Last night there were 20 families that did not say good night to their children. Children that attended Shady Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, but never came home. Why, we don’t yet know. We may never know. Because heinous acts like this really have no logical explanation. There are six other families whose loved one did not come home after the school day, adults who worked at Shady Hook.
A young man, 20 years old, apparently killed his mother Nancy by shooting her in the face. Then he drove her car to the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a quiet, hilly town in New England where it is said she taught kindergarten, and went on a hideous shooting spree.
He was in possession of three guns, one a Glock, all legally belonging to his mother. In a matter of minutes, he killed 18 children. Two were terribly wounded. Adam Lanza, dressed in black battle fatigues, took it upon himself to methodically kill both adults and children before he killed himself. It is said that he never uttered a word during this appalling incident.
It was early morning. About 9:30 a.m. A normal Friday, less than two weeks before Christmas. Adam Lanza somehow got past the security system and made his way through the front door. He did not roam the school, but went straight to what are assumed to be his targets. As though he had it all planned out. I’m sure he probably did, because they usually do.
Teachers did their best to secure students and hide them from who knows what was happening. Gun fire, inexplicable in the early part of a normal school day. They crammed them in bathrooms, barricading the doors. Any place they could find in such a small amount of time, in which to hide their students from something so unimaginable.
The children, all so young, were mystified as to what was occurring. One teacher said they had to be quiet because of a bad man. And that they had to wait for the good men to find them.
Last night, those young deceased children were still in that school, along with the adults. Among them the principal and psychologist. Awaiting the processing of the scene of the rampage. It is part of a criminal investigation in which to gather evidence and clues. Twenty children, six adults, the shooter. Two of the children were taken to the hospital, but they did not make it.
The doctor in the ER doctor said they were awaiting more children, more injured victims, when they got a call. There will be no more arrivals, he was told by authorities. He said they were stunned with grief when they heard that.
Parents were called and told not to go to the school, but to the fire department. At the fire department, parents rushed inside to look for their children. Hoping they would find them. Hoping they were not still in that school, where only the dead remained.
This town is stunned, the citizens in mourning. And the why of it not even really important at this point. There is no preparation for something like this. It is the worst of crimes, an evil undertaking, that one cannot predict. An event made even more tragic because of the increasingly senseless crimes just like this that are happening more and more often in this country.
The principal and psychologist are dead. This school, the teachers and children, will need much emotional support. Innocent as they were brought to school this morning, they are innocent no longer.
There will be far reaching consequences for the survivors. Post traumatic stress, a sense of fear they perhaps cannot put into words. The witnesses could suffer survivor guilt.
Once again, we will look at the gun laws, which in Connecticut are quite strict, and wonder what more we can do to keep these guns out of the hands of those demented and calculating enough to carry out such a shocking crime.
Psychiatrists will go over this young man’s history in minute detail. They will try to piece together what happened in Newtown. Looking for an answer. When really, no answer would be acceptable.
President Obama, normally stoic and presidential, broke down twice when standing at the podium speaking to the nation. He stopped twice during his briefing, overcome with emotion. He of course has two school aged daughters of his own.
The words “possible personality disorder” are being bandied about. “Genius and quiet” have been the common words of former classmates. Phrases such as: Stayed under the radar, a loner, kept to himself.”
Naturally thoughts of mental illness has reared its head within this tragedy. Yet this massacre was carried out in such a calculated manner, that it almost defies the idea of a chaotic mental breakdown.
This was a young man living in a prosperous, well-to-do neighborhood. In a town of 27,000 citizens about 60 miles northeast of New York City. No criminal history, an honors student.
Parents were shuffled about throughout the day, awaiting news of their children. Over time, the survivors were reunited with their families. And of course there were the parents who finally learned that their children were dead.
An official finally made the announcement that there would be no more reunions. No more survivors would be brought forth.
(Note: All photos via internet sources.)