sandy hook elementary school

If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it.

Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. But that’s unacceptable.

A Parent’s Worst Nightmare Realized: On the morning of December 14th, 2012, the Bardens went through their daily morning routine, assuming it would be like any other day. This day was different. What should have been a typical Friday morning of happiness at school with other first-graders turned into one of the most tragic, if not the most tragic mass shootings of American’s history. In a matter of less than five minutes, the lives of the Bardens and 24 other families were forever changed. A gunman entered the doors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School, shot and killed 20 first-graders, the elementary school principal, four teachers, and the school psychologist before killing himself. The shooter had killed his mother earlier that day. She was the first victim.

In the almost six months that have passed since the Sandy Hook massacre, almost nothing has changed in America’s gun laws. Guns remain easier to get than health insurance, a family pet, or even a bank loan. A person who shouldn’t have had guns in the first place had been taught how to shoot by his mother, who seemed to not realize the dangers of putting her son behind one of the most deadly tools of our time. Instead of preventing certain people from having access to guns, the right-wing gun lobby has stained the discussion of gun control with blood, the blood of over 4,000 Americans to be exact, since the December 14th, 2012 shooting. More people have been killed in the United State alone since December 14th, 2012 than the number of US soldiers killed in the Iraq War, and more than the number of people killed on 9/11. It took a total of 11 years to have over 4,000 US soldiers killed in the Iraq War. On US soil, it only took LESS THAN FIVE MONTHS to have over 4,000 American citizens killed, including the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.

The pictures above illustrate the agony, the turmoil, the insurmountable pain of losing a child years before their time. These parents, along with the other 24 sets of parents that had to bury their children in the weeks after the Sandy Hook massacre, were forced to deal with something no parent should ever have to face: the death of a young child. The town of Newtown, CT had to see 19 6-year-olds and 1 5-year-old, 19 6-YEAR-OLDS AND 1 5-YEAR-OLD memorialized and then subsequently buried in a span of about two weeks. The community said goodbye to 27 people it shouldn’t have had to.

Yet the right-wing gun lobby has learned nothing. Absolutely nothing. Even though their hands are covered in blood, they still attempt to find themselves blameless in every single gun death in America. Groups such as the National Rifle Association thrive on deaths, especially by guns. If they even remotely gave a damn about the families forever changed by gun tragedies, they would help stop the insanity of what the gun lobby has become. Instead, they bleed green, and they probably will never see the light.

The picture above came from an outstanding Washington Post article, which you can read in its entirety below. The article is powerful, moving, and chilling. It will,at times, render you speechless. If your stance on gun rights remains the same after reading the article or seeing the full picture set that accompanies the article, you are cold-hearted. No gun is more precious than a human life, NONE!!!

Read the entire article, accompanied with pictures here.

Fuck you, media.

Fuck you for your irresponsible, unforgivable reporting on this tragedy.

Fuck you for interviewing traumatized children.

Fuck you for confronting a man and telling him that his ex-wife and over two dozen others were shot dead by his son.

Fuck you for calling the 78 year old distraught grandma of the shooter and mother of the deceased Nancy and expecting her not to breakdown and cry. Fuck you for publishing that that happened.

Fuck you for reporting that the wrong brother was the shooter.

Fuck you for saying that mom was a teacher at the school, just because some parent outside of the school said it.

Fuck you for trying to profile the shooter, the mom, and every other member of his family.

Fuck you for already pointing at a “divorced family,” “autism,” and “personality disorder” for some sort of explanation. 

Fuck you for assuming motives. Fuck you ABC News for having a video titled “Why did Adam Lanza Snap?”

Fuck you for making him a star.

Fuck you for pulling quotes from Facebook profiles and blogs and Twitter and anyone who may have had some sort of interaction with someone involved in the tragedy, no matter how insignificant or brief.

Fuck you for just making shit up for page views and then recanting while pointing fingers.

Fuck you for calling yourselves journalists and what you do journalism. 

You enjoy this. You love this. And you don’t even try and hide it anymore.


“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count "holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.“

—  Morgan Freeman’s brilliant take on what happened yesterday in Connecticut.

Dozens believed killed in mass shooting at Connecticut elementary school
At least 27 people are believed to have been killed Friday after a shooting in a Connecticut elementary school, according to media reports.

The shooter was killed and apparently had two guns, a person with knowledge of the shooting said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way.

It wasn’t clear how many people were injured at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. A dispatcher at the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps said a teacher had been shot in the foot and taken to Danbury Hospital. (AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks)

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz found out that Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jack Pinto, 6, was a huge fan of him and his team.

Cruz told ESPN that he called the family to offer condolences and learned Jack may be buried in Cruz’s No. 80 jersey. 

He will honor Jack by wearing his name on his cleats and gloves during today’s game. He tweeted a picture of his gloves earlier today, along with a message, “Today’s game is for you Jack.”

Victor Cruz is a great man.
The Untold Story Of President Obama After Sandy Hook

Excerpted from THE PRESIDENTS DEVOTIONAL: The Daily Readings That Inspired President Obama, by Joshua DuBois by arrangement with HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins. Copyright © Joshua DuBois 2013.

The White House is not supposed to be a place for brokenness. Sheer, shattered, brokenness. But that’s what we experienced on the weekend of December 14, 2012.

I was sitting at my desk around midday on Friday the 14th when I saw the images flash on CNN: A school. A gunman. Children fleeing, crying.

It’s sad that we’ve grown so accustomed to these types of scenes that my first thought was I hope there are no deaths, just injuries. I thought, Maybe it’s your run-of-the-mill scare.

And then the news from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a small school in the tiny hamlet of Newtown, Connecticut, began pouring in. The public details were horrific enough: Twenty children murdered. Six staff. Parents searching a gymnasium for signs of their kids.

But the private facts we received in the White House from the FBI were even worse.
How the gunman treated the children like criminals, lining them up to shoot them down. How so many bullets penetrated them that many were left unrecognizable. How the killer went from one classroom to another and would have gone farther if his rifle would’ve let him.

That news began a weekend of prayer and numbness, which I awoke from on Saturday only to receive the word that the president would like me to accompany him to Newtown. He wanted to meet with the families of the victims and then offer words of comfort to the country at an interfaith memorial service.

I left early to help the advance team—the hardworking folks who handle logistics for every event—set things up, and I arrived at the local high school where the meetings and memorial service would take place. We prepared seven or eight classrooms for the families of the slain children and teachers, two or three families to a classroom, placing water and tissues and snacks in each one. Honestly, we didn’t know how to prepare; it was the best we could think of.

The families came in and gathered together, room by room. Many struggled to offer a weak smile when we whispered, “The president will be here soon.” A few were visibly angry—so understandable that it barely needs to be said—and were looking for someone, anyone, to blame. Mostly they sat in silence.

I went downstairs to greet President Obama when he arrived, and I provided an overview of the situation. “Two families per classroom … The first is … and their child was … The second is … and their child was … We’ll tell you the rest as you go.”

The president took a deep breath and steeled himself, and went into the first classroom. And what happened next I’ll never forget.

Person after person received an engulfing hug from our commander in chief. He’d say, “Tell me about your son… . Tell me about your daughter,” and then hold pictures of the lost beloved as their parents described favorite foods, television shows, and the sound of their laughter. For the younger siblings of those who had passed away—many of them two, three, or four years old, too young to understand it all—the president would grab them and toss them, laughing, up into the air, and then hand them a box of White House M&M’s, which were always kept close at hand. In each room, I saw his eyes water, but he did not break.

And then the entire scene would repeat—for hours. Over and over and over again, through well over a hundred relatives of the fallen, each one equally broken, wrecked by the loss. After each classroom, we would go back into those fluorescent hallways and walk through the names of the coming families, and then the president would dive back in, like a soldier returning to a tour of duty in a worthy but wearing war. We spent what felt like a lifetime in those classrooms, and every single person received the same tender treatment. The same hugs. The same looks, directly in their eyes. The same sincere offer of support and prayer.

The staff did the preparation work, but the comfort and healing were all on President Obama. I remember worrying about the toll it was taking on him. And of course, even a president’s comfort was woefully inadequate for these families in the face of this particularly unspeakable loss. But it became some small measure of love, on a weekend when evil reigned.

And the funny thing is—President Obama has never spoken about these meetings. Yes, he addressed the shooting in Newtown and gun violence in general in a subsequent speech, but he did not speak of those private gatherings. In fact, he was nearly silent on Air Force One as we rode back to Washington, and has said very little about his time with these families since. It must have been one of the defining moments of his presidency, quiet hours in solemn classrooms, extending as much healing as was in his power to extend. But he kept it to himself—never seeking to teach a lesson based on those mournful conversations, or opening them up to public view.

Jesus teaches us that some things—the holiest things, the most painful and important and cherished things—we are to do in secret. Not for public consumption and display, but as acts of service to others, and worship to God. For then, “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you,” perhaps not now, but certainly in eternity. We learned many lessons in Newtown that day; this is one I’ve kept closely at heart.

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Devotional For December 14
Darkness’s Hour

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
—Luke 22:52–53 (nkjv)

“But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Darkness will, in fact, have its hour. We saw hours of darkness in Auschwitz and Treblinka, Newtown and antebellum Mississippi. No one less than Christ affirmed that there are moments when evil moves mightily in the world. The questions become: Do we have confidence in the coming light? Will the darkness overwhelm us, which is always its goal, or will we hold on to the promise of the morning?

Jesus held on to that promise, and in his resurrection and ascension was crowned victorious, in a mantle of light. His confidence is an indicator of how we should meet our own times of darkness, those moments when evil temporarily seems to reign.

Dear God, in the nighttime, remind me of the day. In the darkness, remind me of your light. I have confidence in the coming morning, and until then I will stand strong. Amen.

BREAKING NEWS: A school shooting has been reported at an elementary school in Newtown, CT. More details from the Newtown Bee:

State and Newtown police, ambulance, and emergency response personnel responded to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shortly after 9:30 am, Friday, following reports of a shooting. One child was carried from the school by a police officer, apparently seriously wounded.

The other children in the school are exiting the school under state police protection.

All of Newtown’s schools are in lockdown, and the private schools have in town have been notified of an alleged shooting being reported at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson said the schools were placed on lockdown the morning of Friday, December 14, “until we hear what is going on there.”

Dr Robinson said it is best if parents do not try to call the district at this time, and the school district will release a message once further information is known.

The situation is evolving.

(Above: Google Maps image of Sandy Hook Elementary School, via @CT1Rick; ht @TheMatthewKeys)

UPDATE: Newtown Patch reports that there may be two shooters in the school.


More than a month after the tragic shooting of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the school’s choir performed “America the Beautiful” with the help of Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson.

Wearing white shirts, khaki pants, and the green ribbons that have become synonymous with awareness of the tragedy that befell the school, the mixed boy-girl choir began the song for the first verse until Hudson joined them at the 50 yard line. x