Connecticut school shooting leaves America in mourning: The Church of England Newspaper, December 23, 2012 p 7. December 28, 2012Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Church of England Newspaper, Connecticut, Crime, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: Adam Lanza, Newtown shooting
Church leaders in the United States have responded with horror to last week’s Connecticut school shooting, calling upon Anglicans to turn towards God in prayer in response to the murder of 26 people – including 20 school children.
On 14 Dec 2012, Adam Lanza (20), shot and killed his mother at their home and then proceeded to her workplace, the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Police have yet to release a timeline of events, but armed with a variety of pistols taken from his mother’s home, Lanza entered the school killing six teachers and administrators and the members of his mother’s class – 20 children ranging in age from 5 to 7 years of age.
Lanza then took his own life before police arrived on the scene. The motive for the killings is unknown as are details of the killer’s life – though acquaintances described the young man as troubled.
Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America urged his flock to pray for the victims and their families. “Please join us in praying for the victims of and families affected by Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. “Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations,” he wrote.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote the Episcopal Church grieved with those who had died and mourned the loss “of lives so young and innocent. We grieve that the means of death are so readily available to people who lack the present capacity to find other ways of responding to their own anger and grief. We know that God’s heart is broken over this tragedy, and the tragedies that unfold each and every day across this nation. And we pray that this latest concentration of shooting deaths in one event will awaken us to the unnoticed number of children and young people who die senselessly across this land every day.”
Speaking at a memorial service in Newtown High School on 16 December, President Barack Obama said he was “very mindful that words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, but whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. … Newtown, you are not alone.”
“These tragedies must end, and to end them we must change,” the president said, saying he would call upon law enforcement and mental health experts to “prevent another tragedy like this.”
The shooting has prompted a national debate over the causes of “rampage” killings, with some blaming a changing culture, others loose gun control laws, while others have questioned state programs of closing state mental hospitals in favor of community care.
In statement released after the shootings on Friday, the Bishop of Washington Mariann Budde announced that she was “calling on our national leaders to enact more effective gun control measures. We know from experience that such calls go unheeded. But what if this time, you and I took up this issue and wouldn’t put it down until something was done? . . . Today we grieve, but soon we act.”
However, conservative columnist Mona Charen argued the problem also lay in failed health policies as “misplaced civil libertarianism and romanticization of mental illness led to deinstitutionalization” of the mentally ill so that “now, 95 percent of the inpatient beds we had in 1955 are gone.”
There were a “a small subset of mentally ill people who are dangerous. They are responsible for an estimated 50 percent of rampage killings. In the name of personal autonomy, we have made it almost impossible to force them to get treatment. The horrifying consequences are all around us,” she said.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.