VIENNA, Va., December 15, 2012 — Violence came to school today. Not like a tornado or a fire, not like an explosion from a gas line in the middle of the night.
No, Violence and his brother Death forced their way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Police have confirmed that they were not let in, but they did so by stealth.
Violence personified in Adam Lanza, 20-year-old son of Nancy Lanza chose to come to the school, killing 26 people after shooting his mother. Twenty of those victims were in kindergarten.
This Violence had a troubled or uneasy past. According to some reports, Adam was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a high functional stage on the autism spectrum; some said he was a victim of Obsessive Compulsive Disease (OCD) as well. Thus far we have not learned what set Adam off on Friday, turning this troubled adult kid into the personification of Violence.
With no idea what precipitated his actions, it seems that Adam first killed his mother in their home in Newtown, close to the school, shooting her in the face so that she was barely recognizable. In a weird turn of irony, both guns, a Glock 9mm and Sig Sauer, were bought and registered by her.
First Violence shot and killed both Principal Dawn Hochsprung and the guidance counselor/school psychologist, Mary Sherlach, and seriously wounded the Assistant Principal, who had confronted him. He then proceeded further into the school with his two semi-automatic handguns. Both carry around 20-round clips, and no one has said yet if they were fitted with extenders, which would have doubled or tripled the amount of shots possible. Others say he stopped to reload.
He then walked to the kindergarten room where his mother had taught for several years, and killed the teacher there with the same guns, next turning them onto the little children seated there, massacring all 20 of them. They were innocent little kindergarten kids, whose last sight on this Earth was a man in a mask dealing out death to each and every one, while the children screamed with their last breath for “Mommy” or “Daddy.”
Then, his apparent mission completed, Adam Lanza turned one of the guns on himself, and his last vision was seeing those 20 little children bleeding and dying as he also died.
This is a nice town about an hour from New York, it’s an upper middle class neighborhood and the people have always felt safe and secure in their homes; it’s the “nothing bad ever happens here” type of town, or it was until Violence arrived that day.
It is easy to assess blame here. Though the principal had implemented newer, more stringent security procedures when people entered the school, obviously they were either insufficient, or since it was a family member arriving, he was not screened as carefully as others.
Folks will scream to the highest heavens that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people, ” a truism that still fails to take into account the overall availability of high powered guns to anyone with the money to buy one. Even a nice lady who taught kindergarten, and had a developmentally challenged son who had been described as “having problems,” would be the victim of one of them. Just as the Korean student at Virginia Tech a year or so ago, also had problems, lots of them, but was able to purchase weapons there in his campus town.
There is no mechanism in place anywhere to be able to determine if a legal gun purchaser is of sound mind and intent or if every member of his or her family could also pass a competency test. So what will it take?
It is a little over a week until Christmas, the time when the Judeo-Christian world takes note of the birth of a baby in Bethlehem, who would be the Savior of the world. Today in Newtown, in the subdivision of Sandy Hook, a somber atmosphere has eclipsed gaiety and visits to Santa, and red decorated wreaths will give way to black ribbons and dark clothes. Churches now hold vigils. Parents now hold their living children a little tighter.
When the families can finally claim their children’s dead bodies to bury them, when the overpowering grief is lessened by time, the age old arguments over gun control will again be raised, and a terrible tragedy will be politicized by men old enough to know better.
This writer grew up in a gun family, learning to shoot at about ten years of age; I’ve shot clay pigeons (nothing alive) and shot competitively in high school on a rifle team. But that was a different time and a different atmosphere, one where front doors stayed unlocked and kids played outside till dark with only minimal supervision.
Things have changed now, and it’s time to realize that turning our backs on the thousands of innocent people killed by lax enforcement of gun regulations or having none at all in place has to stop.
Today the blood of 20 innocent babies and seven adults cries out for sense and sensibility in this world of ours.
Will we find it? Will anything change? We can only hope so. Or Violence will walk in the door once again.
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