Newtown Shooting

Reflections (Partly Personal) on the Sandy Hook Massacre

On Friday morning, my son told me to turn on the television. There had been another school shooting. The location of the shooting was a small school in a lower southwestern Connecticut village called Sandy Hook. Relatively few Americans outside of Connecticut have ever heard of the town. But I knew it well, at least as well as a nine year old boy could know a place.

I lived in Sandy Hook and attended Sandy Hook Elementary School in my second through fourth grade years. Mrs. Hinckley taught my second grade class—I started in the spring semester—, Mrs. Lohrs the third and Mrs. Fairchild, taught me in the fourth grade. I attended the school during its first ten years of operation, from the spring of 1964 to the spring of 1966. I was confirmed in the Trinity Episcopal Church of Newtown. We lived in the caretaker’s home of Hollywood film director Elia Kazan, one of Sandy Hook’s most well-known residents, but his name meant little to me at the time. I was in Mrs. Wheeler’s Sandy Hook Cub Scout pack.

The years in Sandy Hook were good years. It was a peaceful, idyllic, sleepy New England town filled with old houses, old stone walls, and now, almost fifty years later, a few old childhood memories.

As I began to watch the story of the tragedy unfold on Friday, along with the rest of the world, I sat in stunned silence as its full horror began to unfold. Information was sketchy at first, but the longer the story aired, the more shocked and saddened we all became. A lone gunman apparently forced his way into the school and wantonly took the lives of twenty children and six of their adult school leaders.

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"Horrific mass shootings aren’t the only sign that the world is pining under the effects of sin and darkness."

But some Christmas songs seem painfully fitting: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining.” And this plea: “O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny.”  Dark Day

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