America reflects on Newtown tragedy amidst growing list of mass shootings

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A graphic of the names of Sandy Hook victims enclosed in a heart, featured on mysandyhookfamily.org. Courtesy of Fox CT

A graphic of the names of Sandy Hook victims enclosed in a heart, featured on mysandyhookfamily.org. Courtesy of Fox CT
A graphic of the names of Sandy Hook victims enclosed in a heart, as featured on mysandyhookfamily.org.
Courtesy of Fox CT

As America remembers the tragedy in Newtown, CT, people pause to reflect on this year’s mass shootings and continue to attempt to explain what seems to be inexplicable.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the second deadliest mass shooting in history.  Gunman Adam Lanza opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 kindergarteners and six adults.
Recently, possible evidence relating to the Sandy Hook shooting has been released through its official report and 911 calls.  The report features an in-depth look at the life of the Sandy Hook gunman, Adam Lanza, suggesting that he had several mental illnesses due to his obsession of violent imagery.  The seven 911 calls demonstrate how quickly Lanza was able to get into the building.
However, what both pieces of evidence fail to explain is the reason why Lanza chose Sandy Hook Elementary School or why he chose to start shooting. Lanza’s motive remains unknown a year after the incident.
Gun control continues to play an important role in the mysterious increase of mass shootings.  Although the issue has not been a prevalent concern before this century, the Sandy Hook shooting reignited concern that guns are too easily accessible. 

Mrs. Lori Wilson, Convent of the Sacred Heart Director of Campus Ministry, Upper School Community Service and Summer Enrichment, is increasingly worried about the gun control issue in the United States.
“Guns are becoming really prevalent in our society,” Mrs. Wilson said. “There was a time we needed them, but we don’t need them now.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Vincent Badagliacca, Upper School History Teacher and History Department Chair, recognizes that while guns are part of the problem, they are not the only reason for the increase in the number of shootings.
He views childrens’ exposure to violence through the media and their environment as another reason for the increase of mass shootings in the United States.
“Many children grow up with less than ideal parenting to guide them in their development. Children today are exposed to so many negative influences – among them, the drug culture, violence in all forms of entertainment, including films, movies, music, and video games, and the proliferation of guns,” Mr. Badagliacca said.
Mr. Badagliacca is also concerned about the lack of care for the mentally ill.
“Our society has also done a terrible job of addressing the needs of the mentally ill, as well as failing to adequately support caregivers,” Mr. Badagliacca said.
Additionally, shootings in recent months have made headlines because of their proximity to Sandy Hook’s anniversary.
A memorial for Nevada shooting victim Mr. Mike Landsberry was placed outside of Sparks Middle School.   Courtesy of Marilyn Newton/Reuters
A memorial for Nevada shooting victim Mr. Mike Landsberry was placed outside of Sparks Middle School.
Courtesy of Marilyn Newton/Reuters

This past October, twelve-year-old student Jose Reyes shot and wounded two students at Sparks Middle School in Nevada. He also killed math teacher Mr. Mike Landsberry. Reyes later shot himself.
It was speculated that bullying may have played a part in the student’s rampage. However, the basis of the Nevada shooting, like countless others, is still unknown. 
Yesterday, 18-year-old student Karl H. Pierson at Arapahoe High School shot two students in Centennial, Colorado. Pierson later shot himself. One of these victims is in critical condition. 

Incidents like these, which have no immediate answers, can potentially cause people to lose their faith. With the many tragedies occurring in today’s society, people may ask, “Why do these things happen?”
“When situations arise which make us question whether or not there is meaning and purpose in our lives-or whether such situations are simply random events-we are only doing what is natural as human beings who want answers but cannot find them,” Mr. Martone, Upper School Theology and Latin Teacher, said. “Faith takes many forms and after such a sorrowful event it can no longer be the same. Nor should it be.”
Mrs. Phyllis Pregiato, Upper School Theology Teacher and Chair of Theology Department, agrees that some people may lose their faith. However, she also believes that other people can use this situation to strengthen it.
“No matter how terrible the event, we believe we’ll be reunited in heaven,” Mrs. Pregiato says.
Parents of Sandy Hook victims struggle to make sense of the situation.  They have created a website called mysandyhookfamily.orgwhich shares the stories of the victims and gives support to charities.
Congress is also trying to handle these issues and take preventative measures. However, Congress has yet to pass pieces of legislature that enforce increased gun control in the US.

Mr. Martone reminds students of God’s omnipresence during tragic events.
“It is probably even more important for us to remember that God is with us whether we think that he is (or should be) or not,” Mr. Martone said. “He does not abandon us in our time of questioning or even in our rejection. He is bigger than that and will ultimately never let anything come between us and him.”
– Izzy Sio, Staff Writer