Archived Story

Can we stop the violence?

Published 11:55am Friday, December 21, 2012

Twenty-six. Twenty-six people were slain senselessly at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday – 20 of which had their whole lives ahead of them.

We owe it to ourselves to ask why this happened and how we can prevent it from happening again.

Since that day, many have attempted to answer these questions.

The motive is important to discover because it plays in to how we can put an end to such tragedies.

Some have speculated that Adam Lanza felt alone, tortured by an actual or perceived lack of love from his mother. Some have pointed out Lanza’s history of mental instability, and proposed that his killing spree was an angry response to his mother’s attempt to get her son committed.

As for prevention, some see the incident as a sign that our current gun control laws are failing us.

Others have looked at ways to secure the schools themselves through measures such as locking all the doors during school hours and funneling all potential visitors through one access point.

We may never know the motive. Maybe he didn’t feel loved. Maybe he wanted his 30 seconds of fame. It could be one or many reasons, but the only one who knew for sure ended his life on that day.

That being said, can we stop something for which we don’t fully understand the chain of causation?

Yes and no.

We could make all guns illegal – but that wouldn’t rid the world of all firearms. Cocaine is illegal – but in 2010, 709 metric tons of cocaine made its away into the United States.

We can strive to make our schools safer through limiting access. This too would only have some success. Sandy Hook had single controlled-access entry, yet that didn’t keep Lanza from shooting his way in. Remove the glass from that door and replace it with a solid steel version, and the school could still be breached with the right explosives.

That being said, we need to try anything and everything, no matter how effective the measures might be.

We need to try to control access to our schools, even if that means that it just buys enough time for police to respond to the incident. If Lanza have been delayed at the door, the death count might have not risen so high.

We should strive to evaluate our current gun laws, though this might only make assault weapons more difficult but not impossible to obtain.

And we need to teach our children how to love. Tragedies like this are born out of hate and anger.

The hateful words and actions of classmates is what lead Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to gun down 13 during the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School.

We might not prevent the next big tragedy from happening. But if you had a chance to possibly save one life, wouldn’t you?

Nelson is news editor for The Outlook.