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Flowers placed near Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut
The little children of Sandy Hook are angels, as you can see from this picture. It was taken in May of 2011 at the Great Pootatuck Duck Race, just as thousands of yellow plastic rubber duckies were dumped into the Pootatuck River and began their journey along the waterway.
It is exactly the type of event which is a hallmark of the idyllic village of Newtown, Connecticut. The town has been home over the years to celebrities such as athlete Bruce Jenner, actor Anthony Edwards, and “Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins.
The thought that any of the cherubic faces above may have been attending kindergarten today inside of Sandy Hook Elementary School is heartbreaking. That is because today, the light inside twenty of these innocents was snuffed out when unthinkable horror and evil visited the school.
The son of one of the teacher’s at the school entered her classroom today and massacred the children she had taught. In all, 18 innocent children died in that little classroom. Two more survived initially, were rushed to a nearby hospital, but succumbed to their injuries.
So, in all, 20 innocent children who had not even yet begun their lives, had nothing to do with the shooter, who posed him no threat, who had no knowledge of his existence were dead at his demented hands.
These were, perhaps, the most horrific, but not the only victims. In all, at least six teachers, the 20 children, and the gunman himself were killed at the school.
A few more bodies have turned up at remote locations, including the parents of the shooter at two separate locations. Another brother may be a victim or in some way involved. Authorities are still trying to sort through the madness now, hours later.
This is the second most deadly shooting massacre in American history, behind only the 32 dead at Virginia Tech in April of 2007.
Combined with the shootings inside a movie theater complex in Aurora, Colorado just last month in which a dozen were killed, and two more murdered in a madman’s rampage at a Portland, Oregon area mall earlier this week, it has been a particularly tragic holiday season.
The gun violence which plagues many large American cities has been growing and become almost an expected fact of life in places such as my own home town of Philadelphia. Here, hundreds are killed every single year, and the murder rate is up 23% over last year. Directly across the river from Philly, in crime-ravaged Camden, New Jersey, the murder rate is four times higher than our own violent city.
As much as we don’t like it, as much as it remains a tragedy, the fact remains that such violence has become an expected occurrence in a place as big as Philadelphia.
Not so in places like Sandy Hook. There, it has always been rubber ducky races in the spring, cookouts and baseball in the summer, cheerleading and football in the fall, and then times such as right now, Christmas time for the town.
The peace and joy of the season for the town of Sandy Hook and all their neighbors in the Newtown community, including 20 little children and their families, has been forever destroyed.
There will be no Christmas this year. There will be no more innocence. And there will be no sufficient answer to the question of “Why?”
Perhaps just as importantly, there is no answer to the question of “Where will it happen next?” or “How do we stop this from ever happening again?”
The fact of the matter is that evil has existed since the time of Satan’s rebellion, and it will continue to exist as long as mankind is in charge of the earth. We are left to pray for as much peace as possible, and to mourn.