Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

'No more hurting people'

By Donna Brazile, CNN Contributor
April 22, 2013 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
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
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
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.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2113 GMT (0513 HKT)
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
The Internet is an online extension of our own neighborhoods. It's time for us to take their protection just as seriously, says Arun Vishwanath.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2154 GMT (0554 HKT)
Gayle Lemmon says we must speak out for the right of children to education -- and peace
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Russia's economic woes just seem to be getting worse. How will President Vladimir Putin respond? Frida Ghitis gives her take.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 0639 GMT (1439 HKT)
Australia has generally seen itself as detached from the threat of terrorism. The hostage incident this week may change that, writes Max Barry.
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
Thomas Maier says the trove of letters the Kennedy family has tried to guard from public view gives insight into the Kennedy legacy and the history of era.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Will Congress reform the CIA? It's probably best not to expect much from Washington. This is not the 1970s, and the chances for substantive reform are not good.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)
From superstorms to droughts, not a week goes by without a major disruption somewhere in the U.S. But with the right planning, natural disasters don't have to be devastating.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Would you rather be sexy or smart? Carol Costello says she hates this dumb question.
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 2253 GMT (0653 HKT)
A story about Pope Francis allegedly saying animals can go to heaven went viral late last week. The problem is that it wasn't true. Heidi Schlumpf looks at the discussion.
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Democratic leaders should wake up to the reality that the party's path to electoral power runs through the streets, where part of the party's base has been marching for months, says Errol Louis
December 13, 2014 -- Updated 2123 GMT (0523 HKT)
David Gergen: John Brennan deserves a national salute for his efforts to put the report about the CIA in perspective
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Anwar Sanders says that in some ways, cops and protesters are on the same side
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
A view by Samir Naji, a Yemeni who was accused of serving in Osama bin Laden's security detail and imprisoned for nearly 13 years without charge in Guantanamo Bay
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
S.E. Cupp asks: How much reality do you really want in your escapist TV fare?
ADVERTISEMENT