Following the murder of my 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I was incredulous that no one took responsibility following the massacre of 20 first graders and six educators. One of the worst mass murders in U.S. history doesn’t happen out of nowhere. There had to have been a progression of incidences, unresolved issues, and lots of unprocessed anger that led to that kind of rampage. In the aftermath, it seemed to me that rather than be forthcoming with issues that led up to that event, there was a protective shield that was erected. This defensive posture was not conducive to problem solving and necessary change.
This lack of accountability was reflected in the advice given to the Sandy Hook victim’s parents about any attempt we would make to hold the school responsible. Ultimately we were told, even if everything we said was true, the school was immune from lawsuits. Sure there was lots of blaming and finger pointing. The shooter’s parents allowed their son to have access to guns despite ongoing mental health issues. The report that came out five years later was more defensive than helpful. At one point the families were told by investigative experts that the shooter chose to come back to his elementary school to perpetrate the crime because it was the last place he was happy. The facts that made it into the report show that couldn’t be further from the truth. Certainly it has not been helpful in deterring the myriad of shootings that have happened since. We’ve had over 350 school shootings since Sandy Hook and 28 this year alone! Will we accept this as America’s future?
Why does this keep happening? I believe every school shooting is preventable. There are almost always signs.