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A Look at Sandy Hook

By on January 24, 2013
Give Your Loved Ones a Hug

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Paying Respects

3. Heroic Stories

4. The Poem

5. Adam Lanza

6. Society

7. Gun Control

8. The Real Problem

I know this is a topic that sparks sadness, disgust, anger, enlightenment, and a dozen other feelings all at the same time. As such, I will tread carefully while at the same time giving my comments and honest opinions which I hope you’ll find compelling.

On December 14th, 2012, a young man named Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother with [her own] gun before proceeding to the local Sandy Hook Elementary School where he killed 6 staff members and 20 children. Finally, Lanza committed suicide.

Before anything, it’s important that we utterly and completely pay our respects to those staff members and children who lost their lives. Here is a list of the names and ages of the victims:

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Madeleine F. Hsu, 6

Catherine V. Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison N. Wyatt, 6

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto, 27

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Rachel Davino, 29

They are all angels who did not deserve what they got. I cannot even fathom how this has affected the families and close ones of those involved. I know that my words may not do much, and that it won’t change anything but I would like to take this time to offer my condolences from the bottom of my heart.

The staff members who were lost in the shooting have since been recognized as heroes, sacrificing themselves for their students. I found all the stories to be heroic and moving. I’d like to share the story of Victoria Soto, a 27 year old, first-grade teacher.

Soto died a hero. She hid her first graders, whom she called “angels”, in the cabinets and closets after hearing gunfire. When the shooter came to her classroom, she told him that her students were in the gym. He then gunned her down and moved on. She saved the lives of all of her students. She deserves to be remembered for her bravery.

I remember the first time I read about this. Stories like these make your whole body gets goose bumps and a quick shudder, your heart hurts, and your head is a little dizzy. This woman gave up her life at such a young age in an act of bravery so great, humanity indeed has hope.

Within hours of the tragic shooting, hundreds of support groups online and offline sprung up. Notably, various charities and donation centers opened up legitimate opportunities for people to contribute to the families of victims. On social media, Facebook pages, twitter pages, and all sorts of 3rd party sites were set up for awareness and for people to share their grievances and thoughts.

Perhaps the most heart-wrenching thing I came across on Facebook was the following poem dedicated to the children who lost their lives:

This morning I woke up,

looked at the Connecticut sky.

I had a good feeling

I can’t tell you why.

 

I kissed mommy goodbye,

and told daddy I love you.

And before we separated at the sign,

I told sister see you soon.

 

The bell rung,

we all rushed inside.

It was warm and loving

like a campfire light.

 

The teacher smiled,

my friends waved hello.

We started class,

but before you know..

 

The door busted open,

a man with a gun.

I was scared and broken

I looked at the sun.

 

The same sun I saw

with so much love.

Now brought me worry

but I’d stay tough.

 

I felt a pain

go through my whole body.

I saw a light

and an awful goodbye.

 

I saw mommy’s face,

her beautiful, soft lips.

I kissed her this morning,

she was something I’d miss.

 

I smelled daddy’s cologne,

when he hugged me today.

He left for work,

not knowing what life would take.

 

Sister was only a few blocks away,

in a classroom, I could see

I’ll never get to say

how much she means to me.

 

My 6th birthday was coming soon,

I was dreaming of ponies

dolls

and shoes.

 

Then I felt a hand

touch my face.

I was overwhelmed

in an amazing grace.

 

God said to me,

“don’t be worry, child.

you’ve been here before.

it’s just been a while.”

 

I looked on my back,

where I found wings.

I felt a halo

and clouds under my feet.

 

With me, when I looked,

were my friends by my side.

That man sent us here,

but I’m alright.

 

Maybe he was sick,

maybe he was crazy.

Maybe he hurt us

because he was hurting, maybe?

 

I watch the tears

all over the country.

Over the few years

their pain because of me.

 

I watched my family

break apart.

but they knew

I was in their hearts.

 

I don’t know much,

but I know this;

my mommy should’ve never

had to bury her own kid.

 

Although it’s tough,

although it’s hard

I think God would want us to forgive

the killer in our hearts.

 

What you don’t know,

but what I’ll tell you,

is I’m just fine.

in this heaven of mine.

 

Maybe this will teach you

to never regret a thing.

Be happy with what God gave you,

because you could’ve been me.

 

Now, maybe I was young,

maybe I didn’t deserve it.

But maybe I taught a lesson,

now please…learn it.

 

Love with everything,

always smile a lot.

Remember this lesson,

that I taught.

 

Wipe the tears,

enjoy the years.

Time goes by fast,

you don’t know which day is your last.

 

Pray for my family,

for my friend’s family, too.

I’m sure they’ll be grateful,

and thankful to you.

 

I’m an angel,

all brand new.

I came up here

this afternoon.

 

I would be 6 years old,

but God has a plan.

Remember this feeling of distraught,

remember this lesson that I taught.

I’m not a particularly religious guy, but I have to say: may they rest in peace and be in a better place.

Everything I’ve written up until this point I feel is important. It’s important to discuss what happened and to feel a sadness that is inevitable when this subject comes up.

I also think it’s important to discuss the shooter, Adam Lanza. Yes, what he did was horrific. Yes, I think that it is disgusting to target little children. No, I don’t want to put him on a pedestal and make him even more famous by talking about him. No, I don’t want to sit here, call him names, and yell blasphemy. What I’m going to do is briefly touch on Lanza’s background and state of mind, and discuss mental illness on a more generic spectrum.

I, of course, did not know Adam Lanza and so everything I’m about to say is purely based on my own research from what I’ve read and heard. It appears that Lanza was afflicted with Asperger Syndrome, an autism that restricted his ability to be social. He kept to himself, turning to video games in the solitary confinement of his room. One thing led to another, and Lanza began playing violent video games, specifically games that involved blowing up things and aliens. Needless to say, he was an odd kid.

I don’t think being odd is bad. I know someone who has aspergers and he’s incredibly smart but simply does not want to socialize and in fact, determinedly runs from any social interaction. I still respect this person. This concept of treating people who are different with respect is something I feel society lacks. People should, rightfully, dole out blame on Adam Lanza. He did indeed kill innocent children and staff who did not deserve it. I am in no way saying Lanza is not responsible.

But what I am saying is that people need to look into themselves before blindly blaming. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been in the situation where that overweight, mentally handicapped, bisexual, or just weird person is being picked on. What do most people do? They either look the other way or they silently approve of the mistreatment of individuals. It is, unfortunately a part of modern-day peer pressure and conformity. I may be totally wrong, but I’m willing to bet Adam Lanza was the subject of at least a few “bullying” situations. Not so say this is the reason he did what he did, but over years and years the little things will add up. Next time you’re scoffing at the nerd in your math class, or joking with your friends about the homosexual sitting in the corner of the class, try to be mindful that everything you say does affect people. You don’t know their whole story, so don’t judge them. Ever.

It’s not just how society treats “odd” children, it’s how they’re raised that plays a huge role in their development and growth. I’m not going to sit here and preach about the best way to raise a child because, frankly, I’ve never done it and certainly have no clear notion of how to raise a child who has a condition. I’m just a college student. But there are things parents should not do or allow when they know their child has a special condition. Again, I’m not going to blame Lanza’s parents in any way, shape or form, I just want to share some ideas for parents who currently have or in the future will have a child that is difficult to deal with.

Firstly, it’s important to let kids be who they are regardless of whether a child has a condition. If a kid has Aspergers, don’t try to force him/her to be social. It’s not going to be successful, hence the disease, and will only sadden or enrage the kid. This goes for any illness. Don’t force children to do things that their ailment prevents. It’s like making someone allergic to peanuts eat peanut butter; it is not good for their health. Secondly, avoid all forms of violence. Be firm about no video games or physically violent games. This also includes movies and the likes. The more repetition someone has of an idea or concept, the more ingrained in their mind it is. If violence is not at the tip of someone’s thoughts, it won’t be as prominent an idea. Thirdly, don’t be abusive or negative in discipline. History has shown time and time again that a hand extended with gold is much more effective than the iron fist of war. Although I’m not proposing to spoil children, I am proposing that the approach is more kind than it is harsh. Sending a kid to the garage for five hours or belting them will only leave bad memories. Offering sweet treats or privileges will teach children the same lesson, but leaving them with, if not good, better memories.

An issue that is hard to avoid is, of course, gun control. I want to dive into this problem by presenting the case of Chris Rock. Yes, he’s a comedian, and no I’m not making any jokes. Rock proposed, amid his humor, a very curious solution: let’s make bullets cost $5,000 each so people would think twice about buying them, and think three times about shooting them. I considered this argument and was initially excited at such a simple solution. After a few more moments of thought, however, I knew that realistically it would be impossible as people would simply make their own bullets for cheaper.

And here, I believe is the heart of the problem. “People would simply make their own bullets for cheaper.” As I analyzed what I was saying the issue at hand became clearer and clearer. It really does not matter how many laws, rules, or regulations are passed against guns. It doesn’t even matter if the government placed a ban on every single kind of gun. Further still, it doesn’t matter how much people argue about gun control. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about guns, or what they think will happen if we increase or decrease gun control. In fact, any discussion about guns is not addressing the problem.

The problem is human nature. Instinctively, we want to protect ourselves and to survive. This means that for a multitude of reasons, humans will never stop producing weapons (whether they’re legal or not) because they want to protect themselves or because they need money to survive (the weapons market is huge economically and industrially). How do we stop future violence? How do we control the craziness that seems to be increasing in today’s world? Am I saying that it’s impossible to prevent future tragedies such as this one? Absolutely not. Am I saying we need to change human nature? Unfortunately, yes.

The answer does not lie within changes to the state or government, it lies within ourselves. If we truly want to create a world of peace, it would require every single individual to have a change in their nature. A change in the way we view each other, and a change in the way we act. What is the solution? How would we do such a thing? I honestly wish I knew.

Thank you for taking the time to read this entire article, I know it was lengthy. Now please take the time to share this link on your Facebook page, tweet about it on your Twitter, or otherwise tell your friends, family, classmates, and teachers.

Kind regards,

Stephen Zhang

Comments

comments

About Stephen Zhang

Stephen is currently an undergradute student attending UC Berkeley. He's an entrepreneur, developing innovative ideas and executing methods for online marketing and social media.

30 Comments

  1. Ashleigh

    January 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Nicely said.

    • Tyler

      January 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      sure that poem brought tears to my eyes a bit but all in all its complete bullshit in my opinion. no god does not want us to forgive the killer, no god does not want to teach us a lesson from these children. Your god cannot save youu.

      • Sandy

        January 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

        The bible says to forgive 70×7 times. It talks a lot about forgiveness and to love thy neighbor. As a Christian I know all this is what God wants. I don’t know where you get your information from? A true Christian in time will forgive.

      • Susan

        January 25, 2013 at 7:27 pm

        Tyler. It’s obvious you have never heard of Jesus… Look him up and then tell me what you think.. Sorry no one has never shared the Gospel with you.. It’s not your fault you don’t know the truth.. Please take the time to inquire of this man called Jesus.. You will never be the same!

        • Matt

          January 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm

          This christianity stuff is a joke…first of all christians stole their religion from pagans…the cross symbolizes thor’s hammer in motion….christmas has nothing to do with jesus they know he was born more towards spring. Even the days of the week are named after pagan gods and goddesses…ie Tuesday is tyrsday wedensday is wodons day Thursday thorsday Friday frigday etc…… so christians are hypocrites…it says thou shalt not judge but you judge people everyday…the bible is full of murder incest adultry and such…and if you do not believe it educate before you communicate…fuck jesus and your slave God

          • Doug

            January 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm

            Nice to know you people can take an article about the wrongful loss of innocent children and teachers and turn it into a religious debate.

      • Pam

        March 15, 2013 at 12:18 am

        Read the Bible dumbass. Although it says eye for an eye it also says that God forgives all.
        It’s not one or the other. It’s just you are forgiven. Plus work on your grammar.

  2. Lina

    January 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Best poem I have ever read that is very beautiful and god bless the children and techers who hAd to go through that and some who are also dead rest in peace (R.I.P)

  3. Bryan

    January 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Great Poem!! However, a person with simply an Asperger’s Diagnosis would not committ such an act. This individual had a mental health diagnosis. His mother, knowing that he had such problems took him to fire guns at a range to “bond with him”. Every victim was shot 3-11 times ….this individual was trained to kill as he shot to kill with the precision of a sniper, not just random gun shots. HIS MOTHER TRAINED HIM TO KILL. Your message is wonderful with the exception that this individual deserves any forgiveness. I am glad to know that as these angels are in heaven…..they can look down at their evil assassin and his mother and watch them burn in hell.

    • Sandy

      January 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      What is your proof that they are burning in hell? If you are a Christian you would know that if they came to Jesus during their life here on Earth, then they are with God, Jesus and all those Children. They will have to account for any sin that wasn’t repented for, Adams last words could have been God forgive me. And if they never came to know and accept Jesus as their Lord, then sadly he’ll is where one ends up. Jesus talked more about hell because he did not want us to go there. Read the New Testament, and I just finished reading Heaven is for Real, proof that there is a heaven.

  4. Denise

    January 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    May all the victims RIP and I pray that the families find peace and closure and heal! I think about them all the time especially being a parent of a 1st grader and having other elementary children and a high schooler. I think this was very nicely written!!!

  5. Dale Grimmer

    January 25, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    hmmm…all the stories on the news days after he murdered the children and teachers.remember, if you see a story once on media , and dont see it picked up for syndication. then you have a news blackout. and, it is likely a true story… adam lanza was an immature coward who had an fight with his Bully of a mom who forbid him going out socially in public after bullying that got adam hurt. this led too argueing and the rule being set. no going out socially for adam. who faced more time in a trying situation with a bad parent. adams mom was a retired 1st grade teacher in the same district as sandyhook and volunteered inretirement. finally adam was liking goingout. but was being harassed by all growed up bullies. mom didnt like it and became even more of a bully. adam never having seen too many results of ignorance or feeling a job well done enuf to pick living rite from going wrong. good morals and living in morality are not the samething…. we learn ”we dont kill people .” teaching good morals wont be absorbed without example. learning thru trust and love. a parent is a great moral base for a child too lean on and learn from. adam obviously didnt have that security, causes problems with adams social interaction. mom realizes she needs more interaction and trust from him. to bond they go too the range too talk. he enjoys it to. a good outlet for anger. finally common interest to make frens. until mom forbids it. this coward killed 27 angels for revenge cuz mom forbid him going out. her first love, teaching. ya know, if taught corectly. hewoulda shot bullies in self defense. no problems. let it go. Theyve been judged hes burning right next too rachelle. immature and selfish cowards, deserving of both.
    THE BIGDADDYSPIDERBITER

  6. Chris

    January 26, 2013 at 4:25 am

    As I lay right next to my 4 soon to be 5 year old sister I realize how much she means to me. Every day I pray to god hoping everyday to keep her safe. I love her to the moon and back. Although she can be hard to deal with at times I still love her but she doesn’t know it. I would take a bullet for her any day. Thanks…….. Christopher Gonzalez

    • Lori

      January 26, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      God bless you Chris 🙂

  7. Lori

    January 26, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Sorry, but I can NEVER forgive someone who kills innocent people. I was raised as a christian but no way will I EVER forgive someone who takes an innocent persons life. Adam’s mother bought the guns, taught him to shoot. His brother had no contact with him for how long and why? Because Adam was not a human being. He was the devil, plain and simple. I truly hope he rots in hell over and over and over. I believe in capital punishment. An eye for an eye. The psycho that shot the innocent people in the theater should die a slow, painful, long, drawn out death. Perhaps if the USA would get tough with criminals, the psycho’s would think twice about doing the things they do. I’m sick and tired of hearing all of these tragic events. Something needs to change and we don’t need to be coddled, sit in a circle and sing kum-bye-yah all day long.

    • Sandy

      January 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      You say you were raised a Christian, you must have stopped practicing. Forgiveness is a huge subject in the Bible which is not silent. God forgives us all for our sins, and calls us to forgive, fir if we forgive, God forgives us, if we do not forgive, God will not forgive us. if one of those children were mine, i would forgive Adam, it may not be right away, but with God all things are possible, and i would forgive him. knowing my child is in heaven and we would be reunited again. Read these: Psalm 86:4-5 and 103:8-12; Matthew 5:22-24; Luke 7:47-48 and 23:43; Acts 10:42-43; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 4:31-32 and finally most important Matthew 6:14. “Man has two great spiritual needs. One is forgiveness, the other is for goodness.” ~ Billy Graham. May God bless ALL the victim’s of Sandy Hook.

    • Sandy

      January 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Lori I forgot to mention, how do you know Adam is in hell? He could have been a Christian, and people with mental illness, need help. If I see you in heaven will you be judged for not forgiving? You mentioned some pretty harsh things up there, something a person who is walking with Jesus would never say! We will know when we get to heaven if Adam is there or not. The same goes with the movie theatre killer. Jesus came to save the world not condemn it. When he came he overwrote the eye for and eye and replaced it with FORGIVENESS! I pray you ask God what you need to do, and follow Him, not society!

    • jasmine

      February 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

      yes i know it was wrong and god wants us to forgive that man and we should but i cant i would not forgive him for killing inesent kids six-ten ages thay died so young i would not forgive him

    • Pam

      March 15, 2013 at 12:27 am

      How could you ever say that someone wasn’t human???
      And claim you’ve been raised christian?
      That right there makes you the soulless one, not him!!!
      That’s the most horrifying thing ever and it goes against everything your religion stands for. Maybe you should try rereading the Bible. An eye for an eye is fair enough but maybe you forgot the part about God forgives all.

  8. Maria

    January 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I love this article but I have to disagree partially with the statement about not forcing a child with Aspergers to be social. I teach high school students with autism. Yes, these children are socially awkward and feel uncomfortable but it’s our job to give them the appropriate social skills to be able to handle themselves in social situations. Not putting them in social situations to practice these skills will oy further isolate them from society. I am not saying drag them kicking and screaming but it’s vital that they are given social opportunities to practice appropriate social skills.

  9. Mary

    January 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    nice article Stephen, I have had many of the same thoughts but you wrote it so well!

    I am also confused about why he would destroy his hard drive? doesn’t make sence to me, why would he care?
    I think we are missing something. I wonder who he was chatting with? hmmm

    God bless all the victims and their families!

  10. Ian

    January 27, 2013 at 9:09 am

    This article kind of pisses me off. I have Asperger’s, have had a history of violent and antisocial behavior, play plenty of violent video games and watch violent movies, but I’ve learned my lesson and have grown up a lot, and would NEVER sink to the level of a monster like Adam Lanza. Currently, I’m trying to improve my negative mindset, as it’s become a huge burden to me. You make it sound like you think we’re all a potential threat to society. Also, I doubt Lanza actually had Asperger’s. He was more likely to have something far more severe, like schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder. And just to set the record straight for all future comments, I’m not a troll. I was diagnosed when I was a kid (I can never remember what age) and, at times, find it difficult to control my own awkwardness.

    • Bonnie

      January 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

      ” LIKE “

  11. sandra

    January 29, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    i get that its bad and everything but if theres no more guns then people can find diffrent things to use like explosives or say they might still have guns they can just keep doing so even if obama took the guns away then he still whould have problems with shooting because people still have guns and on websites people might sell them and obama is becomeing a real dush because never mind i aint even gonna go there.:P

    • john

      February 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Rubbish, the statistics on gun related deaths dont lie:
      en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate#section_1

      Im from Australia, where there are strict gun control laws. Regardless of a persons mental state, the intent to kill in some people will always be a problem. However having restricted access to semi-automatic/assault rifles will undoubtedly reduce the number of mass fatalities in your country.
      You are muddying the waters and trying to lump guns with high powered semi automatic assault rifles.
      When the 2nd amendment was drafted, only single shot guns existed. The intent to protect the right to bear arms could only have been with regard to these weapons.

  12. Judy

    February 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I do agree, but it`s true, why didn`t Adam Lanza mother haave all those guns under lock and key, she knew her son had something wrong with him. in my thoughts I blame his mother, this was her fault, if her guns were locked up this would never had happened, and those teachers and other staff and all those beautiful childern would be here now, and all families would be happy.

  13. somewhere in Kansas

    February 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    So why do people always have to blame someone i blame this country this was tragic it should have never happened but it did lets fix the problem in our. Own country instead. Of a war that has been going on too long

  14. Dale Grimmer

    February 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    statistics do lie…its like throwing Ian in as the next adam lanza, because he has aspergars. the study group for creating a statistics generation model is the only place they count. useing ten peoples opinions too set up gun control for a thousand people doesnt work. burning in hell?… I believe he is wandering the halls of sandyhook. well aware he chose too kill and what cost his soul but, he suffers his suicide alone. same as shell. walking the foodstamp offices, lookin for Ramie and tim. and Im sure suffers greatly for her suicide. it isnt our best interest too judge people we just met or never met. I would trip over my own feet. trying judgement over others. I asked god what he used too decide entry or denial. that nite i dreamd I lookd at myself from 10′ away, i knew this cause god showd it in my dream. an opaqe, figure of my body but with smoke filling it too semi-transparency, but one part i could see my heart. is a deep red. I askd why I was seeing this? he showed me my own,not bright red which is top end, but it goes down to black. since only god sees a good heart compared too a bad heart. humans judging peeps based in emotion or on intellect is a human reaction and can be avoided…wreaking of havoc on a peep based on human design changes our hearts. and all you ”gun control” adhocs? Texas sheriffs deputies saw my babies on beach with shell, let her keep MOM’S .38 pistol..and passd em too the C.P.S. who never said gun. also, passed the buck…to shell. 2 Agencies should have used training protocol and took shells gun, evaluate her,remove kids til she got what may of saved em. Im gonna try for equal treatment for both parents in a failed marriage. treating me equal would have saved em.

  15. april

    February 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    everybody on here arguing about christians and god and so forth is bullshit we shouldnt be arguing over any religion everybody believes different i think this is a great article and very well said. we all have our opinions it is very sad what happened. i dont blame god i blame society and bullying maybe if people would accept people for who they are and not pick on them because they are different i have 2 special needs kids my son has seizures and he has been bullied because of it i deal with him wanting to commit suicide sometimes because hes sick of it and hes only 9 yrs old and my daughter is 5 and has autism im so scared when shes in school that shes going to be bullied so lets work on ourselves and teach our kids to accept everybody no matter what

  16. Jackie

    March 5, 2013 at 7:18 am

    I’m glad that someone finally said that having an illness doesn’t mean you are socially sick. I know a lot of people with mental illnesses that wouldn’t hurt a fly. Times sure have changed since I was a kid. I have a favorite game that I like to play; Grand Theft Auto. I have never thought of hurting anyone after playing the game. In fact, I always played the game to remove my frustrations. That’s my opinion. R.I.P. Newtown children & teachers. God Bless everyone.

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