Sunday, March 17, 2019

Connecticut Supreme Court Restores Dignity and Respect To Sandy Hook Parents

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the Sandy Hook parents' lawsuit against gun manufacturers may proceed.  The Court addressed the ability of the parents to sue manufacturers who have been granted essentially blanket immunity for companies that manufacture firearms, including Remington who manufactured the firearm used by Adam Lanza, the young man who used the weapon to kill 20 first graders and others at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.   

While many of the parents' claims were dismissed, their claim that Remington was neglectful in its marketing of the weapon was approved to move forward.  As the New York Times reported "In the lawsuit, the families seized upon the marketing for the AR-15-style Bushmaster used in the 2012 attack, which invoked the violence of combat and used slogans like “Consider your man card reissued.”  Such advertising, the lawsuit alleges, was designed to appeal to troubled men such as the Sandy Hook shooter. Families of other victims are watching this suit.  If successful, gun manufacturers should expect a dramatic increase in lawsuits connecting their marketing to deadly actions taken by other shooters. 

Parents whose children have been murdered through gun violence have some dignity restored.   Having suffered unspeakable horrors, parents of gun-killed children have been cruelly ignored and disrespected through our political and legal systems.  The opinion of the US Supreme Court in the case of The Town of Castlerock v Gonzales while acknowledging the horrific facts, denied any relief to the mother.  While steeped in legal theory, the decision offended common sense that demands that the extreme indignity of losing children through violence be recognized and remedies be provided.    The state played a direct role in the harm that came to the Gonzales girls.  The state may not have been a party to the Sandy Hook killings, but the state was the player who deprived the families of a remedy when it shielded the gun manufacturers liability.  

Only remedy or the offer of one can help restore dignity to the families whose federal legislators refused to alter gun laws that might prevent future slaughters.  The parents - and many in the country - believed that the deaths of 20 first graders would motivate changes in gun laws, but instead, legislative doors were slammed on them.  Now the courts may provide a remedy - and at minimum a forum - for the grieving.

Guns, Margaret Drew | Permalink


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