is strongest at the epicenter but not limited to it.
Children and parents far and wide felt the shock waves. Their need for comfort may not be as acute, but still, it does not deserve to be neglected.
Zaahira Suhail Wyne, Washington
Why on earth did The Post headline a Dec. 15 front-page article “Parents’ breakup devastated Lanza, ex-neighbors recall”? Adam Lanza’s parents separated “about a decade ago,” according to this article. This information, by the way, was mentioned in the eighth paragraph, after the article had jumped off the front page to Page A11. Was this element really the article’s most pertinent fact?
There were certainly many issues in this young man’s life that affected his decision to take the awful steps he did — issues far more complex, I am fairly certain, than the emotional toll of a separation 10 years ago.
During a presidential debate this fall, Mitt Romney made the incredible assertion that gun violence was tied to children with single mothers. I hope you didn’t mean to likewise suggest that divorce is a cause of mass shootings.
Ardyth Scott, Springfield
On the front page of the Dec. 15 newspaper, The Post reported [“Parents’ breakup devastated Lanza, ex-neighbors recall”] that the Connecticut shooter “may have had a form of autism.” This statement was incredibly irresponsible.
There is no link between autism or Asperger syndrome and this kind of premeditated crime. But because The Post said it, readers are bound to conclude that this must somehow be relevant to motive.
Children with autism, including Asperger’s, often have a hard time fitting in with their peers and are too often the targets of bullies. I wonder how many of them went to school following the Newtown, Conn., shooting only to be further isolated, to be shunned by their peers or to have taunts like “watch out, he may shoot” thrown at them.
Julie Reiley, Bethesda
The writer is an advocate for special education rights in Montgomery County.
I wonder how many extra copies of The Post were sold the day after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., or how many extra hits The Post’s Web site received. It was a banner day for newspapers and news organizations around the world, I fear, and perhaps motivation for the next suffering, pathetic coward with access to firearms who wishes to exit this world with similar attention from the media. As we ogle, wide-eyed like rabbits whose attention is momentarily captured, the ante is upped once again.
Our leaders are paralyzed because we are paralyzed. Nothing will be done, yet again, to address this sad situation. The wisdom of Pogo once again describes the situation: “I have seen the enemy, and he is us.”
Douglas G. Kerr, Charlotte
The selection of the shotgun shell wreaths as a Holiday Craft finalist [“Jingle bells, shotgun shells,” Local Living, Dec. 13] was horrifying, especially given what would transpire the next day in Newtown. While the voting was done and decisions were made before this tragedy occurred, I’m dismayed that these items were even selected as a contest contender.
Sure, the wreaths were artfully executed. From a distance, they are amazing — bright and colorful. But seeing them up close and knowing their base material, I cannot help but feel they do not reflect society’s goals for any holiday season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or even a peaceful winter solstice.
As a crafter, I can imagine any number of inappropriate materials that could form delightful wreaths. (Several personal-hygiene products come to mind.) But any attempt to create a unique and eye-catching decoration needs to be tempered by something often missing in today’s world: good taste.
Sally M. Zeller, Baltimore
I was dismayed to read Richard Cohen’s quip about “Indian attacks” in Connecticut in his Dec. 18 op-ed column [“Our national shame”]. His attempt at lightening the mood was in poor taste. Since European contact, the indigenous peoples of North America have dealt with a variety of abuses, including biological warfare and forced cultural assimilation. To perpetuate the stereotype of the “wild” and “warlike Indian” is an injustice that erases historical fact. The inaccurate and racially charged portrayal of Connecticut’s indigenous peoples is as offensive as it is unfair.
Deirdre White, Alexandria
I can’t have been the only reader who was shocked by the unfortunate phrasing in the Dec. 17 editorial “Demonizing welfare recipients.”
The Post should have used better metaphors for political strategy than military-style weapons terminology, “pushing welfare mothers into the legislative crosshairs may be more beneficial — or at least less suicidal — than gunning for hardworking Hispanics.” I recall reading criticism in The Post of Sarah Palin’s “crosshairs map” after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Tucson nearly two years ago.
This editorial used cheap linguistic shortcuts not once but twice. Unfortunately, given the news from Newtown, Conn., we all knew exactly what The Post meant by people being “in the crosshairs” and “gunning” for someone.
Ceresa Haney, Falls Church
The events in Newtown, Conn., have transfixed us with horror and grief. But as I immersed myself in the wall-to-wall media coverage over the past few days — often an endless loop with no new information and frequent repetition of inaccuracies — I wondered what disturbed person was watching and learning the lesson of how he, too, could gain fame.
The greater the number and younger the age of the victims, the more attention these killers will receive. If we ignored these events, would it stop the copycats?
Ellen Herscher, Washington
Courtland Milloy’s Dec. 17 Metro column, “Tragedy isn’t always distant or fixed in media’s eye,” about 23-month-old Kodie Brown’s painful suffering and serious injuries from a gunshot wound and the horrible loss of her mother, was indisputable and heartfelt. Milloy went on to mention the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the terrible loss. Unfortunately, he later wrote, “A kid shouldn’t have to live in, say, Georgetown for the city to be outraged.” This statement was unnecessary and insulting.
Can’t Milloy write a column without encouraging division in our city and denigrating areas where residents go about their daily lives? Sections of our city should not be unduly criticized because of the level of income or color of residents in order to get the point across. Rapes, muggings, thefts and murders also occur in “upscale” neighborhoods. I know of an 85-year-old woman in Glover Park who was knocked in the head during a purse-snatching as she exited her apartment just off Wisconsin Avenue NW on a Saturday afternoon.
Shirley Johnson, Washington