The date is December 14th, 2012. It’s that time of year again, the fronts of houses are decorated like elaborate gingerbread houses and parents are excited to see what their children will find upon tearing open the colorful wrapping paper and finding the gift they have generously purchased. You’ve just dropped off your child at their elementary school and are ready to get through your day until it’s time to pick them up. You go about your day, whether working, doing chores, or otherwise when your phone begins to chirp its tune. Upon answering, you hear a voice trying, and failing, to sound calm, bluntly stating there’s been shooting at your child’s school. Anger, sorrow, depression, remorse, stunned, stupefied. All of these emotions as well as so many others are what society and especially parents everywhere felt after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. Adam Lanza, a 20-year old man, has shot and killed 20 children between the ages of six and seven years old, as well as 6 adult staff members, and after committing the atrocious crime he shot and killed himself in a disgraceful act of cowardice. While most would try to look at the “why” or “how” of the whole situation, some seem to forget about the effects and what comes afterwards of the remaining students and staff, as well as society as a whole. What does society become after this evil man with wicked intentions creates such chaos within our own communities?
When looking at today’s society, one of the biggest problems we have are conflicting opinions and thoughts on guns, as to whether or not they should be banned. It’s unfortunate that America has one of the worst reputations for mass shootings and the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary only fanned the flames of that perspective. After Lanza committed the atrocious crime, America has since fought even harder to try and work out the Second Amendment. In an interview that TIME Magazine had with Saul Cornell, who holds the Paul and Diane Guenther Chair in American History at Fordham University, he was asked where he thinks Sandy Hook falls in the history of guns in America, he replied, “The trends I saw emerging after Sandy Hook are still playing out, but I think that there’s no question that Sandy Hook is something of a turning point” (Waxman). Lanza has reignited debates over gun control and mental health care with parents, understandably, concerned for their children and wanting to do everything they can to ensure the safety of schools in America. With a rise in these mass shootings, conversations and arguments about the second amendment have become a popular thing to talk about among multiple groups of people.
While shootings seem to be happening everywhere, when it comes to looking at the Sandy Hook massacre specifically, parents everywhere, those who have been directly involved or those who watched from their television screens, have not taken this topic lightly. In an article for ABC News a few parents were interviewed about their takes on the situation as a whole, regarding both the mass shooting and the gun law situation. Daniel and Jessica are parents of young children who discussed their views on the situation from a parental perspective. Jessica replies, “I feel like that was a really big turning point in America in my opinion, in that not providing any substantive legislation after that, in my mind, made it OK that these kids died,” as well as Daniel’s view, “I have a kid and I can only – I couldn’t imagine what those families went through, and how do you prevent that tragedy, and how do you stop that? I wish I had an answer for that” (Crimesider). The entire American population was impacted greatly from Sandy Hook on the subject regarding guns and gun laws, and it’s disheartening that parents across America like Daniel and Jessica feel that there are no precautions or actions taken to prevent these depressing events. Jessica also states that she had received emails from her daughter’s school saying that she has been participating in active shooter drills, so Jessica won’t be alarmed if her daughter starts talking about hiding from her teacher. Fire drills are one thing, but to force students to be prepared for an event in which there is a shooter is stressful, and Jessica as well as thousands of other parents may feel the same about the situations mass shooters like Adam Lanza have created. Unfortunately, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of victims subjected to these violent acts, and Lanza has only become one of the more infamous killers due to murdering innocent children.
When it comes to Elementary, High Schools, or even colleges, active shooter drills are becoming something of the norm. ABC News states, “In addition to reigniting debated over gun control and mental care, it helped usher in an era of “active shooter drills” and difficult conversations about safety for even the youngest kids” (Crimesider). As stated by several people so far, Lanza’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary was a turning Point in America’s gun safety laws and the second amendment. “…stack chairs and desks against the classroom door to make it harder for “bad guys” to get in. Make the classroom like a fort,” “If a teacher tells you to climb out a window, listen to them…. And in the unlikely event a “bad guy” gets into the classroom, scream and run around to distract him.” These chilling statements are from an article in an academic journal called Education Digest and states what officers are now having to teach children as young as kindergartners in schools. To most, it’s depressing to think that this is what the next generations have to look forward to, but if these were already put in place for the students at Sandy Hook, would we have a different outcome? Adam Lanza is not the first school shooter, but he definitely won’t be the last, and it might be a good idea to have some sort of knowledge an what to do than to have none at all.
With further analyzation we might connect mass shootings today with Lanza’s atrocities. Of course, Lanza is not the first mass shooter, but he may have been one of the first to start this rise in America’s mass shootings. When looking at Jeffery Cohen’s Monster Theory, Lanza ties in with Monster Theory II: “The Monster Always Returns” (Cohen). We have seen too many shootings, both small and large, in American society, but even after Lanza, this monstrous act continues year after year, only getting worse with no end in sight. Mass shooters all have one thing in common, they keep coming back. From Adam Lanza in 2012 to Omar Mateen, the “Pulse” gay night club shooter, in 2016, these names and faces will always remain infamous as well as the monstrous acts they committed. We build memorials for the people who have lost their lives in these terrible acts of crime, but are we really remembering the innocent people lost, or are we remembering the sinister face of the one who took them away?
The event that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary is definitely one we will remember for a long time. If we indulge further into analyzing Lanza and his actions, we may also find that Lanza may also categorize into Cohen’s Monster Theory I: “The Monster’s Body Is a Cultural Body.” Lanza, as well as mass shootings in general, have become such a big part in today’s society, we might as well say it is a part of our culture. Upon searching the name “Adam Lanza,” or “Sandy Hook,” we may find that this event is still being talked about today. The Sandy Hook Massacre occurred 6 years ago as of December 14, 2018, but we still remember the events and the faces connected to this horrible event, and whether it was Lanza’s intention or not, his will be remembered for decades to come.
Adam Lanza was not the first, nor will he be the last, mass shooter, but he did leave an impact, however monstrous, on the world. If we look back, Lanza has had an enormous effect from gun laws, to second amendment, to even proud parents doing something as simple as dropping their child off at school. As one society, we have mourned Sandy Hook, the more than likely traumatized students, parents of the students, and even the family of the staff. America is one of the biggest leading countries, but sometimes for all the wrong reasons, especially in guns and gun laws, and after each year it seems like the probability of stopping these atrocities becomes less of a fact, and more like wish. As many times as events such as this will occur over and over again, hopefully we can take the past, realize the affects, and learn from it to know what to do when it happens.
1. Blad, Evie. “Do Schools’ ‘Active Shooter Drills’ Prepare or Frighten?” Education Digest, vol. 83, no. 6, 2018, pp. 4-8.
This article talks about active shooter drills and how officers are teaching children as young as kindergartners what to do in case of an actual event of a shooter on school grounds. This article also provides a parent’s perspective on whether or not these drills should be taught to children. I am using this source to quote a few things about what the officers are teaching kids about active shooting drills. This is a reliable source from an academic journal.
2. Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Monster Culture (Seven Theses). University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
This article explains the seven theses that define a monster. It provides samples from various historical, biblical, and fictional events as well as explanations to define how and what makes a monster. This article can provide academic evidence as to why we may apply certain attributes to the monsters we create. This is a reliable source published for the purpose of academics.
3. Crimesider Staff. “How Sandy Hook Changed America’s Schools.” ABCNews, 13 Dec. 2017. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-sandy-hook-changed-americans-schools-2-parents-discuss/
This article talks about how schools are now implementing active shooter drills to prepare students in case of a school shooting. It provides interviews with parent’s views on the topic as a whole, both on the Sandy Hook shooting and gun laws. I am using this source to provide how the Sandy Hook incident has impacted parents and children everywhere. This is a reliable source from a well-known news channel.
4. “Raising Adam Lanza.” Frontline, PBS. PBS International, 19 Feb. 2013, http://pbsinternational.org/programs/raising-adam-lanza/
This is a documentary explaining Adam Lanza’s childhood and how his mother, Nancy, seemed to know something was off about her son. This documentary contains interviews from people who knew Lanza in his childhood as they talk about what he was like as a child. This is my primary source that can provide facts about Lanza’s childhood. This is a reliable source from a well-known learning channel.
5. Waxman, Olivia B. “It’s Almost About Anything But the Guns’: Sandy Hook and the Original Meaning of the Second Amendment.” Time, 14 Dec. 2017. http://time.com/5061579/sandy-hook-newtown-history/
This is an online article from a magazine called TIME. The article is written by Olivia Waxman who wrote about how the shooting that occurred at Sandy Hook almost 6 years ago. She holds an interview with someone who knows a lot on the second amendment and holds the Paul and Diane Guenther Chair in American History at Fordham University, named Saul Cornell. I am using a piece of one of Cornell’s replies to help back up my claim on why the Sandy Hook shooting impacted society’s gun laws. It is a reliable source from a popular magazine that mostly focuses on History and Politics.