10th Anniversary of Sandy Hook: It can happen again

On a cold New England morning 20-year-old Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook elementary. He never left. Neither did 26 other people.

Today is the 10-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown Connecticut. While it is not an anniversary to celebrate it is one worth remembering. It left 26 people dead and triggered nationwide debates about gun control, mental health, and school safety. However, as people remember the event many can not help but notice that not much has changed.

Even with a cause célèbre featuring twenty dead suburban children, nothing has really changed. There is no fundamental reason why something similar couldn’t happen again… which is probably why it often does. In fact, by and large, school shootings have gotten worse. If you exclude the COVID-19 pandemic years on average, there are more school shootings than there were before. In 2018 for example there were over 6x as many school shootings.

Those stats are not empty either. It feels like school shootings have gotten worse. School shootings are often the subject of movies. Comedians and even students themselves makes jokes about them. Something that seemed unthinkable in 1999 before Columbine now seems almost routine. Many smaller shootings don’t even make the national news. As for the next big school shooting: It feels like it is no longer a question if but when.

In spite of the problem penetrating our pop culture and general discourse, the problem is no closer to being solved today than it was 10 years ago. There is no reason someone couldn’t walk into an elementary school today and kill 26 people. And statistically speaking someone will.

Not only has the problem not been solved. We can’t even agree on how to solve it. Liberals think it is a gun issue. Conservatives think we need to harden schools. To some, it is all a mental health issue. I am not arguing in support of a particular solution. It is just to say that we have not tried any of them in earnest and school shootings are every bit the danger today as they were in 2012 and those 20 children deserve a better legacy.

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