“What a wonder is a gun!
What a versatile invention!
First of all, when you’ve a gun—
Everybody pays attention.”
—Stephen Sondheim, Assassins
Last year I had the opportunity to review Candice Millard’s excellent history of the Garfield assassination, Destiny of the Republic. President Garfield’s killer, Charles J. Guiteau, has generally been characterized as “a disgruntled office-seeker,” but as Millard makes clear, he was barking mad. His own family was terrified of him and had been for years, but it proved impossible to find him any effective mental health care.
Finding a cheap handgun in the nation’s capital, on the other hand, proved very easy. One murdered president later, attention was paid.
That was 131 years ago. Little has changed. Getting effective, affordable mental health care is nearly as difficult for many Americans as it was in Garfield’s time, while guns are more ubiquitous and deadly than ever.
Friday was a day of horror, Saturday a day of shock and Sunday a day of mourning. President Barack Obama hewed to that script when he showed up in Newtown and gave a stem-winder about God and our duty to our children without uttering the word ‘gun’ or stating exactly how he plans to lead Read More
During the 9 o’clock hour on Friday morning, at least one black-clad male entered Sandy Hook Elementary, a K through 4 school in Newtown, Connecticut. Police believe he was armed with two semi-automatic handguns. He opened fire on students and faculty and, according to reports coming from major media outlets already at the scene, the shooter killed at least 27, including 18 children.
Reuters and WABC reported that the shooter was 24, carrying up to four weapons and wearing a bulletproof vest.
An Associated Press report in the Hartford Courant states that “one entire classroom was unaccounted for” as authorities attempted to determine who had survived the shooting.
The school is home to grades K through 4, with students no older than ten years of age.