One week ago, a lone lunatic took the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Sadly -- yet, predictably -- before the crime scene was even secured by police, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took to his bully pulpit to issue another in his endless demands for more stringent gun control.
There is no question the Sandy Hook shooting is a tragedy of horrible dimensions. Nor is there any question the incident is another red flag that something is not right with the culture of our nation. Half of the 12 deadliest mass shootings in American history have occurred since 2007. Tragically, this isn’t likely to be the last -- especially if we allow ideologues wearing blinders to drive the national conversation about future prevention of these despicable acts.
We still have much to learn about the Sandy Hook shooter and the circumstances leading to the attack. However, we do know one thing: this shooting, like so many others before it, was the act of a deranged individual who, for reasons unclear or unknown, “snapped.” We also learned this was a situation in which numerous danger signs were manifested; but were either ignored or dismissed.
"You had yourself a very scared young boy, who was very nervous around people he could trust or he refused to speak with," Richard Novia, the school district's head of security until 2008, told the Associated Press. Novia also indicated the shooter had extreme difficulties feeling emotional and physical pain, and often recoiled against walls when approached by others.
Connecticut has some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation. Sandy Hook Elementary School recently increased its security protocols. And, years of warning signs of mental health issues should have tipped parents or educators about the "ticking time-bomb" inside the shooter. Yet, this disturbed individual still managed to evade every single one of these "fail-safes" designed to prevent such tragedies from occurring.
Police have not yet identified a clear motive for the shooting, but from the reports that have been released thus far, it appears to be a so-called “Perfect Storm” of many different factors including:
· dysfunctional family life;
· missed behavioral clues;
· family ignorance on how to deal with the shooter’s personality disorders;
· low socialization skills;