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UPDATED: Sandy Hook Elementary School: America Mourns the Massacre of Her Children

By Keith A Fournier
December 14th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. (President Obama)

NEWTOWN, Conn. (Catholic Online) - UPDATE: Federal Law Enforcement officials have now confirmed that, contrary to earlier reports, the shooter was NOT Ryan Lanza, a 24 year old. In fact, it was his 20 year old younger brother Adam Lanza. Some news sources indicated that his mother, a kindergarten teacher who was killed, was found in the school. Others indicate she was found dead in her home. 

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To observers and residents alike, Newtown, Connecticut is the kind of friendly, slow paced New England town where families would want to live and mothers and fathers would want to raise their children.

Sandy Hook Elementary School, with grades from kindergarten through the fourth, was just the kind of public school everyone would choose if you could choose to send your children to a public elementary school of your choice.

Now, the town and the school will go down in history as the site where the second deadliest school shootings in American history occurred.

The deadliest shooting was the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007 when 56 people were gunned down and 32 died. There have been 31 shootings in the United States since the 1999 shooting  at Columbine which took the life of 13 people.  

When the insidiously evil act of violence was over, 18 innocent little children between the ages of five and ten were dead. Two others who were rushed to the hospital after the incident and were later pronounced dead.

The shooter is dead - perhaps by a self inflicted gunshot wound. That has not yet been confirmed. His mother, a kindergarten teacher at the school is also dead, along with five other adults. The last victim, another adult, was found shot to death at a home in Newtown.

The shooter, either a 20 or 24 yr old young man (there are differing reports) was named Lanza. His mother taught at the school. He entered the school,  passing through the security protocols, with two guns. He was dressed in all black clothing. He simply began to shoot the children. There is no explanation as to motive, or any clearly verifiable facts as to timeline and selection of victims.

The whole Nation is in shock, mourning the lives lost and grasping at every Press report to try to find out any more facts.  There is an epidemic of senseless violence in the United States.

We ask the readers of Catholic Online to pray for the victims - their families,  friends and loved ones. We also ask for prayer for the United States of America.

An emotional and sincere President Barrack Obama addressed the Nation and we offer the complete transcript of his heartfelt words below:

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President Barack Obama

This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.

The majority of those who died today were children - beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them - birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.

Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors, as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain.

As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us right now.

In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help, because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours.

May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

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