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Newtown School Shooting

  • As the tweet below suggests, U.S. President Barack Obama has issued a Presidential Proclamation to honour the victims of the Newtown shooting. It reads:

    As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, December 18, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

    BARACK OBAMA
  • "I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear about today’s horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that has killed and injured so many innocent people.

    My thoughts are with the injured and those who have lost loved ones. It is heartbreaking to think of those who have had their children robbed from them at such a young age, when they had so much life ahead of them.

    I offer my sincere condolences to the families, to President Obama, Governor Malloy and the American people. The thoughts of the British people are with you all at this very difficult time."

    -British Prime Minister David Cameron
  • RT @charlesdumais: Thankful that @DHochsprung was my dear friend and colleague. So very sad that she is gone. Be strong, Newtown.
  • RT @daowens: NewYork City has sent medical examiner box truck. Temporary morgue being set up. #newtown
  • WNBC reporter: More than 1,000 people headed for church in Newtown for vigil Friday evening.
  • "One dressed up in goofy costumes to make her students smile. Another was a psychologist — preparing to retire." The New York Times says Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, and Mary Sherlach, a school psychologist - both killed in the shooting - will be remembered as dedicated educators who died "alongside the children they cared for as if they were their own."

    Read the full piece here.
  • WNBC reporter: Law enforcement officials say CT school shooting suspect fired at children from close range
  • [Newtown school shooting] Police say it'll take throughout the night to positively ID school shooting victims - @JohnCharltonFOX
  • WNBC reporter: NBC News reporting parents being called in to positively identify children one-by-one
  • Family drama as national tragedy

    Reuters columnist Nicholas Wapshott has written a piece on the Newtown shooting. In it, he says:

    "In this media-obsessed world, where becoming famous seems far more important than achieving real goals or finding genuine happiness, to go out in a welter of bullets and blood, like Bonnie and Clyde, has somehow become an acceptable second best. Thanks to high technology, a family drama can quickly turn into a national tragedy and a psychological upset can trigger a murder spree."

    Read on
  • [Photo] Hundreds turn out for vigil at church in Newtown, CT - http://instagram.com/p/TPe87uB4pB/
  • [Photo] Town flag at half staff in Newtown, Connecticut - http://bit.ly/Y3FBuO
  • Petition calling on Obama to draft gun control legislation has twice the threshold required for a White House response petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/immed…

    — Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) December 15, 2012

  • [Resource] Newtown, Connecticut ranked number 5 in Top 100 list of safest American cities - http://bit.ly/UjqBDq
  • RT @passantino: Pope Benedict XVI wrote special message to Newtown shooting victims http://lat.ms/UjqRST
  • CBS News' John Miller: Appears Connecticut school shooting suspect planned attack in advance
  • CBS News' John Miller: CT school shooting suspect shot out glass of school, gained access
  • Here's an interesting piece from The Atlantic about how Japan has virtually eliminated gun deaths. Unbelievably, the country can get as few as two gun-related deaths a year. How did Japan become a land without guns?
  • RT @alucci: NBC4: Newtown shooter's photo wasn't in his high school yearbook- in its place it said "camera shy."
  • [New blog] A look at how fourteen news apps covered the Connecticut school shooting - http://bit.ly/VGCZgc
  • RT @Niteshift: An unthinkable tragedy in Newtown. pbs.twimg.com/media/A-IZxuBCYAAgmbq.jpg

  • Connecticut school could not have prevented shooting, experts say

    By Jillian Mincer

    U.S. school districts have spent millions of dollars on metal detectors, security cameras and elaborate emergency-response plans since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, but almost nothing could have prevented Friday's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, security experts say.

    Read the rest here.
  • RT @wfaachannel8: Frisco students gather to pray for and honor those affected by shooting http://bit.ly/W7XOHo
  • Two men pray at Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in Newtown, Connecticut December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

  • [Newtown school shooting] RT @kellyburton_: Mom helped save her class of almost 20 kids today #amazed
  • Below, our colleagues have assembled a profile of Adam Lanza.

    Young man returns to elementary school as mass killer

    By Chris Francescani

    In the aftermath of Friday's elementary school shooting, a shattered New England town searched for clues to why a young man would commit so heinous an act.

    The life of Adam Lanza will be dissected, analyzed and re-analyzed in the days to come as investigators dig into the background of the 20-year-old, who law enforcement sources say returned to his elementary school and opened fire.

    Thus far, there are clues, but no answers.

    Read the rest here.
  • This list of worst shooting incidents in US history names a diverse group of gunmen in all respects but one: gender. http://p-bu.mp/nvs
  • "What is needed is gun control—strict, comprehensive gun control that places the values of public safety and security before the values of deer hunting and a perverse ahistorical reading of the Second Amendment. Obama told the nation that he reacted to the shootings in Newtown “as a parent,” and that is understandable, but what we need most is for him to act as a President, liberated at last from the constraints of elections and their dirty compromises—a President who dares to change the national debate and the legislative agenda on guns." - David Remnick on "What Obama must do about guns," at the New Yorker.

  • Audio: First emergency scanner traffic from Connecticut school shooting
  • Andrew Jacobs (L) prays as his twin brother Matthew Jacobs (C) looks on outside Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in Newtown, Connecticut December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

  • The Hartford Courant has collected letters to the editor responding to the tragedy.
  • At his New York Times blog, Fivethirtyeight, Nate Silver has analyzed the rhetorical shift in the conversation about guns in America in recent years.

    He writes: "If the news coverage is any guide, there has been a change of tone in recent years in the public conversation about guns. The two-word phrase “gun control” is being used considerably less often than it was 10 or 20 years ago. But the phrase “gun rights” is being used more often. And the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is being invoked more frequently in the discussion."

    Read the rest here.
  • Connecticut State Police Officers stand outside the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire on school children and staff in Newtown, Connecticut December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

  • We are going to shut down for the evening, and get going again in the morning in time for an 8am police briefing at which all of the victims are expected to be identified. Good night.
  • Transcript of remarks made by President Barack Obama at Newtown shooting vigil

    Thank you.

    Thank you, Governor. To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests, scripture tells us, “Do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.

    “For light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

    “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven not built by human hands.”
    We gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable adults. They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.

    Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.
    I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We’ve pulled our children tight.

    And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.

    As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice. We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch. They did not hesitate.

    Dawn Hocksprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Russeau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy, they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances, with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.

    We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms and kept steady through it all and reassured their students by saying, “Wait for the good guys, they are coming. Show me your smile.”

    And we know that good guys came, the first responders who raced to the scene helping to guide those in harm’s way to safety and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and their own trauma, because they had a job to do and others needed them more.

    And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do, one child even trying to encourage a grownup by saying, “I know karate, so it’s OK; I’ll lead the way out.”

    As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown. In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other. You’ve cared for one another. And you’ve loved one another. This is how Newtown will be remembered, and with time and God’s grace, that love will see you through.

    But we as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.

    With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there’s nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet we also know that with that child’s very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won’t -- that we can’t always be there for them.
    They will suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.

    It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.

    And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.

    This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

    And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?
    Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?
    Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?

    Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

    I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.

    And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose -- much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
    We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

    We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

    If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.

    In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.

    Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?

    Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

    You know, all the world’s religions, so many of them represented here today, start with a simple question.

    Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose?

    We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain, that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that, no matter how good our intentions, we’ll all stumble sometimes in some way.

    We’ll make mistakes, we’ll experience hardships and even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.

    There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace, that is true.

    The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger, we know that’s what matters.

    We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.

    That’s what we can be sure of, and that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us. That’s how you’ve inspired us. You remind us what matters. And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.

    “Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

    Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison, God has called them all home.
    For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place. May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort, and may He bless and watch over this community and the United States of America.
  • At memorial, Obama pledges effort to reduce gun violence

    President Barack Obama, speaking at a memorial service for the victims of a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, said on Sunday the United States was not doing enough to protect its children and pledged in coming weeks to launch an effort to reduce violence in the country.

    "We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change," Obama said at a somber interfaith service.

    "In the coming weeks I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," he said. "Because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine."

    Read on
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Evacuees begin exodus through fire-ravaged Fort McMurray

CONKLIN/LAC LA BICHE Exhausted evacuees stranded north of the fire-ravaged Canadian oil town of Fort McMurray sped through the only route out on Friday, escorted by police, after the out-of-control blaze destroyed entire neighborhoods and forced 88,000 to flee.