Tragedy struck Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut this morning—a tragedy that will likely linger for some time and never totally wane. Twenty-year old suspect, Adam Lanza, is believed to have entered the school armed with handguns and rifle. The horrific mass shooting claimed the lives of 26 people, including the kindergarten to fourth grade school’s principal, psychologist and 20 children, reported The Associated Press (AP).
“‘The majority of those who died were children — beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old,’” said President Obama earlier today, according to the AP. “They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, wedding, kids of their own […] Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children.’”
“[Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police] described ‘a very tragic, tragic scene,’ noting the carnage first responders witnessed when they arrived,” wrote CNN’s Susan Candiotti and Michael Pearson. ‘I have difficulty putting it into words,’ Vance told CNN, adding that he has ‘seen some horrific things, and this is right up there with them.’
The suspect is reported to have taken his own life after targeting two classrooms within the school. CNN added that Nancy Lanza, the alleged gunman’s mother, was found dead at her son’s residence.
The fact that most of the victims were young children—some that were on this Earth for only a handful of years — seems to add another dimension to the horror. Just imagine the parents and loved ones of Sandy Hook students waiting in panic and shock to find out if their son or daughter, niece or nephew, brother or sister or grandchild was dead or alive.
Whenever such an event takes place, we tend ask what could possibly be the motive. What kind of person is capable of carrying out such a vicious act? Varying accounts have said that suspect Adam Lanza suffered from a personality disorder or a history of mental health issues.
Less than two weeks before Christmas, one may wonder if the holidays were a trigger—a time of year joyful for some and melancholic for others. According to EveryMotherCounts.org, domestic violence increases during the holidays. Although Lanza allegedly killing his mother could be considered an act of domestic violence (and the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence calls murder-suicide “the ultimate act of domestic violence”), the murder spree that extended to the school far exceeds the typical domestic violence scenario. Furthermore, numerous sources (including Psychology Today’s Joshua D. Foster and Ilan Shrira) state that it is a myth that suicides increases during the Christmas holidays.
Whatever the reasons or circumstances, there are many people hurting in Connecticut this evening, and many people around the world are sending love their way.