The Connecticut school shooting this morning claimed twenty eight victims, twenty of them children. My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the massacre, to the survivors, and to those poor traumatized children who had to endure such a frightening thing at such a crucial age. We have a serious mental health problem in America that few seem willing to address openly [EDIT: It turns out the shooter was “obviously not well“]. I hope we can mature enough as a society to look into some of the causes of this abhorrent behavior and improve our level of mental care.

But I want to make a point while the impact of this tragedy is fresh in our minds. I am compelled to “strike while the iron is hot”.

Thanks to the immediate access to new information which is today possible, an entire nation is today grieving the deaths of these twenty children. Now hold this picture in your mind and consider this: Even tragedy on the scale of today’s shooting pales in comparison to the toll that the United States’ foreign policy has taken on children in foreign lands. Drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen have claimed eight times as much young life as the Connecticut shooting: 178 children. That’s one Connecticut incident every day, for a week and a day. These two countries have been bemoaning the loss of this innocent life since the drone campaigns began in 2009.

These strikes are not a “surgically precise” as the public is told by the government and the mainstream media yes-men. The real success rate is more like 2%– if we are counting kills on significant, high-level targets- and Obama has done a lot more drone striking than Bush (like six times more). These 178 tender lives were extinguished at the push of a button with a missile fired by a flying robot controlled by a man in a chair in a dark room hundreds of miles away. These people live in constant fear of America’s flying death machines, hoping they aren’t being secretly added to some bureaucrat’s “list”. This policy terrorizes entire communities.

I’m not suggesting anyone forget about the tragedy in Connecticut today, surely. I wish the community there in Connecticut all the best as they mourn their loss and try to try to move on. I just hope to impress upon you the -at least- equal injustice that has been ongoing now for years in this terrifying drone campaign. The TV news networks may have you convinced that you should just trust the men with the button, but I urge you to follow these and other web links and form your own opinion.

As Americans offer their support and assistance to the Connecticut community in healing the wounds from a heinous and terrifying school shooting, let us also always remember that this is what families in Pakistan and Yemen are going through every week; and when events calm in Connecticut let’s do the right thing and extend our hearts to these poor families however possible- even if it means just talking about drones with friends and family or writing a blog post (or better yet sharing this one!).

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