The White House said nothing on the anniversary of the shooting
Thursday, December 14th, marked the 5-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which took the lives of 20 children and six staff members. On that same day, the White House held one of its annual Christmas parties and hosted Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) as one of its guests. Now, the mother of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook has written a Facebook post criticizing the White House for its lack of compassion on a day that should’ve been observed and respected.
Nicole Hockley, the mother of six-year-old Sandy Hook victim Dylan Hockley, wrote a post on Facebook yesterday in which she criticized the White House’s thoughtless and callous response to the 5th anniversary of the shooting.
“For the five-year remembrance,” she wrote, “and indeed for every year and every day, most people show compassion and humanity. This year, the White House did not – on two occasions.” The first, she said, was when White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders was asked at the White House press briefing what steps the President and his administration were taking to try to prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook. Sanders replied, “I’m not aware of what that would be. But we want to look for every opportunity, every way possible, that we can to protect American lives. And we are going to continue doing that.”
It boggles the mind that the White House could be so afraid of the NRA that they won’t even mention gun control when talking about Sandy Hook. Sanders actually said that she had no idea what steps could possibly be taken to prevent mass shootings. It would be funny if it weren’t so enraging.
Hockly didn’t mince words about Sander’s response: “This shows a remarkable amount of ignorance, especially regarding an issue that kills over 30,000 Americans every year. As the voice of the White House, Sanders should have not only offered condolences – or even thoughts and prayers – but she should know the answers.”
The fact that Sanders couldn’t even manage one of those trite “thoughts and prayers” messages says a lot about how far this administration is willing to go to avoid anything that looks remotely like sympathy for victims of white, home-grown terrorists who murder innocent people with weapons of war. It’s shocking, and it’s disgusting.
The other way in which Hockley says the White House showed their lack of compassion was the silence of President Trump and his mind-numbing insensitivity in having LaPierre at the White House that day: “Not only did he ignore the 5-year remembrance completely – not even a single tweet – he slapped us all in the face by having none other than NRA President Wayne LaPierre at his White House Christmas party that night. The appalling lack of humanity and decency has not gone unnoticed.”
Yes, he of the very small but very busy Twitter fingers didn’t say a word about Sandy Hook on its 5-year anniversary. But he did invite the man who is against any and all gun control to a party. Wrote Hockley: “Trump, LaPierre and Sanders are all parents. While they ignorantly partied and remained uninformed on an issue that kills thousands of Americans every year, I was crying myself to sleep. While they got the chance to kiss their children goodnight, I kissed the urn holding my beautiful boy’s ashes.”
The White House’s actions (and inactions) last Thursday were briefly noted, and then it was on to the next scandal. This issue won’t come up again until the next mass shooting, and even then we can expect that all we will get are thoughts and prayers (if the shooter is white) or Tweets about immigration (if the shooter is any color other than white.) And then it will be the 6th anniversary of Sandy Hook, and again, we will hear nothing.
This was no oversight. The president knew what day it was. The White House knew that the president of the NRA was coming that night. And they chose to do nothing. And many Americans will never forgive them for that. The fact that the anniversary of one of our most horrific national tragedies could come and go without a word except for, as Hockley put it, the “slap in the face” of the NRA invite, is stunning.
For her part, Hockley doesn’t expect that there will be any recognition of her loss and the loss of 25 other families from the leader of our country. “I would request an apology,” she wrote, “But I’m not sure there are any hearts in the White House that would understand why an apology is the least they could do.”