Fact based reporting
by Kenneth Jameson Jr.,
research by Amanda Chen, edited by Rob Roman
A 4-part series by a Sandy Hook Elementary alumnus on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. An overview of Newtown from the inside, a description of what is now known about what happened on December 14, 2012 (Including a possible motive), an analysis of the different sides of the issues, and what the prognosis is for slowing the rate of mass killings and gun violence in America are all discussed.
Part 4: Response
Yeah, of course, the magic bullet needed to solve the problem of mass shootings is more guns. Who would have thought?
Yeah, of course, if you have a child who is obviously mentally disturbed, who refuses to speak and has no meaningful interaction, you should do what Nancy Lanza did. Her child was e-mailing her from two rooms away. If you have a child who is now an adult but doesn’t want to get a job, find a constructive hobby, enroll in a school or seek help, what would you do?
That’s right! Firearm therapy. Don’t get him a paint set, a telescope or build him a sound studio or his own dance studio. Don’t buy him a horse, a keyboard, a robot or set him up with his own computer business. Just let him fester and decay and leave him to his own devices. Let him sit in his “lair” and block out the sun with trash bags. Just take him to the firing range and buy him his favorite weapons. Indulge his every anti-social whim. Makes sense to me.
No one dared say “NO!” to Adam Lanza until the morning of last December 14th.
The young man who enjoyed “Dance Dance Revolution” as much as he liked “Mortal Combat”, and was ready with an ammo vest, a hat, sunglasses. yellow ear-plugs, fingerless gloves, and camouflage leg holsters had a date with destiny. He had watched videos of gun suicides, taken photos of himself holding guns and rifles to his head, and had practiced aiming, shooting, reloading, and gunning down students with computer games such as “Grand Theft Auto”, “School Shooting”, “Battlefield”, and “Left for Dead”.
Every time there is a mass shooting, it sickens us and is unimaginable. Not much different from terrorism, it’s really a sort of domestic terrorism, and nothing more. These people have a limited personal agenda, unlike Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who had more of an overall political agenda. Still, they are striking out at humanity in a way. They hurt, and they want to hurt their communities back. In some cases, they are striking out at their towns, the country and even the world. The idea of murdering innocent people, who have no direct relationship with the shooter, just doesn’t make sense to most of us.
Sadly, now these mass killings have become almost routine in this country. When the news of Sandy Hook first hit the internet and the news, there was talk of a shooter, but no talk of casualties. Since we’ve seen this play out so many times before, we knew that they don’t mention that anyone died until the next of kin are notified. So, the longer it stayed on the news, the worse we knew it would be. Even so, it was far worse than we could have imagined.
As incomprehensible as these other crimes are, we can try to understand most of them a little. At Springfield, Oregon, Kip Kinkel was the son of accomplished and driving parents. He didn’t measure up and he turned to deviance. He seemed to lash out at his classmates and just seemed to attack them as a punishment for feeling they forced him to kill both his parents. At Columbine, these two were striking out at their peers and community. At Virginia Tech, this angry man was also trying to deeply wound all the students at his school.
The Sandy Hook shooting was even more horrific and incomprehensible. Adam Lanza had no recent connection with The Sandy Hook School. These kids were 6 and 7 years old. Was his intended target really Newtown High School? The reason he went to the rooms he did seems not to be the ages of the children, but because they were the closest to the entrance and his car and he could see out the front windows. Sandy Hook School doesn’t have as many unknowns. At Newtown High, there are too many doors, too many driveways, too many people coming in and out and not enough windows. He did not want to be touched, and he didn’t want to get in a position where he could be attacked from behind.
The children were smaller and posed less of a threat to him. He had more control there. As a student at Sandy Hook Elementary, Adam was reportedly happy. By 5th grade, he was already writing stories about killing children. So I believe Sandy Hook School may have represented for him, the end of his happiness, and it only got worse after that. After years of decay, this person had no care, no empathy, and no feelings left for anyone. He projected that emptiness out onto everyone and everything he saw. Like Kip Kinkel, he just couldn’t accept what he was.
He knew what time to go there and he knew no one would be outside. He shot the adults on sight, eliminating the biggest threats first.
Take a look at his firearms, they are really magnificent looking. Look at the design of them. They are really bad – ass. These weapons fill a void for some people who are incomplete. They project power outwards. This is what Adam was doing, he was projecting power outwards. He was controlling the environment that had controlled him for so long and had shut him away. He wanted to say to Newtown and possibly the world: “I was here” and “I controlled you”.
That’s the best I can come up with as far as a motive.
I have a harder time understanding his mom. Nancy Lanza is the one we need to study. To understand Adam, we really need to understand Nancy Lanza. Nancy was self-reliant and she was going to handle the problem herself. She had a distrust of government and a distrust of Doctors. She had a fortress with an arsenal of firearms. Her home was chock full of weapons such as arrows, spears, ornate knives and swords. What was that all about?
Maybe for some women, the sewing circles and card clubs of yore have now been replaced by a gun culture which opens up doors for community and socialization. Nancy spent a lot of time at her favorite restaurant and bar hobnobbing with her buds. Want to get in with certain clubs? Buy a Bushmaster AR-15, and you’re in the club. That’s my feeling.
Tupperware parties have now been replaced with gun parties.
You think I’m kidding? Take a look at this:
“At GunEnvy, we know what it takes to make your event, the event of a lifetime
Let us put together a custom package for your next event or party, that will really kick it off with a BANG!
We provide machine gun rental packages, in a safe, controlled environment, that will be sure to make your party or event the envy of all those to come.
From full auto Glock pistols, to MP5s, AK47s, M4s, 1919 and many more, including the legendary Tommy gun!!!!
Events can be held at your suitable location*, or our private location.”
-No, this is not a joke.-
Guns could very well go mainstream, just like tatoos finally did.
What would the character from Sling Blade say?
“All right, then.”
Back to Adam Lanza:
All of these mass murders are shocking. But this one, because of the ages of the children, the number of deaths, and the fact that no one that he targeted and shot lived, makes this so much more heinous. This shooting really shook the nation. And it shook people who live in Newtown and Sandy Hook alumni like me and my sister even worse. What is going on in America? Connecticut has over 300 towns and thousands of schools. This happened in a school I went to and loved. What are the odds? For the children who lived through this and were traumatized it is even worse, and for the family and friends of the victims, it is unimaginable.
The shock to the conscience we received as a Nation from the Sandy Hook Massacre can only compare with the shock we felt after the Oklahoma City Bombing, Columbine, 9-11, and the assassination of President Kennedy.
It was unspeakable and unimaginable, an act so wanton and grotesque that it short circuits the brain. There is absolutely nothing that can justify it, but much worse than having a sick and twisted reason for committing a heinous atrocity is to have no reason at all.
It brings to mind the 1979 Cleveland Elementary school shooting where the shooter, Brenda Spencer, who lived across the street, and from her window, shot the principal and a custodian to death and wounded 8 children and a policeman in San Diego,. She was asked why. Her response became a hit song by the Boom Town Rats. “I don’t like Mondays”. Her father was told by her school she should seek hospitalization. Her father opted to not have her committed and he bought her a rifle for her birthday instead.
At Sandy Hook Elementary, the poor children locked in a toilet were crying and begging to go home so they could just have Christmas, how awful.
Like the other shocks, our first response is absolute helplessness and our second response is to ask WHY?
After the Kennedy Assassination, Americans all felt helpless and vulnerable and they all asked why. They are still asking, from the Warren report, to mistrust of their government, to all the many magic bullet and conspiracy theory spin offs and then finally back to the Warren report again, many are still asking “Why”.
“The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” – Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA
With those gems of wisdom, Wayne LaPierre is the winner of the 2013 Newtown Golden Cock award.
Who is the President of the NRA? He’s David Keene, who’s son was convicted for firing a gun out of a moving car on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia in 2002, shattering the back window of another car and lodging in the front seat perilously close to the driver. After this road rage incident, his son was sentenced to 10 years in prison. David Keene then changed his hardliner tune on mandatory minimum sentencing legislation for firearms violations. Go figure.
Jack Ruby was the good guy with a gun who only made matters worse. You cannot take Evil and twist it’s arm until it gives up. You cannot wrestle Evil to the ground and make it cry “Uncle!”. That’s what the Bill Stevens and the Wayne LaPierres of this world need to learn, because then you have now become the bad guy.
Bill Stevens with all his bluster and thinly veiled threats is not the hero of Newtown. The secret to heal a town and a nation won’t come from a firearm. Maybe there is a clue to what a real hero is really about in this poem:
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart) – e.e, cummings
That’s the lesson of the Sandy Hook Promise.
The only redeeming thing in this abhorrent tragedy is the good people of Newtown and the good people throughout our nation and the world who responded to this unthinkable act by choosing love. They answered random violence with directed kindness, they answered insanity with lucidity, and they answered decay with germination.
They replaced hopelessness with optimism.
The kind and supportive words from leaders around the world, the cards and gifts sent to Newtown and the Sandy Hook victims from around the U.S. and the world. All the empathetic and caring people who make this country great and sent light into the darkness of Newtown.
The victims and families of other shocking mass killings who came to help, the people who brought the trauma therapy dogs, the spontaneous memorial sites full of candlelight, ribbons, and toys, was the answer that echoed back from this abomination.
The good people of Newtown took a horrific and senseless tragedy and somehow turned it into an opportunity to change and to grow. They brought the Holidays back to Newtown and they brought Christmas back to Whoville.
The people of Newtown, conservative and liberal, gun enthusiasts and not, all got together for their love of humanity and the love of their children to bring about some changes and to somehow reduce the chances that another town would have to bear the unbearable. One of the outcomes was the founding of an organization called the Sandy Hook Promise. At this one year Anniversary, this is no time to get lost in rhetoric and political intransigence. This is no time to stumble or to give up. In truth, it’s only just the beginning of a long journey.
We can choose to parent together and look out for each other. It really does take a village (like Sandy Hook) to raise our children and to help keep them safe
We can choose to help change and improve our violent and competitive culture.
We can choose to risk and sacrifice for the good of the whole, like 6 year-old Sandy Hook victim, Jesse Lewis did when he saw Adam Lanza struglling to change magazines and urged the kids to run, saving the lives of 6 children.
We can choose to be kind to the least of us. We can be a friend to the lonely, the downtrodden and the isolated, like 7 year-old Sandy Hook victim, Daniel Barden, was for his fellow classmates. If there were more people like Daniel in Adam’s life, this tragedy may have been averted
We can replace the fear of failure, with the assurance of music and hope, like 6 year-old Sandy Hook victim, Anne Marquez-Greene did nearly every day.
We can help to make our schools and our public places safer….
….and let’s never stop pursuing better and more effective ways to deal with mental illness and gun safety.
We can call Wayne LaPierre and Bill Stevens, who want to handle it all by themselves, AFTER security is restored
“For Newtown, For Newtow Run out to Victory!
For Newtown, For Newtown, Steady and Strong are We.”
God Bless the victims of Sandy Hook and God, please bless America.