Sandy Hook Elementary: This could have been any school, any of our kids

Sandy Hook Elementary: This could have been any school, any of our kids

Summary: Words are woefully inadequate here, but I'm a writer, so I have to write something.

TOPICS: Education

There is absolutely nothing I could write here that will make a bit of difference, provide the tiniest comfort, or bring the least solace to grieving parents, families, and friends in Newtown, CT after today's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school. None of the details matter. All that matters is that at least 27 people are dead, 20 of them small children, and 600 students who heard their playmates and teachers being gunned down are unspeakably traumatized.

I could spin this post to be about technology. After all, we could lock down every school with key card access, video surveillance, RFIDs, and any number of other bits of technology to keep our kids safe, but this is hardly an environment conducive to learning and simply being a child.

I could talk about violent video games and media glorification of violence but I think most of know this has nothing to do with any of that.

I could make this a rant about gun control but now isn't the time and this certainly isn't the place.

I could make this about education and the fact that if kids don't feel safe, they can't learn. But Newtown, CT, is an affluent community with virtually no poverty or violence and no reason for students to feel unsafe, whether they are in their schools or traveling between home and school.

I could write about how school violence is a sign of our increasingly isolated and social media-driven society, where a lack of personal connections means that people who need help aren't being identified before they do something like this, but it's not as if the entire country is going to abandon social media and start having lovefests over big community dinners.

Unfortunately, all of that is empty crap when so many kids have just died. So all I'll do is add my worthless condolences and sit at my computer thanking whatever higher power might be out there that it wasn't my kids. Because it could have been Anytown, USA, and it could have been #AnySchoolElementary that's trending on Twitter right now instead of Newtown, CT, and Sandy Hook Elementary. Whatever comes of this, something has to change. Whether it's our laws, our mental health safety nets, the environment in which we educate our kids, or something else entirely, this can't happen again.

To the parents, families, friends, and loved ones whose lives have been senselessly shattered today, I can't express my own sorrow and I can't even imagine yours.

And to those who lost their lives today, rest in peace.


Topic: Education

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The unasked question, always

    "Were any of the staff armed and able to defend themselves and the children?"

    That's how some other school shooting sprees were cut short. Hopefully other schools will one day be better prepared for the lone maniac who doesn't obey "gun-free zones."
    • School zero policy

      The been a lot of opposition to corneal and carry among the education Establishment. I remember a teacher faced opposition even threats of job loss.
    • I agree!

      we must either arm the teachers and older students, or hire armed guards in schools.
      LlNUX Geek
      • Seriously?

        Older students? Are you daft? Honestly, have you not realised that in many cases it has in fact been older students who instigated and committed the act. Also, entrusting a 12-13 year old elementary school student with a concealed firearm.

        And do you think it's wise to arm the very people who are the only ones with the ability to circumvent and avoid all security measures as they are excluded from the checks, seeing as how you believe they should be armed. Teacher's commit crimes, as do students.

        You perhaps have the worst ideas and logic that I have ever come across.
        • He was trying to be sarcastic

          but failed terribly at it. Some fault lies in you as well for having a broken detector.
        • yeah, 16 years olds are good enough

          If they can drive a car they can fire a's easier.
          The Linux Geek
          • The Linux much meth do you use in a day?

            Your so far off the have to totally wacked out to make such stupid posts.
            Over and Out
      • LlNUX Geek I'll say it are one F*****G idiot

        can you even comprehennd what you say?
        Over and Out
        • brazen liberal ...

          take your lame propaganda on or, not here!
          The Linux Geek
          • The Linux Geek = brazen fool

            you and Sean Hannery and Bill O'Rielly are from the same mold = outspoken jerks....I'll bet your a member of the NRA fan boy and give ak47 as Christmas gifts.
            Over and Out
      • Zero Gun Zones

        I have to concur. A HUGE reason why this psycho picked an elementary school is he knew he wouldn't be confronted by armed staffers / security guards - even if he was wearing Kevlar vest.
        See the book, More Guns - Less Crime.
        Crashin Chris
        • Zero Gun Zones

          > A HUGE reason why this psycho picked an elementary
          > school is he knew he wouldn't be confronted by armed
          > staffers / security guards

          You have no idea whatsoever what reasons he had at all, much less which reasons were huge and which were small. You are talking worthless trash. This whole thread about arming teachers and students is insane.
          none none
    • How many shoot-outs to you want?

      And do we really want a society in which every adult has a firearm on his person at all times? We don't have that now even in the most gun-happy parts of the country (I live in one).
      John L. Ries
      • Sadly, that is exactly what many in the NRA want

        And I'm sure we'll hear some idiotic member claim that "If the teachers were armed, this would never have happened."

        I'm far from "anti-gun", I'm just very "anti-gun owning idiot". Here in PA, it's easier to own and use a gun then it is to own and use a automobile.
        William Farrel
        • the people are PA are smarter than you

          Statistics shown that where the gun ownership is hight, the crime is low. Just look at Connecticut ;)
          The Linux Geek
          • I know you're trolling, but...

            I don't think crime rates have much to do with the rates of gun ownership either way, but have everything to do with prevailing culture.

            Texas has high levels of gun ownership, a high incarceration rate, and a high execution rate, and still has a high crime rate. Utah has high levels of gun ownership and a low crime rate. I have to think the difference is the culture.
            John L. Ries
          • well John you would be wrong!

            Kennesaw Georgia ans Switzerland prove that!

            Why is it that the last three incidents happened in Blue States and some of those places have Uber Gun Control.

            Sorry but, the number of dead victims drops dramatically in situations where another Armed individual is around to intervene.

            Also, if you know there are potentially armed people in any given building then you likely think twice about your decision.

            Anyway, regardless of all the bleeding hearts here, reality speaks to a very different truth!

            Within the last week 20 or so people were stabbed to death in a country that made Guns illegal. Why? Because Crazy is as Crazy does!
          • Switzerland

            Due to universal militia service (which I've always found appealing, even though I'm a life-long civilian) nearly every Swiss man has a gun at home, but what percentage carry them on their persons when they're out and about, and is carrying concealed weapons even legal? And what effect do you think Swiss culture has on the crime rate (the Swiss have always struck me as a rather orderly lot).

            And how does the crime rate compare with other European countries with much more restrictive gun laws?
            John L. Ries
          • I get it

            I get that you're trying to be funny but, people being allowed to Carry their weapons and not just ownership is what actually helps to prevent these situations.
          • Utah...

            ...has one of the most liberal concealed weapons permit laws in the country (it's one of the ways in which our state legislators show how Conservative they are).
            John L. Ries