Mothers and Music Bring Us Hope as Congress Fails Gun Safety

Despite gun tragedies this year, Congress caved. Women are taking action.

Posted Dec 22, 2017

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During this time five years ago, our season was marked by tragedy. Innocent children at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT became victims of gun violence. Despite the moving tributes, political rhetoric, and even the Demand-a-Plan website by Hollywood A-listers, little has changed. Just more violence and a moment of silence in Congress. We come to another Christmas season and what do we have that is positive?  Music for healing. And gratitude for mothers who are giving us hope. As Reuters pointed out in December:

"Instead of pressuring lawmakers to push new gun-control measures through the U.S. Congress, volunteers from groups including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are now running for office themselves." Five Years After Sandy Hook US Gun Control Advocates Switch Strategies.

After passing a tax bill to line their pockets, the Congress is vulnerable. And so we applaud mothers who are challenging them. But in this process between now and the 2018 elections, we should find some peace.  Music heals.

Music resonates within us

Music and its relationship to medicine is becoming a research highlight as noted in this June 2017 conversation between renowned opera soprano Renee Fleming and Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Collins, who is a physician-geneticist, says:

"Music therapy can be incredibly powerful for kids with autism, adults with Alzheimer's and everything in between, but we don't really understand most of the time how it works. We can give this field a stronger scientific base, and it can be even better." A Conversation on NPR about Music and Medicine.

Claudius Conrad, MD, Ph.D., pointed out in The Lancet in 2010:

"Music has had an illustrious position in the course of human history: not only as an art, but also as a medium for healing. Only recently has there been growing interest by the research community in trying to understand how music affects patients and physicians. . . Yet a fundamental question underlying the role of music in health is also to ask why music developed in the first place and why it produces an emotional reaction and attenuation of the human stress response in the listener despite serving no essential biological need."(1)

Here is a video of Dr. Conrad as musician and surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital: Music and Medicine.

Music can uplift our spirit, our soul. At Christmas we sing carols dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries with the traditional hymns “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “The First Noel.” By the 16th century “Silent Night” became entrenched in our culture.

Saturday Night Live and a tribute to the children lost

We turn to music during times of joy, sadness and even shock. Saturday Night Live opened its show after the Sandy Hook tragedy with the New York City Children’s Chorus singing “Silent Night, Holy Night.” The words, “Sleep in heavenly peace,” had special meaning as a tribute to the children and adults lost in Newtown, Conn.

Perhaps this Christmas season -- marked with joy and sadness -- each of us might embrace words of hopeful expectation believing in a future in which “All is calm. All is bright.”

Copyright 2017 Rita Watson


Claudius Conrad, "Perspectives: Music for healing: from magic to medicine." The Lancet, Volume 376, No. 9757, p 1980–1981, December 2010