The House Gallery in the U.S. Capitol had a distinctively Connecticut cast for President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
At least half of the two dozen guests who were victims of gun violence are residents of this state. The guests, invited by the president and members of Congress, included the parents of a little girl killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14; a teacher wounded in the same incident; and the head of a liquor distributorship in Manchester where eight employees were shot and killed in 2010.
These guests helped to put a human face on the tragic consequences of gun violence. Their presence at this high moment of national ceremony made a compelling case for gun safety proposals now before Congress and state legislatures. It put pressure on elected leaders to deliver.
We could proudly call Tuesday night's display of resolve "the Connecticut effect."
This was a term invented and since disowned by lobbyists for the gun industry because it sounded callous in its original context: It meant the collective grief over the massacre at Sandy Hook that could hamper efforts by organizations such as the National Rifle Association to prevent the strengthening of gun safety laws like those proposals now before Congress. Given time, the anger and sorrow would subside, the lobbyists figured.
But "the Connecticut effect" could just as well be the name for an unyielding application of public pressure, born of revulsion of what happened in Newtown, to guarantee passage of legislation that will diminish chances that such a horror will be repeated and reduce the number of senseless deaths that occur day after day on the streets of the nation's cities.
It could work. As Mr. Obama said Tuesday night in his emotional remarks on the toll of gun violence, because of Newtown, "this time it's different."Copyright © 2015, CT Now