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Commentary From Around The Nation On The Newtown Shootings

9:00 PM EST, December 14, 2012

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The following are excerpts taken from editorials, blogs and other comments on the shooting Friday at the elementary school in Newtown.

The school's principal and other staffers [reportedly] are among the dead in this western Connecticut town. Yet it's difficult to think about anything beyond those youngest victims. Children between the ages of 5 and 9. Little children who most certainly had "visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads" and thoughts of winter break — just one week away — pulling their attention from their studies. Children already looking forward to the day's final bell, the signal to a weekend of holiday parties, parades and pictures with Santa.

It will be a long time before those of us who watched the story unfold — who saw the twisted horror on the faces of the escaping students and the heartbreak on the faces of their parents — will feel any kindling of holiday spirit.

For now, we just numbly ask one another: When will this end?

Sharon Grigsby, editor, The Dallas Morning News, http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2012/12/editorial-the-connecticut-school-shooting.html/

Our children, especially our youngest children, are supposed to be safe. We devote enormous resources — and gladly so — as individuals, as families, as a society to make sure that our children are shielded from the hazards of life.

But then, in an instant, any sense of security is wiped away, all measures of protection exposed as incomplete.

And we are left stunned, saddened, and grasping for answers to the unanswerable.

I have no young children in my life these days — the four I helped raise are now grown — but I want in this moment to find a child to hug, to comfort, to laugh with, and to protect. I suspect I am not alone in that desire.

Tim Swarens, opinion editor, The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com/article/20121214/OPINION13/121214018/Tim-Swarens-Shock-saddness-over-Connecticut-school-shooting-

There's also little doubt that the primary heroes of the day were schoolteachers — public school teachers — who hid children in closets and saved their lives, and who evacuated the children, leading them out through what had become a killing field in preposterously good order in what were the last hours of their childhoods, as one of the teachers said, with devastating accuracy, to a local TV station. There's also little doubt that the response of the local police and fire departments in a very small place was prompt and brave.

Charles P. Pierce, The Politics Blog, Esquire, http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/connecticut-shooting-and-we-the-people-121412

It's not right, fair or comprehensible — children being murdered by a man with two guns.

Newtown is about 25 minutes from where I live, but a million miles from what I ever expected could happen in these sleepy parts. Like many of us who move to these postcard New England towns, we choose them for their good schools and quaint living. We enjoy the hokey school plays, early morning soccer games and showing up as the mystery reader unannounced.

While the circumstances of today's killings haven't been sorted out yet, we're sure to hear all about the shooter's problems and our societal vulnerabilities. None are good enough to explain this.

Gerald McKinstry, Newsday editorial board, http://www.newsday.com/opinion/viewsday-1.3683911/mckinstry-school-shooting-in-newton-connecticut-is-incomprehensible-1.4333549

The devastating news coming out of Connecticut makes the fights over Susan Rice or even the fiscal cliff seem small and unimportant.

As a father of two and a Connecticut native, the news coming out of myhomestate hits even harder.

Chris Cillizza, The Fix, The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/12/14/on-the-connecticut-school-shooting/

But beyond taking public action, the ultimate solution lies in each individual understanding that these shooters act out of the same anger, fear, and hopelessness that their violence evokes in us.

We cannot afford — as individuals or as a society — to keep mirroring their motivating angst.

The best antidote is to embrace the opposite of those thoughts and feelings. These include empathy, calmness, mercy, hope and openness, all of which have as much substance to deter killings over time as do metal detectors in the moment.

Editorial, The Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2012/1214/Newtown-shootings-What-to-say-to-ourselves

Mr. Obama said today that "we have been through this too many times" and "that "we are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

When will that day come? It did not come after the 1999 Columbine shooting, or the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, or the murders in Aurora.

The more that we hear about gun control and nothing happens, the less we can believe it will ever come. Certainly, it will not unless Mr. Obama and congressional leaders show the courage to make it happen.

Editorial, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/15/opinion/death-in-connecticut.html

Not even kindergartners learning their A-B-C's are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. … Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for "meaningful action" is not enough. We need immediate action.

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor New York City

The horror of this day seems so unbearable, but we will lock arms and unite as citizens, for that is how Americans rise above unspeakable evil. Let us all come together in God's grace to pray for the families of the victims, that they may find some comfort and peace amid such suffering. Let us give thanks for all those who helped get people to safety, and take heart from their example. The House of Representatives — like every American — stands ready to assist the people of Newtown.

John Boehner, Speaker of the House

We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a president, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

The majority of those who died today were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.

Barack Obama, President

Two deadly shootings in one week point to a glaring need for a sober, unrelenting conversation about gun control.

On Friday a gunman fatally shot 27 people, including 18 children, at a Connecticut elementary school, and the toll may rise. On Tuesday, two people were killed and one injured at an Oregon mall.

Enough. The historical annals of gun violence in places normally thought to be safe — shopping malls, an elementary school, a movie theater — is growing crowded and bloody.

Editorial, The Seattle Times, http://seattletimes.com/avantgo/2019905585.html

Now such events seem to happen with numbing regularity. Aurora and Newtown aren't even the only mass shootings of the past six months. In August, a gunman attacked a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, murdering six. Earlier this week a gunman killed two people — and was intent on killing more — at an Oregon shopping mall.

Adam Lankford, a criminal justice professor at the University of Alabama, wrote last summer in The Huffington Post that four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history had occurred in the past six years. He mentioned Aurora, "Nidal Hasan's attack at the Fort Hood Army base in 2009, Jiverly Wong's attack at a Binghamton immigration center in 2009, and Seung-Hui Cho's attack on the Virginia Tech campus in 2007."

Now the tally must be adjusted: Five of the worst shootings have occurred in just six years.

Editorial, The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_22194371/connecticut-shooting-horrifying-has-become-normal

So we're left with what we do know: Firearms make it easier to commit mass homicides. Some killers, but not all, leave a trail of warning signs. Societal attitudes toward violence, reflected in video games and movies and music, may be factors. And we as a society are better at blaming causes than creating solutions.

Hug your children and your parents and your grandparents today. Tell them you love them. Spend time with one another. Nurture one another.

Grieve for the families who are in mourning.

Grieve for an angry, violent society that has lost its way.

And find a way to turn your mourning into positive action. Do what you can to make your corner of the world a more rational place.

Editorial, The Statesman Journal, Oregon, http://community.statesmanjournal.com/blogs/editorialblog/2012/12/14/when-will-the-madness-stop