Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Sandy Hook Massacre: Why did this happen?

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Ever since the news broke last Friday morning about the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe how upset I am, and I just haven’t been able to find them.

I want to say something, anything, that might give some comfort to the victims’ families . . . but I have drawn a complete blank.

Because how can anything — anything at all — comfort the parents of the twenty innocent youngsters who lost their lives?

And how can anything comfort the loved ones of the six courageous and heroic adults — including the school’s principal, the school’s psychologist, and several teachers — who gave their lives so the lives of innocent children may be spared?

This is the third time in the past six months that we in the United States of America have had to confront a mass shooting.  First, there was the shooting in Aurora, Colorado in July.  Next, there was the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August.

And now, this past Friday on December 14, we had in some senses the worst killing of all — the killing of extremely young children (none older than seven).  Along with six of the adults who were there to teach, protect, guide and nurture them.  And the shooter’s mother.

Here’s a link that will take you to a list of most of the victims, and give a bit of biographical information about them:

After reading that, the only question I had left is this: when will the killing end?

Because it just does not seem right to have incident after incident where nothing gets done.  It just does not seem right, or ethical, or just, or anything that anyone with any brains and sense should ever want to see.

Some have already politicized this latest event.  These who’ve done so basically fall into two camps.  One camp is screaming at the top of their voices, “Hands off our guns!”  Which does not seem sensible, especially as the shooter’s mother had guns in the house (at least four) and regularly took her troubled young son to the shooting range with her.

The other camp wants gun control now, thank you, and has seized on this terrible thing as a way to get what they want in a way to perhaps bring about a good thing from such a monstrously awful event.

I have sympathy for the latter position, and almost none for the former (not in this context, assuredly).  Yet I think the answer lies in better mental health treatment, for one . . . and getting rid of guns won’t solve that part of the problem one bit.

Plus, some of the pro-gun lobby’s arguments are correct.

If someone wants to kill and can’t get a gun, he will use a knife.  (As did a man recently in China, wounding twenty-three.)  Or a bow and arrow.  (As did a young man on November 30 in Casper, Wyoming; he killed his father’s girlfriend, then went to his father’s place of business — a local community college — and killed his father, then killed himself.)  Or bombs in a rental truck, as did Timothy McVeigh . . . or God/dess alone knows what.

But that doesn’t mean we should tamely sit by and do nothing, not after we’ve just seen twenty-seven people killed for no good reason.

Most especially when twenty of them were seven years of age or less.

I do not wish to play politics with such a tragic thing as twenty-six innocent people dying in, of all places, an elementary school.  Just because they were there to either teach children, nurture children, or learn something should not have been enough to sign their death warrants.

But something absolutely must be done.  Because we cannot allow innocent children to be killed for no reason whatsoever.

I normally have sympathy for the mentally ill, even severely mentally ill types like it sounds like the latest shooter, Adam Lanza, probably was.  (And I’m decidedly not talking about his Asperger’s Syndrome; I’m talking about the behavioral issues he’d have likely had whether he had AS or not.)  But in this case, I can find no mercy in my heart for him — far less mercy than one of the parents of the victims, Robbie Parker, who’s already expressed sympathy for the surviving family members of Adam Lanza.

Mr. Parker is a far better person than I.

My focus is elsewhere, because I just do not understand why any responsible parent, such as Nancy Lanza has been described, would ever allow a troubled young man like her son to get a hand on any of her guns.

Much less teach him to shoot them herself, as it appears she did.

As it stands, Adam Lanza should never have had access to his mother’s guns.  He should never have been able to stockpile so much ammunition, either.  And I absolutely cannot comprehend why on Earth he’d wish to take the lives of twenty children who’d never done anything to him — could never have done anything to him — nor the lives of six innocent adults plus the life of his mother, either.

But he did have access.  And he did do these horrible things, though it’s possible that the six adults kept him from killing even more innocents — I’d like to think so, anyway.

We must do something to prevent the Adam Lanzas of the world from doing these horrific things, which is we must start with mental health treatment.  We won’t be able to prevent all of the possible violence, no.

But we may be able to prevent some.

And we assuredly will change the lives of at least some people for the better if we make sure that health care spending — particularly on mental health — becomes a priority in this country.

I’m tired of doing nothing to stop these random killings.  And I’m incensed that it’s now led to this — twenty-six people dying, in of all places, an elementary school.

So, when will the killings end?

I don’t know.

But I do know we must try to put a stop to them.  Because this is intolerable.


Edited to change title (so more people can find this blog post), and to add a link to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough’s stirring soliloquy about the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and why we must have at least some better control over our guns in order to protect the most vulnerable among us — our children.

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 17, 2012 at 8:16 am

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