Today a young man, who had planned ahead, killed 28 people in and near Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza apparently killed his mother at home, shooting her in the face. He then went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and 8 faculty, including the much-loved principal. In minutes, the world of these children was turned upside down.
Soon after Lanza entered the school, around 9 am, teachers and students were astonished to hear the school intercom come on, broadcasting a strong interaction between people, including swearing. Teachers locked their classroom doors, hid children in cupboards, and in the gym, shielded the children with their bodies. At least one teacher convinced her class there was a wild animal loose in the school, and that was the reason for cautious behavior.
After police arrived, children were cleared from the classrooms and groups began running to the nearby fire station. Connecticut State Police began arriving in minutes, since these State Police take their police cars home and everywhere with them, for fastest response. Today, this paid off handsomely, with an array of dozens of sedans and trucks arriving, low-set flashing police lights bright. ATF arrived. Canine officers arrived.
President Obama made a short, emotional speech. Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy met with the families. At this hour, 10 pm Central, a memorial Mass has already been held, with even the Pope sending a message of comfort.
We are left now with many questions. What could possibly have been Adam Lanza’s motivation? What could he possibly have wanted to achieve by shooting all these people, especially children ages 5-10? Did he plan all along to end his shooting spree by ending his own life?
So how can we respond to the massacre at Newtown? In several ways.
1. Pray, for the families of those shot today, for the investigators and the counselors, and for all those affected by all similar events. Keep praying.
2. Hold Go(o)d Thoughts. Whether you believe in prayer or not, stay positive and believe that the investigators will answer the questions as fast as possible. Believe that, with Lanza dead, this can be the last mass shooting in this country. Are you open to that possibility? Believe that people can and will heal in time.
3. Get into the gun control conversation. Follow the commentary of people like Captain Mark Kelly, astronaut husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords was one of 19 people shot at a Tucson Safeway, almost 2 years ago; 6 of those shooting victims died. Ask yourself where you are on these issues, and whether different gun control laws could have changed today’s outcome. Know and speak for your position.
4. Give thanks and hold your loved ones tight. You get to spend another holiday season with them. In some homes, certain chairs are empty this year.
● Kebba Buckley Button is a corporate stress management trainer and the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, and the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core. She is also an ordained minister.
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