The most gripping realization to come out of the harrowing report on the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was how quickly it all happened. According to the report of the Connecticut State’s Attorney on the Dec. 14, 2012, horror, “From the time the doors of the school were locked at 9:30 a.m. until the time it is believed the shooter killed himself at 9:40:03, fewer than 11 minutes had elapsed.” The 48-page document was released Monday.
When you read the narrative of Adam Lanza’s barbarous actions and his cowardly suicide using guns bought for him by the mother he killed earlier that morning, each minute of terror feels like an eternity. Kids huddled in classrooms with teachers who did everything they could to keep them safe, from distracting them with coloring books to shielding them with their bodies from the madman’s bullets. And the ensuing carnage played out over the intercom when an injured teacher who called 911 “inadvertently” turned on the school-wide system.
The heartbreak of Newtown created a new class of gun-control advocates: parents of victims no older than 6 years old. The children’s murder renewed calls for something to be done to stop gun violence from destroying more families. President Obama could not speak about what happened without weeping. Legislation would be offered. But all the belief that this time would be different — after all, the ultimate safe space, a grade school, was the site of unimagined carnage — gave way to the usual pattern. The National Rifle Association called for more guns. Sensible legislation failed. And more mass shootings occurred, most notably at the Navy Yard in D.C. on Sept. 16.
It took no time for someone with a gun to take the lives of innocents. It will take an eternity to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them, it seems.
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