Newtown – A tragedy close to home

I didn’t know any of the victims of the Newtown shooting. I’ve only been to Newtown once for an interview. I remember the long stretch of road and tree-laden landscape of the town, only twenty miles north of my house.


A tribute to the families and victims of Newtown, CT

Burning embers


When I think of mass shootings, school lockdowns, and candlelight vigils, I think of Aurora and Columbine, towns hundreds of miles away.

On Friday, a young deranged shooter raised a semiautomatic rifle, with bullets designed to inflict the greatest harm, and repeatedly shot twenty, first graders and six adults, two, just kids themselves, others, with children of their own.

The massacre didn’t happen hundreds of miles away in Colorado or Ohio. The massacre happened, here, in Connecticut, just twenty miles from my house.

Even though I didn’t know any of the families affected by this tragedy of unimaginable proportions, I was affected by their horror, loss, and inconsolable grief. I was shocked and sickened, as I watched the news footage, and thought, “But, it can’t happen here.”

After the veil of shock lifted and the icy realization, “That it did happen here,” gripped my spine, I shed a tear for the families and for the innocence lost, while saddened by the sobering reality that it can, in fact, “happen here.”

Not Newtown, or any town anywhere, is immune from the random shooting of a psychopath. And the notion of living in a place that’s “safe” and “tranquil,” words synonymous with small town life, can be shattered in the fleeting gasp of a horrific moment.

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23 Comments Newtown – A tragedy close to home

  1. injaynesworld

    I understand your feelings completely. I live in a small, rural community, too, and for the first time thought, “It could happen here.” I recall a time when hearing about one murder was horrific. Back then I could never have foreseen the level of violence and insanity we’re seeing today.

    1. Lauren

      It’s hard to process the level of violence and insanity we’re seeing today. This morning, A Cup of Joe was on MSNBC spewing his bullshit on curbing violence in video games. Talk about missing the target!

  2. Nicky

    I’ve been avoiding the news since I first read about it on Friday. It’s just so horrifying. My aunt also lives in that area. She’s feeling very much like you. It really is just so tragic. *Hugs to you, Lauren*

  3. Katherine

    I have been sick. Absolutely, and completely sick. I can’t even look at the news, the pictures. It is unbearable… what these people are going through. Unthinkable.

  4. June O'Hara

    Like Katherine and Nicky, I’ve been avoiding the news. It’s almost too much to take in.

    …”the veil of shock lifted and the icy realization gripped my spine…” No matter your subject, you write so damn well.

  5. Priyanka

    Each and every teacher who lost his/her life is a true HERO . Those kids would have celebrated christmas if this had not happened . They had a life . They had one whole life ahead of them . As part of this humanity all we can do is to pray for their families and sit alone and cry . Let us just pray that they all are happy in heaven . They are in safe hands now . May God bless ,all their families . They will always and forever be remembered .

    1. Lauren

      The teachers were amazing. It’s incredible that the school had practiced lockdown drills with the kids over the years. I believe the school officials and first responders did everything humanly possible to prevent further deaths at the scene. The footage of parents speaking about their deceased children was painful to watch.

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  7. Phil

    I am still in shock over this. I still can’t bear to read the papers or watch the news as it’s so sad. My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by this horrible tragedy. Those families will never be the same, even more so around the holidays. Still can’t belive it happened.

    1. Lauren

      I know.

      The past three days have been weird around here. There was a lockdown of all the schools on Monday. Someone reported seeing a suspicious man, wearing all black, carrying what appeared to be a gun. It turned out to be an umbrella.

  8. Cynthia

    It has been close to a week since this happen and I still can not believe it. Seeing the faces of the children just makes me break into tears. I have a 7 year old and I can not imagine the pain these families are feeling. It is hard to believe that regardless of your mental state how you could veer in the parking lot of a school and shoot children.

    1. Lauren

      It’s unimaginable what happened. I don’t think we’ll ever know why he did this. People will likely find their own rationale for the shooting, whether it be the proliferation of assault weapons or too much violence in the media.

      The reality is that an unstable mom with guns kept guns in a home with an unstable youth. How do you prevent that from happening again? There are probably many unstable people who own guns, people who wouldn’t be considered “mentally ill” or red flagged in a background check.

      I think assault weapons should be banned from recreational use PERIOD. The words “assault weapon” and “recreational” shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence.

      Killing a deer with a semiautomatic is carnage, not sport.

      There should be restrictions on how many bullets a person is allowed to purchase within a certain timeframe. If an individual purchases an inordinate amount of bullets, there should be a database that red flags it.

      The laws that are already in place should be enforced and the gun show loopholes closed.

  9. Virginia

    You express my experience in processing the event. I live just over the NY state line from Danbury, and the proximity literally shook me. That and the fact that such little ones were involved. It was hard to believe it was really happening. It still is! Like you I felt the need to write about it.

  10. Lisa

    I thought of you on that day Lauren knowing you lived in CT. I just could not believe the news and really haven’t been able to watch the coverage since. Anything to do with little kids like that just makes me cry and I can’t imagine what those parents are going through. Just a really awful thing. I have seen schools around our area on alert with suspicious people around and some went into lock-down. It’s got to be so hard to have school age children now.

    1. Lauren

      I know what you mean, Lisa. I’t just horrible and unconscionable. Every time I watched a parent talk about their deceased child, tears filled my eyes. And to think I just worried about my son being kidnapped when he was in elementary school.

      On Monday, Ridgefield schools were on lock-down. Someone spotted a “suspicious” looking man in black, carrying what appeared to be a weapon. It turned out to be an umbrella.

  11. Credit Donkey

    Having children of my own and being relatively young (I’m only 25 with two kids aged five and two) I always get affected by tragic news involving children. Shootings, kidnappings, accidental deaths, etc. It doesn’t matter how far or how near, it always breaks my heart. I just can’t imagine if it happened to me. I can’t dare. My heart goes out to the shooting victims and their families and friends.


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