The Finality of Firearms:
Honoring the 5th Anniversary of the Mass Shootings
at Sandy Hook Elementary School
12/14/2012 – 12/14/2017
The front façade of the old Sandy Hook Elementary School. In the summer of 2017, the building where the murders of 20 1st graders and 6 adults had taken place was bulldozed and razed to the ground with an entirely new, and very modernized Sandy Hook Elementary School taking its place.
Five years ago the bucolic and quaint area that I originally hail from became an unspeakable bloodbath that made international news. On the morning of December 14th, 2012 the world was stupefied to learn a lone gunman had forced his way into an elementary school in the rural Connecticut countryside and proceeded to shoot and kill 20 1st graders all under the age of 7 along with 6 adults who died while fiercely trying to protect the lives of the students that were under their charge.
The most horrifiying aspect regarding that darkest of days was it had occurred in a place where prior to 5 years ago, no one would have ever questioned whether a child would be safe while present there nor would anyone feel the need to further investigate whether their little one would be susceptibly vulnerable to any kind of harm – a K-4 elementary school.
Despite the world seeming to have changed practically overnight following the Sandy Hook Massacre and mainly due to the realization that these incomprehensible things actually DID happen, an immensely juxtaposing sense of irony kicks in with the following thought. People may be even more distrustful and paranoid of the outside world these days, but in the 5 years which have now officially passed since that terrible day in Newtown, CT. barely anything has changed legally or politically regarding the control over firearms used in the United States. In fact these days purchasing a gun is probably at its easiest with the established gun laws being greatly loosened over the course of these last 5 years.
Since the inconceivable horror at Sandy Hook, both sites where the murders took place, namely the school itself along with the killer’s family home located nearby have been bulldozed and razed to the ground. But even with a newly built, fully equipped elementary school building and no trace of the killer and his family’s former residence, the firearms crisis in this country has only become more and more demonstratively worse with each passing year. When Sandy Hook’s mass shootings took place, it was the worst case of mass murder by a single gunman at that time. But when looking at just the last 2 months alone, 2 tragedies have occurred over the course of this autumn with death tolls that equal and surpass Sandy Hook’s.
To note in reversed order, a man with a prior history of being in the military along with having multiple violent episodes from Sutherland Springs, Texas had supposedly “fallen off the radar” or said another way, the mental disturbances he experienced both during and after his time in the service should have put his name on a list that would have prevented him from buying any kind of gun or firearm. But for reasons unforeseen his commanding officers dropped the ball to make sure his name was on that list. So on one weekend day this past November, the man purchased a few AK-47’s and on the following weekend day on November 5th, 2017 he took his semi-automatics and exercised his right to arms by killing 26 people. It must be mentioned the victims of the Texas mass shooting were gathered together at another formerly sacred place where it was presumed no harm would ever come to a person while present there – Sunday morning church services.
A few weeks prior to that un-Godly event, on the evening of October 1st, the worst blood bath of mass shootings in American history took place in the city of Las Vegas, when a man who owned a practical arsenal’s worth of semi-automatic AR-15 and AK-47 rifles opened fire from the 32nd floor of his hotel room down upon a crowd of 22,000 gathered below for a country music festival, taking the lives of 58 people in total and injuring 546. Las Vegas remains the current title holder for the most deaths by a single gunman due to the killer employing the use of “bump firing stocks” which allowed for his many guns to repeatedly lock and load as if they were fully and not merely semi-automatic weapons. In a time span of under 10 minutes, it’s estimated the Las Vegas killer managed to fire some 1,100 rounds into the large crowd of concert goers who were assembled on a concrete surface area measuring 15 acres that was under the open air with no protective covering of any kind nearby. Alongside that terrifying fact the venue for this music festival was the perfect death trap, given the outlets for exiting the event were located in one small concentrated area due to a security fence framing most of the concrete lot’s perimeter. This factor made those assembled in the crowd to be sitting ducks since their means to escape the rain of bullets coming from out of the sky were so limited.
As with Sandy Hook’s killer, the Las Vegas gunman was found dead after a self inflicted gun wound to the head took his life shortly after realizing he was completely surrounded by law enforcement with no possibility of escape.
But even with the never before seen number of victims killed, Las Vegas’ death knoll of distinction stands to be short lived given it’s only a brief matter of time before a different town or city will earn the bestowed notoriety of having “the most people killed by a single gunman in American history”.
We should also keep in mind that prior to both the Las Vegas and Texas tragedies the city which was #1 for the most mass shooting deaths by a single gunman for the last one and a half years was Orlando, Florida when on June 12th, 2016 a gunman walked into the Pulse Nightclub, killing 49 people in all that evening.
Despite Orlando losing its grim record setting statistic, following the Las Vegas shootings it still retains distinction for having the most number of mass shooting deaths where the perpetrator did not take his own life, but rather was shot dead while attempting in vain to escape.
The future record breaker of the most people murdered by guns in one setting in this country should be soon enough expanding to global proportions, given the worst mass shooting by a lone gunman in modern History took place in July of 2011 in Norway with a grand total of 77 people perishing at that time.
With the control over guns in this country being at its most relaxed state along with the rate of mass murders being at its highest rate, it only logically follows that the next public shooting in a major metropolitan area stands to topple over Norway’s death digits much sooner than later with the threshold being raised with each newly unfolding tragedy that befalls the American public.
Following Newtown’s murders in 2012 a bill was proposed that following April in our nation’s capital that from my liberal point of view I thought wasn’t even remotely restrictive enough since it sought to slightly expand upon the background check taken whenever a person initially sought to purchase a gun. I remember being at dinner with a friend saying “You can’t even call the new bill “intrusive” in any way, so it should be a shoe in to pass in Washington.” Followed by my next pseudo-revelatory statement “This last shooting spree is so profoundly upsetting the politicians have got to take our side, because let’s face the facts, FIRST GRADE SHOOTING VICTIMS??”
Apparently tacking on a few more additional background questions was asking far, far too much. Less than five months following the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary on April 18th 2013 the federal government (pardon the pun) shot down the Manchin-Toomey Amendment of S.649 better known as “The Fireams Bill”.
Besides the “right to bear arms” the 2nd Amendment of the American Constitution speaks of “the security of a Free State“. Clearly this particular right has infringed upon the security of our Free State far more often than we the American people care to remember.
If abolishing the granting of firearms to citizens of our country is seen as too subversive, greater restrictions must be taken going forward in any case, since the last 2 months alone have clearly made the American people feel more vulnerable than ever before.
If the deaths of 20 innocent 6 year olds attending school 5 years ago did nothing to change the landscape of American gun control, then nothing will unless the American people defiantly take a stand when realizing we cannot sit and wait for the inevitable number of American victims killed on American soil to reach new global heights.
May Perpetual Light shine upon the souls of those brave women and the souls of those pure innocents who lost their lives 5 years ago at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown Connecticut.
Five years after the unthinkable, a new Sandy Hook Elementary stands.
Inside the new and greatly improved Sandy Hook Elementary
Commemorating the 5th Anniversary of the Sandy Hook mass murders, a photo exhibit at the Newtown Municipal Center displays black and white portraits of the 20 1st graders and 6 adults killed on that day.