NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, December 14th, 2012

At least eighteen children and eight adults slaughtered at school in Connecticut

Dev­as­tat­ing, heart­break­ing, hor­ri­ble news out of New Eng­land this morn­ing:

At least 27 peo­ple — includ­ing 18 chil­dren — were killed Fri­day morn­ing at a local ele­men­tary school, mark­ing the dead­liest shoot­ing ever in Con­necti­cut and one of the worst ever in the coun­try.

The shoot­ing hap­pened at about 9:40 AM [6:40 AM Pacif­ic Time] at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School, offi­cials said. Police said one shoot­er was killed late Fri­day morn­ing. There were mul­ti­ple reports ear­ly Fri­day after­noon of a sec­ond shoot­er.

Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman, said a shoot­er was dead inside the build­ing. He did not release any details on any of the vic­tims and did not address reports of a sec­ond shoot­er.

The event sent shock­waves through­out the state and the nation and gen­er­at­ed a response from the FBI and a state­ment from the White House. Fed­er­al author­i­ties are work­ing with New­town and state police to coor­di­nate the response.

Con­necti­cut Gov­er­nor Dan Mal­loy’s office said that state and fed­er­al law enforce­ment per­son­nel were on their way to New­town to help coor­di­nate the emer­gency response. The gov­er­nor’s staff said that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma had called the gov­er­nor to express his deep­est con­do­lences and offer fed­er­al assis­tance.

At least two weapons were said to have been recov­ered, accord­ing to media reports. The deceased sus­pect is thought to be a male in his ear­ly twen­ties, who report­ed­ly came into the school with mul­ti­ple weapons and body armor.

The Pres­i­dent is expect­ed to make a state­ment at the White House short­ly.

The death toll from today’s tragedy already appears to be more than twice as high as the awful 1999 Columbine tragedy in Lit­tle­ton, Col­orado, in which twelve peo­ple (most of them high school stu­dents) were killed by Eric Har­ris and Dylan Kle­bold.

Our hearts go out to the fam­i­lies whose broth­ers, sis­ters, fathers, moth­ers, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and grand­chil­dren were sense­less­ly gunned down this morn­ing. They will be in unimag­in­able pain in the days, weeks, and months ahead. We grieve with them in spir­it and pray that they will find the strength to recov­er from this calami­ty. There is no worse news a fam­i­ly can receive than to hear a child, par­ent, or sib­ling has been gunned down at school.

Pro­po­nents of unre­strict­ed gun own­er­ship will say that now is not the time to talk about imple­ment­ing mea­sures to pre­vent or avert gun vio­lence. We strong­ly dis­agree. We rec­og­nize that a tragedy has just tak­en place, that we do not yet know all of the details about what hap­pened at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary in New­town, that the com­mu­ni­ty there is still in shock, and our thoughts ought to be with the vic­tims.

But the rea­son there are vic­tims at all is because we have failed as a nation to address both the symp­toms and the root caus­es of gun vio­lence. How many more tragedies must we endure before we decide to act? In the past fif­teen years, gun­men have opened fire on inno­cent peo­ple in schools, malls, movie the­aters, col­lege cam­pus­es, gro­cery store park­ing lots, hous­es of wor­ship, and even an Army base.

Since 1968, when Robert F. Kennedy and Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. were assas­si­nat­ed, more than a mil­lion peo­ple in the Unit­ed States have been killed by guns. More than a mil­lion!

When are we going to decide that enough is enough? When are we going to muster the polit­i­cal will to do some­thing about this prob­lem? What is it going to take? If the mur­der of near­ly two dozen chil­dren in an ele­men­tary school can­not gal­va­nize us to take action, what will?

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