Part of the reason why I chose Iron & Wine's "The Trapeze Swinger" from a varied number of available songs about grief and loss is not simply its romantic finality meant to ease the pain of those left behind, but its attention to detail.
It's the smiling photos we could easily see ourselves in, the haunting words left behind on the Internet (witness victim Jessica Redfield's final blog post, about surviving a different shooting), and the intimate and specific recollections of grieving loved ones. Never do we, as a society, fully grasp that we all are the sum of our smallest moments as we do when those around us die -- particularly, when they die young. Sad that I can use the word "often" in this case, but often when we see murders like those in Aurora, Colorado yesterday, the smallest moments and the slightest words can elicit the most emotion.
But as we remember, are we too quick to forget? Adam Gopnik wrote this for The New Yorker yesterday:
The reality is simple: every country struggles with madmen and ideologues with guns, and every country—Canada, Norway, Britain—has had a gun massacre once, or twice. Then people act to stop them, and they do—as over the past few years has happened in Australia. Only in America are gun massacres of this kind routine, expectable, and certain to continue. Does anyone even remember any longer last July’s gun massacre, those birthday-party killings in Texas, when an estranged husband murdered his wife and most of her family, leaving six dead?
I'd be willing to bet that a lot of folks have trouble remembering that incident. (Speaking of estranged husbands, do we even remember this?) What should we expect, given our propensity for normalizing what should be moments that theoretically, should spur real change in our laws and our society? That's just one of the questions Melissa and her guests will confront in today's extended conversation about the Aurora shooting, and its political implications.
Other topics we'll examine include the everyday gun violence that doesn't get as much press (particularly that in Chicago), an update on the Clarence Aaron commutation case, an examination of moderation (and the lack thereof) in our politics, and a look at the Republican revival of attacks on reproductive rights (just this week's worth; it is only a two-hour show).
Our guests will include:
- Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), three-term U.S. Congressman.
- Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), who was critically wounded in the 2011 Gabrielle Giffords shooting.
- Irin Carmon, staff writer at Salon.
- Michael Castle, former Delaware governor and nine-term U.S. Congressman. Lost to Christine O'Donnell in the 2010 primaries.
- State Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-CO), whose district includes Aurora, Colorado.
- Nancy Giles, writer and social commentator, and contributor to "CBS News Sunday Morning."
- Richard Kim, executive editor of The Nation's web site, TheNation.com.
- Dafna Linzer, senior reporter for ProPublica.
- Harry Smith, NBC News correspondent.
- Dorian Warren, assistant professor of political science and international public affairs at Columbia University, and fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.
We hope that you interact with us during the show here in the comments of this post, on Facebook, and on Twitter, using the hashtag #nerdland -- and encourage others to do the same. We look forward to having you join us at 10am ET on msnbc!