Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stay above the fray: Pray

Given the number of high-profile shootings over the past couple of years (Jared Loughner in Tucson, AZ, James Holmes in Aurora, CO and Jovan Belcher in Kansas City) I found it difficult to fathom that they could get any more diabolical if another were to occur.

Sadly, I was mistaken.

A heartbreaking and unforgettable tragedy beset the town of Newtown, where 28 people, including 20 children, were killed Friday morning at an elementary school by a lone gunman.

“Evil visited this community today and it’s too early to speak of recovery,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said. “Each parent, each sibling, each member of the family has to understand Connecticut — we’re all in this together.”

While the families of victims were notified, authorities on Friday night were still in the process of positively identifying those killed.

While officials had been briefing the public on the situation throughout the day, local officials were still looking at various angles as they continued their “massive investigation” in coordination with the FBI and ATF.

While authorities have still not officially identified the gunman who opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, law enforcement sources have named him as 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, was found dead Friday inside her Newtown home, CBS News reported. After Lanza allegedly shot and killed his mother, he drove her car to the school, where he opened fire on adults and children, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

State Police Lt. Paul Vance said 18 children and six adults, including the school’s principal Dawn Hochsprung, were pronounced dead at that scene. Two other children later died at the hospital. One other person was injured, Vance said.

Inevitably, whenever a shooting of this magnitude occurs, people always look to assign blame. Twitter has become the favorite sounding board for just such finger pointing, which is why I removed myself from what is an hourly indulgence for me. Whether it was scores of victim disarmament gun control advocates or a number of ardent second amendment supporters, both needed to put the debate aside for at least the rest of the day Friday. This was a time to pray, participate in a moment of silence or simply cherish the time you have with your young children who are still with you. At this hour, I'm quite certain there are several sets of parents in Newtown, CT who couldn't care less about our opinion on firearms.

As a conscious choice, I've chosen not to partake in any news stories regarding this tragedy. While my wife and I don't have kids of our own, we have many dear friends who have children still in elementary school and many of those youngsters are essentially surrogate nieces and nephews to us. The mere thought of them not being in our lives today is truly a horrifying thought. With that said, I can't even fathom the unspeakable anguish the parents of the slain Newtown children must be enduring.

One final thought which made it difficult for me to sleep last evening. Imagine the day some of these parents had, first hearing of a shooting at their child's school and then receiving a phone call requesting that they identify a body that may belong to their son or daughter. If all that's not bad enough, the parents then walk in the front door to a festive home complete with a large Christmas tree with gifts placed which were wrapped for their now deceased Kindergartner.

Words fail.


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