You think you've seen the worst that can happen, and then a day like this comes and breaks your heart all over again. Just last week in our backyard (Portland in neighboring state, Oregon), a gunman killed two people and then himself at a shopping mall. Today, the violence is targeted at children, while they were in school, and all these just a few weeks, days to Christmas. What is really going on?
NEWTOWN, Connecticut (Reuters) - A heavily armed gunman opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, killing 26 people including 20 children in the latest in a series of shooting rampages across the United States this year, U.S. media reported.
The gunman was dead inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, state police Lieutenant Paul Vance told a news conference.
Vance said there were 28 deaths in Connecticut - 20 children and seven adults from the school and another person connected to the suspect at a house in Newtown. The total included the shooter, who media said was a 24-year-old man. The New York Times reported that the gunman killed himself at the scene.
One of the dead was the shooter's mother, a teacher at the school, The New York Times reported, citing a law enforcement official.
CNN reported that an official said there was an additional death - the brother of the suspected gunman in New Jersey - but this was not independently confirmed.
The suspected gunman entered the school as children were gathered in their classrooms for morning meeting. He was armed with four weapons and wore a bullet-proof vest, WABC reported.
If confirmed, it would be one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. The holiday season tragedy was the second shooting rampage in the United States this week and was certain to revive a debate about U.S. gun laws.
President Barack Obama, wiping away tears and pausing to collect his emotions, mourned the "beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old" who were killed.
"As a country we have been through this too many times," Obama said, ticking off a list of recent shootings. Source
I've documented two mass shooting incidents on this blog, both happened this year, one at a college, and the other at a cinema. These are places we take for granted, we go to these venues almost on a daily basis without thinking twice about it. But with this upsurge in random shootings, this might change. I don't want it to, and I hope that President Obama, and all those who are in a position come to an agreement on how to take away this access to guns for anyone that wants them.
At this moment, I can imagine how parents around the country may be feeling - some took their children out of school earlier than usual - but I certainly can't imagine what the parents who lost their children must be going through. May they be comforted, and the souls who died rest in peace. Amen