Around 11:00 a.m. Friday morning, I, like many other Americans learned of a shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut. At first many of us scrambled to hear all the details of the shooting, searching out any social or news avenues to get any information we could about the tragedy. Simply by hearing that a gunman had entered an elementary school at Christmas and opened fire on school kids made most Americans such as myself fear the worst. Thoughts were that America was going to have another Columbine tragedy right at Christmas time and how would these poor families ever get through Christmas after this tragic event.
The event details were sketchy early on but it was reported that a man in his early 20’s had entered an elementary school in Newtown Connecticut. Sandy Hook Elementary had been the school and a man dressed in black walked in the school just shy of 9:30 a.m. and opened fire on young children and school staff. The death toll was reported as possibly over 20 children dead and six school staff, however later the news reports revealed that 20 children were dead and 7 confirmed adults. At first the gunman was unidentified and then the reports listed him falsely as Ryan Lanza, however the news reports finally confirmed that it was Ryan’s younger brother Adam Lanza. Adam Lanza reportedly had a disturbed mental history and later there were reports he was mentally challenged by autism and possibly Asperger’s syndrome.
At first reports of it being Ryan Lanza most people jumped on their Facebook pages to search out information about the young shooter. Looking for his picture or more information about him. However very soon people saw in horror a man named Ryan Lanza placing online postings that he was on a bus going home and that he was not the shooter. Facebook and Twitter postings were very difficult to sort through but between the news broadcasts, Twitter and Facebook postings it was quickly derived that the news organizations had wrong information and indeed Ryan Lanza was not the shooter. When the news media finally gave updates on the shooter as being that of the younger brother of Ryan Lanza and that he reportedly had some disabilities the event details started to become clearer to many people in this area.
Most of the people I talked with were medical professionals and have families of their own. The details on the shooting were almost unbearable to everyone. Mothers wanted to leave work if just to get their children from school so that they could hug them. After all it’s close to Christmas and this tragedy committed on this community and these families is truly unimaginable.
Watching the first hand accounts from a small girl and hearing details of people going into the hall with only one of them coming back had all of us visibly shaken. As well as what this small community will now have to face. After all many of us in this part of Western Kentucky remember how we were shaken after our own school shooting at Heath High School in Paducah Kentucky. Many of those I spoke with were shocked at what this world had become with horrific events such as the Columbine shooting, Virginia Tech and even a theater in Aurora Colorado. At times like these everyone stops what they are doing to reflect on their own families and how easily lives can be lost.
There were reports that Lanza’s mother Nancy was possibly a Sandy Hook teacher and how she was killed at her home in Newtown. Adam Lanza according to news information had always had issues with the way he was treated by his mother. Speculation was that he had somehow went to the school after killing his mother as an act to kill others that he felt had done him wrong but for what reason he had gone to the school was at least for now unclear. The first hand reports from the school stated that witnesses heard many shots and that the principal was shot, as well as other elementary staff.
Adam Lanza was reportedly said to possibly have a juvenile record along with mental disabilities that involved possibly autism or Asperger’s. I am certain more information will come out about Adam Lanza since at last report some people such as a girlfriend were missing. His older brother Ryan Lanza is said to be working with police to help piece together today’s events. News reports have stated that Adam Lanza had his brother’s identification on him at the time of the event and that was why there was so much confusion at first at who the shooter actually was. At present however there is just so much speculation about what truly happened. I am certain that it will take time to piece together the information but in the end we may never truly know what all happened or why.
One can only think at this time so close to Christmas, may God be with these families.