90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown: 2nd-Most Deadly School Shooting In U.S. History

Jillian Soto uses a phone to get information about her sister, Victoria Soto, a teacher at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, after a gunman killed more than two dozen people, including 20 children. Victoria Soto, 27, was among those killed. (Jessica Hill/AP)

We could be looking at one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.

The latest numbers are at least 27 people dead at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., including 20 children.

Police say the body of the alleged shooter was found inside the elementary school. Unconfirmed reports say the shooter was Adam Lanza. (Police originally reported the shooter’s name to news outlets as Ryan Lanza.)

James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University, says the U.S. averages 20 mass shooting deaths per year.

“Sandy Hook, I never thought would be in the news for anything, especially nationally,” Heather McHuscker, a WBUR fundraising volunteer who grew up in the Connecticut town.

Joe Lieberman, author of “School Shooting,” says shooters never think they’re copycats.

“It gets in the media… they see themselves as an imitator,” says Lieberman. “[But] all of the shooters this year have worn face masks and black gear.”

Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, says it’s clear that a lot of mass shootings involve young people:

If you look at homicide offending overall, it peaks in the early 20s. It is a time of change and turmoil in a lot of lives… but it’s the repetitiveness of these incidents that is so troubling.

The fact that it is so easy to acquire a firearm for anyone… probably explains why this country has a gun death rate so much higher than every other wealthy, developed nation.

The superintendent’s office in Newtown said the district had locked down schools in Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City. Schools in neighboring towns also were locked down as a precaution.

State police said Newtown Police called them around 9:40 a.m. A SWAT team was among the throngs of police to respond.

Photos from the scene showed young students, some crying, others looking visibly frightened, being escorted by adults through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other’s shoulders.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy was on the scene in Newtown.

National Reaction

The White house said President Obama has “enormous sympathy for the families that are affected” by the shooting at the school.

Obama was briefed on the shooting Friday morning. Spokesman Jay Carney said the White House would “do everything we can to support state and local law enforcement.”

The White House also said the FBI is supporting state and local law enforcement officials in Connecticut as they respond to and investigate the incident.

Carney wouldn’t say whether the shooting would make gun control a higher priority on the president’s agenda, but he said there would be a day for discussion on that policy issue.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Average Joe

    If 1 or 2 adults concealed carried in this school, they could have stopped this crazed lunatic from the get go.  It would not suprise me if this was staged… another reichstag fire, Batman shooting, Sirhan Sirhan.  They are going to say the gunman had PTSD and the gun grabbing liberals will come from the woodwork.  GUNS DONT KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE

    • Registered Republican

      I disagree.  Without a gun I don’t believe he would have been able to kill 18 children before being taken down by someone.  Wake up, gun control is a problem.

      • Guest

        He would have made a bomb. Anyone who is that deranged will find a way. Don’t kid yourself that it’s about guns.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

           Making a bomb is not easy.  The columbine murderers tried and failed to blow up the school.  Guns are easy.

      • Single Mom

        If we eliminate guns PEOPLE are just going to find another weapon. On the same day that this horrific tragedy happened there was a school stabbing in China (where guns and amunition are almost impossible to find) the man stabbed and killed 22 kids. PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE. If a teacher or some pne was armed they would have been able to prevent this. I am a single mom and i do use my right to bear arms. It’s the only way I can sleep okay at night, knowing i can protect my family if need be. God Bless

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

           You are more likely to be injured by your own gun than you are to protect yourself with it.

        • Zerkerjester

          There is no doubt that guns make it easier for tragedies likes this one to happen. I am not going to weight regarding gun control, because I personally dont care if you own or dont own a gun; however, I dont understand why a civilian feels the need to pocess assault weapons similar to M-4, AK-47 and even a  50cal sniper rifle.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

           The stabbing that happened in China a few days resulted in zero deaths.  Stop propagating lies.

    • PJ Zarella

      How about we leave the political statements for another day and just think/pray/hope for the victims of this tragedy.  We will have plenty of time later to work out what policies we should be forming or reconsidering.

    • Robert

       I knew it.  I knew that there is an element of our society so steeped in right-wing political paranoia that they will hear about 20 little children gunned down and immediately say, “This was staged by Obama so that he can take away my guns.”  I just didn’t want it to be true.  I lay the crime of poisoning my fellow-citizens’ minds at the feet of the right-wind outrage industry.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

       This is a fantasy statement and I am tired of reading it.  There is zero evidence that concealed carry laws prevent massacres.  They cause more murders than they prevent.  There was a man with a concealed carry permit at the Clackamas mall, but he didn’t shoot at the gunman.  It takes a lot of training to shoot a person when you are sane.

  • Raoul

    This photo is so heartbreaking that I am unable to make a comment.

    • http://www.mybloggityblog.com/wordpress/ James

      This picture brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. Can we please know if this woman’s sister is OK?

      • Sorry

        Her sister was Victoria Soto, one of the people killed. This photo breaks my heart.

        • http://www.mybloggityblog.com/wordpress/ James

          :(

          Quoting Disqus :

  • MJ

    Her name is carlee soto. Her sister was victoria who died a hero saving her students. RIP to a beautiful girl who became a beautiful angel. A true hero. Prayers to her amazing family, may they find peace and comfort in one another.

  • Guest

    Is she the sister of Victoria Soto? 

    • yes

      Yes

  • GunControl

    Gun control ban semi automatic. Lets do the right thing. Do not shop at stores that sell weapons. Like Dicks, Walmart, etc… We don’t need more deaths.

    • fun bobby

      and you think that will stop child murders from getting them?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/36XD3CP4PHTLRKRPKXONKVDY4Q MareW

    Vicki Soto’s sister…so sad.  

  • OldTimer

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that hunters support rational gun control (bans on assault guns, high capacity magazines, etc.).  I grew up in rural Northern California in the 1950s and 1960s.  We had guns in our house that we used for hunting (BTW, we ate what we killed).  Even way back then we, and other hunters we knew, had a name for those people who owned an excessive number of guns for no apparent reason.  We called them “gun nuts”.

  • Ted

    Another sad commentary on America.
    One more attempt at the Globalists via their United Nations cohorts to strip the US of all weapons.
    This was an outrageous incident last Friday, but they will get worse if necessary for the masses to start demanding stiffer gun laws.
    Whats next? How about killing 5 year olds, then 4 years and on we go.
    Wake up people, this will continue.
    More Manchurian Candidates of the CIA are being groomed as time goes on.
    Look up MK-ULTRA and also RHIC-EDOM. 
    Radio Hypnotic Intra-Cerebral Control & Electronic Dissolution of Memory
    This isn’t the movies people, this is reality.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

      Ted, I hope you don’t own any guns.

      • Haywood

        Too much information for you to handle, aye Navin?
        Back to your mainstream media for more indoctrination.

  • Nicholas

    We learn through some reading and also a story at CBS that Adam Lanza’s mother was a prepper. So will the authorities now use this as an excuse to go after those who are waiting for the economy to collapse.
    And another item the mainstream media refuses to talk about. After all, the ruling elite running America do not like a populace that can think and see how they are being duped on a daily basis.

    How come no one in the mainstream media is looking into the coincidental connection between the fathers of both Adam Lanza and James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado theater shooter?
    Peter Lanza who is a VP and Tax Director at GE Financial. The father of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes is Robert Holmes, the lead scientist for the credit score company FICO. Both men were to testify before the US Sentate in the ongoing LIBOR scandal. The London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, is the average interest rate at which banks can borrow from each other. 16 international banks have been implicated in this ongoing scandal, accused of rigging contracts worth trillions of dollars. HSBC has already been fined $1.9 billion and three of their low level traders arrested.
    More at this link.  http://www.examiner.com/article/libor-scandal-grows-as-the-fathers-of-two-mass-murderers-were-to-testify

    • Zerkejester

      WTF? Conspiracy theory? You Sir have too much time on your hands

      • Haywood

        Another sheep that can go back to sleep. I’m referring to YOU Jerk Jester

      • Haywood

        Your Sir should take some time and do some research. Could you give up a football game or two and educate yourself. Yes you SIR Jerk Jester. 

  • David

    As a citizens of Athens Tennessee I do take offense in the justification of guns as related to the 1946 “Battle of Athens”. A late relative of mine, who lived in downtown Athens at the time, described the use of guns by “boys” shooting into the air. While guns were carried by those in protest, it was not guns that enable change. As the late Felix Harrod (a WWII fighter pilot and long time businessman) told me in a conversation a few months before his death, “It was the will and voice of the people that made a change in the local government during the 1946 “battle”.
    G. David Brown, Athens, TN

  • Haywood

    Possibly we could have a “war on guns” like the other wars the US has had. These include the war on drugs, war on cancer, war on poverty, the Cold war and the current perpetual war on terrorism.
    Lets see how that will work.

  • Haywood

    The mainstream media had no troubles airing the beheadings during the Iraq war, or the Abu Ghraib photos, and you have no troubles doing special effects of people being shot to pieces in PG-13 movies, so WHY NO PICTURES OF A SHOT UP SCHOOL in Newton, Connecticut. Think we can’t handle it?Or are the authorities hiding something?

  • Lavada

    After a major incident, various new laws are enacted to supposedly protect the public.After 9-11, all Americans became suspect. Box cutters, knives, etc. were outlawed on airplanes.After the shoe bomber, all Americans became suspects again to have their shoes checked.After the underwear bomber, all Americans became suspects once again. No carry on liquids. Full body scans or pat downs for all.Now we get to the point where 2012 had 4 major shooting sprees. So what, take everyone’s guns away because of a few isolated incidences.In each instant, Americans continue to lose more liberties inching their way to a Police State. It seems that Americans are willing to give up their liberties and freedom for some security.It seems that after the Sandy Hook shooting, not that many Americans have been swayed to give up their weapons in the pollings taken. What will it take to jolt the public further to change their minds?Have a massacre of 5 year olds and then 4 year olds. Maybe even babies.Since I have been following the news in the late fifties, I notice no matter where in the world it occurs,  when women and children are killed on a large scale, there is immediate outage. Over time the public forgets about it until the next incident.Keep shocking the public with these killings and eventually they yield or just become numbed over them.Its interesting to note that with Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, according to CNN there are no records of his whereabouts for the past 3 years. Why isn’t the media pursuing this story? Its standard practice for the authorities to do a historical check on a person’s past. Why not Mr. Lanza’s? Since 2009 there are no records of his activities, no friends, no work, nothingWatch the 31 second report from CNN. I can’t post the URL here, so type in the following or go to You Tube to access it. There are dozens of links about this story. Adam Lanza Did Not Exist For The Last 3 Years No Record Non ExistentSounds like MK-ULTRA at work here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.jessica1982 Jessica Annie William

    i am sorry here i was upset when i saw this i got kids my own i will miss all my kids 

  • John Peterson

    I cringe when I see this sad picture of a mother looking for her child(ren). There’s something wrong with our society. The parents that raised this murdered knew there was something wrong with their murdering son and got red flags for years. Now this murderer has taken the lives of many children whose parents have to live with this for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile, the father and brother simply wipe their hands, move away and start a new life. There is something wrong with our laws! The parents should be held accountable. The father of this murderer should be doing life behind bars. I bet parents of children who need help will think twice about those red flags if they were held accountable for their actions. Needless deaths by moron parents!

  • freelance7

    Because it wasn’t a shooting the media doesn’t mention Andrew Kehoe blowing up the Bath Consolidated School on 5/18/27, after killing his wife. That killed 45 people, mostly kids. He then set off a bomb at the school, killing himself and 4 others.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 20 Comment

James Foley Remembered For His ‘Extraordinary Courage’

U.S. officials have confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of the American journalist.

August 20 5 Comments

L.A. Moves To Arrest Fewer Misbehaving Students

The change in the school district's policy is the culmination of a long fight by judges, government officials, advocates and attorneys.

August 19 5 Comments

Abandoned Homes In Buffalo, N.Y. Selling For $1

Instead of tearing the homes down, city officials are selling them for $1, as part of the "Urban Homestead Program."

August 19 Comment

A Look At U.S. Military Options In Iraq

Retired Admiral William Fallon, who was head of United States Central Command during the Iraq War, discusses the current conflict.