According to multiple sources, this morning saw the tragic event of another school shooting which resulted in 27 deaths of both students and staff members.
Friday December 14th, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, it was reported that a heavily armed gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary school and proceeded to open fire several rounds. Witnesses say they heard hundreds of shots fired. The number of deaths has been reported 27 people. Twenty of those deaths are schoolchildren and seven are adults.
Brenda Lebinski, a parent whose child is in the third grade at Sandy Hook, said to reporters, “It was horrendous. Everyone was in hysterics – parents, students. There were kids coming out of the school bloodied. I don’t know if they were shot, but they were bloodied.” Television footage shows policemen and ambulances tending to the scene while parents rush toward the school to claim their children.
The shooter was a 24-year-old man whose identity has not been officially confirmed. Connecticut State Police Lieutenant Paul Vance told reporters that the gunman was found dead inside the building, and it is likely that he shot himself.
According to the New York Times article, one of the adult deaths, a teacher at Sandy Hook, was in fact the shooter’s mother. CNN‘s article suggests another related death in New Jersey, the gunman’s brother, though this has not been confirmed either.
This terrible tragedy has brought the entire nation to mourn as the holiday season is marred once again by the blood of innocent children. December 8th marked the one-year anniversary of the 2011 Virginia Tech shooting and the death of student Deriek Wayne Crouse.
2012 has already seen at least 7 other cases of school shootings at Chardon High School, Ohio; Perry Hall School, Maryland; Stillwater Junior High School, Oklahoma; and Oikos University, California. Earlier this week there was also a shooting at a shopping mall in Oregon, where three people were killed. Americans are saddened that this violent trend of senseless murder persists.
Mother Jones has tracked and mapped every mass shooting in the last three decades. They report that since 1982, at least 61 mass murders have been committed with firearms in at least 30 states across the U.S. In 48 of these shootings, the gunmen had obtained their weapons legally.
President Obama expressed his sentiments on the matter this morning when he said, “As a country we have been through this too many times. We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.” It’s well known that Obama supports gun control legislation and has been working to renew a ban on assault weapons.
Once the reports are confirmed, the Sandy Hook shooting will go down in history as the deadliest elementary school shooting ever, even worse than the famous 1999 Columbine High School shooting which killed 12 students, 1 teacher and the 2 gunmen. The 2007 Virginia Tech shooting remains the bloodiest in American history, with 37 deaths.
But by no means do these figures diminish the calamity that has befallen the country today. If anything, today’s events in Connecticut serve to remind us of the urgency of our nation’s struggle to ensure the highest possible level of safety for schoolchildren and for the general public.