Connecticut residents are reacting to Friday's shooting in Newtown. Here's one perspective.
NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn.
COMMENTARY | As I heard the news, I could barely wrap my brain around the idea that yet another small, sleepy town in Connecticut was impacted by violence. I've recently moved to New Fairfield and, in a 3-month span, a teacher killed his adopted son, and a husband killed his wife, a teacher from Wilton. Now just 14 miles away, nearly 30 people were gunned down in Newtown.
I searched the web, connected on Facebook to seek answers. A profound sadness came over us. The victims of Newtown will come to understand what I learned as a 7-year-old when my father was gunned down at work in the 1950s. I suddenly understood that they would develop the same "internal knowing" that there is no real safety and nothing would ever be the same. I'm not a newcomer to violence. As a consultant, I know prevention and intervention programs better protect children. But we don't do them.
Midday it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Columbine taught me that adolescents kill adolescents. I understand mental illness and addictions. The bolt came when I understood that I had never wrapped my mind around the killing of kindergarten- and elementary-age children, and I jolted when the reporter said 20 children were dead.
I could not wrap my mind around the fact that Adam Lanza killed children in his mother's kindergarten classroom. I instantly knew that he killed our smallest, most innocent and vulnerable. It's unheard of. I tried to put into some structure to the situation. Then I realized that there is no frame of reference for the killing of 5- to 10-year-olds. Or the concept that a kindergarten teacher had a licensed arsenal used against her. Where Columbine drew a line in 1999, Sandy Hook drew a new one on Dec. 14, 2012.
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