The Loss of Innocence in Newtown Shooting
A typical Friday morning in small town of America started with parents dropping their children off at school and kissing them farewell for the day. In the run up to the Christmas holidays no doubt the children were preparing for presents, carols and spending time with their beloved families at home.
At 9.30 that same morning in sweet and safe Newtown Connecticut a masked gunman entered the school with a rifle and went on a terrifying rampage that left 20 children dead alongside 6 adults. The Newtown tragedy has been deemed the worst gun massacre attack in the history of America and the world is still reeling with the shock and the same question, why?
In a matter of seconds a regular school day turned into chaos as brave teachers locked their children in closets and cupboards to keep them safe as the sound of gunshots rang through the eerily empty halls. Amidst the horror our prayers and thanks go out to those teachers who kept their pupils safe in heroic acts of courage. One teacher, Victoria Soto aged 27 years old and not long out of college locked all her pupils in a closet before facing the gunman alone and telling him they were in the gym. He shot her dead and left yet none of her pupils suffered an injury. There have been other heartwrenching reports of teachers hiding with their children in bathrooms and small spaces and telling them stories and playing games to ease their fears.
Sadly this wasn’t the case in all classrooms as the gunman entered classrooms firing without thought at hundreds of young children aged 6 and 7 in the prime of their life and utterly innocent. Swat teams moved in at 9.45 and it was soon reported that the masked gunman was found dead inside the building. Details are still sketchy at this early stage of the investigation so at the moment it is unknown whether he took his own life. The surviving school children were evacuated by police and told to cover their eyes as they passed through the bloody scenes scattered through the hallways. it was noted that none of the children panicked and all took hands and left the building quietly with only gentle sobs of fear and confusion.
As parents gathered outside each one distraught wondering if their child would make it out alive it was an emotional scene of tearful reunions and panic. The small town school had previously employed an emergency contact line by sending out mass texts to parents as soon as the school was on lockdown. The scenario could be described as nothing less than a parents worst nightmare. It is with breaking hearts that we have to report that many families left that day without their precious children by their side.
President Obama addressed the nation soon after the events unfolded. The president who is entering his second term has managed to stay out of the gun debate that has been rocking the nation for several years. This time however he expressed the need to push politics aside and addressed the world as a parent. Wiping away the tears from his eyes he expressed his sorrow and promised meaningful action to ensure the safety of the innocent across the nation.
The small town is suffering a state of shock as Newtown is believed to be one of the safest places in America. No one can quite comprehend what caused the gunman to commit such a heinous crime against the community and take the life of sweet and innocent children who had never harmed anyone. The gunman who died will not be named as he should be anonymous not infamous. He allegedly killed his mother in her home before moving on to the Elementary school. Police investigations are still underway as police are trying to figure out a motive behind the massacre.
The community is trying desperately to pull together so close to christmas. 26 Christmas trees have been set up at the entrance to the school in memory of the 26 bright angels who lost their lives in what can only be described as an unspeakable tragedy. Across the nation our prayers go out to the victims and families of this terrible ordeal and we can only hope they find the strength to carry on this christmas.
The Newtown shooting has affected parents, children and communities across the world. If you feel you need to talk to someone or if you need some help coming to terms with this ordeal, please do not hesitate to contact someone. Below is a list of helplines who are offering individuals and families advice on coming to terms with what happened.
Newtown Bible Church is offering grief counseling. For more information call 203-426-6484
Please call 211 or 1-800-203-1234 to offer voluntary assistance in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.