“All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.”- Nineteen-Eighty-Four, Chapter 4 – George Orwell
After the Sandy Hook incident of December 14, 2012, so much was disappeared:
- Evidence in the razed school and razed Lanza home.
- The mask Adam Lanza was said to have been wearing.
- The missing years of Lanza’s life.
- The number of “deaths” in the FBI report.
- The death certificates withheld for months from the press by Newtown’s tenacious town clerk.
- The missing blood in the school.
- The “hundreds” of pictures that Shannon Hicks said she had taken of children being whisked away from the school.
- Autopsy reports and photos no longer in the public domain.
- Other papers that FOIA hearings initiated by Wolfgang Halbig failed to dislodge from Newtown Public Schools.
So it didn’t surprise me to learn that one more precious Sandy Hook item is headed down the memory hole.
This one isn’t even connected directly to the Event. It’s a sweet mural painted by a high school student to commemorate the 26 “dead” children and adults.
In 2013, Newtown student Lindsay Fuori painted a 10′ x 15′ mural on a wall at Newtown High School to commemorate those who “died” in the Sandy Hook Event. The mural depicts a symbolic feathered dreamcatcher flying across the sky in a carefully rendered, detailed style.
Later it was determined by the school that certain details in Ms. Fuori’s painting were potential emotional “triggers” (the censorship word of our time). The young artist obliged the administrators by painting over an inscription, “In loving memory,” and the date of the incident, “12-14-12.”
More recently, however, the school superintendent, Joseph Erardi Jr., ordered the mural to be covered up with plasterboard. He actually blamed Ms. Fuori’s heartfelt painting for interfering with students’ recovery from the incident.
But a paraphrase isn’t sufficient. You really have to see what he wrote:“During the first quarter of the present school year, ongoing student recovery, through the lens of the learner and multiple families, remained problematic at a heightened level because of the mural.” [My bf]
“Because of the mural”! Blaming emotional distress on artwork offered as a form of therapy just seems specious to me.
Many of the students didn’t agree with Mr. Erardi – and protested the decision.
The mural was snatched from the maws of the memory hole because of them, triggering this Hartford Courant article. Click on it to see Ms. Fuori’s clear-eyed effort at the top: blue skies and idyllic clouds as a backdrop for the flying dreamcatcher with its 26 perfectly articulated beads.
I wonder what really motivated the school administration to order the cover-up – besides the “trigger” angle?
Cinderella has noticed that certain people don’t like to be reminded of the cruel, deceptive or idiotic things they have done. Cheating on a spouse or betraying a business associate; lies; drunken behavior; snobbery or cheapness; negligence; greediness; meanness; vulgarity; a cruel joke. Such people are allergic to repentance; they see it as a form of weakness. And when they feel what they actually should – shame – they do whatever possible to remove the reminder.
Ms. Fuori’s pretty mural might have brought up some of those feelings. Watching innocent children day after day walking past the mural and remembering couldn’t be easy. How many of them will be permanently scarred – not only by their memories, but by all of the deception and denial plastered over them?
It’s a well-known fact in human psychology that real remembering can be a painful but critical therapeutic act.
But the administrators decided to cover the mural up, to spare the children. And, I suspect, someone else.
Cinderella was pleased to read that Ms. Fuori had the final word. When her censors offered her an opportunity to create a new mural to their specifications, she simply refused.
Brava, Ms. Fuori.