Welcome to another edition of my weekend column – as always, send your takes, tips and trial balloons to firstname.lastname@example.org. For quick hits all week long, follow me on Twitter: @tednesi.
1. After a major tragedy, there’s often a tension between the urge to temporarily suspend normal life and the urge not to allow the perpetrators to make the impact they desired. All of us must decide for ourselves how to resolve that tension. For me, it’s too soon to publish a normal breezy column just 24 hours after more than a dozen innocent children, ages 5 to 10, were executed in their classrooms two hours south of here. My thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones, as I’m sure yours are, amid such unimaginable grief.
2. President Obama: “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.”
3. Governor Chafee: “The word ‘tragedy’ is used often these days, but it is difficult to think of a more truly tragic turn of events than what occurred in Newtown, Conn., earlier today. … We are taught, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’ As the families of today’s many innocent victims mourn this senseless loss of life, the thoughts and prayers of the people of Rhode Island and the people of our nation are with them – and will remain with them.”
4. Bob Schieffer joined CBS News in 1969. “I’ve been around a long time,” he said during live coverage Friday. “I’ve covered a lot of stories and a lot of tragedies – everything from plane crashes to car wrecks to all the things one runs into on the police beat. I have never heard or seen anything that comes up to what we’re seeing unfold here today. I think we are going to see some change. I think we are going to say, this may be as far as we’re willing to go. We’ll find out in the days to come. But I’ve never seen anything quite like this.”
5. It was striking on Friday how quickly the discussion on social media turned to public policy: gun rights, mental health, school preparedness. On reflection, though, it seems like an understandable response – when you see something unimaginable like this, you wonder whether there is something more that could be done to prevent the next tragedy. ”We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” the president said. It remains to be seen what, if any, change in federal policy will be proposed after this event. For now I can point you to two thought-provoking articles about firearms: “The Case for More Guns (And More Gun Control),” by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, and “Battleground America,” by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker. ProPublica has much more.
6. This week on Newsmakers – newly elected freshman lawmakers Ryan Pearson of Cumberland and John Lombardi of Providence, plus Joe Fleming discusses 2014. Watch Sunday at 10 a.m. on Fox Providence. This week on Executive Suite – Cox Communications GM John Wolfe and Blooming Blossoms owner Pam Hargraves. Watch Sunday at 6 p.m. on myRITV (or 6 a.m. on Fox). See you back here next Saturday morning.
Ted Nesi ( email@example.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi