Eighteen Children Dead in Conn. School Shooting

I heard about this story early this morning before there are many details.  I had assumed it was not serious.

A man with a gun has shot and killed 27 people, 18 of them children, at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.  Allegedly, the killer went after his mother, a teacher, and then killed 18 students in her classroom.  He also shot seven other adults.

From the NY Times:

A photograph published by a local newspaper, The Newtown Bee, showed a line of children being escorted out of the school with some of the children crying. 


Folks, what kind of country do we live in that we are accepting of this kind of thing, month after month, year after year?  What is is going to take until citizens - across the country, across political lines - say NO MORE?

I am fine with people owning guns but they should have to be licensed like a driver's license.

I am fine with people owning guns but they MUST be held responsible for what happens (even people whose children get killed with the guns the parents own).  I don't want to hear any more about this "they've suffered enough."

You want a gun - you WILL be held responsible for what happens to others if it is used (if not stolen).

Chris Rock says make bullet $1,000 each.  Good start.

I don't care that you can get killed more easily driving your car.  A gun is not a car.

I don't care that this is something that "doesn't happen often."  In our country, it happens too often for that statement.

Ask yourself - when  you were growing up did you ever fear a gunman in your school?  Your shopping center?  A MacDonald's?  You did not.

Why are we okay with that for our own children?  Why do we have to think about ways to tell our children to protect themselves from a shooter in their school?

This is BULLSHIT and it needs to stop. 


A page from Mr. Rogers website about talking to children about death.

mirmac1 said…
Melissa, you've expressed my thoughts exactly. What a sad, terrible day. What a world we've passed onto our kids.
Anonymous said…
The worst school mass-killing was in 1927 , the Bath School disaster. 38 children killed by bombs laid by a former school board member protesting taxes.

This stuff isn't new, it must be part of the American psyche

--praying for Newtown
Anonymous said…
@pfNewton: What's your point? WSDWG
Anonymous said…
I cannot even imagine what these people must be going through. What kind of country tolerates this kind of madness in the name of protecting the second amendment? Is it really worth it? "They" should ask one of the families who just lost a child.

$1,000 a bullet is a good place to start.

Stealing myself for the conversation with our kids this evening and weekend. So, so, sad.


Eric B said…
The safety guys at work say that every tragedy is preventable. I believe in that. The only question is when are we, as a society, going to stand up and demand action.
Anonymous said…
Anything can be improved through compromise and trade-offs, but the NRA won't budge an inch.

Back when Dennis Miller was a lefty, and funny, and didn't depend on Bill O'Reilly appearances to remain relevant in any capacity, he used to joke about Heston's "not until you pry it from my cold, dead hands" declaration by responding with a shrug and "whatever."

I think we're at that point in the USA. When people refuse to reason or negotiate, it's time to knock them over and march on by. WSDWG
Anonymous said…
This is a mental health issue at its core. Take care of the health issues of individuals and you'll see these tragedies reduced. Rather than focusing on the instrument focus on the cause of the misuse of the intrument.

Plus our schools are being turned into fortresses of testing and are no longer emotionally safe but rather a massive source of stress.

Anonymous said…
20 kids died (2 died in the hospital, 18 at the scene). 6 adults died, plus the shooter.

The shooter was the son of a kindergarten teacher. His mother and her class were apparently targeted.


-JR Mom
Anonymous said…
Focus has unwittingly highlighted the entire problem with gun control in our country:

"Rather than focusing on the instrument focus on the cause of the misuse of the intrument."

This is guns don't kill people, people do. Until we limit access to guns, this will continue to happen. This is the 2nd shooting this week - supposedly the Oregon shooting could've been much worse if the gun hadn't jammed. Maybe three shootings in one week is when we'll do something. I am fed up.

Not only do we not have reasonable laws, we won't even limit machine type guns. That's insane. Obama allowed guns into national parks. I am not hopeful he'll do anymore than his predecessors have.

Anonymous said…
To respond to Whim,

It is we who have allowed our mental health system to be virtually destroyed and stigmatized that have created this situation. Will you also ban fertilizer? What about ammonia cleaning products? Certain chemicals in bulk? Large quantities of metal? We can regulate and regulate and creativity will find a way to do this damage.
These types of attacks have a massive emotional impact and that impact is what these insane individuals are looking for. We shouldn't downplay it at all but we also need to be willing to pay the taxes for the mental health care.

Po3 said…
Amen sister.
Louise M said…
I know this is over the top - but I read somewhere today that the school should be cleaned up by members of the NRA. I can't say I disagree.
Anonymous said…
"Until we limit access to guns, this will continue to happen."

won't work at this point. So many firearms are in circulation (300 million) , you would have to do house to house searches, search every storage locker, etc.

Anonymous said…
Mentally ill people who don't have access to guns go on rampage, too. But without guns, their psychotic breaks don't result in mass murder. The victims of the man who went crazy in china are alive today (as of the latest news I find). In CT, 20 children, at least, are dead and gone forever.

I am very angry. I know some of the meaningful steps I want to take to prevent the next incident, and they involve decreasing access to guns. Those of you who don't want to take that step, start coming up with others.

(I'm happy to pay taxes for access to mental health care. But that's not going to be enough, unless we think its ok to jail creepy men. rather than restrictingtheir access to guns.).

I made my donation to the Brady center yesterday, because of Oregon, Pittsburgh, and Houston.

Anonymous said…
PS: If you have a gun in your house, and my children are coming over, tell me. I'll offer to host instead, and you can decide whether you object to having them in a gun-free house.

I object to having my children in a house with guns, and I'm going to start asking.

ZB, I did this asking from the start with my kids. It's not an easy conversation but kids and guns don't mix. Kids are smart and if they know a gun is somewhere, they will find it.

We either met at a playground or other site or they came to my house. We only had one family in all the years and they were very understanding of our concerns.
Eric B said…
@Focus, if you buy large quantities of explosives grade ammonium nitrate, you need a license. If you buy more than garden quantities of castor beans (feedstock for ricin poison), you'll get a visit from the FBI. To drive a car, you need a license. To drive a boat with paying passengers, you need a license and several years of experience.

To buy a gun, you need the same documentation here as you do in Somalia. Money. Is there something wrong with this picture?

Gun control won't do it all. Mental health services won't do it all. But they both would help. I can't help but appreciate the irony that there was a mass attack on school kids in China, with the attacker using a knife. 20+ kids injured, 7 or so in the hospital, and no fatalities. It's still not acceptable, but at least those parents get to hold their children again.
Anonymous said…
Eric said it just right.

Not everyone who does a mass killing would be found to be "crazy" by a psychiatrist.

The fact that a person can come up with a horrible idea and then 10 minutes later come out of Walmart all loaded up, is a major part of the problem.

Gun control won't eliminate crazies who want to do mass killings, but it will make it harder. Why would anyone want it to be this easy? Shouldn't getting a gun be harder than buying a soda?

Unknown said…
Sign a petition to petition the Obama administration to immediately address the need for gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress: http://wh.gov/RN6U
Don't Get Comfortable said…

For people with children in Seattle Public Schools: It would be a mistake to feel comfortable. Instruct your children to notify counselors if they hear of someone having a weapon.
Anonymous said…
Dont get comfortable, I wish we could tell students to alert counselors if they see a weapon. I wish there were counselors to help all our elementary school students to process this disaster.I predict that many students will not feel safe at school after they hear the news.

Only 16 of our 60 or so Seattle elementary schools have even a percentage of a counselor.

Not only are they not in buildings to help with recovery from a tragedy, they are also not there to teach kids how to express themselves appropriately, how to regulate their emotions, how to solve problems, how to ask for help when they need it. They are not there to build the relationships that are proven to make the difference in young lives. Sadly I expect that there will be future tragic events that can be prevented now with intervention and support of school counselors. Are we so sure we don't have students in our schools now that are headed in this violent direction? What are we doing to prevent it in our own backyard?

It's ironic (and misleading) that Banda sent an allstaff email today about this tragedy that included the following statement: "We are coordinating with schools and school guidance counselors to provide emotional support for students next week." What counselors Mr. Banda? Which select students will get support?

looking for humanity
Anonymous said…
Good points on all sides. I agree - guns are too easy and cheap, and ammo is WAYYY too cheap. I also agree - there's too much firearmory in circulation to try and legislate guns away. Also; mental health is, of course, a large part of the problem.
Slightly new things to add:
$1000 a bullet: maybe not so high, but the general idea: ok. More importantly, REGISTER bullets and keep the right the bear arms untouched. Bullet control is the right way to go: mandate hightech registered ammo, every bullet tied to a registered owner, imprinted on an acid/rust proof band made of platinum: extra expensive, fairly secure and extra damning if your bullet is used in a crime.

In the meantime, ethics and morality need to be taught again.
AND the medicine arena of mental health needs a new 'constable' element, and improved state mental illness 'ER' element, to actually have a chance to prevent the kind of crazy that happened today.

Anonymous said…
Even if guns had been banned, this person would have been driven to create a bomb or IED or snipe people with bow and arrow ...or worse*.

**(ahead be the worse. Beware, only stonehearted grimfaced non-softies should read below)
Ask the families of the 168 that died in OK city if gun control would've helped. The 8 people Anders Breivek killed in Olso with a car bomb last year? The 45 dead in the Bath School killings where school board member Andrew Kehoe bombed a school and then second-wave bombed the rescuers? Or the Army Of God nail bombs? David Copeland in London? The Poe Elementary school killings? Husam Dwayat and the Front Loader he used to kill many? The absolutely mentally/criminally ill knife weilder Lee Arthur Hester? Joe Stack III and his small plane he used to attack an IRS office in Texas? Franz Fuchs in austria used no guns. The El Socorro machete killings that left 4 schoolchildren dead in 1977? the 1983 Thailand sword&stick killings in a nursery school? Doris and David Young's gasoline bomb in Wyoming that injured/burned 79 at Cokeville Elementary? The 1764 Enoch Brown primary school killings where 11 students were tomahawked to death? The 1982 stabbings of 48+ children and adults in China by Li Chihang. The clubbing deaths of 4 school kids in Maradi, Niger? The 4 deaths by meat cleaver in Latvia 1999? The 11 stabbing victims in Hungary in 1998? Stephen Allen Abrahams in Costa Mesa, CA and the car he drove into a playground to 'silence the voices beamed into his head by the government'? The Osaka school killings (kitchen knife)? Sullivan Upper School flamethrower attack (northern Ireland)? Vilnius Poland School killings (5 deaths, 10 injuries; grenades and a revolver) in 1925? The Shiguan (China) Kindergarten killing that left 12 dead (knife and petrol)? The 2 strangling deaths (no weapon) in Jalna district, India? The 4 kids injured by stabbing in Meyzieu, France? Samurai Sword, Krugersdorp South Africa? Marina Middle School scissors stabbing in SF? 2 dead, 10 injured by spear, in Swaziland? Axe and molotov cocktails were the weapons in the Ansbach School attack (Germany). Kim De Gelder, Belgium? Barbara Glover school stabbing in Scotland, 1991? Na Teck Ker used a combination of parang knife and a flaming-motorcycle in Malaysia. The Orleans Ontario steak knife stabbings (4 kids). Stephen Wilkinson in Acklam Middlesbrough, UK (stabbing)? Too horrible to detail here: Kuang Xi in china, used gravity. Ernest Powers in 1905 using a knife in Athens, TN. Wang Yonglei used a motorcycle, a hammer and gasoline in his school killing in Weifang China. Yan Yanming killed 9 and injuried others by stabbing in 2004. Last year 37 were stabbed by a 14 y.o. girl and a hypodermic needle in Arroyo, PuertoRico. The possibly-worst non-gun killing (and a school killing as well) was the Cologne massacre of 1964, where Walter Seifert utilized a combination of insecticide, a homemade Lance and Mace, and a flamethrower made from garden tools to kill 11 and maim 22. One of the deadliest non-gun school killings was murder by fire: 67 dead, 19 injured in Kenya in 2001.

I present this horribly sad list for a reason:
Guns are truly not 'the' problem. And the problem isn't by any means only american nor is it only 'our children's generation'. This is humanity's sad shadow self, our violent heritage. There's much more to it than politics, 2nd amendment, reagan-era mental health cuts and school security. Much more.

I'm putting my money and hopes on old-fashioned non-religious Ethics and Morality classes doing some good that'll last.


N Seattle parent, you really had to work for your point but the slaughter in the US because of access to guns would dwarf that list.

NO ONE is saying guns are the sole problem.

NO ONE is saying take away guns.

NO ONE is saying it isn't about mental health issues (and the person who pointed out the lack of counselors at our schools is right).

But easy access to guns IS a problem in our country. That needs to be stopped.
seattle citizen said…
" 'Until we limit access to guns, this will continue to happen.'
won't work at this point. So many firearms are in circulation (300 million) , you would have to do house to house searches, search every storage locker, etc."

Okay. House-to-house searches it is then.

This must stop.
Anonymous said…
Dwarf? OK, I'll play devil's advocate here:
Comparing apples to apples; School-related deaths vs shootings.
I'll cite the NSS&SS reports from post-columbine: 2000-2010

Basically, this report covers anything from spree killings to stray bullets that hit kids on playgrounds to fights where people mortally wound each other without weapons. Includes adult-to-adult fatal violence, as well as student-to-student.
251 total school-related deaths in the last ten years of reports.
Of those, 120 were shooting fatalies.
This doesn't account for the hundreds INJURED by bullets but as far as death, it's about even between gun and non-gun.

(2003-2004 school year was the worst: 49 total deaths included 10 stabbings & 23 shootings)

Yes, the US has a horrible gun-death rate, one of the worst on the planet (South Africa, Mexico, India are the only nations I can think of that have higher numbers - I'm sure there's a website out there that keep track - but we've been hovering around 10,000 gun homocides per year for the last several years)

Ok, and now it's time for looking up cute puppies online!!!

seattle citizen said…
N.Seattle Parent,
On your list were many instances of ten or less people being killed. Not so many with 28 (excluding bombs.)

Guns allow much more devestation, simple as that. A person can stand in one place, not even move, and kill 20-30 people with a gun. Not so easy with a knife.

Bombs are illegal. Of course the materials to MAKE a bomb are not, nothing we can do about that.

Guns are legal, and way to easily attainable. Also, it's pretty hard to MAKE a gun. It can be done, but one really can't make a gun capable of rapid fire.

Guns: Too easy, too quick, too legal, too available. And way, way, too deadly. The 10,000 deaths per year here in the US simply dwarf your list. I mean, what's on it, 400-500 people over the last four decades?
"Yes, the US has a horrible gun-death rate, one of the worst on the planet.."

And...? What's your answer? That 10K+ people a year, including children, is okay? Acceptable? Nothing should change?

suep. said…
@-N.SeattleParent, I find it rather troubling that you had that macabre list so handy.

Look, it's a simple fact that no other (supposedly peacetime) nation in the industrialized world possesses and uses guns domestically the way the USA does.

The rest of the world looks at us in horror. And justly so.

There is no justification for the obscene amount of guns in this country. None. Zero.

Guns enable a brutal cowardice that few other weapons permit.

Anonymous said…
Mass Shootings in America
There have been at least 62 in the last 30 years—and most of the killers got their guns legally.

It's perhaps too easy to forget how many times this has happened. The horrific mass murder at a movie theater in Colorado on July 20, another at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, another at a manufacturer in Minneapolis on September 27—and now the unthinkable nightmare at a Connecticut elementary school on December 14—are the latest in an epidemic of such gun violence over the last three decades. Since 1982, there have been at least 62 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii.

Weapons: Of the 142 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semiautomatic handguns. Just as Jeffrey Weise used a .40-caliber Glock to slaughter students in Red Lake, Minnesota, in 2005, so too did James Holmes, along with an AR-15 assault rifle, when blasting away at his victims in a darkened movie theater. In Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza wielded two handguns and a .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic assault rifle as he massacred 20 school children and six adults.

The killers: Half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 19, respectively); the other 31 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, government buildings, and military bases. Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman. The average age of the killers was 35, though the youngest among them was a mere 11 years old.

Mass murders represent only a sliver of America's overall gun violence.

This is what was used in following criteria to identify cases of mass murder:

• The killings were carried out by a lone shooter. (Except in the case of the Columbine massacre and the Westside Middle School killings, both of which involved two shooters.)

• The shootings happened during a single incident and in a public place. (Public, except in the case of a party in Crandon, Wisconsin, and another in Seattle.) Crimes primarily related to armed robbery or gang activity are not included.

• The shooter took the lives of at least four people. An FBI crime classification report identifies an individual as a mass murderer—as opposed to a spree killer or a serial killer—if he kills four or more people in a single incident (not including himself), and typically in a single location.

• If the shooter died or was hurt from injuries sustained during the incident, he is included in the total victim count. (But have excluded cases in which there were three fatalities and the shooter also died, per the previous criterion.)

• Also included six so-called "spree killings"—prominent cases that fit closely with our above criteria for mass murder, but in which the killings occurred in multiple locations over a short period of time.

Is it really about “Gun Control” or is it really “Mental Health” ?

Anonymous said…
suep: the internet had it handy, not I. I wonder if we could agree that guns don't create cowardly brutality - but whatever it is that DOES is what we should take a closer look at?
You may have missed my brainstorms posted earlier - I'll amend them too: expensive smart/i.d. bullets, required trigger locks or gun safes that truly restrict non-owner access, ethics/morals education, and a revision of child pharmacueticals habits to lower aggression (it's not the mentally ill I'm worried about, it's that our FDA is okay with pills that have side effects including "violent aggression may occur"). Also, I think a real deep SCIENTIFIC study of media & violence exposure to kids needs to be factored in too. THAT's what should change. It also wouldn't hurt to STOP news coverage focused on the murderer and their weapons.
Seattle Cit: FYI the 10K includes manslaughter, self-defense, law enforcement actions, true accidents, and suicides: it's a stat that means all fatal 'shootings'. Check out gunpolicy.org for drilling down more specifically.
I can cite the 200,000 murdered by nicotine this year as more heinous, or the tens of thousands killed on streets and highways, or the 168 killed by a rental truck and fertilizer in Oklahoma City, or the tens of thousands of lives our tax dollars have paid to end in the middle east... but that's not comparing apples to apples nor staying on what I presume is topic for this site, which is why I stuck to just those NSS&SS School Stats. Ok, Guns are, in some states, "easy quick legal and available" - but gun bans/controls in Australia have changed gun crime little and gun control in UK has resulted in higher gun crime (increase of 35%), so what is it you propose that will help our nation be different?
Anonymous said…
anon: let's get facts right please. Handguns are actually more deadly, in reality of mass killing stats, than so-called assault rifles.
I read that MotherJones story too. You should read the comments by FelixZD regarding 'per capita' spree killings: basically, when you consider our huge population, our nation has surprisingly few mass killings since 1980, per capita compared to Finland, NZ, Australia, UK, Switzerland, & Norway. Germany does better than us with 2 per 80 million pop.
But MoJo has shoddy journalism IMO: 'arsenal'? 'dozens'? The weapons chosen by the criminals in these cases did not include "dozens of assault weapons". Dozens of handguns, yes. But only 2 'assault' pistols (UZIstyle gun; Columbine + San Ysidro, 1984) and less than a dozen semi-auto rifles; In the top 12 deadliest shootings (according to washingtonpost.com), only 5 killers chose rifles of ANY kind: handguns are by far, now and over many decades, the preferred weapon, and in almost all cases, the killer brings several. MoJO also lists the capitol hill massacre as including assault weapons when in fact it was a handgun and a 60's era pump shotgun involved, so they've been less than accurate with details.
(In short, hyperbole irritates me when discussing something as important as this).
n said…
This is not hard. When will Americans stop thinking they know everything and learn from others:

On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more. It was the worst mass murder in Australia’s history.

Twelve days later, Australia’s government did something remarkable. Led by newly elected conservative Prime Minister John Howard, it announced a bipartisan deal with state and local governments to enact sweeping gun-control measures. A decade and a half hence, the results of these policy changes are clear: They worked really, really well.

Sometimes you just have to say no. And make really good laws. Israel and Switzerland also have stringent gun laws.

And for those who think America can do no wrong, check this out: http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/news/price-inequality-colour

We aren't the country we used to be or some of us think we are.

All the words in the world about humanity and ethics and morals won't change the fact that we are a gun-toting homicidal and suicidal country compared to the rest.
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