I confess I don’t watch the news or news channels. I don’t read the newspaper and I don’t listen to news radio. I get most of my news from social media (our local radio station, MyFm does an amazing job of updating local news through its Facebook feed) and word of mouth (I figure if that’s big, people will be talking about it). After studying journalism and learning of the manipulative way the “unbiased truth” is presented by the fifth estate I can’t drink the kool-aid of mass media (I believe that as human beings it is impossible for us to be unbiased – we base every decision, every judgement, on our experience which includes nationality, gender, race, religion beliefs, age, health etc. so it is improbable, in my mind, that we as a species can do anything without bias…we can try, but it isn’t possible).
I didn’t hear about Sandy Hook Elementary until Friday afternoon when I read about it on a friend’s Facebook post.
I opened a new widow to Google and did a search for Newtown, Connecticut. I was affronted with the news of the school shooting. I read the preliminary news stories on CNN and I cried. I sobbed while I watched President Obama’s speech on Friday.
I cried when I read about Victoria Soto and the sacrifice she made in order to save her young students. Tears have been streaming down my face all weekend as more information has been presented to the public. All I keep seeing are the presents tucked under Christmas trees with the little ones names on the tags. And the toys carefully tucked away that were waiting for Santa to deliver them on Christmas Eve. (side note – I know not all of the victims would have celebrated Christmas, but that’s what I keep seeing because that’s what I know).
Early on in the journalistic investigation I read that the gunman, Adam Lanza, suffered from a “personality disorder”. This morning I read this on CNN:
A relative told investigators that Adam Lanza had a form of autism, according to a law enforcement official, who spoke under condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the investigation.
Followed by a quote from a national (US) autism committee; from CNN:
But a national autism committee cautioned against speculating about a link between autism and violence.
“Autism is not a mental health disorder — it is a neurodevelopmental disorder,” said the Autism Research Institute’s Autistic Global Initiative Project. “The eyes of the world are on this wrenching tragedy — with 1 in 88 now diagnosed, misinformation could easily trigger increased prejudice and misunderstanding.”
There will be mountains of speculation regarding Lanza’s mental state. Hundreds of questions. The top analysts will be consulted and interviewed. There will be studies. There will be talk; there will be lots of talk, but no amount of talk, no amount of speculation, no panel of specialists is going to be able to adequately answer the question “why”.
And right now, it doesn’t matter why. Right now, what matters is that Newtown, Connecticut, a town of 27 000 people, is now a town of 27 000 Post Traumatic Stress victims of varying degrees. There isn’t a soul in that town who won’t be affected in some manner. Just ask the survivors of Columbine.
My heart goes out to the town of Newtown today and always. I know all too well that PTSD is a cruel “mind battle” and Newtown’s battle has only just begun.