First I read the stories of the kids. Then I read the facts: cold, hard, cruel.
The first two kids were buried Monday in Newtown. Noah Pozner, who loved tacos, and Jack Pinto, who adored the New York Giants. Both boys age 6, their funerals captured respectfully and beautifully by Dan Barry in the New York Times.
Noah was eulogized by his mother, Veronique, the rabbi told Barry.
"She said that whenever she told him 'I love you,' his answer to her was: 'Not as much as I love you."
That's when I wept, reading my morning newspaper.
Later, I opened my Boston Globe to Page B5, "Massacre in Connecticut." There I looked at the names and pictures and read short profiles of all 20 first-graders, kids a year older than my grand-daughter, kids who were full of life and big dreams.
The Times devoted its editorial pages Tuesday to "the Gun Challenge." Reading that, my sadness turned to anger. The facts speak for themselves.
- The American murder rate is "roughly 15 times that of other wealthy countries, which have tougher laws controlling private ownership of guns."
- Americans own some 300 million guns, nearly one for every man, woman and child.
- Some 40 percent of two-parent family suburban households in America have at least one gun, polls show (This fact, from Nate Silver, was elsewhere in The Times.)
- When other countries have regulated weapons after massacres, their murder rate has declined. Australia saw a 59 percent drop in firearms homicides in 11 years after it "banned assault weapons and shotguns, tightened licensing and financed gun amnesty and buyback programs."
I don't want to read anymore that President Obama has more important things to think about.
Mr. President, this time you won't forget, right? You said as much Sunday night. This time you won't knuckle under to the bullying gun lobby, which, like all bullies has turned tail for the moment, shutting down its Facebook page and Twitter account, making sure its backers said "no" to Sunday talk show requests.
This time, Mr. President, we -- the people who voted for you -- will be watching. Talk won't be enough.
No more kids, Mr. President. No more kids.