Saturday Reads: Today is the 7th Anniversary of the Sandy Hook School Schooting

 

Today is the 7th anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Looking back, after all the horrendous school shootings that followed and the lack of any serious response by the federal government, we can see clearly how the NRA, along with Russia, has taken control of the Republican Party. We now know that Russia worked with the NRA to elect an evil wannabe dictator to the U.S. presidency.

From Wikipedia:

Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, United States, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children between six and seven years old, and six adult staff members. Wikipedia

DateDecember 14, 2012
WeaponsBushmaster XM15-E2S rifle; Glock 20SF handgun;
Total number of deaths28 (27 at the school including the perpetrator, and the perpetrator’s mother at home)

Survivors and supporters are posting remembrances on Twitter. Among them is this story that Senator Chris Murphy about one of the lost children, Daniel Barden.

A reminder that Democrats are trying to make changes to our insane gun laws:

 

From Everytown Research: Gunfire on School Grounds in the United States.

There were at least 100 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2019, resulting in:

  • 26 deaths, including 3 suicide deaths (where no one else was harmed) and
  • 63 injuries, including 0 self-harm injuries (where no one else was harmed)

Everytown for Gun Safety started tracking incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2013 to gain a better understanding of how often children and teens are affected by gun violence at their schools and colleges, and in response to a lack of research and data on the issue.

Students who walked out of their Montgomery County, Maryland, schools protest against gun violence in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RC195C982280

Over six years of tracking, this data has shown us that gunfire on school grounds takes many forms and mirrors the problem of gun violence in America. Gunfire on school grounds occurs most often at schools with a high proportion of students of color—disproportionately affecting Black students. For more information, click here to read the analysis of this data and learn about proven solutions that can make schools in America safer.

When it comes to how American children are exposed to gun violence, gunfire at schools is just the tip of the iceberg–every year, nearly 2,900 children and teens are shot and killed and nearly 15,600 more are shot and injured. An estimated 3 million American children are exposed to shootings per year. Witnessing shootings — whether in their schools, their communities or their homes– can have a devastating impact. Children exposed to violence, crime, and abuse are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol; suffer from depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder; fail or have difficulties in school; and engage in criminal activity.

See a map and a list of the incidents at the link. The most recent was on Dec. 2.

ABC News: School shootings are more common than you may think: A look at the incidents that went under the radar in 2019.

Since Columbine permanently etched horrific images into the national consciousness two decades ago, the scene has played out again and again. And school districts around the country have girded themselves against that dreaded scenario, performing drills, hiring armed guards and preparing safety plans.

According to the FBI, there have been 42 “active shooter” incidents at Pre-K through 12 school grounds from 2000-2018, which the bureau defines as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” These include the high-profile incidents like Parkland and Sandy Hook.

But this definition obscures many school shootings — more than two dozen in 2019 alone, according to an ABC News analysis of incidents at K-12 schools — many of which pass under the radar, but impact the students, teachers and communities where they occur….

During the third week of November alone, officers responded to crime scenes on the East and West coasts: in Pleasantville, New Jersey, where a 10-year-old child was killed during a football game, and in Santa Clarita, California, where a teen opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding several more at Saugus High School.

With no nationally accepted definition, sorting out what constitutes a school shooting is difficult. Everytown, an independent, non-profit group that studies gun violence, reports it has tracked at least 99 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in 2019 alone (through Dec. 11), including three suicides and 63 injuries….

ABC News has reviewed the database from the non-profit Gun Violence Archives, and, for the purposes of this story, defined a school shooting as an incident where an alleged assailant steps onto the property of an educational institution — during school hours or during an extracurricular activity on the property — and fires a gun at another person, in order to present a fuller picture of violence at schools not covered by the FBI “active shooter” rubric.

Based on news reports and data collected by the Gun Violence Archive, ABC News has found 26 such shootings since January — with half occurring on Fridays. The most violent month was in September, where seven shootings were reported at high schools in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. July was the safest month, according to ABC News’ report.

See a list of the school shootings ABC identified in 2019 at the link.

The New York Times: The Yearbook That Victims of School Shootings Never Collected.

The black, hard-bound book with black lettering is meant to look stark. The harsh cover with only “2018” on its top purposely does not resemble the colorful fronts of normal yearbooks, which “should be about commencement, hopes and dreams and what comes next in life,” its website says.

“Unfortunately,” it adds, “this yearbook is about none of those things.”

It’s a yearbook for people killed in school shootings in 2018.

Yearbook of School Shooting Victims

Created by a group that includes a Parkland survivor and a Sandy Hook mother, as well as several nonprofit organizations, the 2018 yearbook memorializing 37 victims who were fatally shot while under the protective mantle of education has one goal: Stop the violence.

The group is shipping copies of the yearbook to all members of the United States Senate, the governors of every state, each of the 2020 presidential candidates, and President Trump.

“When you lose a child, that pain is with you, every day, all day long,” said Scarlett Lewis, one of the yearbook’s organizers and the mother of Jesse Lewis, 6, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012.
This Saturday will be the seventh anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook, where Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 first-grade students and six staff members before killing himself as police arrived at the school. Earlier in the day, Mr. Lanza shot and killed his mother.

Before he was shot, Jesse Lewis saved the lives of several classmates after he urged them to flee from the gunfire as Mr. Lanza reloaded, The Hartford Courant reported in October 2013. His mother, who founded the nonprofit Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, said she tries to embody that courage daily.

“I want this project to spur everyone into action,” she said. “The opposite of anxiety is action.”

The Hartford Courant: After years of planning, ‘The Clearing’ is a memorial that will honor the 26 victims who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

From a bird’s-eye view, the memorial renderings show a web of paths swirling inward from an expansive circle. Looping through gardens, tree groves and ponds, they join at a single point: a sycamore tree, surrounded by a reflecting pool.

Years in the making, “The Clearing” is Newtown’s proposed design for a public memorial honoring the 26 victims murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings on Dec. 14, 2012. Its creators envision a place to remember and respect the deep grief that families here have endured.

Aerial rendering of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial design. Courtesy of SWA Group.

Budget issues initially halted progress, but the local board of selectmen and the memorial commission are now ready to move forward. If Newtown voters approve funds for the project next year, the memorial could open by December of 2021.

“For me, it’s not so much about the design, but about what it represents,” said Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis was one of the children killed in the tragedy.

Lewis was an early member of The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission before founding the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation to prevent school shootings. Although she is no longer a part of the commission, she continues to support the memorial.

“It’s incredibly important to honor and remember,” she said. “It takes courage to remember, and it’s a great way to learn from past mistakes.”

Survivor stories from AP: As Newtown students grow up, some turn to activism.

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — They were children themselves when they lost siblings, friends, and schoolmates in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Too young to comprehend the massacre, they spent years in shock and denial.

Seven years later, some young people in Newtown, still struggling with the trauma, are emerging as new voices for school safety and gun violence prevention. The activism, they say, has been a way to turn something horrific into something positive.

Natalie Barden was 10 when her brother, Daniel, 7, was killed. She attended a different school that went into lockdown as word of the shooting spread. She remembers being annoyed that morning as Daniel hugged her while they got ready for school.

Rendering of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial reflecting pool. Courtesy of SWA Group.

Her favorite memories are of sleeping on Daniel’s bed with Daniel and their older brother, James, because it was the biggest, and watching television, playing board games and wrestling.

Her father, Mark Barden, became an activist with the Sandy Hook Promise group he helped create after the shooting. Natalie disliked the media attention and interviews in their home because they brought back the pain of losing Daniel.

“When you’re that young, it’s really hard to wrap your mind around it,” said Natalie, now a 17-year-old senior at Newtown High School. “Your sibling is such a big part of your life, and to know your brother for only seven years is gone — I still can’t wrap my mind around it. When I got to high school, it really hit me.”

As she entered school, the shock was wearing off. Then 17 people were killed in the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. She was inspired by the Parkland teens who demanded action on gun control….

“That just kind of pushed me to become more involved with the whole youth movement,” Natalie said in an interview.

Her sophomore year, Natalie joined the Junior Newtown Action Alliance, the youth arm of the Newtown Action Alliance, a local group dedicated to promoting gun control measures.

In this Dec. 3, 2019, photo, Mark Barden and his daughter Natalie Barden hold a photograph of Natalie’s late brother, Daniel, at their home in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Dave Collins)

She has called the offices of federal lawmakers, urging them to pass gun control bills, including an assault weapons ban. She began going on speaking engagements with her father.

An article she wrote for Teen Vogue last year sparked positive feedback from others affected by mass shootings, she said. She also wrote about her brother, feelings of loss and hope for the future in a chapter of a book published earlier this year, “If I Don’t Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings.”

“I lost my brother, so I know how life-shattering a gun can be,” she said. “I think it’s just human nature to want to prevent others from feeling that way. We’ve kind of lost our innocence. We can’t sit back and ignore it.”

Read the other stories at the AP link.

One more from The Washington Post: My son survived Sandy Hook. It’s changed me as a parent, by Sarah Walker Caron.

When the first few chords of Jewel’s “You Were Meant for Me” blasted through the loudspeakers, I smiled. But moments later, tears gathered in my eyes, and I fought the urge to break down.

It was a chilly October Saturday afternoon in Maine, when the leaves were a rustling, vibrant array of oranges, reds and magentas. Thousands of people crowded the area, waiting to cheer on the racers.

My son warmed up with his cross-country teammates, readying themselves for their race. Nearby, girls from dozens of high school teams stood at the starting line, waiting for their race to begin.

As the song swirled around all of us — the runners, the parents, the friends — the girls at the starting line broke into song, singing along with loud, strong voices. Dozens of girls, representing dozens of teams, they were brought together in that moment, vibrant, full of life, energetic.

Tears collected in my eyes and dripped down my cheeks. It was a beautiful moment that left me shaken. The camaraderie, the sweetness, the life inside those girls took my breath away. I didn’t even know them. A few deep breaths helped. But the underlying reason I cried can’t be breathed away.

My son — my vibrant, athletic 14-year-old — is a mass shooting survivor.

His life continued because the gunman chose to enter the classroom across the hall, instead of his. It’s a sobering fact that is never far from my consciousness, though I wish it could be. Seven years ago, on Dec. 14, 2012, Will was a 7-year-old second-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

I know there is plenty of other news today; but after I opened Twitter this morning, I decided to focus on the Sandy Hook Anniversary. Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comments. This is an open thread.