Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on 14 December 2012, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother, Nancy Lanza with a firearm and then drove to the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut, where he shot and killed six adult staff members and twenty children aged between 6 to 7, with a firearm before committing suicide at the approach of police. This was the second deadliest school shooting in United States history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, and the second deadliest mass murder at an American elementary school, after the Bath School bombings of 1927.
- One thing that we have been doing here is really trying to keep our focus on the lives lost and the lives of the people here who died led, the heroes who saved lives, who stopped even more bloodshed, and often put themselves in harm's way to do it, the teachers and the school administrators. We have avoided focusing on the killer, because he is gone, and, frankly, we don't want him to be remembered, certainly not by name.
We tried to be careful and respectful of what the families here are going through, and we will continue to do that.
- We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We, too, are asking why.
- Peter Lanza, Adam Lanza's father, as quoted in "A Mother, a Gun Enthusiast and the First Victim" by Matt Flegenheimer and Ravi Somaiya in The New York Times (15 December 2012)
- The first concrete responses to the massacre in Newtown, Conn., began emerging on Tuesday, as state leaders proposed measures to curb gun violence, corporations distanced themselves from an event that has traumatized the nation and the White House pointed to gun control measures that President Obama would champion in the months ahead.
The reactions were considerably more broad-based than what had followed previous mass shootings, coming from Republicans as well as Democrats, from gun control advocates and those who have favored gun rights in the past, and even from the corporate and retail worlds. Proponents of stricter controls on firearms said they were cautiously optimistic that, perhaps this time, something concrete and lasting would be enacted...
The fallout extended to the corporate world. Cerberus Capital Management announced that it was selling the Freedom Group, which makes the .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle used in the massacre.
- Nagourney, Adam (December 18, 2012). "Broad Gun Control Efforts Introduced in Wake of Shooting". The New York Times. Retrieved on October 26, 2018.
- Another sign of the changing landscape came from the business world. On Tuesday, private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP said it would sell Freedom Group, four days after one of the gun maker's rifles was used in the killings in which 27 people were murdered.
The move by Cerberus to put Freedom Group on the block comes after stepped-up pressure from a public pension fund that has invested hundreds of millions of dollars with Cerberus. It suggests that certain investors – particularly large public pension funds and non-profit endowments – intend to use their financial heft to express their outrage over Friday's massacre.
- Slater, Joanna (December 18, 2012). "Gun backlash in wake of Newtown spurs support for new laws". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on October 26, 2018.
- Retailers are pulling back on sales of assault weapons and investors are abandoning gun makers' stocks as the nation's grief focuses on the funerals of the 20 children and six adults killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School rampage in Newtown, Conn.
Calling the deadly assault "tragic and devastating," private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management said Tuesday that it will sell its 95% stake in Freedom Group Inc., which makes the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that police said was used in the attack.
The massacre was a "watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level," Cerberus said.
- Hsu, Tiffany; Lifsher, Marc (December 18, 2012). "Cerberus to shed its 95% stake in gun maker Freedom Group". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on October 26, 2018.
- Psychotic gunmen no longer seem to have any motive beyond a general anger.
James Holmes appears to have shot dead 12 people in Colorado's Aurora cinema in July simply because they were watching a Batman film and he saw himself as the Joker. And Adam Lanza has no link with the school he attacked last week, apart from having once attended it as a little boy.
- As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is 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.
- The Bushmaster a variant of a type of gun called the AR-15 ... which was designed and developed for military use roughly during the Vietnam War period. It is one of a variety of assault rifles that militaries of the world developed when they realized that most soldiers do not — when they're engaged in combat — do not take accurate aim, do not fire at long distances, but rather just spray bullets in the general direction of the enemy at short to medium range. When the military accepted this as a fact — that soldiers are not marksmen, and they tend to just fire in bursts at ambiguous targets, and in fact most battlefield injuries are the result of just being where the bullet is and not someone actually aiming at you — the militaries of the world said, 'OK, we need a type of gun to give our soldiers that will do just that.' ... This was the genesis of the assault rifle. The first one was developed by the Germans in 1944. It was called the StG-44. The Soviet army quickly ... made a design similar to it, which is called the AK-47, probably the most widely used rifle in the world.
- Last Friday, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook School with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Much of the ensuing debate has focused on ways to regulate and potentially ban weapons like these. So, how many auto-loading rifles actually exist in America?
In its 2011 report “The Militarization of the U.S. Civilian Firearms Market,” the non-partisan Violence Policy Center noted that “selling militarized firearms to civilians—i.e., weapons in the military inventory or weapons based on military designs—has been at the point of the industry’s civilian design and marketing strategy since the 1980s.” And in its 2011 annual report to investors, Smith & Wesson Holding Company noted that there was a $489 million domestic, non-military market for “modern sporting rifles,” a euphemism for auto-loading, assault-style rifles. Modern sporting rifles are perhaps the fastest-growing segment of the domestic long gun industry. From 2007 to 2011, according to the Freedom Group’s most recent annual report, domestic consumer long gun sales grew at a compound annual rate of 3 percent; modern sporting rifle sales grew at a 27 percent rate.
- Peters, Justin (December 20, 2012). "How Many Assault Weapons Are There in America? How Much Would It Cost the Government To Buy Them Back?". Slate. Retrieved on November 4, 2018.
- High-capacity magazines have been used in numerous mass shootings, including the Dec. 14 attack at a school in Newtown, Conn. Police said that Adam Lanza loaded his Bushmaster rifle with multiple 30-round magazines to shoot and kill 20 school children and six educators before committing suicide.
- I have sworn an oath to heal and to protect humans. Guns, invented to maim and destroy, are my natural enemy.
Sally Cox, a school nurse in Newtown, told Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes” that when state troopers led her out of the school after the mass shooting they instructed her to cover her eyes. This was humane, and right. But some of us see every day what no one should, ever. If the carnage remains undiscussed, we risk complacency about an American epidemic — one that is profoundly difficult, but necessary, to watch, and to confront. That is why I bear witness.
- David H. Newman, the director of clinical research in the department of emergency medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Newman, David H. (January 1, 2013). "At the E.R., Bearing Witness to Gun Violence". The New York Times. Retrieved on October 18, 2018. ; Spies, Mike (September 21, 2015). When a Bullet Enters a Body: Gun Violence as Seen by a Trauma Surgeon. The Trace. Retrieved on October 5, 2018.).
- Assault weapons were designed for and should be used on our battlefields, not on our streets. There is no inalienable right to own and operate 100-round clips on AR-15 assault rifles.
- The AR-15 is, essentially, a gun that was designed to inflict maximum casualties, death, and injury, in close to medium range. That's what it does. The real problem is that we allow that kind of firepower to come into a theater or into a first-grade class. The names you see now are 'modern sporting rifle,' 'tactical rifle.' Those are all just euphemisms for 'assault weapon.' They're being very rational as marketers and as businesses—and as industries. They're only doing what cellphone companies do to make cellphones look different and be more attractive. The difference is what they're selling is lethality.
- Somehow they managed to make the N.R.A. the victims of the Newtown shootings. I think the average American would be shocked by their language.
- Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center Dao, James (May 5, 2013). "N.R.A. Leadership Rallies Members for 2014 Elections". The New York Times. Retrieved on October 8, 2018.
- The AR-15 was the gun used by Adam Lanza when he opened fire in Newtown, Conn., last December. Twenty-six people were killed, including 20 first-graders. Everyone was shot more than once — as many as 11 times. And that's what the military wanted out of this gun — the ability to kill even without good aim, a weapon with high-capacity ammunition magazines that could spray bullets within close to medium range.
- America's most popular rifle, the AR-15 is at the center of the debate on gun control raging through the United States.
As the smoke clears from a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport this morning, there appears to be a familiar rifle laying on the ground by the feet of officers and first responders — an AR-15.
Los Angeles' ABC News affiliate confirms that the weapon was indeed an AR-15, and images of the scene indicate that, as well.
It was also the weapon of choice for James Holmes in Aurora, Colo., and Adam Lanza in Newtown, Conn.
- Jones, Brian (November 1, 2013). "Another AR-15 Rampage? Here Are The Facts About America's Most Popular Rifle". Business Insider. Retrieved on October 28, 2018.
- Shooting: Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut
Date: Dec. 14, 2012
Perpetrator: Adam Lanza
Guns: First, Lanza shot and killed his mother with a .22-caliber Savage MK II-F bolt action rifle. At the school, Lanza used an AR-15 semiautomatic, like Holmes. Lanza killed 26 people in total and injured two before killing himself.
How he got them: Both guns belonged to Lanza’s mother.
- There were a lot of guns that our shooter could have chosen from his arsenal and his mother’s arsenal. He chose the AR-15. He was aware of how many shots it could get out, how lethal it was, how it would serve his objective of killing as many people as possible in as short a time as possible...and the manufacturers need to be held responsible for that.
- Nicole Hockley, mother of victim Dylan Hockley, at a press conference in February, 2016 (Beckett, Lois (October 14, 2016). "Sandy Hook families cannot hold gun company liable in massacre, judge rules". The Guardian. Retrieved on September 22, 2018. ; Gorman, Michele (April 15, 2016). "The Sandy Hook Lawsuit: What It Means for Victims of Gun Violence". Newsweek. Retrieved on September 22, 2018. ; "Maker of rifle used in Sandy Hook shooting seeks dismissal of lawsuit". Chicago Tribune. February 22, 2016. Retrieved on September 22, 2018. ; Stuart, Tessa (June 13, 2016). "Everything You Need to Know About AR-15-Style Rifles". Rolling Stone (magazine). Retrieved on September 22, 2018. ; "AR-15 gun maker seeks Newtown victim lawsuit dismissal". Associated Press. CBS News. February 23, 2016. Retrieved on September 22, 2018. ).
- This is an instrument of war designed for the battlefield that is marketed and sold to the general public.
- Mark Barden, father of victim Daniel Barden, at a press conference in February, 2016 ("Maker of rifle used in Sandy Hook shooting seeks dismissal of lawsuit". Chicago Tribune. February 22, 2016. Retrieved on September 22, 2018. ; "AR-15 gun maker seeks Newtown victim lawsuit dismissal". Associated Press. CBS News. February 23, 2016. Retrieved on September 22, 2018. ; Hu, Caitlin (June 12, 2016). "The AR-15 is the gun of choice for mass shootings and it’s easier to buy in Florida than a pistol". Quartz. Retrieved on September 22, 2018. ).
- The Shooter Had a Powerful Rifle and High-Capacity Magazines
The gunman was armed with an AR-15-type semiautomatic rifle and a 9 millimeter handgun, Chief Mina said.
AR-15s, which were first developed for the military and used extensively in the Vietnam War, are widely owned by assault-rifle enthusiasts. The rifle, which can rapidly fire multiple high-velocity rounds, has been used in a number of mass shootings, including those in Aurora, Colo.; Newtown, Conn.; and San Bernardino, Calif.
- In recent years, the AR-15 has become, simultaneously, one of most beloved and most vilified rifles in the country. It is no surprise why the gun is so reviled by gun control advocates. Omar Mateen, the gunman in the attack this weekend on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., used a spinoff of the rifle produced by SIG Sauer to kill nearly 50 people. The military-style weapon has also been the gun of choice in several other mass shootings: at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.; at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.; at a holiday party for county health workers in San Bernardino, Calif.; and at the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
- Feuer, Alan (June 13, 2016). "AR-15 Rifles Are Beloved, Reviled and a Common Element in Mass Shootings". The New York Times. Retrieved on September 24, 2018.
- What do James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and Omar Mateen have in common? Besides being the perpetrators of three of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, they all share a preference for the AR-15 assault rifle. The AR-15 assault rifle was used at the Aurora, Colo. shooting, the Newtown, Conn. shooting, and now the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. that killed 50 and is officially the deadliest such massacre in U.S. history...While Colt alone makes the official AR-15, variants and knock-offs are made by a huge number of gun manufactures, including Bushmaster, Les Baer, Remington, Smith & Wesson (swhc, +0.00%), and Sturm & Ruger (rgr, -2.04%), just to name a few. TacticalRetailer claims that from 2000 to 2015 the AR manufacturing sector expanded from 29 AR makers to about 500, “a stunning 1,700% increase.”
- O’Dea, Meghan (June 13, 2016). "What Makes the AR-15 So Appealing to Mass Shooters?". Fortune. Retrieved on October 19, 2018.
- It was used to slaughter first graders at Sandy Hook, murder Batman fans at Colorado movie theater, kill county workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino. Now a descendant of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle — a Sig Sauer MCX — has the dubious distinction of being the weapon of choice for a homosexual-hating gunman named Omar Mateen who is being blamed for the worst single-day mass shooting in U.S. history.
- Siemaszko, Corky (June 15, 2016). "AR-15 Style Rifle Used in Orlando Massacre Has Bloody Pedigree". NBC News. Retrieved on September 28, 2018.
- On July 20, 2012, a mass murderer killed 12 and wounded 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., using a Smith & Wesson M&P15. On Dec. 12, 2012, another mass murderer killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., using his mother's Bushmaster XM15-E2S. The letter and number suffixes belie a simple truth -- the guts of both guns look just like an M-16 or, as it is known for civilian use, an AR-15. OK, the M-16 can fire in fully automatic mode but otherwise, the same.
In Orlando just this month, it was a similar type of semiautomatic assault weapon, a Sig Sauer MCX, that helped claim 49 lives.
- Kingsbury, Alex (June 16 2016). "Meet the must-have Bling for Your Gun". Boston Globe.
- The AR-15 is America’s most popular rifle. It has also been the weapon of choice in mass shootings from Sandy Hook to Aurora to San Bernardino.
- In the year after the Sandy Hook shooting, eleven states made their gun control laws tougher, but at least two dozen states loosened theirs. And on the national stage, nothing will be done. As we saw after Sandy Hook, even when the public overwhelmingly supported a modest bill to extend background checks to private gun sales, the bill never made it out of the Senate.
- The AR-15 is the model of gun used in several recent mass shootings in America, including the massacres at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012 and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June this year.
It is not unusual that gun sales rise at election time in the US. The more dramatic surges usually come in the immediate aftermath of mass shootings, however, as buyers both feel greater concern about their own safety and fear a US government response to crack down sales.
In the year that followed Newton, Sturm Ruger, Remington Outdoor, and Smith & Wesson - the three most important gun manufacturers in the US - saw a windfall of over $390 million in profits on record sales. Shares in publicly traded Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson jumped more than 70 percent in the same year.
- Usborne, David (November 2, 2016). "Fear of Hillary Clinton victory sends gun manufacturer sales and profits soaring". The Independent. Retrieved on November 4, 2018.
- As can be seen, production spiked in 2013 as gunmakers sought to catch up with demand in the wake of calls for more gun control following the Sandy Hook shootings, and then finding a stable, but steadily growing base afterwards.
- After the Sandy Hook massacre, in 2012, an overwhelming majority of Americans favored tighter gun control, including laws that would require background checks for gun purchasers to be extended to sales at private gun shows.
- Jane Mayer in the The New Yorker, June 16, 2017 (Mayer, Jane (June 16, 2017). "The Link Between Domestic Violence and Mass Shootings". The New Yorker. )
- AR-15 style rifles have been the weapon of choice in many recent mass shootings, including the Texas church shooting Sunday, the Las Vegas concert last month, the Orlando nightclub last year and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
- In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.
- Dan Hodges, British journalist (Fisher, Max; Keller, Josh (November 7, 2017). "What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer". New York Times. ).
- The AR-15, the civilian version of the military assault rifle (M16 or M4), has become the most commonly used rifle in US mass shootings; the recent shootings in Parkland and Las Vegas, for instance, testify to the effectiveness of this weapon’s design. It was made for the military, to allow members of the armed forces to better dispatch multiple enemies in short order; in the hands of civilians, it not only clearly serves the same purpose for some individuals, but it’s unclear what other purpose it could serve, given how and why it was made.
...a typical 9mm handgun wound to the liver will produce a pathway of tissue destruction in the order of 1-2 inches. In comparison, an AR-15 round to the liver will literally pulverize it, much like dropping a watermelon onto concrete results in the destruction of the watermelon. Wounds like this, as one sees in school shootings like Sandy Hook and Parkland where AR-15s were used, have high fatality rates.
- Dr. Ernest E. Moore, trauma surgeon, editor of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery (Moore, Ernest E. (February 15, 2018). "The Parkland shooter's AR-15 was designed to kill as efficiently as possible". NBC News. Retrieved on August 25, 2018. ).
- AR-15-style rifles have become something of a weapon of choice for mass shooters. One was used last year to kill 26 people during Sunday morning church services in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and it was among the stockpile of firearms used a month earlier to kill 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas.
AR-15-style rifles were also used at the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida; at an employee training in San Bernardino, California, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
- Lloyd, Whitney (February 16, 2018). "Why AR-15-style rifles are popular among mass shooters". ABC News. Retrieved on September 28, 2018.
- DEC. 14, 2012 Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother in their home, then killed 26 people, mostly children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., using a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle and a .22-caliber Savage Mark II rifle.
2009 Mr. Lanza graduated from high school. Some classmates said he had been bullied in high school. He struggled with a developmental disorder and was described as acutely shy, not known to have close friends.
AFTER HIGH SCHOOL He was “completely untreated in the years before the shooting” for psychiatric and physical ailments like anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, a state report found.
BEFORE THE SHOOTING His mother, Nancy Lanza, a gun enthusiast, legally obtained and registered a large collection of weapons and would often take her sons to shooting ranges.
DEC. 14, 2012 Mr. Lanza used his mother’s guns to kill her and 26 others.
- In focusing their anger on the likes of Wayne LaPierre, the survivors are distracted from the likes of James Debney, whose company actually designed, produced and marketed the weapon that killed so many innocents at their school. Debney knew it was a weapon of war. He also knew, or at least should have known, that M&P15 fires bullets of such velocity that when it hits flesh the accompanying shock wave extends the damage considerably outside the path of the bullet, shredding tissue, destroying entire organs, disintegrating blood vessels. He also knew that the M&P15 is a virtual twin to the Bushmaster AR-15 used with horrific effect on little kids at Sandy Hook.
And yet he had kept selling it.
Debney earns more than $5 million a year in what the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High survivors would no doubt consider blood money.
- Daly, Michael (February 24, 2018). "He Made the Gun That Slaughtered Parkland’s Kids". The Daily Beast. Retrieved on November 12, 2018.
- Compared with pistols, assault rifles are used rarely in shootings. According to F.B.I. statistics, 374 people were murdered with any kind of rifle in 2016; 7,105 were killed by a handgun.
But the AR-15 has been a recurring character in some of America’s most infamous violent crimes. Adam Lanza used his to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook. Stephen Paddock used an enhanced AR-style gun to kill 58 concertgoers and wound hundreds on the Las Vegas Strip in October. A month later, Devin Kelley murdered 26 congregants with a Ruger AR-15 variant at a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. And the rampage last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., renewed calls for assault-style rifles to be banned — a common refrain after mass shootings.
- Watkins, Ali; Ismay, John; Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (March 3, 2018). "Once Banned, Now Loved and Loathed: How the AR-15 Became ‘America’s Rifle’". The New York Times. Retrieved on November 6, 2018.
- On December 14, 2012, a Bushmaster XM-15 was used by 20-year-old Adam Lanza to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Less than five months after the Newtown shooting, the company’s leadership was honored by the National Rifle Association at the NRA’s annual meeting with other gun industry financial supporters who had “given gifts of cash totaling $1,000,000 or more.”
- The Militarized Marketing of Bushmaster Assault Rifles. Violence Policy Center (April 2018). Retrieved on October 19, 2018.
- A Pittsburgh synagogue, a Florida high school, a Texas church, a Las Vegas concert, a Connecticut elementary school. These are the locations of some of the deadliest mass shootings in America in recent history, and they all have something in common: The style of weapon used at each horrific scene was the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
- The National Rifle Association is trying to export its guns-for-everyone-everywhere agenda overseas — and its global activities have little to do with its mission to protect the constitutional rights of gun owners....
For those manufacturers, cultivating relationships with the American gun lobby is paramount for business. Who, after all, will defend foreign gun manufacturers after their firearms are used in mass shootings here in the United States and ensure that the market for American customers remains unrestricted? The alleged killer at the Pittsburgh synagogue in October relied on three Austrian Glock .357 handguns (along with a Colt AR-15 rifle). The shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School used a Glock 10mm handgun and a German SIG Sauer P226 9mm handgun as well as an American-made assault weapon to kill 26 people.
So it’s no surprise that in 2008, Beretta, an Italian gun manufacturer, pledged to donate $1 million to the NRA. Belgian FN Herstal gave as much as $200,000 to the lobby in 2013. Glock donated at least $115,000 during 2011, and both Glock and Beretta are part of the lobby’s Golden Ring of Freedom, an elite circle for donors that gift $1 million or more. SIG Sauer is also part of that club.
Sandy Hook Prayer Vigil
- Addresses at an interfaith memorial service for the victims (16 December 2012)
- We gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable adults. They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.
Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.
I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We’ve pulled our children tight.
And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.
- As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown. In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other. You’ve cared for one another. And you’ve loved one another. This is how Newtown will be remembered, and with time and God’s grace, that love will see you through.
But we as a nation, we are left with some hard questions.
- It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.
And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.
This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
- Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?
Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?
Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.
And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose — much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this.
If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.
- We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain, that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that, no matter how good our intentions, we’ll all stumble sometimes in some way.
We’ll make mistakes, we’ll experience hardships and even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.
There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace, that is true.
The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger, we know that’s what matters.
We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.