Sunday, December 14, 2014 is an unfortunate anniversary. On that date in 2012, a Friday, a mentally ill, gun-equipped young man named Adam Lanza traveled to a Connecticut elementary school and executed twenty first-graders, along with six educators and other adults. He also shot and killed his mother and after the school carnage, committed suicide. The sheer horror of this story has galvanized many Americans to fight for gun safety, gun-sense laws and school safety measures. But others have rallied against gun restrictions and even doubt the veracity of this awful story.
Sandy Hook Promise is a group that was born of that terrible event. Even with their hopeful slogan, “Protecting Children From Gun Violence With Programs that Work” and the work they have been doing, has not prevented other school shootings since that time. Schools and colleges around the United States have seen more shootings, as well as stabbings and other violence.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is also outspoken on the need to stop such horrors, especially in schools and other gathering places for our youth. Other organizationss have been founded since Sandy Hook, such as Moms Demand Gun Sense in America, www.momsdemandaction.org, to bring awareness to this frightening issue.
But some people argue that more guns, especially in schools, could combat these kinds of massacres. “More Guns in Schools Will Stop School Shootings, NRA says at press conference,” is one example of this line of thought.
As well, there are people who believe this event was a complete fabrication, a liberal-agenda hoax.
A group of letter writers commented on this article, with curse-laden missives that attack anyone who thinks the Sandy Hook School shootings actually occurred. Although they may be a fringe group, their anger and strong beliefs constitute a slap in the face to anyone who followed the actual events, the memorials that followed, and the analysis of the situation.
The Monday after the Sandy Hook shootings, December 17, I was teaching high school seniors in my Participation in Government classes in a large public high school in Brooklyn, New York. I lead a lesson that incorporated the Sandy Hook story, and my students expressed great sorrow and fear in the wake of this event. For several days afterward they spoke to me, and amongst each other, of their sadness and anger about Sandy Hook. For the vast majority of Americans, whatever their stance on gun rights, the Sandy Hook devastation is still a very shameful incident in recent American history.
Ellen Levitt is the author of The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn (2009), The Lost Synagogues of the Bronx and Queens (2011) and The Lost Synagogues of Manhattan (2013). (And hopefully a book about NJ one day, if her publisher gives the green light.)