“These Are Our Children.”…Does That Mean There Are Some Who Aren’t?

Language matters. How we talk about national tragedies matters.

In talking about the horrific happenings in Newtown, another meme has appeared. “These are our children.”

Those who are saying this are right, these are America’s children. However, why is there no mention of the children who are dying EVERYDAY on the streets of Chicago or Cleveland or Baltimore or Philly through gun violence? Are they NOT America’s children too?

If we need to talk about “gun control” because of the deaths of 20 children in Connecticut, why didn’t we need to talk about “gun control” when the 118 children who have died by the gun in Chicago were being killed?

Language matters. How we talk about national tragedies matters. And if 20 children dying in Connecticut is a tragedy, then 118 children dying in Chicago should be a tragedy too.

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4 thoughts on ““These Are Our Children.”…Does That Mean There Are Some Who Aren’t?

  1. “These are our children.” is probably gleaned from these words of President Barack Obama –

    As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-14/politics/35846745_1_parent-children-transcript

    If anyone should be well informed about children being killed by gun violence in Chicago it would be a former Illinois senator.

    • President Obama has actually talked about violence in Chicago before, so I’m not going to fault him. I will fault all those others who talk about “these innocent children” while not acknowledging that 118 children have died in Chicago this year–as if kids being killed by guns only matters when it happens in the ‘burbs.

      • Well, as my comment made clear, President Obama at least briefly touched upon the more ‘banal’ EVERYDAY killing of children by specifically speaking of a child being killed on a street corner in Chicago.

        In that it seems to have been culled from Barack Obama’s words quote above, the slogan –

        “These are our children.”

        may well be inclusive of children who are dying EVERYDAY on the streets of Chicago or Cleveland or Baltimore or Philly through gun violence.

  2. Here’s an insightful article by the atheist/freethinker writer Ophelia Benson about how we focus on infrequent “wholesale” killing of children instead of the more mundane “retail” killing of children that happens every day:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/12/one-by-one-by-one-they-add-up/

    According to the BBC news coverage from just a year ago that she cites, the US has had 20,000 children killed in the US in their own homes by family members. That’s 2,000 a year and more than 5 per day. That means we have the equivalent of a Newtown massacre of children happening every four days — but it’s done by family members instead of strangers.

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