News / USA

    School Shootings Shock Connecticut Town

    Peter Fedynsky
    This town experienced an unfathomable tragedy on Friday and residents woke up Saturday hoping it was just a bad dream. But the realization is sinking in that 27 people, 20 of them mere schoolchildren, were indeed shot dead at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Residents of Newtown gathered Friday evening for religious services amid a prevailing mood of shock and horror.  Alex Ortner is the father of two toddlers and says his heart goes out to the victims.

    “At think that at any time like this, people lean on spirituality; they lean on anything to try to understand why something like this happens. I think at this stage now, it’s more of a shocking time than anything else.  I don’t think people are really processing it properly yet.”

    Six-year-old Emilie Parker, who was gunned down in Connecticut. (AP/Emilie Parker Fund)
    Six-year-old Emilie Parker, who was gunned down in Connecticut. (AP/Emilie Parker Fund)

    The killings shook the picturesque and normally quiet town to its core.  Alongside traditional holiday decorations, signs now call on people to be strong and to pray for victims of the tragedy.

    Former school bus driver Marsha Moskowitz is in disbelief.  She once drove at least two of the victims to school, and remembers driving the gunman when he was in middle school.

    “I recall him to be quiet, reserved, and very shy.  Pretty much stayed to himself on the bus.”

    The killer, identified as 20-year old Adam Lanza, apparently obtained his weapons from the home of his mother, whom he also shot dead before driving in her car to the school.  Connecticut State Police spokesman Paul Vance says Lanza forced his way into the building.

    "We have established the point of entry.  It was -- I can tell you, he was not voluntarily let into the school at all, that he forced his way into the school.  But that's as far as we can go on that."

    • Stuffed animals and a sign calling for prayer rest at the base of a tree near the Newtown Village Cemetery in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 17, 2012.
    • A student looks for a place to leave flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at the entrance of Newtown High School December 18, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.
    • Barbara Wells of Shelton, Conn., holds her daughter Olivia, 3, as she pays her respects Dec. 17, 2012 at one of the makeshift memorials for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
    • First Burials for Newtown Victims Amid Profound Sadness
    • Frank Kulick, adjusts a display of wooden crosses, and a Jewish Star of David, representing the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, on his front lawn in Newtown, Conn., December 17, 2012.
    • Mourners grieve at one of the makeshift memorials for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.
    • Names of victims are displayed on a flag in the business area in Newtown, Connecticut, December 16, 2012.
    • A child's message rests with a memorial for shooting victims, December 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.
    • A memorial is seen along the road to Sandy Hook Elementary School a day after a mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 15, 2012.
    • A sign and a U.S. national flag are seen near Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.
    • This photo posted to the Emilie Parker Fund Facebook page shows six-year-old Emilie Parker, who was gunned down in Friday's school shooting in Connecticut.
    • Robbie Parker, the father of six-year-old Emilie who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, speaks during a news conference on Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.
    • This undated photo shows Adam Lanza posing for a group photo of the technology club which appeared in the Newtown High School yearbook.
    • A man bows his head as he stands at a makeshift memorial, outside Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.
    • Elizabeth Bogdanoff, left, kisses her daughter Julia, 13, during a prayer service at St John's Episcopal Church on Dec. 15, 2012 in Newtown, Conn.
    • People grieve next to a makeshift memorial of flowers and balloons next to the Sandy Hook Elementary school sign in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.
    • A woman covers her mouth as others look on stand near candles outside Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church near Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
    • A young girl is given a blanket after being evacuated from Sandy Hook Elementary School following a shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Dec.14, 2012.

    As the nation struggles to understand how the tragedy could have occurred, Lawrence Palinkas, Professor of Social Work at the University of Southern California, notes the reason why so many young Americans have become targets in mass killings is unknown.
     
    “Largely because we still don't have enough data - surprisingly, given the increasing number of events.  But generally when helpless populations are victimized like that, it's usually to send a message, and it's unfortunately a message of intense anger.”

    As of now, no one knows the reason why Adam Lanza did what he did, and many residents of Newtown fear they never will.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Reeshanand from: Pune, India
    December 15, 2012 9:19 PM
    The increasing number of brutal events happening, almost one after another, indicates that firm decisions are not been made and appropriate actions are not been taken to control this horrific menace of gun violence. It is obvious from decision maker's reactions, that they know what is to be done to stop this mindless massacre of innocents. What is making them delay that firm action is for anybody to guess. Please make your decision fast and act quick to stop it now. It is unbearably heart-breaking to see this tragedy of innocent little children being killed senselessly as if they are some game in the bush. Why, in a free, democratic, lawful country, any civilian should walk around with a gun in the pocket to protect oneself?! May Almighty give the strength to the bereaved families to bear the pain of this tragedy and move ahead with their life!
    In Response

    by: Lara
    December 16, 2012 11:01 AM
    Amen!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora