A crime that shocks the senses: Shooting children and staff to death in their school

Updated Saturday with DeKalb Schools statement:

The shootings in Newtown have deeply shaken people everywhere. I continue to see numerous Facebook postings expressing shock, grief and anger, and it is the first thing  people mention wherever I go in Decatur today. Many people cry as they talk about the mass murder of 20 children and six adults at the school.

In addition, my local school system sent out an advisory today about to talk to children here about the deaths of children, teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

We are a nation in crisis today over this. And a nation unsure of what to do next.

Back to the original posting from yesterday:

There are simply no words.  A gunman opens fire in a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school and kills 26 people, many children in first grade.

Twenty children are among the dead at Sandy Hook Elementary, a school of 700 in  Newtown, a small town in Connecticut, about 65 miles from New York City. The gunmen, who committed suicide after his rampage, is 20-year-olds. Adam Lanza died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but not before killing his mother Nancy Lanza at home and then driving to the school in her car, according to news report. (The details of this horrific story are changing by the hour as more information is released.)

Earlier reports were that Nancy Lanza was a teacher at the school but that is now in question.  She is not on the faculty list at the school.

Lanza’s violent rampage through the school this morning left 20 young children and six adults dead there. All told, he shot and killed 27 people before turning the gun on himself.

My husband’s sister lives in this picturesque town and teaches at the middle school. I have not talked to her but my husband has exchanged messages with her. I cannot imagine the grief and horror as families learn that their beloved child is among the victims of this psycho.

Among the responses:

DeKalb County Schools:

In light of the tragedy in Connecticut, the DeKalb County School District has asked all school administrators and staff to review their safe school and emergency plans. School resource officers and campus supervisors will continue to be highly visible at their assigned schools to provide maximum security for staff and students. We will continue to communicate with the different police departments in the district to provide support as needed. The safety of students, staff and visitors is our top priority in the DeKalb County School District, and we are dedicated to ensuring that our public schools remain the safest places for our most precious resources -our children

President Obama:

This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller.  I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation, and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years.  And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent.  And that was especially true today.  I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.  They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.  Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.  Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.

As a country, we have been through this too many times.  Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children.  And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight.  And they need all of us right now.  In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans.  And I will do everything in my power as President to help.

Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need — to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours. May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

John Barge, Georgia state school superintendent:

We at the Georgia Department of Education grieve with the victims and families of the senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Generally speaking, schools are safe places for students, but these kinds of incidents remind us to always keep school safety at the forefront. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sandy Hook Elementary School community.

Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund:

What is it going to take to stop the craziness of gun violence in this country when every three hours a child or teen is killed by a gun? What is it going to take to make the politicians stand up and put sensible gun laws in place so we don’t have to mourn the horror of more senseless deaths of young children murdered at an elementary school? Once again we are faced with unspeakable horror, and once again we are reminded that there is no safe harbor for our children. How young do the victims have to be and how many children need to die before we stop the proliferation of guns in our nation?

We can’t just talk about it and then do nothing until the next shooting when we will profess shock again. This latest terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is no fluke. It is a result of the senseless, immoral neglect of all of us as a nation to fail to protect children instead of guns and to speak out against the pervasive culture of violence. It is up to us to stop these preventable tragedies.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan:

School shootings are always incomprehensible and horrific tragedies. But words fail to describe today’s heartbreaking and savage attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the father of two children in elementary school, I can barely imagine the anguish and losses suffered today by the Newtown community. Our hearts and prayers go out to every parent, child, teacher, staff member, and administrator at Sandy Hook and the surrounding community. And our thanks go out to every teacher, staff member, and first responder who cared for, comforted, and protected children from harm, often at risk to themselves. We will do everything in our power to assist and support the healing and recovery of Newtown.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten:

The entire AFT community is shaken to its core by this massacre of young children and the educators and school employees who care for and nurture them. Twenty children and six adults were shot and killed today in one of the worst school shootings in history. We grieve for them all, and our prayers are with the Sandy Hook Elementary School community and all of Newtown, as well as the AFT nurses caring for victims at Danbury Hospital, following this heinous act. I just got off the phone with Newtown Federation of Teachers President Tom Kuroski, and pledged to do everything we can to provide support and comfort to the students, teachers, administrators, their families and everyone in this community grappling with this trauma.

Our thanks go out to all of the first responders for their efforts to ensure the safety of all the students and staff. In this horrible moment, there were also extraordinary acts of courage by school staff to lock down the school and protect children.

We’ll never be able to prevent every senseless act of violence, but our children, educators and school employees go to school believing it is a safe sanctuary. We’ve been through this too many times. Everything we can do, we must do, including a renewed focus on gun control and preventing gun violence.

To all of those statements, I can only offer an amen.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

139 comments Add your comment

teaching taxpayer

December 14th, 2012
3:26 pm

I am copying George Takei’s eloquent response to this crime: This will be my only post today. We are shocked and horrified by the news coming out of Connecticut. When senseless violence takes the most innocent of lives, our grief is all the deeper.

Many will seek to turn their outrage to action. But now is not the time for politics. Let us instead reflect upon what was lost today, and first grieve together for the victims, many of whom were just children.

true sorrow

December 14th, 2012
3:30 pm

A coward is the only words I can use to describe for someone to go into a school and shoot children. I have written several letters to our state officials back to Sonny up to the present day to allow certain teachers training to respond to such an assault. I know some would say a teacher is not prepared but at least allow them the tools to be able to slow down or stop a shooter. We have many vets today in classrooms and I know how they would respond and it would not be to run away.

Beverly Fraud

December 14th, 2012
3:53 pm

There is also a story out of China where a man stabbed 22 school children. As Maureen said, there are simply no words.

seen it all

December 14th, 2012
3:58 pm

What can we say? All I can say is that I am heartbroken and have sympathy for the families and community involved. Let us pray that this senseless violence ceases.

As for the issue of school security– school security had nothing to do with this tragedy. This was the result the actions of an unstable individual. It could have happened anywhere. Inside the school or outside. Turning our schools into fortesses is ultimately self defeating. Taking on a siege mentality is, in the end self-destructive for us all. It makes us distrusting of humanity, distrustful of our fellow man. You begin to see potential threats in every person. It moves people apart and not together. It is the coming together, not moving away from each other, that will be our salvation.


December 14th, 2012
4:12 pm

Kind of ironic that the only thing that would have prevented this tragedy is someone at the school (security guard, principal, teacher, janitor, etc) carrying a concealed gun and putting a round into this sick kid. This world is going to Hades in a handbasket.

Pride and Joy

December 14th, 2012
4:29 pm

Some schools already have metal detectors. They are usually high schools. I think Jackson High School has one.
My child’s former school does not even have a fence around it. Anyone could grab a kid off of the playground unnoticed. There are trailers and other buildings to hide under and behind. It is definitely not safe there.

Pride and Joy

December 14th, 2012
4:34 pm

School security had everything to do with this tragedy. The murderer was allowed in because he was familiar. He was the teacher’s son.
Teachers are in the news today as well for raping children. We too often fear the enemy we don’t know. Often, it is the enemy we do know that we need to be more afraid of.
Children are especially vulnerable because they don’t know how to defend themselves. I’ll bet it occurred to none of the children to dive behind a bookcase or chair or open the window to climb out. They shouldn’t have to, they’re too young.
But we do need to build a strong, tall fence around all schools, have metal detectors and have an entryway with only one way to go — through the metal detector and the office before one goes to the classrooms with the kids.
Of course it is not too early to talk about safety at schools.
We need to act today.
Columbine was years ago. We still haven’t made our schools safe from gunmen and kidnappers and in GA, we’re not safe from poison gas either.


December 14th, 2012
4:46 pm

It should not be the shock related to the deaths of innocent children and teachers, it should be the shock of where American society is headed. Violence is everyday thought in far too many of our youth. They are desensitized to any violence, often seeing it as entertaining and exciting. Paintball, laser tag, video games all go into the equation. Respect for others is on a tremendously steep downward spiral. Where all this ends is a question that needs to be addressed by every educator, every parent, every government official, and every citizen. Our government representatives are mostly a joke. They are out for themselves only. Others don’t really count. If people counted, we would not be in the current fiscal cliff problem. It would have been resolved a year ago. Oh, how silly of me. I forgot about the time and millions of dollars spent running for president and slamming all the other candidates. How civil! Americans need to immediately wake up and begin to care about one another, whether you are a mere citizen or the president. What is it going to take to get everyone on board? Another totally senseless tragedy?

long time educator

December 14th, 2012
5:00 pm

Another AJC article references “rumblings about gun control in the wake of the school shooting”. I am not against talking about gun control, particularly automatic weapons, but another thread running through all of these acts of violence is MENTAL ILLNESS. We need to look at how we do or do not identify and treat mentally ill and potentially violent individuals. Guns do not kill; violent, psychotic people do. If we take up all the guns, they will turn to knives, axes, etc. Parents and family members usually know if they have a troubled individual in their family.


December 14th, 2012
5:02 pm

Joe who posted at 4:12 has this right. Disarming those who are charged with “protecting” their charges allows and encourages the depraved to prey upon innocent. The principal in that school might be a live hero had he come out of his office trained and armed. Instead he is a brave, defenseless victim.

Michele who posted at 4:46 does not understand the history of our violent country in an even more violent world. We are not on a downward violence spiral in America, but there is a LOT of room for improvement.


December 14th, 2012
5:19 pm

this event is just stunning. We will need to discuss MENTAL ILLNESS. There is not enough awareness about this.

What's Best for Kids?

December 14th, 2012
5:24 pm

The principal, who lost her life, will be remembered. The teachers, who protected these sweet babies, will also be remembered…as heroes. The children will be remembered as angels in a moment of hatred.
I will be snuggling with my little lambs and thanking the universe for their safety. I can’t imagine a more horrifying, a more helpless feeling, than what these parents had when they went to pick up their children.

mountain man

December 14th, 2012
5:25 pm

“We will need to discuss MENTAL ILLNESS. There is not enough awareness about this”

I agree with this. Because of a bias against “warehousing”, we now turn these people loose to be homeless, or to cause senseless crime. Better to be warehoused.

old teach

December 14th, 2012
5:25 pm

@seen it all: great post. Additionally, many schools do have a resource officer-trained in the use of weapons.

mountain man

December 14th, 2012
5:27 pm

I can speak from personal experience and that of some friends: the authorities will do NOTHING to help you when you seek help for a child with mental issues. You can call them and say that you are scared of your own child, that you are afraid for your life, and they say ” it is your problem, deal with it!”

Private Citizen

December 14th, 2012
5:28 pm

long time educator, agree. to be honest, too, as far as tone of things, it was the fed that sent all the paramilitary gear to every little police dept. in the land and told them to protect the homeland from terrorists. U. S. has been through a lot of stuff, since beginning around 1990. Agree with you this more to do with mental illness treatment than gun control. The Swiss has rifle in every household, it is part of their defense policy. Back to 1990, some guy returned from Gulf War 1 and had agent orange sickness and the fed refused to recognise it or do anything for him. He couldn’t work. He got his contracting former job, which he had been good at, and ended up making a parking lot crooked, they couldn’t use him. his brain wasn’t working right. His wife left him and then he got put in jail for not paying child support. He was a good natured person, said “Can you believe this?” Point is, yes, I think this stuff adds up. And the 9/11 clean-up people denied recognition, care, compensation. It’s been strange times. Here’s a picture of a hospital bill someone posted today for 4 days in the hospital due to an accident http://i.imgur.com/zZoFP.jpg

William Casey

December 14th, 2012
5:30 pm

As several have mentioned, this is about MENTAL ILLNESS. National policy on mental illness changed in the 1980’s. Mass shootings have increased. Coincidence? I think not.

Private Citizen

December 14th, 2012
5:33 pm

The Connecticut governor said that assault weapons and owning bullet proof vest are already illegal in Connecticut, they have existent strong gun laws there, etc. This is unthinkable tragedy. I’m thinkin’ mental health issue. Where are the mental health services? The guy in Colorado sent out indicators seeking help. Very little response. Even gave a professional a book with his troubled plans in it, no response.

William Casey

December 14th, 2012
5:34 pm

Mountain Man is right about authorities not being much help. This policy went national in the ’80’s.

An Accidential Professor

December 14th, 2012
5:36 pm

I completely agree with the above poster. The tragedy is that we as a society do nothing to protect innocent people from the mentally ill.

RIP to all the victims.

Private Citizen

December 14th, 2012
5:48 pm

I noted during the recent active “war” period, there were very violent shows on tv prime time evening 8pm in the guise of entertainment. I do not watch television but somewhere briefly saw “24″ action show and there was point blank shooting people being modeled on the tv, as if to normlise? the violence being used real life in war, etc.? that kind of tv programming does not happen by accident and there was a lot of it, this righteous use of power stuff. same time highly produced weird nationalist lyric songs going 24/7 on “country” radio stations, these sort of “emotion anthems.” Bush era was rough. Cheney shooting the lawyer and the lawyer apologising to Cheney for being in the way. I’m not trying to callous, is not my point. Country / people have been through a lot, not really processed. War media illegal to broadcast. Coffins of soldiers, illegal to broadcast, not distributed, not shown. Finally someone showed one, very produced, controlled, airplane bay, very official. No war footage allowed, learned that lesson from Vietnam. None of that. Distance video, like fireworks spectacle. Information managed, controlled. Then wikileaks happened.


December 14th, 2012
5:56 pm

Didn’t take long till a blogger says that had the principal, janitor, etc been packing, it might have been prevented.

I have had kids–4th and 5h graders–that I am fearful about. Some of these kids are on serious psychotropic drugs. Some are not. What they all have in common is a deep anger and little “parental” (grandparent, aunt) supervision, and a long time of violent videos and games. Around here, I think many of them have weapons that they can reach. I have one that I work with that engenders fear in me this year–9 years old. Something has to be done–I wouldn’t want my grandchildren in this boy’s class.

Private Citizen

December 14th, 2012
6:01 pm

Newsfeed says “Tearful Obama calls for action after shooting.” So he is going to set up mental health treatment network? Get the mentally ill off the street, out of the prison, out of the home? Was this an untreated mentally ill person living at home who made madness on caregiver? Too early to know. Why the second person, paramilitary fantasy / clothing. What is that about? What is the cause and effect? What is the cause question is sole way to be productive with tragedy. Some countries have bus crashes due to poor roads, no dividers on highway. U. S. has high rate of gun tragedy. In China they call it a “rage crime” when this happens.

Pride and Joy

December 14th, 2012
6:03 pm

long tme educator, if, as you say, we take away the guns then the mentally ill will use axes and knives…
Yes! that would be much better. Knives and axes cannot shoot off 100 rounds in a minute.
This murderer, if he only had an axe and a knife, would never been able to kill 27 people. Most, if not all, of those kids would be alive today if we didn’t allow guns in our society.
Guns kill people and people kill people and people with guns kill the most of all.


December 14th, 2012
6:05 pm

catlady posted “Didn’t take long till a blogger says that had the principal, janitor, etc been packing, it might have been prevented.”

And another liberal loses credibility by making things up to make a point claiming people want to train and arm janitors, etc.


December 14th, 2012
6:15 pm

Let’s see which politicians, Democrats and Republicans, decide to ban assualt rifles, for starters.

I’m betting that Republicans, to protect the profits of their Big Business masters, will fight any attempts at this gun ban or any other actions that might threaten gun industry profits.

Don’t they have any concsience, you ask?

You get three guesses on that one.

The first two don’t count.


December 14th, 2012
6:41 pm

Republicans support allowing any gun for anyone. And no funding for mental health. What’s next? Gun carry for elementary students?


December 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

This one in particular, and many recent tragedies, began 25 years ago with the dissolution of mental health treatment in the United States.

Homeschool Mom

December 14th, 2012
7:11 pm

I’m a homeschooler and a concealed carry permit holder! I won’t go down without a fight!

Former Georgian

December 14th, 2012
7:44 pm

The discussion about guns is the wrong discussion. These were purchased legally by someone who presumably had no history of mental illness. The real discussion needs to be about a way to diagnose these people and lock them up. This kind of thing didn’t happened when there were mental hospitals for these people.


December 14th, 2012
7:45 pm

If we can have a sex offender registry why not a registry for schizophrenics?


December 14th, 2012
7:45 pm

This article is inaccurate.


December 14th, 2012
7:47 pm

Everyone knows that schools are “gun free zones.” The risk of getting shot by someone while you are committing such a crime there is nearly zero. A gun show on the other hand is quite the opposite. There is absolutely NO question among virtually any member of the public that a violent act or attempted act at a gun show will result in immediate and lethal action by attendees, vendors, etc. There has NEVER been a mass shooting at a gun show, despite the presence of literally thousands of guns (and likely more than a few people with mental issues).

It is not about someone with a concealed weapon stepping up and killing the perpetrator. The affect of concealed carry laws and the prevalence of concealed carry weapons reaches all the way back to the planning stages of the perpetrator. If he/she knows that he will face no opposition then that is a factor in their choice of target/location. If he knows he MAY face lethal response, that will be a factor. Yes, we are talking about someone with a serious mental disorder, but ultimately he had a motive and a goal. If that goal could not be easily achieved because of likely opposition, another location might have been selected. There were adult targets this individual had issue with. Had they all been somewhere with a high likelihood of guns present, he might have chosen somewhere else besides a school to carry out his plans. Might his mother and other adults be dead? Yes. Would so many kids be dead? Certainly not likely.

Nearly all incidents of mass shooting have happened at locations where the likelihood of firearms being present was extremely low. These are just facts.

Maureen Downey

December 14th, 2012
8:02 pm

@woodrow, See updates. As I noted in this blog, this story is changing as new details are released.

Violence abounds

December 14th, 2012
8:03 pm

We talk about violence and its prevalence in our society, but let us not forget that at the root of all government action is violence. Government does not create money, it must take it from others before it has any to spend. This involves violence (theft). Government does not allow individuals to live their lives as they see fit so long as they do no harm to others. Quite the contrary. Our government encarcerates more people than any other on the planet and most for ingesting chemicals the government does not approve of. Once again, violence against individuals because of government’s opposition to free choice. Our government currently has troops stationed in over 170 countries on earth in over 1200 bases. They take money by force from citizens in this country to give to tyrrants in other countries so they can oppress their own people (among other things). They fly drone aircraft over sovereign nations and shoot missles at people without due process, kill them, and consider anyone over the age of 15 and male a viable target if they are in the area. Our president maintains a “kill” list and has even ordered the assassination of 2 american citizens without due process (one a 16 year old). These drones kill hundreds of innocent men, women, and children in the process (even if our lapdog media don’t bother to cover this on the evening news). Our government is currently waging a financial and economic embargo against the people of Iran because it does not like their government. At least 50% of the people in this country do not like our president and over 80% do not like our congress. We hold elections every 2 years, cannot seem to fix our problems with goverment, yet we condemn 45 million Iranians to starvation and death because they will not get rid of their government. In the 90’s our sanctions led to the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis including 500,000 children. Madeline Albright, our secretary of state said on 60 minutes that she felt these deaths were “worth it” to achieve regime change in Iraq (as if that is up to us to decide).

So when we speak of violence, we do not need to look to the TV, video games, the internet, or our inner cities. Violence begins at the very core of our society – our government. Government by some definitions is the group of people who reserve the right of legalized violence in a given geographic area. Are they really anything but? The moral behavior we expect and demand of our fellow citizens becomes irrelevant when we discuss government and the things it does (sometimes on our behalf – theft).

Just what kind of violence to YOU endorce with your vote and your political beliefs? Our children aren’t missing the messages we are sending about right and wrong.


December 14th, 2012
8:28 pm

This is not acceptable. A society cannot tolerate it’s kindergartners being slaughtered. It’s time for action.


December 14th, 2012
8:44 pm

Homeschool mom, I’m right there with you. What happened today is heartbreaking, and it reminded me that one of the many reasons we are homeschooling our kids is safety. I know we can’t protect them from everything, but that’s no excuse not to try, especially when they are little.

I would love to see public schools become safe and effective learning environments, but I doubt that will happen any time soon. I think it’s high time for concerned citizens, churches, and parents to stop wasting their efforts on trying to fix public education, and instead help as many kids (and good teachers) as possible get out of defenseless, faithless, hopeless government schools.

Private Citizen

December 14th, 2012
8:50 pm

Violence abounds, good essay.

That Breivik guy killed 69 people, mostly teenagers, in Norway in 2011, in a country with lots of services. He planned it out and did it on an island during a retreat so that the victims were defenseless. At trial, Breivik claimed he was sane, however he was “diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.” (by the way, according to lore, personality disorders are treatable but not curable). One difference in Norway and the U.S. is that the U.S. has repeated events of this type. In Norway, “Breivik’s usage of shooter video games has sparked debate about further censorship in violent video games”

This kind of hard to read in the current context of things, but here it is. “When Breivik was four, two reports were filed expressing concern about his mental health, concluding that Anders ought to be removed from parental care” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik


December 14th, 2012
8:52 pm

It is way past time to stop the continuing escalation of violence in movies and video games. Our young people have become hardened to the blood, and violence by constant exposure to it. It seems the solution to most problems in video games is mass killing.

Henry Keith Noble

December 14th, 2012
8:56 pm

There is no way to say the hurt can be understood it cant
it is with great sorrow that i write this statement.
we as a people let the Government take GOD OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS well without GOD there is only evil ……….. i am not going to push GOD ,JESUS or the HOLY SPRITE ON YOU but it is for sure there is evil in this country so i pray mercy oh LORD mercy and this is it.

Pride and Joy

December 14th, 2012
9:03 pm

Mental illness caused it?
Yes, and denial is not just a river in Egypt.
A mentally ill man in China busted into an elementary school recently, weilding a knife and WOUNDED 22 children.
WOUNDED is the key word here, not murdered.
Those children lived.
One can survive being cut with a knife. One rarely survives a bullet.
We cannot prevent mental illness; we can only treat it.
We CAN PREVENT gun violence by outlawing them.
Of course, people around here love their guns as much as they love their football.

Private Citizen

December 14th, 2012
9:04 pm

According the information, Breivik’s mother had borderline personality disorder ( which means being a severe / psychotic bully ) and he experienced severe psychological abuse at a very young age, which is why the early report recommended that he be removed from the home – for his own good. At trial “Breivik displayed inappropriate and blunted affect and a severe lack of empathy.”

eddie willers

December 14th, 2012
9:07 pm

OldTimer: This is not acceptable. A society cannot tolerate it’s kindergartners being slaughtered. It’s time for action.I’m an oldtimer myself (61) and remember Charles Whitman, Columbine and Virginia Tech. But this is the first time (that I am aware of) where kindergartners were targeted. Short of JFK and 9/11, this is the most awful crime in my lifetime. All that being said, though, a once in a lifetime crime that in all likelihood will never be repeated, it is not the baseline in which to set policy. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Hard cases make bad law”.

Private Citizen

December 14th, 2012
9:17 pm

PS Personality disorders tend to be created by something real intense happening to a person when they are little, hence that they are not curable and have become a part of the person, so to speak. They are basically a defense mechanism that the brain invents. For the very young this then becomes a part of their make-up sort of how a tree grows around a fence and encapsulates it.

The news reports on the tragedy today are now saying that the person was “believed to suffer from a personality disorder”

Personality disorders are complex stuff, come in differing forms. The professional methods and diagnoses lore changes over time. Not too long ago, very little was said about borderline personality disorder in particular. It is only in the last decade or so that people have starting writing books specific to it. One of the problems with it is that hardly anyone knew what was. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/personality-disorders/DS00562

Call It Like It Is

December 14th, 2012
9:23 pm

Now is the time for mourning, not knee jerk reaction. Society can come up with any law it chooses, a sick mind will still figure out to do harm. Good sane people follow laws, criminals and the sick do not. We have had guns throughout our history as a country. Many many men brought weapons back from WWII, we didnt have these mass killings, why do we have them now? That is the question


December 14th, 2012
9:24 pm

Centrist, check joe’s post earlier


December 14th, 2012
9:27 pm

Of course there are words. This, and the one before and the one before and so on are heinous crimes committed by mentally and morally incompetent people that we would rather let run loose than implement even minimal gun control laws. Oh the terrible nature of what they did. That was fine say back at Columbine. Now not so much. We bear a bit of responsibility at this point.

true sorrow

December 14th, 2012
9:42 pm

@pride and joy

I understand emotions run high but step back for moment; gun control much like “drug control” has limits. If a person can purchase any drug they want 24 hours a day then getting a gun would be just as easy for a person that does not care about the law to begin with. If we outlaw all guns; then they would just create a gun cartel.

Gun free zones are where every mass shooting has occured, WHY? because the shooter is a coward and only wants to go after “soft” targets.

Give the person at the school tools to do something: research how the shooter at Pearl MS was stopped,

This is what one insane person can do; what if a group of terrorist enter a school; and yes, it has happened in other countries; there must be some form of response team at the school. less than lethal means to slow or misdirect the “bad” guys away from our children

Private Citizen

December 14th, 2012
9:52 pm

eddie willers, this made me think of the UT clock tower tragedy / Whitman (1966?). I had a professor who recounted how he was in the building when it happened, he was working on his master’s thesis and made to go outside, pressed against the building, seeing the whole thing on the ground happen in front of him. Whitman had a scope and killed a guy in a barbershop sitting in the chair getting his hair cut. they said there was nothing that he could not hit. Anyway, when I became of the Whitman tragedy, I thought to myself, “this is extraordinary, there must be a cause.” Then I read that when they did an autopsy of Whitman, there was a tumor pressing against his brain, but that the official report at the time refused to attribute cause. Yep. It’s all online now, right out front re: Charles Whitman and his brain tumor “highly aggressive and invariably fatal brain tumor) in the hypothalamus” and likely effect on behavior / emotion. But this was in 1966. A freak thing in its terribleness, but it supports cause / effect.

The two guys at Columbine were upset because the building administration punished them for various things and treated them as outsider, but the same administration gave the student athletes a free pass and did not punish them for various antics, behaviors. The administration was double-dealing on campus with the students (according the lore)(how would I know).

This thing that happened today, there is no way to relate to it at present, at least for me. Kind of like an EMS worker, when doing triage, the feeling part shows up later. Every condolence and respect to the parents and town. I am truly saddened, as we each must be for their profound misfortune. To even type words or comment seems inappropriate. There are various explanations from the world’s religions for when things happen that should not happen and there is no other explanation.


December 14th, 2012
9:53 pm

true sorrow, I’d suggest that schools are the arena for shootings because that is where the shooter started going around the bend, not because they are “soft targets.” If it were otherwise this sort of thing wouldn’t happen elsewhere. Response teams? Good God. It would be an economic stimulus. Folks with guns in every school, theater, fast food restaurant and at major intersections. There’s a better way. Eliminate or at least minimize guns in the hands of crazy people.