Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 15, 2012

Search for Answers Begins after School Slaughter
by Thomson/Reuters
December 15, 2012

Residents of the small Connecticut community of Newtown were reeling on Saturday from one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, as police sought answers about what drove a 20-year-old gunman to slaughter 20 children at an elementary school.
The attacker, identified by law enforcement sources as Adam Lanza, opened fire on Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which teaches children aged five to 10. He ultimately killed at least 26 people, before turning the gun on himself.

Police said another adult was found dead at a related crime scene in the town. Many media outlets reported it may have been the shooter's mother, Nancy Lanza.

State police said they hoped to have more information by Saturday morning, including confirmation of the victims' identities. More than 12 hours after the shootings, police began removing the bodies from the school and bringing in parents to make identifications, NBC News reported.

President Barack Obama urged Americans on Saturday to join in solidarity as they mourned the victims, saying the hearts of parents across the country were "heavy with hurt".

He called for "meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this", but stopped short of specifically calling for tighter gun-control laws in his weekly radio and Internet speech.

The president wiped away tears as he told the nation in a television address on Friday: "Our hearts are broken."

The holiday season tragedy was the second shooting rampage in the United States this week and the latest in a series of mass killings this year.

Newtown, an affluent town about 60 miles northeast of New York City, was mourning its dead in community vigils.

"We're just praying — just need to pray to God that this does not happen again, no matter where," Amelia Adams, 76, said on her way into St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church with her husband Kenneth, 81.

The church, a couple of miles from the site of the shooting, was packed inside and out on Friday night with a crowd estimated at more than 1,000 people.

"It was just, it was brutal. I can't think of a better word. It was just brutal to have to witness the pain today," Monsignor Robert Weiss said after the service.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told reporters late on Friday he never thought something would happen to equal the grief he and others felt after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

"Evil visited this community today," Malloy said.

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Coming Together
by Erick Erickson
December 14, 2012

At times like this we are told we must “come together.”

When you think about, we don’t, as a nation, come together much any more except in tragedy.

We used to come together as a nation during the Olympics, when we rooted for Americans. But in recent years we are too often lectured about the jingoism in rooting for America.

We used to come together as we sent men and women in to space, but we can’t much afford to do that any more and we don’t.

When we come together for most sporting events, we find ourselves divided among friends among teams.

We come together as a nation every four years to inaugurate the President, but it is as bitter and divisive as every.

About the only time we ever come together as a nation anymore is when savage tragedy happens. When men fly planes into tall buildings or gun down children or shoot up a movie theater, we gather, pray, and cry.

It is not healthy for a nation that its only acts of coming together are acts of tragedy, or even charity stemming from tragedy.

Our nation once shared a God who we all prayed to. Increasingly, the loudest voices in the nation are hostile to that God and those who worship him. The conversation at times of evil is immediately drown out by political opportunists seeking to drive their agenda. The news channels meditate on the nature of gun violence and gun restrictions or what other restrictions or laws can ever be used.

We do that, in part, because in times of helplessness it makes us feel like we can do something.

But we can do nothing in the face of evil until we confront evil itself.

The tragedy unfolding today is not an act of the insane, but an act of evil. That evil may drive the shooter insane, but in focusing on the insanity we lose focus on the evil.

There is really real good and there is really real evil in the world. Each time I have written that here on this site a vocal group of secularists and atheists have loudly chimed in to ridicule me for doing so.

They’ll do so again. But in this small window America has a real moment to assess why it is that it is careening out of control morally and socially. In that small window, instead of discussing the politics or the laws, we should discuss the evil and the good and the God from whom we have, as a nation. drifted so far.

It is not healthy for a nation to only come together at times like this. It is not healthy for a nation to come together at tragedy so far removed from God.

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Stillness Shattered
by Rachel Cromidas and Ted Mann
December 15, 2012

NEWTOWN, Conn.—They came here, or they stayed, for what was quiet about Newtown: the rolling hills bisected by the highway east of Danbury, the good schools, the sense of the countryside so close to good jobs and the cities.

But stillness has shattered before, in Columbine, Colo., and West Paducah, Ky., and it shattered on Friday in Newtown, Conn., the new home of one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history.

"This is the perfect New England town," said Leigh Libero, who arrived at Sandy Hook Elementary School, situated in the Newtown village of Sandy Hook, around 10 a.m. with her daughter, fresh from a dentist appointment to find police barriers, frantic parents and chaos. "We're kind of in the middle of the woods. You wouldn't think of this."

Connecticut State Police led children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., after a shooting there Friday.

By evening, the quaint New England town was convulsed with grief. Christmas decorations still hung in windows, but the sign in front of a liquor store on Church Hill Road said simply: "Say A Prayer."

"This is most definitely the worst thing we've experienced in town," Newtown Police Lt. George Sinko said late Friday, as officials worked to identify some of the 27 fatal victims, 20 of them children.

Newtown sits within commuting reach of job centers in Danbury and Hartford, and Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport to the south, a shield-shaped wedge packed with state parks, a forest and a scenic reserve adjoining the lake at the head of the Housatonic River. Now home to 27,000, the town was founded, like its neighbors, amid farmland in the 18th century.

WSJ's Alison Fox reports live from the firehouse in Newtown, Conn. where children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have been evacuated. Photo:

The town might be best known before this week as the first place the board game Scrabble was manufactured. Its most notorious crime, a domestic murder in the 1980s, known in Connecticut as "the wood chipper case" for the way the killer disposed of his victim.

Friday's sudden spasm of unimaginable violence wrought confusion. Ms. Libero huddled with her children, 7 and 3 years old, while her husband relayed the day's ever-shifting messages, especially those who wondered if the stranger had simply arrived from some other place. Of that notion, she said, "I don't know if that's comforting or not."

Joe Wasik, a 42-year-old electrician and longtime resident of the town, was relieved to find his young daughter shaken but safe, but said he and his wife struggled with how to talk to her about what had happened, and how to feel about trying to return to school life, and normalcy.

"It's basically like a little Vermont," Mr. Wasik said of the town where he has lived most of his life. "You have general stores, you see your friends and neighbors in town. You just never thought anything like this would happen here."

Mr. Wasik said he could remember only a single killing in the past 10 years in town, and that was the result of a robbery.

As he spoke, Mr. Wasik's daughter was with his wife, while he remained at the firehouse just down the driveway from Sandy Hook Elementary. He had spent the afternoon waiting with a close friend whose child, a first-grader, was among those missing in the aftermath of the shooting.

The friend had been escorted out a back door, Mr. Wasik said, and they assumed the worst.

"If he didn't want to talk, I'm not talking," Mr. Wasik said.

Mourners and well-wishers flocked toward the firehouse near the school in the evening. Robert Morehouse, 58, of Southbury, had walked five miles to reach Newtown, with memorial candles in his backpack.

Standing near his home nearby, John Thompson, 36, tried to imagine how this town would change, as others have in the wake of sudden violence.

"Middle schools and high schools usually have metal detectors but I don't see that in many elementary schools," he said. "Just because they're younger there doesn't mean this might not happen."

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Lord, please comfort the grieving souls who lost so much in this senseless tragedy.

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