The countdown had begun. Christmas Eve was just 10 days away. For the children, excitement was building, as it should.
Then, in a burst of what can only be described as naked evil, it was over.
What had begun as a normal school day took a turn no one could have anticipated or even imagined.
Sandy Hook Elementary School, grades K through 4, in the quiet village of Newtown, Conn., became the target of a plot that was carried out with diabolical accuracy that turned classrooms into a charnel house.
Adam Lanza, 20, went to the school armed with two handguns, a Glock and a Sig Sauer, as well as a .223 Bushmaster rifle.
As I write this, not all the details are clear, but what is clear is the outcome of his intent.
Police say he first shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, in the face at their home, killing her.
Then he took her guns and her car to the school, where he broke in and targeted victims, first killing Principal Dawn Hochsprung and the school psychologist, Mary Sherlach.
He kept shooting and killing, finally opening fire in two classrooms, mowing down the little ones.
In all, 20 children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as were six adults.
Twenty-six dead. Then Adam Lanza killed himself. Add to that his mother’s murder, and the death toll is 28.
There may be others; police are reportedly looking for Lanza’s girlfriend.
Police say the entire attack took only minutes. Emergency help arrived quickly, and there was a call for ambulances – but then it was canceled.
There was no need for ambulances because all the victims at the school were dead.
As might be expected, after an unprovoked shooting of innocents, words flew from podiums.
On the one hand, hundreds of people filled St. Rose of Lima Church and spilled outside as a vigil was held and Masses offered to the victims. Other houses of worship were filled with people of all faiths, seeking solace with each other and with God to try to understand the tragedies that had befallen them that day.
On the other side, before the police had even reported a full and accurate accounting of what transpired, politicians and gun-control advocates were out in force to get media camera time to push their agenda.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino nearly tripped over each other in their rush to the cameras to push for more federal control of guns.
Even Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper joined the crowd.
Of course, there were also independent anti-gun groups speaking out and circulating petitions to put pressure on the Obama administration to DO SOMETHING about guns.
The bodies of the innocent victims hadn’t even been identified and these self-serving, do-good, partisan politicians were blanketing the media with their incessant demands to disarm the American people as though guns themselves were responsible for the mayhem.
Barack Obama addressed the nation in a somber statement expressing the horror of the killings and called for “meaningful action.”
What that means specifically, no one knows but given his history, there’s concern for his interpretation of the Second Amendment.
While Obama bides his time politically, not every politician is willing. Long-time Democrat Rep. Jerold Nadler didn’t mince words, telling an MSNBC audience that he thinks people will support stronger gun-control laws if Obama “exploits” the shootings in Connecticut.
It’s a sad reflection on the seriousness of the situation that people who took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution and to represent the American people want to exploit a tragedy to get their way.
Imagine, exploiting the deaths of 20 little children and 7 adults for political purposes.
These people are shameless.
While the investigation continues, bits and pieces emerge about Adam Lanza.
We haven’t heard any neighbors with the usual line, “He was such a nice person; we can’t imagine him doing something like this.”
No, this time, little by little, comments of friends and neighbors and even family, paint a picture of a smart but troubled kid.
A relative told ABC News he was “obviously not well.”
Barbara Frey, a family friend, described him as “a little bit different – kind of repressed.”
The mother of a son who knew Lanza told the Washington Examiner that he was remembered as being “very thin, very remote and was one of the Goths.”
While not giving specific details, police are investigating allegations that Lanza suffered from a personality disorder and had anger issues, perhaps had Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.
This raises an issue that every anti-gun partisan chooses to ignore: the effect of anti-depressants on the human brain.
We’ve become a society where even basic human reactions to life situations are diagnosed as “syndromes” or “illnesses” and, of course, the solution is drugs.
We know anti-depressant drugs literally change the chemistry of the brain, often leaving the individual a shell of themselves and with dangerous tendencies.
They are the SSRIs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – Prozac, Paxil, Luvox and Zoloft. They’re casually referred to as “chemical babysitters,” dispensed like water when the natural rambunctiousness of children bothers adults. It “quiets kids down,” makes them easily controlled, and often puts them at the edge of homicide or suicide or both.
Just read the package insert warnings on those commonly used drugs.
Doubts? Look at the drug connection in other horrific killings: Columbine, Kip Kinkel, Colorado, Tucson and too many others to recount.
If Lanza was being “medicated,” it raises the issue that guns aren’t the problem, prescription drugs are, and so are the doctors who prescribe them.
Pia Conte, a neighbor, told London’s Telegraph: “Guns are easy to point to, but it’s really a mental health issue.”
First, the mass shooting, then the shooter’s suicide, then the darkness of grief for the survivors and in Newtown, Christmas decorations are coming down.