Jesus. Not again.

Children among 27 dead in Connecticut school shooting

Twenty children and six adults have been killed in a shooting attack at a primary school in the US state of Connecticut, police say.

Lt. Paul Vance said the gunman was also dead, but did not identify him.

However, officials told US media the killer at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, was a 20-year-old son of a teacher at the school.

… Lt. Vance said 18 children were pronounced dead at the school, and two died after they were taken to hospital. Six adults were also killed. The gunman died at the scene.

According to US reports, the gunman’s mother was a teacher found among the dead at the school.

One person was also injured, and police were investigating a “secondary” crime scene, where another victim was found dead, Lt. Vance said.

He gave no details, but said New Jersey police were providing assistance.

Transcript: President Obama’s Remarks On Conn. School Shooting

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.

As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

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  • caryjamesbond

    I’d argue that there is a fundamental difference between committing mass murder through proxy or under orders, like Nazis did, at a distance, like bombers do, or killing people who’ve mistreated you, like most workplace shootings, and killing 26 people who’ve never had anything to do with you, most of whom were children. 

    Not all mass murders are mentally ill- most have reasons. Fucked up reasons, yes, but they exist nonetheless. Either reasons or a way to separate themselves from the violence. Grossman in ” On Killing” says that human beings require a great deal of either being desensitized or some sort of distance from the killing to be able to kill. Given that the shooter has no mentioned military background and was able to kill  children with no problem, that points to serious mental abnormalities.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    I’ve read that book. I was even just thinking about it.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I really don’t think Howard gave much thought to RTCs either way. He was clearly a cultural Christian who liked Christianity because it was the establishment, and happily took the votes of conservative Christians. But everything I know about him personally suggests that, like most Australians, he’s pretty uncomfortable around people who talk about relationships with Jesus.

  • AnonymousSam

    I would be afraid that the Supreme Court would rule in your favor, anyway. After all, Fox News got the courts to agree that the first amendment allows them to tell blatant lies and call them factual happenings, and they did recently rule that a law forbidding people to falsely claim military accolades they never earned is unconstitutional….

  • It’s a day late, but here:

    Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there’. (title-text)

    On another note, I’ve been watching Breaking Bad lately; I’m halfway through season 3. One of the things that’s struck me is how male characters are motivated by their conceptions of masculinity. It’s practically Walt’s entire motivation for cooking meth — not to ensure his family’s security, but to be the one who ensures his family’s security (in itself a theme I’ve seen popping up in other places lately), and who does so on his own terms, by his own hands, using his own expertise. And then there’s Hank, who’s probably inspired dozens of blog posts by himself.

    So how much of America’s gun culture, and by extension frequency of mass shootings, can be traced back to our notions of what “being a man” means? Have there been books written about that? What about books that compare manifestations of that concept in different cultures?

  • 10leggedshadow

     We live in a sick society and our cultural values are all messed up.  Just watch some TV to get an idea.  We value money and profit above all else and we have a population that is coming under increasing pressure by a lot of forces but mainly the economy.  The economy is bad for the majority of the population.  There is increasing talk of shredding the safety net, a safeguard against rioting in the street.  We are  under increasing surveillance, where almost everything we do is monitored to some degree and we have an unhealthy obsession with violence.  TV tells us we should all be rich, drive nice cars, and live in mcmansions.  We have people like Sarah
    Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck who speak of violence and armed insurrection.  No one stands up to make them accountable for their rhetoric.  They should be shamed, ridiculed and mocked, instead they are held up as honorable people which they are not.
    Until we as a country understand that we are “We the People” and not “We the Corporations”, things will continue to get worse.  Until we understand that there are jobs that only the government can do and that it’s primary job is to take care of it’s “people” and to protect people from unscrupulous “business” we will see more and more of this happening.  It’s seems the frequency of these incidents are increasing from rare, to once a year and now to several times a year.  Things will not get better until we understand that the pursuit of profit above all things is no way to run a country.

  • AnonymousSam

    The problem isn’t necessarily gun owners, but the guns themselves. The guns were registered in the shooter’s mother’s name. I have no doubt that she didn’t go on a shooting spree using her collection, but having them allowed him to do so.

  • Launcifer

    If I could just chime in with a quick thank you for the reply, that would be great. I don’t really know where I stand on this particular issue (well, I do, but I want to play nice with people, being English and whatnot), but I appreciate the input. ‘Tis something else for the creaking cogitators ;).

  • Lori


    The New England states, being fairly liberal, tend to have relatively strict gun control laws.  

    Connecticut’s gun laws are actually pretty middle of the road. Certainly not strict compared to many other states.

  • Lori

    A quick google of “armed citizen self-defense” will produce lists of
    newspaper articles reporting people protecting themselves with firearms.
    Contrary to an assertion made earlier in this thread, armed citizens
    defending themselves are not Fox news wet dreams- they’re actually so
    common they don’t break out of local news coverage.  

    I counted, and to the best of my recollection/knowledge I’ve known 7 people who claimed to have defended themselves with a gun. Three of them had their stories covered by the local paper. I would bet every dime I have and more (money I most certainly can’t afford to lose) that all but one of them was totally full of shit. That includes 2 of the 3 who made the paper. I’d further bet that at least 2 of the BSers created the situation that they were “defending” themselves against. The other 4 were defending themselves from a threat that existed in their own mind and nowhere else.

    I can’t prove it, but I strongly suspect that ratio or something close to it holds pretty well across the board.

  • Lori


    I would also like to mention that it’s a lot easier to disarm a man with a knife than a man with a gun.  

    Not necessarily. There’s a reason for the old “joke” about the winner of a knife fight being the guy who dies at the hospital instead of at the scene.

    A knife-welding attacker is far, far less dangerous than one with a gun because it’s easier for potential victims to get far enough away to be safe and  harder for the attacker to inflict a fatal wound quickly if people can’t get away. The best way to deal with a would-be killer with a knife is for trained police officers to surround the person and demand that s/he drop the knife and then shoot if they don’t, non-lethally if possible, using deadly force if necessary.

  • Dash1

     Thank you!

    For some reason Disqus or Patheos is being very haphazard about showing the “in reply to” flag of late.


    She probably did, it was going on eight years ago. It’s the “sufficient deviation from the norm” that’s stuck with me.

    It’s a very strange thing for a trained psychologist to say, since my understanding is that for decades, the prevailing attitude of the major professional bodies in the field is that mental health is not defined in terms of compliance to some kind of norm, but rather in the ability to successfully interact with the rest of the world. That is, it doesn’t matter if you think Ted Koppel is embedding secret messages from alien overlords in the evening news so long as you can still get up in the morning and go to work, pay your bills, keep yourself clean and fed, and manage not to hurt anyone.

  • I couldn’t tell you of any scholarly studies, but given that in North American culture, buying large, outsized or expensive items and then using them without due care and attention in order to be a show-off is often termed “overcompensating for something” when men do it, it suggests that to some extent, masculinity or the concept thereof is bound up with showing one has achieved the hallmarks of culturally understood manhood.

    In Breaking Bad terms, just as Walter White desperately wants to prove himself the provider, the giver of monetary security to his family (he and Skyler don’t quite see eye-to-eye on her getting her own job to help out, for example), I suspect if he were more comfortable around guns he would be the one to keep a gun in his car and his house all the time.

    Even if he does drive the stupidest looking truck known to humanity.

  • AnonymousSam

    I learned it as the four Ds: Deviance, Distress, Dysfunction and Danger. Compliance to societal norms would be the first one; whether or not the condition is seen as a negative to the patient is the second; whether or not it impairs their ability to function in day to day life is the third; and whether or not it contributes to the chances of the patient harming others or themselves is the fourth.

  • Lori

    It’s a very strange thing for a trained psychologist to say, since my
    understanding is that for decades, the prevailing attitude of the major
    professional bodies in the field is that mental health is not defined in
    terms of compliance to some kind of norm 

    I think you may be conflating the idea that there’s really no such thing as “normal” with the idea that mental health is not defined with regard to norms.  The first one is basically true, the second is not.

    The current diagnostic manual is the DSM-IV. We were still using DSM-III when I was in school and working in the field, so I was never fully conversant with DSM-IV, but I thought I remembered specific reference to cultural norms as part of diagnosis. I double-cheeked, and that is the case.

    The DSM-IV definition of personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of inner experience and behavior that is deviant from a person’s cultural norms.There are 10 types of personality disorder, each with their own specific characteristics, but that’s the starting point for this group of disorders.

    The next revision of the manual is due out next spring. It’s my understanding that there has been a substantial change to the personality disorder section and that DSM-V takes out the reference to cultural norms and instead talks about adaptive failure. However, that obviously involves answering the question, “Failure to adapt to what?” The whole concept of an inability to meet the demands of everyday life holds within it cultural expectations about what those demands are and how they can or should be met.

    That is, it doesn’t matter if you think Ted Koppel is embedding secret
    messages from alien overlords in the evening news so long as you can
    still get up in the morning and go to work, pay your bills, keep
    yourself clean and fed, and manage not to hurt anyone.  

    It matters if you think Ted Koppel is embedding secret
    messages from alien overlords in the evening news (because he’s not), but our response to that belief is heavily influenced by whether or not it’s interfering with your ability to lead what we consider to be a normal life. That last bit is, of necessity, a reference to cultural norms.

  • reynard61

    “I would be afraid that the Supreme Court would rule in your favor, anyway.”

    Probably. The current SCOTUS seems to be swinging around to the notion that the Constitution is; if not a “suicide pact”, to use Justice Robert H. Jackson’s oft-quoted phrase; an implicit murder permission slip for those smart/savvy enough to scream “Second Amendment rights!!!” the way Joss Ackland’s evil South African diplomat in the movie Lethal Weapon 3 screams “Diplomatic Immunity!!!” whenever the shit starts to fly. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  • EllieMurasaki
    The class that got slaughtered had a kid whose name we don’t know because she faked dead long enough to get out alive. Good for her.

    Not good for whoever’s saying she survived by divine intervention. What makes this kid special enough to save? If the answer is, as I suspect, ‘nothing’, why are all her friends dead? Also, way to detract from her courage and intelligence.