Obama statement after Connecticut school shooting
Text of President Barack Obama's address to the nation after Friday's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, as provided by CQ Transcriptions:
"This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Gov. 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."
Police, world wonder about Conn. shooting motive
by JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN and JIM FITZGERALD
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The massacre of 26 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, a 20-year-old described as brilliant but remote, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.
Investigators were trying to learn more about the gunman, Adam Lanza, and questioned his older brother, who is not believed to have been involved in the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary. Police shed no light on the motive for the nation's second-deadliest school shooting.
In tight-knit Newtown on Friday night, hundreds of people packed St. Rose of Lima church and stood outside in a vigil for the 28 dead — 20 children and six adults at the school, the gunman's mother at home, and the gunman himself, who committed suicide. People held hands, lit candles and sang "Silent Night."
"These 20 children were just beautiful, beautiful children," Monsignor Robert Weiss said. "These 20 children lit up this community better than all these Christmas lights we have. ... There are a lot brighter stars up there tonight because of these kids."
Lanza is believed to have suffered from a personality disorder and lived with his mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation.
Lanza shot his mother, Nancy Lanza, drove to the school in her car with at least three guns, including a high-powered rifle that he apparently left in the back of the vehicle, and shot up two classrooms around 9:30 a.m. Friday, law enforcement officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A custodian ran through the halls, warning of a gunman, and someone switched on the intercom, perhaps saving many lives by letting them hear the chaos in the school office, a teacher said. Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as shots echoed through the building.
The well-liked principal, Dawn Hochsprung, was believed to be among the dead. A woman who worked at the school was wounded. An update on victims' identities was possible Saturday morning, state police Lt. Paul Vance said Friday evening.
A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said investigators believe Lanza attended the school several years ago but appeared to have no recent connection to it.
At least one parent said Lanza's mother was a substitute teacher there. But her name did not appear on a staff list. And the official said investigators were unable to establish any connection so far between her and the school.
Lanza's older brother, 24-year-old Ryan Lanza, of Hoboken, N.J., was questioned, but a law enforcement official said he was not believed to have had a role in the rampage. Investigators were searching his computers and phone records, but he told law enforcement he had not been in touch with his brother since about 2010.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the unfolding investigation.
At one point, a law enforcement official mistakenly identified the gunman as Ryan Lanza. Brett Wilshe, a friend of Ryan Lanza's, said Lanza told him the gunman may have had his identification. Ryan Lanza apparently posted Facebook page updates Friday afternoon that read, "It wasn't me" and "I was at work."
For about two hours late Friday and early Saturday, clergy members and emergency vehicles moved steadily to and from the school. The state medical examiner's office said bodies of the victims would be taken there eventually for autopsies.
At least three guns were found — a Glock and a Sig Sauer, both pistols, inside the school, and a .223-caliber rifle in the back of a car, authorities said. A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of the guns used in the attack may have belonged to Lanza's family. His mother had legally registered four weapons, his father two.
Authorities also recovered three other guns — a Henry repeating rifle, an Enfield rifle and a shotgun. It was not clear exactly where those weapons were found.
Adam Lanza and his mother lived in a well-to-do part of prosperous Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City, where neighbors are doctors or hold white-collar positions at companies such as General Electric, Pepsi and IBM.
Lanza's parents filed for divorce in 2008, according to court records. His father, Peter Lanza, lives in Stamford, Conn., and works as a tax director for General Electric.
The gunman's aunt Marsha Lanza, of Crystal Lake, Ill., said her nephew was raised by kind, nurturing parents who would not have hesitated to seek mental help for him if he needed it.
"Nancy wasn't one to deny reality," Marsha Lanza said, adding her husband had seen Adam as recently as June and recalled nothing out of the ordinary.
Catherine Urso, of Newtown, said her college-age son knew the killer and remembered him for his alternative style. "He just said he was very thin, very remote and was one of the goths," she said.
Adam Lanza attended Newtown High School, and several news clippings from recent years mention his name among the honor roll students.
Joshua Milas, who graduated from Newtown High in 2009 and belonged to the school technology club with him, said Adam Lanza was generally a happy person but that he hadn't seen him in a few years.
"We would hang out, and he was a good kid. He was smart," Joshua Milas said. "He was probably one of the smartest kids I know. He was probably a genius."
An official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was not clear that Adam Lanza had a job, and there was no indication of law enforcement interviews or search warrants at a place of business.
The mass shooting is one of the deadliest in U.S. history, and among school attacks is second in victims only to the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, which left 33 people dead, including the gunman. Reaction was swift and emotional in Newtown, a picturesque New England community of 27,000 people, as well as across the country and around the world.
"It has to stop, these senseless deaths," said Frank DeAngelis, principal of Colorado's Columbine High School, where a massacre in 1999 killed 15 people.
In Washington, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence organized a vigil at the White House, with some protesters chanting, "Today IS the day" to take steps to curb gun violence. In New York's Times Square, a few dozen people held tea lights in plastic cups, with one woman holding a sign that read: "Take a moment and candle to remember the victims of the Newtown shooting."
President Barack Obama's comments on the tragedy amounted to one of the most outwardly emotional moments of his presidency.
"The majority of those who died were children — beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old," Obama said at a White House news briefing. He paused for several seconds to keep his composure as he teared up and wiped an eye. Nearby, two aides cried and held hands.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the attack as a "senseless and incomprehensible act of evil."
"Like President Obama and his fellow Americans, our hearts too are broken," Gillard said in a statement.
In Japan, where guns are severely restricted and there are extremely few gun-related crimes, the attack led the news two days before nationwide parliamentary elections. In China, which has seen several knife rampages at schools in recent years, the attack quickly consumed public discussion.
At the Newtown vigil, Anthony Bloss, whose three daughters survived, said they are doing better than he. "I'm numb. I'm completely numb," he said.
Panicked parents looking for their children had raced earlier in the day to Sandy Hook, a kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school where police told youngsters to close their eyes as they were led from the building so that they wouldn't see the blood and broken glass.
Schoolchildren — some crying, many looking frightened — were escorted through a parking lot in a line, hands on one another's shoulders.
Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher. "That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."
He said the shooter didn't utter a word.
Kaitlin Roig, a teacher at the school, said she implored her students to be quiet.
"I told them we had to be absolutely quiet. Because I was just so afraid if he did come in, then he would hear us and just start shooting the door. I said we have to be absolutely quiet. And I said there are bad guys out there now and we need to wait for the good guys to come get us out," Roig told ABC News.
"If they started crying, I would take their face and say it's going to be OK. Show me your smile," she said. "They said, we want to go home for Christmas. Yes, yeah. I just want to hug my mom, things like that, that were just heartbreaking."
Advice for parents on Sandy Hook tragedy: Let children express their emotions
LOS ANGELES -- Encouraging children to ask questions and normalizing their activities as quickly as possible are two ways to help them cope with shocking events such as the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a UCLA psychiatry professor said today.
Children should also be encouraged to express their emotions, Emanuel Maidenberg, an associate clinical psychiatry professor at the UCLA Semel Institute told City News Service. He said they should be taught that any emotional reaction is acceptable, and should be helped to define what those emotions are.
"When emotions are put into words, they're less likely to percolate," he said.
Dr. Moe Gelbart, executive director of the Thelma McMillen Center at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, added that parents should be "truthful, but age-appropriate truthful."
He recommended "reflective listening," especially when dealing with very young children. Instead of asking the child what he or she is feeling, Gelbart recommended anticipating the child's emotions and verbalizing those feelings. He said parents of young children shouldn't address the subject unless the child mentions it.
The younger the child, the more important it is to provide a sense of security, according to Gelbart.
He also said hugging your children and telling them you love them is good advice.
Maidenberg said providing accurate information to children when it becomes available is important. He also stressed that parents should maintain a normal schedule of activities for children in the days immediately following an event such as the shooting.
In the longer term, he encouraged monitoring children, since every child has his or her own pace; and if there are signs of behavioral changes, he suggested consulting a professional.
Adults and children react "with confusion and the urge to escape" when confronted with events such as the shooting in Connecticut, according to Maidenberg.
Some of the deadliest school shootings in the United States
The Associated Press
A gunman at a Connecticut elementary school killed more than two dozen people, including children, on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Here is a look at some other school shootings:
• April 2, 2012: A gunman killed seven people in a rampage at a California Christian university. Jongjin Kim, the Oikos University, said the suspect, One Goh, was angry because administrators refused to grant him a full tuition refund after he dropped out of the nursing program.
• Feb. 27, 2012: Three students were killed and two wounded in a shooting spree that started in a school cafeteria in Chardon, Ohio, as students waited for buses to other schools. Police have charged T.J. Lane, who was 17 at the time, as an adult.
• Feb. 14, 2008: Former student Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., fatally shooting five students and wounding 18 others before committing suicide.
• April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, fatally shot 32 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, then killed himself.
• Oct. 2, 2006: Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, shot to death five girls at West Nickel Mines Amish School in Pennsylvania, then killed himself.
• March 21, 2005: Jeffrey Weise, 16, shot and killed five schoolmates, a teacher and an unarmed guard at a high school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota before taking his own life. Weise had earlier killed his grandfather and his grandfather's companion.
• Oct. 28, 2002: Robert Flores Jr., 41, who was flunking out of the University of Arizona nursing school, shot and killed three of his professors before killing himself.
• March 5, 2001: Charles "Andy" Williams, 15, killed two fellow students and wounded 13 others at Santana High School in Santee.
• April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.
• May 21, 1998: Two teenagers were killed and more than 20 people hurt when Kip Kinkel, 17, opened fire at a high school in Springfield, Ore., after killing his parents.
• March 24, 1998: Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, killed four girls and a teacher at a Jonesboro, Ark., middle school. Ten others were wounded in the shooting.
• Dec. 1, 1997: Three students were killed and five wounded at a high school in West Paducah, Ky. Michael Carneal, then 14, later pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder and is serving life in prison.
• Oct. 1, 1997: Luke Woodham, 16, of Pearl, Miss., fatally shot two students and wounded seven others after stabbing his mother to death. He was sentenced the following year to three life sentences.
Doctors: Insufficient research to understand rampage violence
by Andrew Edwards
America's law enforcement and research communities have failed to develop the kind of research strategy to understand and prevent rampages like today's mass murders at Connecticut a Connecticut elementary school, a University of Arizona doctor said.
Dr. John Harris said mass killings often prompt arguments over such issues as mental health care, gun control or whether violence in television provokes real-life killings. Those frequently one-issue arguments, however, often accomplish little in the way of learning how to improve public safety.
"Let's get off of this as a gun control issue, because that gets everybody riled up and we're all yelling at each other," Harris said.
Harris is a University of Arizona faculty affiliate. He said he was a friend of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and the 2011 shooting that wounded her and killed several others prompted him to study the issue of rampage violence. His wife, Robin Harris, is an epidemiologist and in June of this year the couple published a four-page article on the subject in the American Journal of Public Health.
The Harrises concluded in their article that a better way to comprehend mass violence would be to create a multi-disciplinary research team similar to the National Transportation Safety Board to research rampages and possibly determine methods to help authorities prevent such incidents.
"To me, that answer looks like what we've done around airline safety," Harris said.