Bells rang Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. 26 times. One time for each life that was lost on that December Friday morning. Last Friday was exactly six months to the day when 20 students and 6 adults lost their lives in what some are still calling the worst school shooting in the history of American education.
There was talk about rebuilding the school as to if the area that became a crime scene days before Christmas would be fixed and students return. There was also the debate of the school being torn down as well as the students staying where they were now. In the end, it was the wrecking ball that won. The current Sandy Hook school will be torn down.
Reduced to rubble.
Never to draw breath again.
When the new school is built, whether it’s on a new site or on the current site, it will have 26 less people roaming the halls. 26 souls that had no agenda other than to make sure that education was the primary focus. 20 young lives gone before they could even get started. 20 lives that will never go to a prom, will never get their drivers’ licenses, that letter of acceptance to the college of their choosing or watch their parents smile as they walk down the aisle. They are gone. They will never walk among us. But they will never be forgotten.
Adam Lanza thought he had won the day when he shot those 26 people that Friday before Christmas. In the end, it was the resolve and will of the people of Sandy Hook Elementary School that won the day. 20 students that will never swap lunches with their friends, never run and play at recess, graduate and have their own children to send to Sandy Hook as well as the six adults that were there to not only teach them but protect them are gone from this Earth, never to walk it again. They will be the ones that will ask the questions “Why did he do this to us? Why did we live and our friends and teachers die?”
The sad thing is this. Even in the new building, they’re never going to be completely secure. Sounds that were once familiar to some could now cause nightmares and crying not just for the students that survived but for the teachers that were there that day. It’s not going to that way because Lanza took that security from them and it will take some time to be secure. Having said that, the events of December 14 as well as the shootings at Columbine, the movie theatre in Colorado and other shootings should signal that there needs to be a frank and honest discussion on gun control and education, with special emphasis on keeping teachers and students safe. Will this happen again? Hard to say. We now know that there are ways to curtail if not completely stop the violence.
The safety of our kids today was brought to our attention that day and needs to be front and center in the minds of our elected leaders, not the NRA. There is nothing wrong with gun ownership if you follow the laws of the land, you’re not a convicted felon, child molester, woman beater or you are mentally unstable. This post is in no way to get rid of the right to bear arms. I am suggesting that our schools need to be securer so that the educational process is not disrupted in any way, shape or form and I can speak to that, having gone through a gun scare at a school here in Macon a few years ago.
Then we have the man that acted cowardly by shooting his way through the school with no real motive other than to cause chaos cheated the justice system by taking his own life. We’re not sure if he was Roman Catholic but if Lanza was, then that means that he could not have a funeral mass or be buried in consecrated ground. We wish to hear his name no more.
Friday, while school children of Newtown were enjoying their Summer vacation, bells rang for 20 of their classmates that will never play catch with them again and for six adults that were their protectors, guides and guardians that they will not see when school returns in the Fall. In the grand scheme of things, Friday was six months to the day when a madman thought that he won.
In the end, it was the students and teachers that came out on top.