As Bells Toll for Newtown Victims, Some Ask How Many Should Ring?
Throughout the country Friday, bells tolled at 9:30 a.m. — some deliberately ringing 26 times, some 27 and far fewer ringing 28 times.
The disparity in bells echoing throughout the country is symbolic of a looming question — how many victims are there?
While Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called for the ringing of the bells 26 times, and President Barack Obama noted 26 victims — one Newtown church Friday recognized 28 victims, including both the gunman and his mother.
But when the bells tolled Friday morning, some not only opted to include Nancy Lanza as a victim, but her son as well.
The United Methodist Church in Newtown, a site for vigils and services since the incident, rang the bell 28 times.
‘It’s a matter of theology, not judgment or logic,’ said the Rev. Mel Kawakami, the church’s senior pastor.
‘I don’t have to judge. I leave that to the God I believe in — and I believe in a God of mercy.
Jim Dietter, a Newtown resident, also agreed with the church’s decision to include Adam Lanza and his mother in the service.
‘He [Adam Lanza] is a victim of sorts as well. I feel someone in such a dark place as to kill children must feel such anguish,’ he said. ‘The church’s role, forgiveness, is a way to set people free. … I get that people hate him and want to strike him from history and kill him a thousand times over. Ultimately that’s not going to help people.’
I don’t think a little more compassion is going to hurt anyone.