I am sure I'm not the only person whose heart is heavy tonight. After the senseless shooting of innocent children and teachers yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut, I am devastated. I spent my working life as a teacher, caring for and educating children just like the ones who were victims yesterday. Now, tonight, after seeing some of the beautiful little faces and reading their names, and after hearing stories about heroic teachers who gave their lives to protect the children in their care, I cannot process my thoughts. As I watch the faces of parents on the television screen, I cannot imagine their grief and despair.
What would motivate a person to do such a heinous act? To kill his own mother before starting out on the path he set before him; to break into the school in order to get to those precious little ones. What went through his mind? How long had he planned this? What can be done to prevent another attack like this one?
I googled "Newtown School shooting" and read some of the articles on their website, but no reason has yet been given for the distraught state of mind Adam Lanza must have been in before starting out on this dreadful journey, I remembered the Columbine shooting and the pact the two boys had made to get revenge on students who had made fun of them. But these little children had done nothing to cause this.
The website writer listed 13 shootings in 2012 on the Newton website. Thirteen times this year, some deranged individual used an automatic weapon to kill people somewhere in the United States.
3. On March 6, in Tulsa, a 23-year-old man began shooting at the Tulsa Court House. Three people were wounded.
4. On March 8, a 30-year-old man killed one and wounded seven at a Medical Clinic.
5. On April 2, it was a 43-year-old man at a small Christian college in Oakland, California, who opened fire, killed seven and wounded three. He then walked into a grocery store and said, "I shot some people," and police were called.
6. In a Seattle cafe near the Washington-Seattle campus, a man opened fire on May 30, killing four. He was angry because he didn't get his tuition money back when he dropped out of school.
7. A pool party in Auburn, Alabama, was the scene of the next shooting on June 9. A man was angry about a dispute over a woman, and he opened fire, killing three people and injuring three others.
8. At Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on July 17, at a crowded bar near the University of Alabama, seventeen people were injured but no one was killed by gunfire. Before going to the bar, however, the man entered a home and shot at a man. The perpetrator was charged with 18 counts of attempted murder.
9. On July 20 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, a man dressed in black killed twelve people and injured 58 others.
10. On August 5, at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconson, a 40-year-old man walked in while people were meditating and praying. He opened fire and killed six.
11. October 21, at a day spa in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a 45-year-old man killed his wife and four other women before shooting himself.
12. On December 11 at Clackamus Town Center in Clackamus, Oregon, a man wearing a helmet and an ammunition-packed vest killed two people and then himself.
13. December 14, just yesterday, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a 20-year-old killed 12 little girls and 8 little boys, all aged 6 or 7 and in the first grade, he killed 6 women in the school who were teachers or administrators, and he killed his own mother, before turning the gun on himself.
This senseless killing has turned into an epidemic. Is there anything that can be a common denominator in all these crimes? Is there any way to put an end to all these killings? How can people cope with the devastation that comes into their lives when a loved one is killed so senselessly?
I'm sure the experts will have answers for us eventually, but meanwhile, funerals for babies must be planned and people must come to grips with these deaths. With only ten days until Christmas, how can these families go on with some semblance of life?
Please pray for Newtown, Connecticut. Pray for those whose children are dead. Pray for those whose children survived. Pray that parents will know how to help their children alleviate their fears about going back to school, and help them go on with their little lives. They have a lifetime of memories. Their innocence has been taken away. Christmas will be very different in Newtown this year. Remember to pray for all those people on Christmas Day.