- Donald Rumsfeld has ‘no idea’ if he paid taxes correctly
- Bradley Manning named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride parade
- Look out PayPal: Facebook working toward mobile payments system
- U.S. rebukes Iran’s U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- Stoned mom avoids jail after driving 12 miles with baby on roof
- More than 100 ‘inappropriate’ encounters between NYC school staffers, students since 2009: report
- Joe Biden to Boston bombing survivors: ‘America will never, ever stand down’
- FBI failed to throughly vet Boston bombing suspect after Russian lead, report finds
- Atlanta Braves flooded with Hank Aaron hate mail: He’s a ‘scumbag’
- University: Help, our campus is too white
Shooting revives past horror schoolhouse violence
Friday’s mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school has once again left public officials and educators bewildered and saddened, struggling for answers and forced to relive the horrific memories of violence from years past.
Educators and political leaders must once again confront the cold reality that school buildings, meant to the safest environment for American children, too often become the targets of killers.
“We’ll never be able to prevent every senseless act of violence, but our children, educators and school employees go to school believing it is a safe sanctuary. We’ve been through this too many times,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation Teachers, the labor union that represents the teachers at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Going a few steps further than President Obama, who said Friday’s events must lead to “meaningful action, regardless of the politics” to prevent such violence, Ms. Weingarten turned the spotlight directly on U.S. gun laws.
“Everything we can do, we must do, including a renewed focus on gun control and preventing gun violence,” she said.
The ongoing debate over gun control is sure to follow the Newtown tragedy. Most political leaders, however, avoided the issue in the hours following the shooting.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, the leader of a state still recovering from its own unspeakable tragedy, expressed condolences for the more than two dozen victims, including 20 young children.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted by the events transpiring today, and to the teachers, emergency responders, and all others touched by this tragedy. Unfortunately, Virginia has our own painful memories of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007. Those memories will never fade, and we continue to grieve for all those lost on that April day,” Mr. McDonnell said in a statement. “We are all too aware of the impact that events like this can have on a community.”
“Our collective heart breaks over the senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School today. … Places of learning must serve as safe havens for every child across our country, and violence must not be tolerated in our schools,” said Jeri Powell, Connecticut state director of the education advocacy group StudentsFirst, founded by former D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee.
Friday’s tragedy in Newtown is the latest in a string of school shootings over the years, a worldwide epidemic that law enforcement, government leaders and the education community continue to struggle to explain and prevent.
Just this year, 17-year-old T.J Lane killed three students and wounded two others at Chadron High School in northeastern Ohio in February. Two months later, 43-year-old One L. Goh shot and killed seven people — six students and an employee — at Oikos University in Oakland, Calif.
The Connecticut shooting now joins the Virginia Tech massacre and the 1999 Columbine High School shooting as among the deadliest events in U.S. history on a college or K-12 campus. It also comes on the heels of a fatal shooting at an Oregon shopping mall earlier this week, four months after six people were murdered at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., five months after a gunman shot and killed 12 people at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, and other major tragedies in the U.S. in recent years.
“We have been through this too many times,” a visibly shaken Mr. Obama said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
While those earlier incidents undoubtedly were terrible, Friday’s shooting has struck a new nerve across the nation. The sheer horror of the death of 20 young elementary school students has left many speechless.
“School shootings are always incomprehensible and horrific tragedies. But words fail to describe today’s heartbreaking and savage attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the father of two children in elementary school, I can barely imagine the anguish and losses suffered today by the Newtown community,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Our hearts and prayers go out to every parent, child, teacher, staff member, and administrator at Sandy Hook and the surrounding community.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Separation of church and Obama
- Obamas paid $98K in taxes in 2013, White House says
- Obama calls principal of Pa. high school devastated by stabbings
- Democrats press Obama for Keystone pipeline decision
- At Fort Hood memorial, Obama calls for renewed focus on mental health, gun control
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By returning to goodness, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Kirsten Dunst: Actress sparks feminist ire: 'You need a man to be a man'
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- PHILLIPS: What did Harry Reid know and when did he know it?
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes