Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

'No more hurting people'

By Donna Brazile, CNN Contributor
updated 11:44 AM EDT, Mon April 22, 2013
Martin Richard, the 8-year-old killed during the Boston Marathon bombings, holds a sign calling for peace.
Martin Richard, the 8-year-old killed during the Boston Marathon bombings, holds a sign calling for peace.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 8-year-old Boston marathon victim had carried sign, "No more hurting people"
  • Donna Brazile says others who died were also under 30 and were innocent victims of terror
  • During the same week, a bill to require background checks for more gun purchasers failed
  • Brazile: Will we continue to fail victims of senseless violence?

Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking With Grease: Stirring the Pot in America." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.

(CNN) -- The second Boston bombing suspect is in custody. Now everyone will focus on what it all means, what "lesson" we can learn from the events.

This is Martin Richard's lesson:

"No more hurting people."

Martin Richard was one of three innocent bystanders to die on Patriot's Day. As we debate issues of life and death in our state legislatures and Congress, we need to keep the picture of this boy and his sign not in our memories or Facebook walls, but on display.

The worldwide response to that picture -- which his teacher, Rachel Moo, said was made as part of a school lesson on the shooting of Trayvon Martin -- has been both heart-stirring and heartbreaking. People are striving to remember and to honor, yes; even more, though, they are trying to make his words real.

Everyone killed in the Boston bombing, and during the events that flowed from it, was under 30. Martin Richard was 8 years old; how will his classmates handle their grief?

Family mourns son, daughter loses leg
Richard family prays for healing

Krystle Campbell, age 29, had moved to live with and help care for her ailing grandmother. Doctors had told Krystle's mother she had survived the blast, but they had mistaken Krystle's friend for Krystle. What must her mother and grandmother feel?

Lingzi Lu was a 23-year-old graduate student, the only child of her parents in China, who said learning of her death was "a dagger in our hearts." Sean Collier, 26, was shot multiple times while in his cruiser without drawing his gun. He had been a campus policeman with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for only a little over a year, and volunteered at the gym where one suspect trained as a boxer.

Three days after the bombing of the Boston Marathon, the U.S. Senate defeated a bipartisan proposal aimed at curbing gun violence; it would have required more widespread background checks for gun purchasers, something 90% of Americans want. As a result of the bombing, immigration reform may soon become another political pingpong ball in the dysfunctional Senate.

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



Every pundit and every politician feels every bit of bombast is justified.

And the children? Pictures and comments, memorials on Facebook. That's all.

"No more hurting people. Peace."

The injured: Martin's father and older brother, Henry, escaped injury. His 6-year-old sister, Jane, lost a leg. Martin's mother, Denise Richard, 43, had brain surgery for a serious injury. The father, Bill Richard, 42, returned home briefly from the hospital to get clothing, and a neighbor said he was pale, almost dazed, and too grief-stricken to talk.

The sidewalk in front of their house is still covered with colored chalk drawings of butterflies, flowers, and stars that Richard and his sister had drawn before leaving for the marathon.

Jack Hart, a former state senator, told the Boston Globe that the Richards are "pillars of the community ... a model family, who somehow always found the time to give something back."

"Any tragedy of this sort is extraordinarily difficult, but when you know people, when it's people in your life, in your school, that's when it really hits home,"

The Boston Globe quoted a classmate of Martin's, Colin Baker, 9, who said about Martin: "If somebody was left out, he would come say, 'Want to join my group?' He sticks up for kids."

"It should not have happened to him," Colin said to the Globe.

"It should not have happened to nobody."

As I read and hear these responses, I keep thinking, what are we -- the adults -- what are we telling the children? Do we think they don't see the hollowness behind our hallowed words? Do we think they don't know the difference between courage and cowardice?

There's a cliché: "Perfect is the enemy of the good." Apparently, legislation must be perfect, because even after this horror, we are still finding ways to divide people. Should suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev be treated as an enemy combatant? Did the intelligence community pay little heed to the warning it received? Questions. Questions.

But let us pause to bury our dead and stand by the wounded as their struggle with the new reality of their lives. Some will have to learn how to simply stand up again -- wounded forever.

We should hold Martin's sign in our hearts and resolve to do better. Because, with President Barack Obama, "I'm assuming our expressions of grief and our commitment to do something different to prevent these things from happening are not empty words."

I, too, believe that, "sooner or later, we are going to get this right. The memories of those who died and many who are still suffering demand it."

"No more hurting people. Peace."

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Brazile.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:27 PM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
The ability to manipulate media and technology has increasingly become a critical strategic resource, says Jeff Yang.
updated 11:17 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Today's politicians should follow Ronald Reagan's advice and invest in science, research and development, Fareed Zakaria says.
updated 8:19 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Artificial intelligence does not need to be malevolent to be catastrophically dangerous to humanity, writes Greg Scoblete.
updated 10:05 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Historian Douglas Brinkley says a showing of Sony's film in Austin helped keep the city weird -- and spotlighted the heroes who stood up for free expression
updated 8:03 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Tanya Odom that by calling only on women at his press conference, the President made clear why women and people of color should be more visible in boardrooms and conferences
updated 6:27 PM EST, Sat December 27, 2014
When oil spills happen, researchers are faced with the difficult choice of whether to use chemical dispersants, authors say
updated 1:33 AM EST, Thu December 25, 2014
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
updated 6:12 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
updated 8:36 AM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
updated 2:14 PM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
updated 10:35 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
updated 7:57 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
updated 11:29 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
updated 4:15 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
updated 1:11 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
updated 1:08 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
updated 1:53 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
updated 3:19 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
updated 5:39 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
updated 8:12 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
updated 12:09 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
updated 4:34 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT