Friday, December 14, 2012

"They have to buzz you in"

By Donald Sensing

Like everyone else, I am at a loss for words at the news of the marauding gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut this morning. As I write, news reports are that all the children murdered are kindergartners, 27 dead in all, including adults, and that one entire kindergarten class of 18 small kids been slaughtered The gunman, said to be a 20-year-old man associated with the school in some way, is dead, too, though whether by his own hand or by police gunfire is not announced yet. Seems more likely he shot himself, IMO.

Distant spectators like me can do nothing but pray for the families, the injured, the police and the community. There is no point in trying to explain it, at least not yet. All I can do here is invite you to read what I wrote after Congressman Gabby Giffords was shot in Phoenix by Jared Loughner, who killed or wounded many more: "He has a demon, and is mad."

Two things about the news coverage (I watched Fox) have struck me so far:

1. Please take Megyn Kelly off the air. Now. Don't let her report high-intensity breaking news ever again. She's an embarrassment and doesn't even know it.

2. How many times we were told that the school is secure because "they have to buzz you in." So they are speculating that the front office knew the gunman already, so that was why they buzzed him in.

My daughter's first high school was a buzz-in school. I assure you that anyone armed as the gunman today is said to have been armed who wants to get through the front door is going to do so quickly, buzzed in or not. (Update, 12/17: "Authorities now know the gunman used 'an assault weapon' to "literally (shoot) an entrance into the building," Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said" (CNN). I'll take no note here of the imprecision of the term "assault weapon.")

We cannot prevent these things from happening if, as seems evident here, the killer goes to the school not only tokill, but to die.

Let it also be noted that if the shooter was indeed only 20, then he did not have a carry permit and could not legally buy the two semi-auto pistols he is said to have used. (He also is said to have used a .223-caliber rifle, legally obtainable by anyone more than 18.) But let it be noted that if gun control, as usually conceived (legislation that gives the appearance of protection) worked, then the gunman would not have had those two pistols.

I don't know the answer. I don't even know whether there is an answer. May God have mercy on us all.

Update: Predictably enough, already some Democrats don't want to let a crisis go to waste:

Hours after what appears to have been a massacre at a local elementary school in Connecticut, and with the number of victims or their identities yet known, MSNBC host Alex Wagner opined that this shooting must yield policy makers in Washington some “political capital” to introduce reform American gun ownership laws. 
Also, the gunman has been identified as Ryan Adam Lanza, the "son of a kindergarten teacher" at Sandy Hook, according to NBC News broadcast, whom Lanza killed there (see update below). It was his mother. The dead pupils were all apparently her class. (Note: News reports when I first wrote this gave the name as Ryan. The shooter has since been identified as, reportedly, Ryan's brother, Adam. Ryan is not involved in the events.)

Also, I switched over to NBC News and Lester Holt, anchoring, is showing how this kind of news reporting should be handled. Megyn Kelly should watch the tape.

Update: According to USA Today, Lanza killed his mother before going to the school.
Three weapons were found — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside the school, and a .223-caliber rifle in the back of a car.
A federal law enforcement official said the guns had been legally bought and registered by the shooter's 52-year-old mother, Nancy Lanza, USA TODAY's Kevin Johnson reported.
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