Sandy Hook Tragedy
(Flickr/Obama White House) President Obama at Sandy Hook Vigil

Sandy Hook Elementary School was the site of horror five years ago today. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza gunned down 20 kids and six staffers at the school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sadly, the kids who died were between six and seven years old.  President Obama, himself a parent, was unable to hide his deep distress in his official statement on the shootings.

Since Sandy Hook, mass shootings have continued. Despite popular impressions, few of these had anything to do with so-called “Islamic” terrorism.

Sandy Hook More Typical of Mass Shootings

A Mother Jones database has a comprehensive look at mass shootings over the years.  Examining the data for the cases after Sandy Hook, here are some facts.

Unsurprisingly, most of these atrocities were committed by white males.

Of the 34 shootings, only two can be linked to “Islamic” terrorism. One was the San Bernardino massacre. The other was the Orlando nightclub slaughter.

In more than half the cases, the shooters purchased the guns legally. Adam Lanza’s mother herself legally bought the guns that Adam used in the shooting.

Like Adam Lanza, about a third of the shooters were known to have mental health issues. Note that at least in 12 other cases, the information was “unclear” or unavailable.

After Sandy Hook, restricting guns for mentally ill people did get some attention.

Sandy Hook: Failure about Mental Illness

A Connecticut State report about Sandy Hook pointed to several missed signs about the shooter Adam Lanza.  Lanza’s mother, health care providers, and schools all ignored the warnings of trouble.

Lanza’s mother was concerned about her son’s behavior. However, she did not attempt to reach out to professionals in the final months.  Nor did she take steps to curtail Lanza’s access to guns.

Having guns in your house when you or someone in your home has a mental illness is not a good idea.  Apart from the danger of mass shootings, there is also the risk of intimate violence and suicide through easy access to guns.

Sandy Hook was symptomatic of this danger.  Adam Lanza’s mother herself not only bought these guns, but she taught Adam to shoot.

Before Lanza went to the school, he shot his mother. He also killed himself after his shooting spree.

In the wake of Sandy Hook, there were calls to tighten gun access for people with mental illness.

Sandy Hook and Gun Control

Unfortunately, even President Obama’s minimal restrictions on gun access for people with mental illness did not last.

In Donald Trump’s second month as president, he ended an Obama rule that would have restricted people with mental illness from buying guns. Since then, we have seen the double standards when it comes to perpetrators of violence.

In instances where Muslims are involved in terrorism, Trump is quick to blame immigration or Islam.   But in cases of mass shootings, he and Republicans are reluctant to blame guns.

No wonder, even after Sandy Hook, no national gun control laws have passed. More than 100 have failed. Politicians’ hearts have hardened to the tragedies wrought by unchecked guns.

Maybe they need to remember the second part of Proverbs 28:14, “… he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

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