The account below was written by Andrew Bendzinski, a student, for a class assignment. Mr. Bendzinski here provides a very good summary of events surrounding the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The speculative portions of his account towards the end of his paper are his own. Almost all seriously defective speculation concerning Sandy Hook arises from the unaccountable delay of State Attorney Stephen Sedensky’s criminal report. Mr. Bendzinski’s conclusions follow a careful rendering of available data. The same cannot be said for the members of Connecticut’s General Assembly, who wrote a gun law heavily dependent upon doubtful speculation and political exigency. I have made only minor grammatical changes in Mr. Bendzinski paper.
The Sandy Hook Massacre
I am writing this essay in order to confront all the information, facts, problems, and misconceptions involving the Sandy Hook incident which took place on December 14, 2012. This paper will explore the integrity of the information given by large media outlets, as well as compare information given that may conflict widely with other accounts. My goal is to fully report on the entire event so that the average person can take a look at all the information laid out in front of them, and then decide what may or may not have happened.
There is a large population that has subscribed to growing conspiracy theories on this subject, while the rest of the populous discard these possibilities as absurd or impossible. Instead, they view the stories given to them by news stations such as CNN, FOX, etc as solid and reliable, without taking a look for themselves and searching for an answer. I am creating a paper which is meant for anyone and everyone to read, thus enabling people to take away from it what they will, and have an opinion based on actual solid facts from a vast variety of sources.
This paper will be divided into three parts. The first part will be a review of all information given in excessive detail. Part one is to be purely educational, based straight out of news articles, videos, police audio reports, written police reports, and any other solid sources.
Part two will be me connecting events together or showing contradiction between them. I plan to include as little bias as possible, if any. In part three, I will explain what I think about the Sandy Hook massacre, as well as connect pieces of the facts together in order to show an educated opinion . There are many ideas that can be made using the information given, so it is up to the reader to form their idea after reading part one and part two. Part three is an optional read, and part one and two are all that are necessary for the reader to read in order for them to formulate their own ideas (or keep their existing idea). As stated before, I am simply laying everything out on the table, and from there it is up to the individual to meditate and formulate their own thoughts about what happened during the Sandy Hook shooting.
“67, Sandy Hook School; caller's indicating she thinks there's someone shooting in the building.”
“Okay we're going”
“Units responding...units responding to Sandy Hook School the front glass has been broken out of the school; we're unsure why.”
Dispatch/ Male on phone
“Alright, all units: the...[a man in the background can be heard shouting: “out the door!”]...individual that I have on the phone is continuing to hear what he believes to be gunfire.”
“S...95, 67....I want you to come up to the school on Crestwood Road; other units take up a station point in the driveway.”
“All units responding to Sandy Hook School at this time, the shooting appears to have stopped; it is silent at this time, the school is in lockdown.”
“Roger that, we'll stage up here in front...we'll go from there.”
“67, you're on Crestwood?”
“I have reports that the teacher saw two shadows running past the building, past the gym which would be in the rear...alright they can still hear shooting!”
(breathless) “Yeah we got 'em!”
(frantic, nervous) “They're coming at me down Crestwood!”
(frantic) “Come up the driveway to the left side!”
“F6, this is it.”
(you can hear beeps and phones ringing in background) “Medics you are requested to stage Methodist Church, Sandy Hook Center, I will need two ambulances at this time.”
“Cars responding. The shooter is apparently still shooting, in the office area. 12 Dickinson Drive.”
“Troop A personnel...make sure you have your vests on.”
“I've got a
*This means that the police had someone(later confirmed to be a man) detained and lying on the ground
“His last known shots were in front of the building, maybe the roof.”
“Just received a call, we have one female in Room 1 who has received a gunshot wound to the foot. Uncertain of [any other?] injuries at this time. I advised for an ambulance to [remain?] staging.
(frantic) “Okay I need units in the school, I got bodies here, but, uh, get ambulances [ASAP?]”
“We've got an injured person in room number 9 with numerous gunshot wounds”
“....unknown if the shooter is located.”
“Negative on the description! Okay, shots were fired about three minutes ago, quiet at the time”
“We got one suspect down”
“We have a suspect down”
“Newtown's reporting one subject down. The building has not been cleared”
“D5, be advised, we also have multiple weapons, including [long rifles/one rifle] and shotgun[s?].”
“[Notify DFC?] We got a speed limit sign down here.”
“Standby, I have units in front of the school, we are conducting an interior search at this time.”
(whispered) “[Take?] the life of Adam.” *
“Ask the custodian: we need a way to the roof and a team up on the roof, to clear the roof.
“D5, we need buses here, ASAP. Call Danbury if you have to.”
“We need a bus up here right away (pause...) 401, get the bus!”
“We're gonna be on the roof, checking that area.”
“872-YEO, possible suspect vehicle. *
"Last name is Rodia, R-o-d-i-a, Christopher H, August 6th, '69.
“Make sure it ain't an AR-15”
“[Newtown 102's office, changing our firearms/102's off at Sandy Hook Firehouse.]”
“OK, 113, you will stage at the rear parking lot of Sandy Hook fire department.”
“101 have hook and ladder set up at the staging area-or, a triage area.
“Out at the firehouse?”
“I'm at the firehouse- [?] with your message.”
“I want you to set a triage area up there at the firehouse”
“702 to 737; do you know if anyone grabbed the mass casualty kit?”
“That's a negative”
“405 to 410, what's the status of your patient?”
“Gunshot wound to the left foot, need transport, but she's conscious and alert.”
“Know what the set of keys is, we need them for the [yellow?] library offshoot closet.”
“702, can you grab all the MCI kits?”'
“I'm actually at Sandy Hook.”
“702, this is 745; I have the MCI stuff inbound, just coming over 84.
“702, 745 – roger, thank you.
“All EMS and fire personnel: unnecessary air traffic. Maintain the airwaves.” *
(impatient)“Command to Newtown...could you get, uh, someone who's in charge of this scene from the police department to come out and talk to us please?
“Closet in the kitchen, we have some victims. Let us know, we'll call the number. So that they know that you're coming.” *
“One of the places is in the kitchen, there's a teacher and 18 kids here.”
“Newtown, [inaudible] responding to the scene, the scene is not active- NOT active at this time. Reduce your speed, but continue. No need for further response.”
“272 we're clearing the closets in the kitchen as we speak.”
“(whisper)[They're going to make a?] goal-punting documentary.”
“Be advised, we do have enough officers in the building; we do not need any more officers entering the building.”
“019 to 179.”
“If you see people that are not already at the scene or nearby, respond to troop A. Last report was that there was one suspect that potentially was still at large, so I want them to set up at A in case we need to deploy them somewhere else.”
“I don't have any first-hand reports of any IED's(Improvised Explosive Device) or anything like that, we're just uh, [inaudible]”
“I have [Gino?] coming to you with a set of building plans. When he delivers them to you they need to go to the front of the Sandy Hook school to S6.”
“Received, he'll find me at the entrance of Dickinson and Riverside.”
“Stage at troop A in Southbury. Again, all Eastern Tactical Team Members to stage at A in Southbury.”
“We're [searching for?] Sergeant Talon, uh, he was in the building doing a secondary sweep, and uh, we've got medics in there checking the casualties.”
“Four to seven.”
“What's your status at that residence?”
“We're evacuating each side across the street, and then securing.”
“Are there more people [inside/in sight]?”
“We do not know at this time, we just arrived on scene, and are evacuating each side.”
“Roger, just keep me informed.”
“Are you on route with the layout of the school?”
“Negative, we haven't seen that individual yet.”
(Children talking in background, inaudible) “OK be advised, I'm with the parent here who has the children that were in the classroom during the event. Uh I'm trying to get an account on them now...they were, you know, not in the regular uh, we have a line of uh, lines here with um, with um... rooms, they are not one of them so I'm gathering the names of the students that were in the classroom at the time.”
“404 to EMS command.”
“This is the secondary triage, go ahead.”
“EMS, this is secondary triage, go ahead.”
“This is 404, I have [storm engine?] ambulance out here on the road here on Riverside, they're under the impression they're transporting - do you have a patient for them?”
“Affirmative, they need to bring a gurney(stretcher) into the triage area.”
“Received, I'll relay that.”
“Cars, Danbury's reporting a possible vehicle, purple van- two occupants with a possible ski mask, that may be involved in this incident. Exit 8, heading down Stony Hill, [origin center?]”
“The lady involved in this incident, also we're getting reports of them maybe wearing a nun outfit, heading towards Danbury, Stony Hill. Purple van, unknown plate.”
“We have [inaudible] on the scene, along with personnel from the FBI.”
“Alright, I have a canine team, we're behind the building, and we're going to be uh, doing the outer wooded area here. And uh, where are you at right now?
“Roger, holding on the far side of the building where you started.”
“Homes around are evacuated, perimeter is up.”
“Was last seen on Stony Hill by Exit 8. Multiple people in the van have masks, one is dressed in what appeared to be a nun's outfit."
“Is 1089 available to go on Route 8 and make a post, make a post for this uh purple van?
“Yeah, uh, continue to Griffen, [inaudible] Griffen, we'll figure it out, but uh 1089 stay up close for that [inaudible]
“Alright roger that, I'll try to get more information on that purple van.”
“Last seen by Exit 8 on 84. An unknown plate, and unknown travel of direction, possibly involved in the incident in Newtown. Use caution, there may be a weapon involved.”
“Have we cleared the building yet?”
“I'm in the school, I can confirm that the school has been checked three times over, and they're doing a fourth.”
Your upload to YouTube relative to the Newtown CT Shooting radio traffic has caused quite a stir as it relates to a Mr. Christopher Rodia. I'm not sure where you sourced your feed, but the traffic related to Mr. Rodia is from a 800 MHz six-channel trunked LMR system in use in Greenwich, CT. Greenwich is approximately 45 miles away from Newtown. The Greenwich system carries only municipal Greenwich traffic (public safety and non-public safety) and is in no way connected to the state's 800 MHz trunked system or Newtown's.
I am certain of this because after the matter (and all of the Internet Conspiracy Theory buzz - just google "Christopher Rodia") was brought to our attention, we went back and checked our recordings for December 14. In addition to just recognizing the voices involved as Greenwich Police Officers and Dispatchers, we have all of the audio from our recording system that matches all of the "Rodia" traffic (and some of the other unrelated-to-Newtown casualty call traffic that occurs at the same time.)
In any event, I'm sure you'll want to help clarify this matter. The "Rodia" traffic is definitely contemporaneous - but from miles away. This has unfortunately additionally clouded an already confusing and emotional issue. Worse, it has brought considerable (and wholly undeserved) angst to Mr. Rodia. Anything you can do to help clear this up would certainly be appreciated.
Feel free to message me back with any questions. I can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capt. Mark Kordick
Commander - Operations Division
Greenwich Police Dept.”
[Updated at 1:42 p.m. ET] Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said the shooter is dead inside the school. Vance said there are a number of fatalities that includes both children and adults. He did not add more details about how many people were killed during the school shooting.
Normally, it would make perfect sense to start off by reviewing the official narrative. The problem with doing that for the Sandy Hook shooting is that many of the official accounts differ and conflict in at least one way or another. Because of this, the majority of Part One will simply be nothing more than tying all the different accounts together. The first accounts I would like to examine are those that came from the police scanner audio, which is easily found on many websites and YouTube videos consisting of uncut scanner audio which lasted about 2 hours. Though uncut, there is a small amount of encrypted transmission. Removing the blocks of silence, static, and inaudible sound, I will write out any audio that is imperative to creating an unbiased report. The people will be marked under speaker info, and if the same person says something in succession it will be in the same content box with the time marked. Black will be used to identify Newtown police, red will be used to mark Fairfield County Police, blue will be used to mark any medical personnel(not part of either police force), and purple will be used to identify the officers who state any information about the purple van.
-Brackets will be used to designate only content that is extremely hard to hear, not to designate what the speaker meant to say. This is done to keep the content as accurate as possible while helping the reader understand content that is hard to understand.
-”...” marks are used ONLY to signify pauses. No speech is left out in these areas.
The Incident According to the Police
This is the ending of any police audio related to the incident that really has any value to what we are looking into here. The conversations taper out, as most of the police and medical personnel have arrived on scene by the and no longer have much use for their radios. You may have noticed that there are long spaces of time between some of the things said, if not most of them. This is because a good amount of conversation in the audio, is, surprisingly, giving directions to other police officers. I disregarded this as unimportant to the case, but a little before finishing the transcript, I realized there was some slight importance to it, but this will not be discussed until Part 2.
So, without further ado, let me quickly go through the police scanner audio and make a summary of the key events that took place, according to the police. Again, not until Part Two will the smallest details be examined.
At 9:35:52 AM, on December 14th, 2012, dispatch notified Newtown police forces that someone had called “indicating she thinks there's someone shooting in the building.” 27 seconds after this, a unit “67” responded, saying they were on their way. However, exactly 17 seconds after 67 responded (at 9:36:19 AM), another unit responded saying; “Units responding to Sandy Hook School, the front glass has been broken out of the school; we're unsure why.” This means that another car had already gotten to the front door of the school in less than a minute after the call of the shooting had been announced. Because the nearest police department is about 6 minutes away from the school, is safe to say that this means the car that responded first had to have been relatively close to the school at the time of the incident.
A little over one minute (09:37:14 AM) after dispatch had initially called in, gunfire was still being reported by a man on the phone with the police department. Units 95 and 67 were ordered to come up behind the school on Crestwood Drive. At 09:38:15 AM, dispatch told all units that the shooting at Sandy Hook had stopped, and that it was silent at the time. Exactly 53 seconds after this was stated, dispatch then again stated that more shooting could be heard, and that a teacher “saw two shadows running past the building, past the gym.”
An officer says, “yeah, we got 'em!”, and another can then be heard frantically yelling, “they're coming at me down Crestwood!”, which is about 100 feet directly south of the Sandy Hook gym, at the edge of the woods. It is safe to assume that this is one of the officers of unit 95 or 67, due to the fact that they were the units ordered up to Crestwood Drive. Dispatch then tells medics to stage at the Methodist Church, which is about 3 minutes drive from the school. At 09:40:28 AM, an officer states that “the shooter is apparently still shooting in the office area.” This is almost five minutes after shooting was first reported. One minute later, police radioed that they had somebody proned out on the ground. Again at 09:42:18 AM, an officer reports that the shooters last known shots were in front of the building (most likely near or in the offices refereed to 30 seconds prior.)
At 09:43:40 AM we hear that a call is received stating that in Room 1 there is an injured female, who sustained a gunshot wound to the foot. Two minutes after this, an officer reports bodies in the school and requests ambulances, and about 30 seconds after this another officer reports that there is another injured person in room 9, “with numerous gunshot wounds.” At 9:49 AM, it is stated that the location of the shooter is still unknown, about 15 minutes after police had first arrived. The scene is then reported to be silent at 09:49:06 AM, and an officer says that shots were fired about three minutes before (based on his estimate, shots would have stopped around 9:46 AM, around 6 minutes after the last officer had reported shooting again at 09:40:28 AM.)
A suspect is then reported down at 09:51:27 AM, however as of 09:53:25 AM, the building had still not been cleared. Two minutes after this, officers advise D5 that they should have “multiple weapons”, and a speed limit sign was also reported down. An interior search began at 09:56:22 AM, and it is requested to find the custodian in order to obtain keys for a roof search at 10:00 AM. Buses are then requested, and at 10:05:49, an officer reports another possible suspect. A unit then calls in five minutes after, stating that they are either changing their firearms or on their way to the Sandy Hook firehouse.
At 10:12:52 AM, a triage area is ordered to be set up at the firehouse by medical personnel. One of them asks another about the status of their patient, and it is answered that the patient had a gunshot wound to the left foot, needed transportation, yet was alert and conscious (the need of transportation may suggest that the medic who was tending to the patient may have been inside the building with the patient, if it was the same female reported to have been injured at 09:43:40 AM.) Police then request keys for the “library offshoot closet” at 10:17:08 AM.
At 10:28:32 AM, roughly 53 minutes after dispatch had reported the first call of an active shooter, another officer reports that there are victims in the kitchen closet. He doesn't call them bodies, yet he does call them victims, and tells the medical personnel to “call the number so that they know that you're coming.” The fact that medical personnel were called specifically suggests that the “victims” were either dead or wounded. I cannot state one or the other as fact this early on in the essay. Three minutes after, it is stated that the kitchen closets were being cleared, and then instantly after that, the scene was said to be not active.
At 10:57:16, the building plans are apparently being delivered to S6, and nearby streets seem to be secured and evacuated around 11:02 AM. An officer advises that he is lines of teachers and students. He announces that he trying to get accounts from them, but his speech seems to be very nervous, possibly due to all the commotion going on at the scene.
The Incident of the Purple Van
The remainder of police audio deals with the incident of a purple van that officers claim “may be involved in” the Sandy Hook incident. I have outlined it in purple for the following reasons: Upon searching for multiple sources to make sure I had unedited police scanner audio, one of the many videos on YouTube that had authentic audio had something posted in the description from a Capt. Mark Kordick of the Greenwich Police Department. The uploader had kindly posted it in the description for all to see:
This, along with the audio itself, was published on December 14th, 2012, the same day the event occurred. Some still claim that these two incidents were linked together, but the point of this essay is still to investigate all evidence and information possible. What is clear from the audio is that shortly after the Sandy Hook incident took place, a purple van with multiple occupants wearing ski masks and/or nun outfits was spotted first on Stony Hill by Exit 8, and last by Exit 8 on 84.
The police had no license plate number and no information on travel direction from 11:09 AM to 11:29 AM. This means that the police did not gather this information within at least 20 minutes, and possibly more than that, although it cannot be verified due to lack of any more audio from relative events on that day. Doing a quick map search on the internet, one can easily see that Stony Hill near Exit 8 to route 84 is about 7.4 miles away from Sandy Hook, a 15 minute drive. This will conclude the police account given for this section of the paper.
The Incident According to CNN
Initially I wanted to go through a timeline of what each news outlet had reported as the days went on after the shooting and the events became more clear(according to them). Rather than go through every update and post ever created, which would take infinitely long, I will go through CNN's blog report, and it's updates on December 14th, 2012, and then their latest report as of November 24th, 2013. This first report was very hard to find, and is no longer accessible through CNN's website. I filtered Google's results to only give me articles that were published on December 14th, and this way I was able to indirectly connect to it on CNN's news blog.
Because this is a report given to us by a news source through officers, the timing will not mean very much here. Regardless, I time will be bracketed before the text simply to show chronology. All this information was taken directly from CNN's news blog, and will be ordered here. I will also cut out any text unrelated to the incident in order to avoid forcing the reader to read things that don't pertain to the goal of this paper or the incident itself.
Lastly, in another attempt to save the reader from reading some of the same information again, I will highlight the information that is new and/or conflicts with the police audio. Everything else will be information that has been already given in the police audio with no contradiction. For a quicker but yet still accurate read, I would personally suggest only reading the highlighted text in order to save time. The highlighted text will be indicated by red color.
The First Reports from CNN on December 14th, 2012:
[Posted at 10:30 a.m. ET] Breaking news coming in - Connecticut State Police are responding to reports of a shooting at a Newtown elementary school in southwestern Connecticut, according to police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance.
[Updated at 10:53 a.m. ET] Sandy Hook school is on lockdown and students are not being evacuated, a Newtown police spokesman tells us.
[Updated at 11:03 a.m. ET] We're still getting details in of how many people may have been hurt.
[Updated at 11:19 a.m. ET] Affiliate WTNH says children are being taken to a nearby firehouse.
[Updated at 11:27 a.m. ET] The Hartford Courant, citing police, said an unspecified number of people had been shot. The nature of their injuries was unclear, the newspaper said. But it cited police in saying one person had "numerous gunshot wounds."
[Updated at 11:34 a.m. ET] The shooter is dead, a source with knowledge of the investigation, tells CNN’s Susan Candiotti. Police have recovered two weapons from him, the source added. It's not known whether police killed the alleged shooter or he took his own life. The source says one weapon recovered is a Glock and the other is a Sig Sauer.
[Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET] At least three people were wounded and are in "very serious" condition at a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, that town's mayor, Mark Boughton told CNN. He couldn't say whether the victims were children.
[Updated at 11:47 a.m. ET] The dad of a student at the school told CNN affiliate WTNH there were about 600 pupils in the building at the time of the shooting.
[Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET] Danbury Hospital confirms it's treating some victims. It says this on its Facebook page:
"To date, three patients have been transported to Danbury Hospital from the scene. Out of abundance of caution and not because of any direct threat Danbury Hospital is under lockdown. This allows us simply to focus on the important work at hand.”
[Updated at 12:02 p.m. ET] Multiple local media are reporting there are fatalities. We're checking.
[Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET] The shooter's body is in a classroom, a source with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN’s Susan Candiotti.
[Updated at 12:16 p.m. ET] Two adults were killed, according to a parent who was at the school during the incident, and who talked to our colleague Meredith Artley.
[Updated at 12:27 p.m. ET] The mom who spoke to CNN's Meredith Artley said she heard "at least 100 rounds" being fired.The shooting began about 9:35 a.m., the parent said. There was a "pop pop pop" in the hall outside the room. Three people went out of the room into the hall where the sounds had come from. "Only one person came back," we were told. The witness told Artley that she then called 911. She said she never saw the shooter but she later was escorted outside the room past two bodies lying in blood.
[Updated at 12:48 p.m. ET] "Close to 20” people have been killed, including at least 10 children, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation says.
[Updated at 12:59 p.m. ET] Many people are talking again about gun control. But White House spokesman Jay Carney isn't joining in for now.
[Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET] We are now learning that a male is being questioned by investigators, but he is not being called a suspect, CNN's Susan Candiotti reports.
[Updated at 1:47 p.m. ET] A few more details from the White House press briefing earlier. White House spokesman Jay Carney said while today is not the day to debate gun policy, an assault weapons ban "does remain a commitment" of President Obama.
[Updated at 1:51 p.m. ET] We have just learned that the suspected shooter is 20-years-old, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN’s Susan Candiotti.
[Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET] The death toll is closer to 30 than 20, a federal law enforcement source in Washington told CNN's John King. Most of those killed are children, the source said. The source also said the suspected gunman, who is dead, had a connection to the school. He would not elaborate on that connection. The source is in touch with authorities on the scene.
[Updated at 2:11 p.m. ET] CNN's Susan Candiotti has just reported that a law enforcement official tells her the suspect is named Ryan Lanza and he is in his 20s.
[Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET] Federal law enforcement officials have told CNN's John King that the shooting happened quickly and happened in a concentrated area.
[Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET] The principal and guidance counselor at Sandy Hook Elementary School were both killed during the shooting, according to a witness that spoke to CNN.
[Updated at 3:09 p.m. ET] The suspect's mother was shot and killed at the school, according to source close to the investigation. She was a teacher there. And we now know that Ryan Lanza, the suspected gunman, was 24.
(6:44 p.m. ET update–(Three U.S. law enforcement officials say the suspected gunman was Adam Lanza, not his brother Ryan Lanza as officials had previously said. It is not clear what caused the confusion among investigators. Ryan Lanza was picked up from a home in Hoboken, New Jersey, on Friday and has been questioned but has not been labeled as a suspect, officials now say. Also, CNN’s Susan Candiotti is talking to investigators and has now learned that the mother of the suspected shooter was found dead in the suspect’s home in Newtown)
[Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET] It appears that another member of the alleged shooter's family is dead. A senior law enforcement official familiar with the investigation says a brother of the alleged shooter was found dead in a home searched in Hoboken, New Jersey. We already knew the suspect's mother was found dead in the elementary school.
(6:43 p.m. ET update – CNN’s Susan Candiotti is talking to investigators and has now learned that the mother of the suspected shooter was found dead in the suspect’s home in Newtown. No brother of the suspect has been found dead, and no one has been found dead in the home in Hoboken, New Jersey, investigators say.)
***[Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET] Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance has just said that the shooting took place in one section of the school and in two rooms.
***[Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET] There were a total of 27 people dead at the school, Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police said. Six adults, 20 children and the shooter were killed. Eighteen students were pronounced dead at the scene, and two others died at the hospital, said Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police. The six adults died at the scene.
**[Updated at 3:51 p.m. ET]A federal law enforcement source tells CNN's John King the information from the scene is that the shooter arrived and headed directly toward and to his mother’s classroom. That and the other information now emerging - another family member killed, police interviews–lead them to believe his mother was the primary target. But they note he also came armed with clear intention of mass killing.
[Updated at 3:54 p.m. ET] Three guns were found at the scene, CNN's Susan Candiotti reports. According to a law enforcement source, the third weapon found on the scene was a .223 Bushmaster. The other weapons, previously reported, are a Glock, and a Sig-Sauer. No word on the models of Glock or Sig-Sauer.
[Updated at 3:56 p.m. ET] The principal killed was Dawn Hochsprung.
***[Updated at 4:11 p.m. ET] Police did not discharge their weapons at any time when responding at the school, police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. However, he could not confirm whether the suspected shooter - who died at the scene - killed himself, saying that would have to be determined by the medical examiner.
[Updated at 4:54 p.m. ET] We are now being told there was no body found in the Hoboken, New Jersey, home as had been previously reported.
[Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET] Law enforcement officials are not prepared to identify the shooter right now, Connecticut State PoliceLt. J. Paul Vance said in a press conference. "We will leave no stone unturned," Vance added about the entire investigation.
[Updated at 5:14 p.m. ET] The first law enforcement source says the school shooter was dressed in "black battle fatigues and a military vest." The Bushmaster .223 found at the scene is a semi automatic weapon, the source says. Two other weapons found were handguns, a Sig-Sauer and a Glock.
[Updated at 6:44 p.m. ET] Three U.S. law enforcement officials, from different agencies, separately tonight identified the suspected shooter as Adam Lanza, contrary to what investigators had said previously. It is not clear what caused the confusion among investigators. His older brother, Ryan, was taken into custody for general questioning from a home in Hoboken, New Jersey. Officials did not label Ryan Lanza as a suspect. It is unclear when he may be released. One of the officials say Adam’s father was also taken in for similar questioning. There is no indication that the father will be charged.
[Updated at 6:51 p.m. ET] A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation says the three guns found at the shooting site were legally purchased by Nancy Lanza, the mother of the suspect in the shooting. According to the law enforcement official, the Glock and Sig-Sauer handguns were found inside the school with the deceased gunman. The Bushmaster was found in a car outside the school. The official did not know if the car was registered to the gunman, to his mother or to someone else.
[Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET] One injured victim, a female employee of the school, is "doing well," Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said.
**Source will be noted in the bibliography as "Connecticut School Shooting" article given by CNN.**
END REPORT HERE
This is the end of the information given to us by CNN on the day of the Sandy Hook incident. There is no need for me to do an overview, because unlike the police scanner audio, the content is all in context and easily readable. However, I will quickly address some of the issues outlined in red, but not most of them until later.
The update at 1:45 PM says that a male was being questioned by investigators, yet he was not referred to as a suspect. Because of the fact that in the police recordings we here officers talk about a “suspect down”, we cannot say that these are the same people. The “suspect down” had to either be the shooter himself, or another person they had proned out at 09:41:24 AM. The person they had stated to be proned out was not referred to as a suspect, and thus we can systematically reason that the person talked about by CNN here is either a) the man proned out, or b) a different person altogether.
At another point in the CNN feed (at 3:22 PM), it is said that a senior law enforcement official reported that the brother of the alleged shooter was found dead in a home searched in Hoboken, New Jersey. This is cleared up in an edit, and can be confirmed to never have happened. No other news station had reported this either, giving further support to the fact that there was never any body found in the Hoboken home. The home in Hoboken was owned by Ryan Lanza, brother of Adam Lanza, who we will discuss more about later on.
Note on Latest CNN Report:
This is the latest news overview of the Sandy Hook Incident given by CNN. If you were to type “Sandy Hook CNN” into Google, you'd most likely find the article, “Sandy Hook Shooting: What Happened?” The only problem I had with this article is that I could not find a date on it after searching high and low, nor was the author marked on the article. Luckily, everyone's best friend, Google, allowed me to once again filter the search for this article within a publish date range. I narrowed it down to the range of December 14th, 2012 and December 31st, 2012, thus meaning that the latest report by CNN that I am about to give was somewhere between these two dates.
It is also clear that most information about the Sandy Hook shooting stopped surfacing after around mid-January, and so it is not unreasonable that this report was published during the cited range. Because of the fact that unlike a blog post or transcript log, this article is a relatively short summary of events, I will not be highlighting anything here. This is the latest report by CNN as of November 24th, 2013.
CNN: “Sandy Hook shooting: What happened?”
-Before events at the school:
“At some point before he went into the school, investigators believe Adam Lanza, 20, killed his mother, Nancy Lanza. He grabbed three guns from the house – a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle made by Bushmaster and pistols made by Glock and Sig Sauer – and went to the elementary school wearing black fatigues and a military vest, according to a law enforcement official.
Classes were under way at the school. Approximately 700 students were present. Earlier this year, the school principal, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, ordered a new security system installed that required visitors to be visibly identified and buzzed in. As part of the security system, the school locked its doors each day at 9:30 a.m.
The door was locked when the gunman arrived. Authorities now know the gunman used ‘an assault weapon’ to ‘literally (shoot) an entrance into the building,’ Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said.
-Inside the School:
Hochsprung heard loud pops. She, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and vice principal Natalie Hammond went out to investigate. Only Hammond returned from the hallway alive. She was wounded. At about 9:30 a.m., as announcements were read over the loudspeaker to the students, shots were heard across the school. Students described being ushered into bathrooms and closets by teachers after hearing the first shots. Lanza moved toward two classrooms of kindergartners and first-graders, police said.
In one classroom was Lauren Rousseau, a substitute teacher who was filling in for a teacher out on maternity leave. The gunman shot all 14 students in the classroom, law enforcement officers said.
In another classroom, Victoria Soto, 27, moved her first-grade students away from the door. The gunman burst in and shot her, according to the father of a surviving student. Six students were killed in that classroom.
-First Responders Arrive
At the police station, dispatchers began to take calls from inside the school. Authorities say the first emergency call about the shooting came in at "approximately" 9:30 a.m. "Sandy Hook school. Caller is indicating she thinks someone is shooting in the building," a dispatcher told fire and medical personnel, according to 911 tapes.
Police and other first responders arrived on scene about 20 minutes after the first calls. Police report that no law enforcement officers discharged their weapons at any point. The gunman took his own life, police said. He took out a handgun and shot himself in a classroom as law enforcement officers approached, officials said. Twenty students, ages 6 and 7, and six adults were killed at the school. Police secured the building, ensuring no other shooters were on site.
Police then escorted students and faculty out of the building to a nearby firehouse. As reports of the shooting made their way around town, frantic parents descended on the firehouse where the children had been taken. By nightfall, the firehouse became a gathering point for parents and family members whose loved ones would never walk out of the school.” (END)
This concludes the information given to us from CNN. CNN had released small clips along with this article, including about a minute or so of the police scanner audio that I used as well. The clips they have are of various short reports about miscellaneous things in the case, some of which will be talked about later in part to.
The Incident According to Fox News
When searching for the first releases of this news according to Fox, the earliest article from them I could find was from December 16th, 2014. Instead of copying the article I will restate what is said in my own words, and put it in bullet format. This is the report given by Fox News, headed; “As Nation Mourns, investigators try to figure out what led to Tragedy in Newtown, Conn.”
The article tells that:
- On Friday morning (12/14/12), Adam Lanza shot his mother four times in the head.
- He then drove to the school in her car and four guns, including a shotgun. “The rifle used was a Bushmaster .223-caliber, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to speak about it and talked on condition of anonymity. The gun is commonly seen at competitions and was the type used in the 2002 sniper killings in the Washington, D.C., area. Also found in the school were two handguns, a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm.”
- Adam Lanza shot his way into the building and was not buzzed in. A custodian ran through the halls and warned people of the gunman, and someone switched on the intercom which also helped to warn people by allowing them to hear “the hysteria going on in the office.”
- Malloy sayst that “Lanza committed suicide when he heard responders coming” with a shot to the head from the 10mm Glock, “and the bullet was recovered in a classroom wall.”
- Eighteen of the children and six more adults were dead at the school, and two children died later on (stated by Lt. Vance).
- Adam's brother, Ryan Lanza, and his their father, Peter Lanza, were questioned by authorities and stated to be uninvolved in the shooting at all.
- “Vance said during Friday afternoon's news conference that police arrived at the scene "within minutes" of a 911 call placed shortly after 9:30 a.m. Friday.”
--Fox also states that Lanza was believed to have suffered from “personality disorder and lived with his mother.”
This is the end of any noteworthy content in the article by FOX. Their information had stayed basically the same in later reports. I would like to add here that the reason I am using FOX and CNN as the two main news sources I am analyzing is because of the fact that they tend to have opposite biases politically, and I fully believe that in conducting research such as this, it is important to have information not only from multiple sources, but from diverse sources.
The last source I want to examine is the report given by Stephen J Sedensky. This is the “official” report given to us, which came out on November 25th, 2013. It must be understood that this report is a highly redacted report. The release of the full report, which is supposed to be several thousand pages long, has been delayed twice and may never be released. The report that I will state information from here is only 43 pages long. Because it is so long, I will try to make it as brief as possible and go through it in a similar fashion to that of the FOX news article. “Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury on the Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street, Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012” is the official name of the document, and it can easily be found on the internet.
The Incident According to State's Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III
- Adam Lanza parked his 2010 Honda Civic next to a "No Parking Zone" outside of the school and approached the front entrance with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, 10mm Glock 20, 9mm Sig Sauer P226, and a "large supply of ammunition" a little after 9:30 AM.
- With the doors locked, Adam shot his way into the school, "through the plate glass window to the right of the front lobby doors."
- The main office staff reported to have heard the glass breaking at approx. 9:35 AM and saw Adam, "a white male with a hat and sunglasses with a rifle type gun." It is reported that he did not say anything and was breathing normally while shooting the rifle down the hall.
-Attendees of a recently-begun "Planning and Placement Team" meeting(held in Room 9) heard the banging, and principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, and psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, left the room along with an unnamed staff member. Hochsprung and Sherlach were killed by the gunfire, and the unnamed staff member was wounded by a bullet to the leg, fell down and laid still, and was then hit again by additional gunfire. "Not seeing anyone in the hallway, the staff member crawled back into Room 9 and held the door shut."
- Someone then called 911, and the school intercom was turned on from the phone in room 9, thus warning others in the building of the commotion.
- "At the same time the shooter was firing in the hallway, another staff member was at the far east end of the hallway near classroom 1. The staff member was struck by a bullet in the foot and retreated into a classroom." Both wounded staff members survived after being treated in the hospital later on.
- Lanza then entered the main office. The office staff had already hidden themselves, and reportedly heard sounds of the office door opening and footsteps. Adam walked in and then out of the office, and after the staff had heard the door open again, they heard more gunfire outside. Office staff then called 911.
- “Where the shooter specifically went next is unclear.” Evidence suggests that Adam then went down the hallway and entered classrooms 8 and 10, where he shot and killed twenty children and four adults. “Twelve children survived, one from classroom 8 and eleven from classroom 10.”
- Adam Lanza then shot himself in the head with the 10mm Glock 20, and “is believed to have occurred at 09:40:03 AM.”
- Seventeen people were killed in Room 8. Fifteen children were found by police in the room. Fourteen of them were deceased, and one was brought to Danbury Hospital and pronounced dead. The substitute teacher, 30-year-old Lauren Rousseau, and 29-year-old behavioral therapist Rachel D’Avino were both found dead with the fourteen children. However, a sixteenth child survived the shooting in this room and left the classroom after police had arrived.
- In Room 10, teacher Victoria Soto, age 27, was killed with 52-year-old behavioral therapist Anne Marie Murphy. Five children were found in the room. Four of the five were deceased, and the remaining one was transported to Danbury Hospital and pronounced dead. Nine children had run out of the room and survived the shooting, and an officer found two uninjured children in the class restroom.
- The number of people found dead within the school is eighteen children and six school staff members. Two more children were pronounced dead at the Danbury Hospital, leaving the death toll at twenty children and six staff members.
- In Rooms 6 and 12 (located on either side of classrooms 8 and 10), staff and students hid in the restrooms and locked the doors. In other parts of the school, students and staff hid wherever they were located at the time of the shooting and the staff kept the children calm by reading to them and having them draw pictures. While an unspecified number of staff and students were able to escape, those who did "prior to police arrival" went to various places such as nearby houses or Sandy Hook Center.
- "It was fewer than four minutes until the time the first 911 call was received until the first police officer arrived at SHES(Sandy Hook Elementary School)."
- "It was fewer than five minutes from the time the first 911 call was received until the shooter killed himself."
-"It was fewer than six minutes from the time the first police officer arrived on SHES property to the time the first police officer entered the school building."
The report then gives a very short version of the police scanner audio:
-9:35:39 - First 911 call to Newtown Police Department is received.
-9:36:06 - Newtown Police Department dispatcher broadcasts that there is a shooting at
Sandy Hook Elementary School.
-9:37:38 - Connecticut State Police are dispatched to SHES for active shooter.
-9:38:50 - CSP are informed that SHES is in lockdown.
-9:39:00 - First Newtown police officer arrives behind SHES on Crestwood Rd.
-9:39:13 - Two more Newtown officers arrive at SHES and park on the driveway near the
ball field. Gunshots are heard in the background.
9:39:34 - Newtown officer encounters unknown male running along the east side of
SHES with something in his hand.
-9:40:03 - Last gunshot is heard. This is believed to be the final suicide shot from the
shooter in classroom 10.
-9:41:07 - Information is relayed as to the location of the last known gunshots heard
within SHES, the front of the building.
-9:41:24 - Newtown officer has unknown male prone on ground, starting information
relay regarding possibly more than one shooter.
-9:42:39 - Newtown officer calls out the license plate of the shooter’s car.
-9:44:47 - Newtown officers enter SHES.
-9:46:23 - CSP arrive at SHES.
-9:46:48 - CSP enter SHES.
This is all that will be summarized from the Sedensky report at this time. I will indeed reference this report quite a lot in the text ahead, but as for now, what I have written will suffice for comparison with the sources of CNN, FOX, and the police scanner audio. This concludes part one. The majority of the information that will be looked at is now present, but more information will be examined and cited within Part 2 as well.
Here is where I will connect, compare, and contrast the above reports together, while also including information from a few other sources and articles which will be appropriately marked in the references page. I will title the subject in bold and then asses it information underneath, so that it will be easier to read and find certain subjects that the reader may want to jump between.
Shooter’s Method of Entrance to the School
At 09:36:36 AM, a male police officer states that “the front glass has been broken out of the school.” CNN’s most recent report said that the door was locked and that the shooter had used “an assault weapon to literally shoot an entrance into the building”, which lines up with what the police seem to have encountered upon getting to the school. FOX news and the Sedensky report also line up with these statements. The pictures below are evidence photos that were released with the Sedensky report.
Time of Shooters Entrance to the School
Sedensky's report says that the shooter approached the front of the school "shortly after 9:30 a.m." (Sedensky, 9). However, it states that staff "had reported hearing noises and glass breaking at approximately 9:35 a.m. and saw the shooter" (Sedensky, 9). By this information, if the Sedensky report is wholly correct, it must mean that the shooter must have stood at the door of the building for about five minutes, "heavily armed" yet completely undetected or unquestioned.
The police scanner audio shows us that units were first notified that there was shooting going on at 9:35 AM. This lines up with the Sedensky report's claim that the first 911 call was received at 9:35 AM, yet the question remains unanswered as to why the shooter would have waited outside the front of the building for five minutes before firing into the glass.
The FOX article and the CNN article both state that the shooter had entered the building shortly after 9:30 AM. If these reports were correct, then it would mean that it would have taken five minutes for staff to hear the gunshots and call 911. It is likely that this small piece of information was misconstrued, as five minutes would have made little difference to initial reports. But when we look at the alternative involving the shooter being outside the front of the school for five minutes, it could mean something. If the news reports were correct, why would it take so long for staff to call the police, and why would it take five minutes for the first 911 call to be placed, and if the Sedensky report is correct, then what was the shooter doing in front of the building for five minutes, and how did he go unnoticed standing outside of an entrance made almost entirely of plate glass?
Another thing to note is that according to the Sedensky report, the school had a call box, buzzer system, and video camera on the exterior of the entrance. The exterior of the main entrance door way had a call box, buzzer system with a video camera. "The video camera did not record, but the video could be viewed live on three monitoring systems on the secretaries’ desks in the main office (Sedensky, 17)."
Time of the Shooting
The police scanner audio shows that the shooting must have began around 9:35 AM, slightly before the first 911 call was made. At 9:38 AM, the police audio states that the shooting appeared to have stopped, and then again at 9:42 AM an officer reports: "shots were fired about three minutes ago, quiet at the time." This means that shooting had happened again after 9:38 AM, and this statement would line up with Sedensky's statement that the last gunshot was heard at 9:40 AM (Sedensky, 12), which was undoubtedly the shot that ended the shooter's life. Sedensky's report says that the shooter started shooting his way through the building shortly after 9:35 AM, thus lining up well with the police scanner audio. It is safe to say that the shooter was shooting in the building for slightly under five minutes, between 9:35 and 9:40 AM, and that the shooter had killed himself by 9:40 AM.
Location of the Shooting Inside the Building
Sedensky's report says that the shooter was first seen firing down the north hallway upon entering the building. The shooter wounded one staff member in the foot at the eastern end of this hallway, who then retreated into classroom 1. The bodies of Mrs. Hochsprung and Mrs. Sherlach were found at the western end of the hallway, near the lobby (Sedensky, 10). In Room 8, fifteen students and two staff members were shot and killed. One student was found living, but later pronounced dead at Danbury hospital. The shooter killed 17 people in this room, and one student was found well and alive, and was evacuated by police once they reached the scene (Sedensky, 10). A total of 80 spent 5.56mm shell casings were found in the same room, as well as 24 unfired casings located in magazines on the floor (Sedensky, 21).
In Room 10, five students and two teachers were shot and killed. One of these students was found alive, but was also transported to Danbury hospital and then pronounced dead. Nine children had run out of the room and survived, while two other children were found uninjured in the classroom restroom. Adam Lanza was also found dead in Room 10, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head from the 10mm Glock 20. His clothing was as follows:
"He was wearing a pale green pocket vest over a black polo style short sleeve shirt over a black t-shirt. He had yellow colored earplugs in each ear. He was wearing black cargo pocket pants, black socks, black sneakers, a black canvas belt and black fingerless gloves on each hand. He had an empty camouflage drop holster that was affixed to his right thigh (Sedensky, 22)."
However, the earlier search warrants which were requested by Sedensky and authorized by Honor John F. Blawie stated that Lanza had been found deceased wearing a bulletproof vest (Blawie, 15). These search warrants were also requested and given by Stephen J. Sedensky, and so it can be presented as odd that such contradiction between these reports exists.
Looking at the police scanner audio, at 10:28:32 AM, we hear an officer say: "Closet in the kitchen, we have some victims. Let us know, we'll call the number. So that they know that you're coming." This would wholly contradict all other reports, as while earlier reports thought the shooting took place within Rooms 1 and 2, and the Sedensky report states that the shooting had taken place in Rooms 10 and 8, and no reports had said that there was any shooting in the kitchen area. But we have to be careful of making assumptions, and examine what the officer meant.
The officer stated that the people he found in this location were "victims". As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a victim is "a person who has been attacked, injured, robbed, or killed by someone else." If the officer meant that the people in the kitchen closet were injured, why do we not hear of this in the Sedensky report or in any other news report? If the officer meant "bodies" when he said "victims", again, why is there no mention of bodies found here in any report, especially that of Mr. Sedensky?
We also must take into account the simplicity of human error. Maybe the officer meant to say "people/students/staff" other than "victims", but we wouldn't naturally describe someone unharmed as a victim. One thing that may rule out the possibility of them being uninjured or killed is the fact that he says "so that they know that you're coming" most likely to the medical talking on the radio with him before and after he says this. This would make complete sense, because if the people were injured, the officer would want to have medical personnel on the scene helping those wounded in the kitchen as soon as possible. Regardless of whether there were wounded, dead, or unwounded people, it stands to question as to why no other report nor the Sedensky report make any mention of staff/students hiding in the kitchen closets whatsoever.
Firearms Used in the Shooting
There has been a large amount of confusion over the weapons found on scene and the weapons used by the shooter. Initially, it was stated by many news stations that Adam Lanza used one or more of the following weapons: A Bushmaster AR-15, a 9mm Sig-Sauer pistol, a 10mm Glock 20, and/or a Saiga 12 shotgun.
In the first reports made by CNN, they reported that a Bushmaster .223 was found on the scene along with the Glock and Sig-Sauer at 5:14 PM. At 6:44 PM, it was stated that all three weapons were registered to Nancy Lanza, and that the Bushmaster was found in the trunk of a car, and the two pistols were found on scene. In CNN's article, "Sandy Hook Shooting: What Happened?", that we reviewed, CNN states this time that an "assault weapon", referencing the Bushmaster rifle, was used.
FOX news also reported that the Bushmaster .223 rifle was used to kill the victims inside the building, and that Lanza used the 10mm Glock 20 to shoot himself in the head. The Sig-Sauer was also recovered from the building.
CBS and NBC news all released different information in later news reports, between January 15th and January 28th. These clips can easily be found on YouTube and Google, but cannot be found in printed format due to the fact that they were not written out as articles, and simply shown in the news regarding the incident as a whole. Pete Williams, NBC's chief Justice Correspondent, stated that only four pistols were used in the shooting, and that the rifle was left in the car that Adam Lanza drove to the school. CBS reported that nothing but two pistols, a 10mm Glock 20 and a 9mm Sig-Sauer were used in the shooting, and that the Bushmaster .223 was left in the car as well.
One video which caught a lot of attention was a clip of a newsreel where police could be seen pulling a long weapon out of the trunk of Adam Lanza's car. The quality of the footage is very low, however many think that this weapon was the AR-15 that the shooter allegedly used in the shooting. Those who doubt the integrity of reports say that if the shooter was supposed to be using that AR-15, then how was it found in the trunk of his car? The Sedensky report claims that this weapon was a 12-gauge Izhmash Saiga 12 shotgun that had been left in the car, and that the weapon was not used at all in the shooting (Sedensky, 36). From viewing the video myself, and having a decent knowledge about firearms, I personally believe that the weapon that police are taking out of the trunk is indeed a Saiga 12 shotgun.
Regardless of the earlier reports, the Sedensky report states multiple times that the firearm used by the shooter to kill and wound victims was a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle (Sedensky, 1). To clarify, this is an AR-15 model rifle, in spite of the fact that "AR-15" is not included in the actual name or model number of the firearm. As far as the situation goes, Sedensky's report is the first report to supposedly confirm the weapon used to anyone.
According to the Sedensky report and the police audio, we can see that there were two wounded survivors. In the police scanner audio, at 09:46:22 AM, we hear; "We've got an injured person in room number 9 with numerous gunshot wounds." Right before this, we also hear an officer make the statement; "...we have one female in Room 1 who has received a gunshot wound to the foot" at 09:43:40 AM. The Sedensky report also points these two situations out, but neither report identifies who the wounded are.
An interview with the school's superintendent, Dr, Janet Robinson, tells us that one of the wounded was the lead teacher, Natalie Hammond (MSNBC, 1). According to this interview, Natalie Hammond was the unnamed staff member that went out into the hallway with Mrs. Sherlach and Mrs. Hochsprung. When they were killed by the shooter, she was wounded and survived. Through this interview, we can go back to the police scanner audio and the Sedensky report to learn more about what happened to Natalie.
The Sedensky report offers this information:
"As the staff member left the room, the staff member heard gunshots and saw Mrs. Hochsprung
and Mrs. Sherlach fall down in front of the staff member. The staff member felt a gunshot hit the
staff member’s leg. Once down, the staff member was struck again by additional gunfire, but laid
still in the hallway. Not seeing anyone in the hallway, the staff member crawled back into room
9 and held the door shut (Sedensky, 9).
Because the "staff member" must have come out of and crawled back into Room 9, the same room that Hochsprung and Sherlach came out of according to this report, Natalie must be the unnamed staff member. Because the report says the staff member was shot in the leg and struck by additional gunfire, it would make sense to conclude that this was the same person who was in Room 9 "with numerous gunshot wounds" that police talked about in the audio. All of this links together and shows us that this unnamed person is Natalie Hammond.
Why the Sedensky report does not refer to her by name, is unknown, but the report clearly hides her name by referring to her as just "the staff member", in spite of the fact that it talks about Mrs. Hochsprung and Mrs. Sherlach. The wounded female that was found in Room 1 with a gunshot wound to the foot, is never named in any report or article whatsoever, and the information as to who this person is has not been disclosed anywhere for unknown reasons. The only mention of this person is by police when they found her at 09:43:30 AM. She is accounted for in many articles online that show casualty data from the tragedy, but none of them name her.
While the Sedensky report does not give much information on the people detained at the scene of the shooting, multiple other documents do. When stories emerged, some news sources stated that there were two shooters in the building, in fact, the Sedensky report states throughout it that it's primary goal is to show that there could only have been one shooter. On the day that this event took place, footage was released of police chasing a man through the woods. This man was later said to be Chris Manfredonia, a father of one of the students who had gone to the school in order to help make gingerbread houses (Serrano, 1). Chris Manfredonia was not arrested, but detained, and the claim of him being on scene could be confirmed by the police report, relating to the man "proned out".
The Shooting at 36 Yogananda Street, Newtown CT
Up until this point, I have not included any information about the shooting at 36 Yogananda Street, Newtown, CT, where Nancy Lanza, 52, was killed. The Sedensky report gives one of the most in-depth accounts of this event, which we will review first. According to this report, on the morning of December 14th, 2012, Nancy Lanza was shot and killed in her bed sometime before 9:30 AM (Sedensky, 24). The report states that she had been shot with a .22 caliber Savage Mark II rifle, however it is vague on the number of times she was shot.
Sedensky states that an unnamed individual had heard “two or three” gunshots in the neighborhood, but thought that they were caused by hunters. It then states that “In the chamber of the rifle was a spent .22 cal. shell casing and three live rounds were in the magazine. Three other spent .22 cal. shell casings were found in the room and seized (Sedensky, 25).” The spent casing in the rifle would account for one fired round, while the three other spent casings would account for three more fired rounds. This would mean that four rounds were fired, but the report does not give any information as to whether all four hit Nancy Lanza, or if some of them had possibly missed. The Sedensky report further shrouds this bit of information by later stating that “the cause of death was determined to be multiple gunshots to the head (Sedensky, 27).”
On December 21st, 2012, CNN reported that Nancy Lanza “was shot four times in the head, Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner H. Wayne Carver said (Feyerick, 1).” ABC News and FOX news also have numerous reports stating that Nancy Lanza was shot four times, yet for an unknown reason the Sedensky report refuses to clarify this.
A look at the search warrants shows a contradiction on top of this. It states that "the white female[Nancy Lanza] sustained an apparent gunshot wound to her forehead (Blawie, 15)." The "an" and "gunshot" definitely would imply only one gunshot was used to kill Nancy Lanza, but the Sedensky report contradicts that in stating that the cause of death was "multiple gunshots to the head."
Information Regarding the Education, Mental Health, and Personality of Adam Lanza
There was and is still plenty of speculation regarding the mental health of Adam Lanza. Many news outlets claimed that Adam Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome or some type of personality disorder. These things go hand in hand with his education, which will be used to show changes in Adam as time went on.
The Sedensky report speaks quite a lot about this subject. It states that Adam went through the Newtown public school system, though 7th and 8th grade were partly done at St. Rose of Lima School in Newtown (Sedensky, 32). He had attended Sandy Hook Elementary School from 1998 to 2003, and would take walks with his mother around the school when classes were out. Sedensky also adds, “The shooter loved the school and indicated that he liked to go there (Sedensky, 33).”
Adam Lanza would attend parties and plays, and he loves music and the saxophone, which he could play. Sedensky states that “the early school years have him portrayed as a nice kid, though sort of withdrawn”, and that as he got older, he became more of a loner (Sedensky, 33). During middle school, he began to greatly dislike confusion and loud noise, and as a result was home schooled for part of his high school education later on. His mother would take him where he wanted to go, however he did not like going to events with large crowds. He attended Newtown High School and graduated in 2009, and was considered a special education student. He also took classes at Western Connecticut State University while in high school, and went on to take courses there after he graduated (Sedensky, 33).
The Sedensky report then goes on to give us a list of information on Adam given by various people who knew him, found on page 33 and 34 of the report. In fifth grade (2002-2003), he was described as “quiet, reluctant, and had bright ideas regarding creative writing.” He wasn’t bullied, and would not engage in conversation but at the same time would not ignore one. During this time Adam also indicated that he didn’t like sports, didn’t think very highly of himself, and thought that everyone deserved more than he did. He is also described as someone who participated and listened in class, and would not show extreme happiness or extreme sadness.
According to the report, in sixth grade, Adam was a student who got all A's an B's, described as respectful and cooperative, and never was bullied. It is also stated that he participated in school concerts in 2003 and 2004 (Sedensky, 33). It is then said that in seventh grade, Adam was described as normal yet had "anti-social issues". It is said that he was quiet, didn't want to participate in anything, and his writing assignments obsessed about battles and war, yet at the same time, when asked to write a poem, he was "able to write a beautiful one and present it in public (Sedensky, 34). In ninth and tenth grade, Adam would play video games in his bedroom all day, and in high school he did not have good social skills but also did not show any signs of violence. The Sedensky report then says this:
"In high school the shooter would have 'episodes' and his mother would be called to the school. The episodes would last about fifteen minutes each. There were no signs of violence during any of these episodes and the shooter was more likely to be victimized than to act in violence against another (Sedensky, 34)."
The report does not state what these "episodes" were or why they happened, and in a footnote it says that whatever these episodes were is unclear. It could seem odd that this much information was gathered about these episodes, yet what they were remains unknown. The report then talks about how at NHS, Adam was part of the 2007-2008 Tech Club, and was remembered as someone who was very intelligent yet quiet. He never spoke of violence and was not bullied, but seemed to have a problem with touching some things (what these "things" are remains unknown) and would thus pull his sleeves around his hand in order to. In 2008, Adam held a LAN party at his house (this is a party where you invite your friends over to play video games against each other via internet/LAN and eat food together).
The report then goes on to finally state that in 2005, Adam was diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder and had a lack of empathy along with a "very rigid thought process (Sedensky, 34)." It also says that Adam "had an extreme anxiety and discomfort with changes, noise, or physical contact with others." Despite the fact that the report says he was diagnosed with Asperger's, it then goes on to say that his mother "consistently described the shooter as having Asperger's syndrome." It says that he also had OCD, and possibly Pervasive Development Disorder. It also says that Adam did not like to be touched, didn't like making eye contact, and over time began to have problems touching door knobs, would repeatedly wash his hands, and change his clothes multiple times each day.
He reportedly stopped playing the saxophone around seventh grade, dropped out of the school band that he played in, and did not enjoy playing sports. It is said that the mental health professionals that saw Adam Lanza "did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior (Sedensky, 35)." As of November 12, 2012, Nancy Lanza had sought to buy Adam a CZ 83 pistol and also computer parts so that he could build himself another computer. The Sedensky report also states that during this same time, Nancy Lanza had indicated that Adam had not gone anywhere in three months and would communicate with her only via email (Sedensky, 28). According to the investigation of the house itself, Adam Lanza's room had black garbage bags taped over the windows, as well as did the computer room.
Items Found in Adam Lanza's Home
The Sedensky report as well as the earlier search warrants give us a bunch of information of what was found in the Lanza household. I will go through this quickly, and write down what it says in a brief fashion. The list of specific video games tells us that the following games were found in the computer room:
- "Left 4 Dead" - "Grand Theft Auto"
- "Metal Gear Solid" - "Shin Megami Tensei"
- "Dead Rising" - "Dynasty Warriors"
- "Half Life" - "GTA: Vice City"
- "Battlefield" - "Doom"
- "Call of Duty" - "Team Fortress"
The other findings include a Christmas check for the CZ83 pistol from Nancy Lanza, the book Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy (this is a book about the shooting that took place in a one-room Amish school in Pennsylvania in October of 2006), and three photographs of a dead human covered in blood and wrapped in plastic. Digital information collected from his computer consists of bookmarks on subjects pertaining to firearms, military, politics, mass murder, Army rangers, computers and programs, ammunition, candy, video games, music, books, and economic books. Documents on weapon ammunition capacity, Dance Dance Revolution screenshots, videos of Adam playing Dance Dance Revolution, "School Shooting" titled video game, Combat Arms screenshots, pictures of Adam holding a pistol and rifle to his head, images of Lego creations, images of hamsters, music, comedy videos, and a document "written showing the prerequisites for a mass murder spreadsheet" were also objects found on Adam's computer (Sedensky, 27).
PART 3 - The Author's Personal Take
This final part will include my take on the Sandy Hook incident as I will tell my personal thoughts and ideas, and also reflect on writing the paper itself. Before I say anything, I would like to state that I mean no harm to anyone involved in this incident or hurt by it in any way.
My ideas on what happen are very diverse, and therefore there are a couple of them. One of the smaller theories out there is that the Sandy Hook incident did not happen at all, and I do not subscribe to this idea one bit. I believe there is far too much information and evidence for it to have simply not existed. There are also too many people involved, and the operation of creating a false event this large would simply be impossible, especially with the amount of suspicion that already exists within the American populace. There are a lot of videos and pictures that have surfaced the internet of supposed victims showing up here and there, somehow alive, yet while the people look extremely similar to the pictures of those killed in Sandy Hook, none of these new pictures or videos give confirmation that they are those people. If someone does find a way to confirm them, then there would be a massive amount to answer for, and the entire case would absolutely bewilder me completely.
Another, more common theory, is that there were multiple shooters involved in the incident. There are many theories that could be sub-categorized within this bubble, but I'll quickly go through the idea. Christopher Rodia is the owner of the purple van that was talked about through the police scanner audio. It is stated that his license plate number is "872-YEO". Very oddly, when one looks at pictures of Adam Lanza's car which was later taken from the scene, the license plate is actually the exact same, 872-YEO. This supposed statement has not seen light from government authority.
Another thing people point out is that Chris Manfredonia, the man who was running around the building after the shooting was heard, could be someone involved in the incident itself. This is because his location at the time of the shooting and at the time he was detained seem to vary, and thus something as small as what exactly he was doing there seems to be obscured. Because it is such a small thing, police and news reports do not give it much attention, and when this theory began to grow as quickly as it did, the only response from news outlets was, "he was there to make gingerbread houses with his daughter and ran out of the building and around to the gym when he heard the shooting." Theorists think that this is absurd, because why would a father run away from the crime, all the way to the back of the building instead of going inside to save his daughter? I could go on and on with the things that factor into this theory, but I must admit that I do not subscribe to this one either, and so it would amount to nothing if I did.
I must be honest and state that after all the research and digging, I believe that Adam Lanza woke up, shot his mother, drove to the school, and killed 26 students and staff members. However, I am skeptical and have what might seem like a very odd perception of why. This is because, while there is not a ton of evidence to prove that something far different from the Sedensky narrative happened, there is plenty of evidence to look at and say "this doesn't make sense." Before I explain why I believe what I believe, let me go through a couple of things that do not make sense.
Firstly, it does not make sense that, according to the police scanner audio, the police were at the front of the school at 9:36am, a little under one minute after the first 911 call, yet shooting continues until about 9:40am. The only way this would make sense is if the police were told to stand down, which would mean that while the shooting continued, the police did not enter the building, regardless of the fact that all the shooting took place right around the corner of that front entrance. After the Washington Navy Yard Shooting that happened on September 16, 2013, where the SWAT team was ordered to also stand down, the likelihood of this happening at Sandy Hook has been seen as a growing question as to whether or not it happened.
It does not make sense that we do not know who the second wounded person is. Why do they tell us who the first wounded person was (Natalie Hammond), yet are continuing to hide the identity of the second person who had suffered a gunshot wound to the foot. We know the names of the dead and the names of the survivors, but the identity to the second wounded person simply does not exist.
It does not make sense that, when medical personnel are discussing the need of transportation for mass casualty kits, one person tells them that what they are talking about is "unnecessary air traffic". I would think that grabbing the mass casualty kits to treat those who were shot would be a pretty important thing, not something to stop discussing and disregard.
It does not make sense that there were victims reported in the kitchen closets. This, to me, is a particularly odd thing. There are no reports of children hiding in the kitchen, only in bathrooms, classrooms, and closets within the classrooms, yet there are reports of "victims" in the kitchen. If these "victims" were dead, then why are they not added to the body count that already totals 26 between rooms 10, 8, and outside of Conference Room 9? If they were wounded, then why are they hidden from the count of wounded? This would seem more likely to me, because of the way that the identity of one wounded person is already hidden and undisclosed by anyone. Lastly, if the "victims" were absolutely fine and unhurt, why are there absolutely no stories of survivors hiding in the kitchen whatsoever, yet there are tons of stories and interviews with survivors who had hid in bathrooms and classrooms? Looking at a building plan of the school, it would be very possible that Lanza could have shot and wounded people in the kitchen, as it is directly right of the lobby where he entered. I highly believe this could have and likely happened, yet I have not read of anyone else who has examined this same evidence.
This is a map/blueprint of the school that should help readers get a better idea of where the shooting took place, as I have highlighted the rooms important to the investigation in yellow\
It does not make sense that there are no legitimate reports of anyone actually seeing Adam Lanza. Initial reports stated that Adam was dressed in "military fatigues", in fact almost every report that I read said this up until the Sedensky report came out, which stated that he was dressed in all black. But in context, sad to say, almost all that could have seen Adam Lanza end up dead. Natalie Hammond was wounded, but did not see Lanza at all, but when we look at the second wounded person we still have no information to go on when it comes to what they saw, because the identity of this person does not yet exist.
It does not make sense that Adam Lanza chose the AR-15 as his primary weapon. The AR-15 is a rifle, built and created for hitting targets from mid to long range. It simply is not a short-ranged weapon. Yet, even though he reportedly had a shotgun in his car, a weapon built for close-range, indoor encounters, he chose to leave it behind and use the AR instead.
It does not make sense that Adam Lanza must have been standing in front of the school for five minutes before he took action, unnoticed. To me, it seems rather unlikely that Adam was completely unseen for five minutes as he did whatever he did in front of the school before entering the building.
It does not make sense that legislators of Connecticut were able to pass SB 1160 so quickly without any solid data to base it off. SB 1160, or "An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety" was passed on April 4th, 2013. This act, limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds, banning over 100 different weapons, was put into place with the notion that Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster AR-15. The problem with this is that that fact was not even confirmed until the Sedesnky report came out in November, months after the bill was passed. This is very disturbing, as it shows that the legislators were legislating blindly. There was so much confusion over the firearms used by Adam Lanza, and it was not cleared up until the Sedensky report came out, and officially addressed it. All other information came from news reports, which varied widely in what firearms Lanza used. Some said two pistols, some said the AR-15. The legislators banned the AR-15 among many other firearms regardless of the fact that they had no solid data to base it on. This is highly disturbing, especially considering the fact that the police could have openly announced the exactly what weapon he used when the event took place in order to dismiss the confusion that still exists.
On top of that, the government's handling of the entire Sandy Hook situation has been an absolute blunder. The holders of all the information in the case were not willing to release certain information (and still aren't) in order to clear the issue up. By not clearing up the issue of the firearm used, by legislating blindly with no solid data, by not releasing any photographic evidence to prove that there was only one shooter, by feeding wrong information directly to new sources, by leaving so many officials unnamed, by battling the release of the phone calls and other evidence, by delaying the full report again and again, by then destroying the Sandy Hook building itself after keeping it in very close surveillance, all of this has only fed conspiracy theorists and made more and more people believe that something different happened then the initial story. With so many pieces missing and so much conflicting information, it has given many the idea that the government may have had their hands in the shooting itself, but with so many people involved, the result was confusion among the press and conflicting stories abound. It is very clear that the state has been handing the issue very poorly.
Another thing is that when the incident happened, politicians also started talking about how much they needed to fix the mental health system in this country. I believe that's a great idea, but the problem is that they could not have known that Adam Lanza was ever even diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, or any other mental disease. Again, the lawmakers were blindly creating laws when they had no solid data on which to base them or give them reason. They tried to make it look like the reason behind the shooting was mental illness and gun owners, and they wrote up laws and put them in place as fast they could, even passing them in the middle of the night, in fact. I believe that this is very wrong indeed, especially in the way that it makes people with mental illness look like they're ticking bombs that could snap any moment, pick up a gun, and shoot a school to pieces. After all, we all know that nearly every time a mass shooting happens, people blame it on either a mental disorder or a psychological problem.
Which brings me to say that Adam Lanza acting on his own accord to commit these murders, does not make sense. The state also tried to make violent video games look like the culprit, especially in the Sedensky essay where it gives us a specific list of the violent video games Adam Lanza played. I personally have played almost every single one of those games, and many more on top of that, and yet I know that I would never be able or willing to commit such an atrocity as Adam Lanza did. As stated before, I believe the state tried to make these things look like they were the motive behind what Adam Lanza did, but I think that this is simply wrong. Jeff White, a 26-year-old who is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and states that he plays violent video games, wrote to CNN after the shooting took place and talked about how people should not keep blaming mass-murders on violent video games, mental-illness, or a mixture of the two (White, 1). Now, while I completely agree with Mr. White, does that mean I don't think Adam Lanza could have had Asperger's Syndrome? No. He very well could have, but I do not think in the slightest that it could have motivated him to do what he did.
So, after doing all the research and coming at this subject with an open mind, I have found that I think something is definitely odd about the entire event. The amount of conflicting information and overlapping stories far too many for me to believe that what was portrayed as the initial narrative could have been all that there is to it. When I gave the initial reports of CNN and FOX news, the reason I did that was to show how crazy some of the stuff they said was. You had CNN reporting that police had found a dead body in Ryan Lanza's apartment, in New Jersey. You had FOX news saying that somehow, police had already recovered from a wall the 10mm bullet Adam used to kill himself with. You had multiple news stations completely conflicted on the firearms used. First the AR-15 was the primary weapon. Then it was left in the passenger seat. Then just two pistols were used. Then someone says four pistols were used, then we get back to the AR-15 story. And it goes around and around like some giant carousel of misinformation. I could go on and on with the amount of conflicting or flat out absurd data, but I think my IQ would drop so low just thinking about it to the point where I wouldn't even be capable of finishing this paper. The thing you have to remember is that all the news sources stated that these "facts" came from officials. Whether or not they were disproved later, the fact that different people were feeding these news channels all completely different information is enough to make many people question the overall integrity of the case as a whole, information old or new.
Along with the conflicting information, the way that the state was so quick to jump at this event and basically climb upon the backs of the dead in order to get in front of the camera to start shouting about gun control and mental health, makes many, including me, question the situation even further. Plus the fact that they were passing the legislation before they even knew the facts, makes it all look very odd. Combine the bad handling of the case with the feed of false info, with the questions still unanswered, with the hidden ID of the wounded person, with the constant delays from the state, with the lack of solid evidence given to the people, and the idea that I get is that maybe the government really was involved in the shooting somehow. Virginia Tech, Columbine, the University of Texas shooting, the Navy Yard shooting, all of these other mass shootings have released pictures or videos or other evidence that proves they happened just the way the narrative went. While I do not think this matters particularly, it just proves more of how poorly the state has handled the incident.
My opinion on this issue revolves around the idea that the government may have had something to do with this issue. Normally, this is the root of the conspiracies’ argument, however I do not consider myself a conspiracist at all. I simply think of myself as someone who has a desire to know the truth about this issue. That's all I wanted when I started my research, and yet because I do not feel I have it, I am not able to agree with the initial narrative. Most people who think conspiracy theorist's are silly and crazy, the one thing they must receive credit for is the fact that they actually dig into the information given and seek to verify the facts. Most American's these days take the information fed to them by news outlets, and never think twice about it. This issue was different for me, as the conflicting stories that aired caught my attention, and made me feel the need to find out what really happened. In a case where the information given to the public was vastly different, I also think it is important to point out that every idea about this case is, in itself, a theory. This is because the solid, factual data does not exist in order for the matter to remain undisputed. For one to believe the initial narrative would mean that one must first question whether or not they actually know the full initial narrative.
Before I go into what I think could have happened, I think it is important to think about why different theories exist in the first place. For this issue I believe there are two reasons. The first reason being, that, people simply do not trust the government as much as they used to. In fact, public trust in government is at an all-time low. Pew Research Center did a study on public trust from 1958 - 2013, and it shows that whereas public trust was at 73% in 1958, it is now at only 19% by the end of 2013. Because of the fact that many people don't really trust the government, over time they become willing to believe or become comfortable with believing that the government would want to hurt the population or do bad things to it.
The second reason people may subscribe to conspiracy theories, specifically for this situation, is because of the manner and speed used to push new gun control legislation. People feel that this could have been a move by the government to create an excuse allowing them to create new gun laws. While there was much talk of improving care for mental health, we have yet to see anything put in place regarding it, whereas the gun control legislation has been put in place already.
Getting back to my long-delayed opinion, I must admit that my idea may sound quite crazy, so here I must ask the reader to bear with me. It also must be understood that I do not fully support this idea myself, and that I'm simply expressing it because of the fact that if I had my heart set on believing what we deem as "conspiracy theories", then this would be it. That said, it is nothing more than an idea, while at the same time I am more likely to believe the narrative given but with ample suspicion. Adam Lanza had absolutely no reason to do what he did. The Sedensky report itself explained that a motive may never be uncovered for the incident. Regardless of the video games, interests, or mental health of Adam Lanza, there is nothing to be shown as to why he would on his own do something like this. It is even indicated in the Sedensky report that Adam loved the school and enjoyed going there as a kid. Everyone described him as a smart and polite kid from what the report tells us, the only negative attribute being that he was quiet and withdrawn.
Let me bring you forward in time from this event- and don't worry, this is all part of it. September 16, 2013, Aaron Alexis, 34, walks into the Washington Navy Yard, and fatally shoots twelve people. The motive behind this crime committed, according to Aaron himself, is ultra-low frequency waves. He believed that he was trying to be communicated with via "low frequency electromagnetic waves" and claims that is what drove him to do what he did (Botelho, 1).
Now go forward just one month, to October 3, 2013. Mariam Carey, 34, gets in her car and drives the to the US capitol building, and attempts to run police officers over with her car. After a long police chase, she is shot and killed by the police. Meriam's thought that the government had her house under surveillance, which apparently drove her to drive all the way to DC in order to kill some police officers.
What I'm getting at is this: Adam Lanza, a nobody until now, as the world was concerned, was a kid who sat in his room all day with his computer, where his mother barely kept tab on him. He sat there, day to day, communicating with his mom via e-mail, becoming more withdrawn as years went on regardless of the fact that people seemed to show an appreciation for his intelligence and politeness. One day, something happens, or maybe nothing happens. But he wakes up, shoots his own mother, leaves the house, and kills 26 people in a school that he loved. Together, that's 27 people dead. But I find it wrong to give a false death count - it was 28 people that died, Adam Lanza shot himself.
If I subscribe to any theory that involves the government, I believe there could be some correlation between these three incidents. If anything, I believe that while Adam Lanza sat in his room day to day, some form of mind control could have happened. Mind control has been an experimental thing through many militaries and governments, and we must realize that it is not an impossible thing. Look at branches like the Marines or the Navy SEALs, where we take normal men and turn them into machines created for the sole purpose of fighting the enemy and winning no matter the cost. These people do not come back from their training or combat as the same person that left, and I'm talking on a level involving emotion and mentality. Take a kid who has not much contact with the outside world- no Facebook, no xBox account, no Twitter, no Steam account, no phone, only an email and a mother living a few rooms away, and I believe that somehow some type of messages could have been being fed to him. It sounds crazy, and it very well may be, but I know for one thing- and that is that I don't believe that Adam Lanza could have done this on his own accord.
But, this is only one side of the coin for me. I must admit to having two opinions, or maybe what you would call one and a half. As much as I do believe that something was really strange about this case, I don't think I or anyone else will ever know. And the real problem that remains is that what is done is done, and at the end of the day, the world was missing 28 people. Twenty children, six staff members, a mother named Nancy Lanza, and a 22-year-old man named Adam Lanza. If somehow, tomorrow, they decide to release all this footage and all these photos and documents etc, etc, I would be willing to believe different with no resistance. I do not believe my research would have been in vain, but maybe it will soon prove to be, and I would have to be fine with accepting that.
I want to say, in reflection on writing this paper, that the process itself has been fairly dour. It started off well, it was interesting for me, someone who likes research, but as the days went on, hour after hour of sitting in front of a computer reviewing morbid details, reading interviews, watching news footage, and listening to police audio, I began to get sort of depressed over it all. If I were to describe the writing of this paper in two words, those two words would be "tiring" and "depressing". However, I do think that it was good for me to do. I always believe finding the truth is what is right and good, so be it. Constantly dwelling on the subject of a school shooting can only have one outcome, I suppose. It has also inspired me to look deeper into a career as a law enforcement officer, and possibly one day have the opportunity to stop something like this before it happens.
Speaking of which, I think that writing this paper without suggesting ways and methods of how to stop such things from happening again. I want to take a moment at the close of this paper to state what I think could be done, and what really is the only thing remaining to be done, to stop such terrors from happening again.
Proposed Safety Ideas
With as much respect as possible and without any intention to sound careless, I want to mention that one year later, not much has changed. Despite the fact that this tragedy took place, where is the change that institutes a policy to protect the children of America in school? After the shooting took place, the Administration that runs this country unsuccessfully tried to federally implement an unconstitutional ban of various arms that Americans use an average of 2.5 million times a year to defend themselves with.
But schools remain unprotected. As a high school student, I find that if someone had ever decided they wanted to walk into our school and to shoot students and staff, it would be very easy to do. We have the exact same security system as Sandy Hook. Hit the buzzer, get identified on camera, walk in. This didn't happen at Sandy Hook. Lanza didn't buzz, he didn't get identified, he simply shot and continued to do so until there were 27 less people alive in that building, in less than five minutes. Because no one was there to stop him, he did what he did easily and without rush. If someone tried to do the same thing to our school, or almost any other school, the same result would exist.
Sandy Hook, Columbine and Virginia Tech, showed us that lockdowns do not work. In Columbine, when students hid under desks as protocol in an emergency situation, the shooters simply shot the students through the desks, or put their guns underneath the desks, and pulled the triggers. Someone walks into the building with the intent on doing harm, and locking a door and hiding in a corner is not going to save your life. The only thing that saves your life is if the shooter decides to kill himself first, or if the police show up in time. It took five minutes for the police to get to Sandy Hook, and when seconds count, the police are always minutes away. And it costs lives. Or recount the Navy Yard shooting, where, as the shooter continued to kill people who could not defend themselves, the police were outside of the building, waiting to go in, yet were told by superiors to stand down, and not enter the building. One cannot fathom the horror of knowing that while colleagues around you are continuing to die, the police are standing down, and not entering to rescue.
I firmly believe there are two ways that the schools of America can be protected. A) We could have certain teachers armed. You could either take teachers who already have concealed carry permits and shooting experience, or you could take other teachers and train them and get them their permits. All firearms that the teachers had in the building should be concealed 24/7 so that students aren't distracted and so that they cannot touch the firearms themselves. This would also allow people to not know which teachers were armed. Firearms would not be drawn unless an emergency was confirmed and there was an active outside threat inside the building. Some schools have already implemented this system across America, but very few. Those who disagree say that "teachers would get mad and end up shooting students" or something along the lines of that, but the fact is this: if you can't trust your teachers with a firearm, then you shouldn't trust your teachers at all, and thus they shouldn't be teaching in the first place. A teacher's job is also to protect the students in such a situation, and as we saw in Sandy Hook, sadly, one staff member was found dead shielding a student who was also found dead.
Those who disregard this option due to whatever reason, there is an alternative that I also find well: B) have armed security guards in the school. Not only would this keep the school safe but it would also give the guards a chance to get to know students and help them with anything in general. Security would be trained to not use firearms unless there was lethal threat, and could also conceal and carry, or open carry as most security guards and police do. Many say that this would cost too much money, and I think that is absolutely and entirely a completely pathetic answer. If you think that knowing your children are safe and alive is too much to pay for, then I think you're insane. I dislike taxes and more expenses just as much as the next man, but when it comes to keeping people safe and potentially saving lives, I would gladly pay the expenses necessary. Many schools across America are implementing this system, including the new Newtown school which has armed security guards. May God bless the families of those affected by shootings such as this, and any other tragedy that takes place in this country. May we pray for the politicians to further make the right choices in order to not just protect our children and fellow students, but also the rest of the American population, and themselves as well.
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