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Coping with another senseless school shooting

There is nothing rational to explain this past Friday’s shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 young children and seven adults dead.

Since the shooter, Adam Lanza, killed himself, we will never know what led him to commit such a horrific deed.

“It’s just a tragedy beyond even understanding,” is the way Kearny Interim Superintendent of Schools Ron Bolandi put it. “It left me speechless. Kids, five and six years old, and staff, getting gunned down for no apparent reason is scary.”

President Barack Obama has vowed to use “whatever power this office holds” to keep children safer.

American history is replete with episodes of school violence dating from the 1700s, with what Wikipedia categorized as the “deadliest act of mass murder” taking place on May 18, 1927, when Andrew Kehoe, treasurer of a school in Bath, Mich., detonated dynamite in the school basement, killing 38 people, most of them children.

Is gun control the answer? Second Amendment advocates, like the National Rifle Association, argue that Americans have been given the right to bear arms. Others say nothing can justify putting automatic weapons into the hands of civilians.

Bolandi says, “The problem is bigger than our schools – it’s society – the U.S. is just a violent society. Kids see so much violence on TV and video games and they accept it.”

Asked if he felt gun control would make a difference, Bolandi said he’s been trained in weaponry as a hunter, but added that, “I don’t think anybody should have an assault weapon” without being required to undergo psychological screening.

“Since ’97, I’ve heard politicians say something should be done,” Bolandi said. “Let’s stop the talking and do something about it.”

Meanwhile, our prayers go out to the families who’ve lost loved ones in the Newtown massacre.

Students in Kearny public schools were offered this message by administrators and guidance staff this week: “The tragic events of Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., have touched all of us. Our hearts go out to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School who have lost so much through this senseless act and for all the children in the school who suffered through this extremely frightening experience.”

Kelly Lindenfelser, director of special services for the Kearny school district, advised parents to check with the National Mental Health Association for strategies on helping a child cope with tragic news such as the school shooting.

– Ron Leir

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