DEVELOPING: Authorities say at least 26 people, including 18 children, were killed Friday when a gunman opened fire inside a Connecticut elementary school.
A law enforcement official said the shooter, who is dead, is believed to be a father of one of the students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
An official with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press that the man apparently had two guns.
Earlier reports of a second gunman are unconfirmed. The Connecticut Post reports that police are also questioning a handcuffed man in connection with the shooting. Witnesses told the newspaper he was led out of the woods by officers.
I’m not going to talk about gun control. I’m not going to lay down any of those challenges. Although there is a part of me that thinks such bans imposed by others (EDIT: I’m referring here to those “bans” on talking about gun control or political issues immediately after a tragedy has happened, not gun bans themselves), in the name of sacredness or whatever, are silly, I’m not going to do that. I can’t be arsed.
Just two quick thoughts on this tragedy:
- Until and unless we learn to excise force from human vocabulary, until we get to the point where all of humanity believes that using force is anathema and repulsive, these acts will continue. Ultimately, we need to do more than just promote free markets or liberty or whatever. We need to get people to just stop using force, period. For the most part, as Stephen Pinkner has pointed out in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature, we’ve done that. Violence is at an all-time low. But unfortunately, we have not completed that journey. So I must ask: when the hell are we going to get there?
- I’m noticing calls from all over the Twittersphere calling on people to pray for the families in Connecticut. As an atheist, I don’t pray. I don’t even meditate. I’m curious what other atheists would do in this instance–would they say “Our thoughts are with the families”? I don’t know. I’d like to find out.
And for now, let us come together and denounce this as the tragedy it is. Hopefully my questions will be answered at some point.
EDIT: Actually, I have one more question that you would think I should have grasped earlier, because it is so obvious:
- Who the hell shoots kids? As much as I detest and abhor violence, I can see the case for shooting an adult from time to time, in certain circumstances. But a child? I just don’t get that. I don’t get how you could shoot a kid. The only thing that comes to me is what I’ve known all along: people are irrational fuckwits. People are not rational. End of story. But that isn’t really adequate. So I must keep asking: who the hell shoots kids?