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A Few Thoughts On the Newtown, Connecticut School Shooting

| On 17, Dec 2012

Unidentified persons react to the news of Friday’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. (Photo: DON EMMERT, Associated Press / 2012 AFP)

A tragedy of unthinkable proportions struck the small town of Newtown, Connecticut on Friday morning.

As many have heard by now, Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School around 9:30 a.m. Armed with four guns registered to his mother, Nancy Lanza, It was then that he began one of the worst killing rampages in American history.

Before it was all over, Adam Lanza slaughtered 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary. Twenty were children — all ages 6 and 7 — who were huddled in two classrooms. They included Charlotte Bacon, 6; Daniel Barden, 7; Olivia Engel, 6; Josephine Gay, 7; Ana Marquez-Greene, 6; Dylan Hockley, 6; Madeleine Hsu, 6; Catherine Hubbard, 6; Chase Kowalski, 7; Jesse Lewis, 6; James Mattioli, 6; Grace McDonnell, 7; Emilie Parker, 6; Jack Pinto, 6; Noah Pozner, 6; Caroline Previdi, 6; Jessica Rekos, 6; Avielle Richman, 6; Benjamin Wheeler, 6; and Allison Wyatt, 6.

The other six victims were adult women who worked at the school. They included school principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47; psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56; substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau, 30; and teacher Victoria Soto, 27. Two other employees — Rachel Davino, 29, and Anne Marie Murphy, 52 — were also gunned down.

In addition, investigators learned that Lanza’s first victim was indeed his own mother, Nancy. She was murdered in their home before he took her car to the school to continue his rampage.

After a shooting spree of unthinkable proportions, Adam Lanza killed himself at the school before he could ever be taken into custody.

In the days since this unspeakable act, lots has been written about the timeline of events, assumptions about Adam Lanza, and the mass murder of children. We may never know what prompted him to commit this crime.

I can honestly say that it feels as if the entire nation is grieving for the fallen at Sandy Hook Elementary. It seems that much of it has to do with innocent children being murdered while simply trying to get an education. For me, that’s been the hardest part to bear.

Even the visible grief on President Obama’s face as he addressed the nation on Friday about the killings said a lot about how the nation felt. He continued with that sympathy on Sunday as he delivered remarks in Connecticut at a memorial service.

Almost everyone reading this post sat in the innocent shoes of those six and seven-year-olds at one point in life. The opportunities we had to continue our life’s purpose, grow up, and learn were so heinously taken away from them on Friday. Every life lost at Sandy Hook Elementary has immense value. But there’s an extra sadness that small children aren’t even safe to learn anymore.

It’s sad. It’s unfair. And this scenario must change now.

The question that now looms is how does America move forward to address the root causes of shootings of this magnitude? In my opinion, it will take a mix of tough gun control legislation and increased mental health funding. I’ve also heard additional suggestions such as more security in schools or increased arts funding. The latter would give young children an outlet of expression and a way for others to identify negative patterns at an early age.

The argument can be had a thousand different ways. I’m interested to hear YOUR feedback on how America begins to address a crisis such as this. Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, hug the children around you a little tighter. As our nation grieves, children need to know that the adults around them still love them. Do it for those children who were silenced on Friday.

I close by offering my most heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the fallen in the Newtown tragedy. America mourns with you.


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