Innocence Lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Connecticut Residents React to Friday's Shooting

Yahoo Contributor Network

Connecticut residents are reacting to Friday's shooting in Newtown. Here's one perspective.

RIDGEFIELD, Conn.

COMMENTARY | Friday morning, I left my dorm room at Western Connecticut State University, heading to work one town over in Ridgefield. I had no idea that as I began my day, hell was taking over the small elementary school half an hour away in Newtown at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Just after 10 a.m., a customer asked me if I had heard about the shooting. I thought she was referring to the Oregon mall incident that happened only three days ago.

"No, in Newtown," she responded, "It's just happened. Just now."

My heart stopped. Newtown? It couldn't be true. Nothing like this would ever happen there. It's the reaction that instantly went through all of our minds, until we had the news before us. As the number of fatalities rose, our hearts sank.

For a while we could only guess what had happened. An angry parent? Disgruntled worker? I was in disbelief when I saw the shooter was only two years younger than me.

Slowly information started coming to us. The principal had been shot. Possibly a teacher. We waited, praying that the news we feared for wouldn't come. But then it happened: One classroom within the school remained unaccounted for. Twenty parents would have to go into the building for their child, because he or she did not emerge with the rest.

Everyone keeps asking, "Who would do something like this?" I don't believe we'll ever have an answer. It's unreal to think that what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year has turned into one of the most tragic events I've seen. The thought of holiday presents left unopened at 20 households sickens me.

My thoughts go out to all the families affected, the heroes who protected the students who survived, and the 27 new angels. I don't know what can be done to prevent tragedies like this, but we can start by appreciating the ones we have while we have them.

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