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La Vanguardia, Spain

The Connecticut Massacre

Translated By Stuart Taylor

15 December 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Spain - La Vanguardia - Original Article (Spanish)

Yesterday the United States experienced the biggest massacre ever seen in an American school. Some 30 people, among them 20 children and between 5 and 10 adults, perished in a Newtown school (in Connecticut) at the hand of 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza, who also died.* The attacker, son of a teacher at the school who he also murdered after killing his father in his own home, burst into the Sandy Hook Elementary School’s kindergarten at 9:40 am local time and opened fire on children and staff at the center.** Some pupils were evacuated. Subsequently, a brother of the murderer appeared dead in New Jersey.***

President Obama was punctually informed about the events, as the school remained surrounded by the police and medical teams. The country was shaken by a tragedy with which they are all too familiar, although none of the previous attacks were as severe as far as the loss of human life is concerned. Until now, the biggest number of deaths seen in schools took place on April 20, 1999 in Columbine High School in Colorado. On that day, 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold — both pupils at the school — entered with rifles, a pistol, a bomb and various home-made explosives, murdered 13 people and injured a further 25. Both committed suicide after carrying out this brutal crime. The last mass murder with similar characteristics to yesterday’s occurred in an Aurora, Colorado cinema on July 20 of this year. 24-year-old student James Eagan Holmes caused the death of 12 people and injured 58 more after bursting into the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, armed with a semiautomatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol (leaving a second in his car that was parked in front of the cinema). The criminal was detained on the spot.

The Connecticut tragedy has put the relationship between violence and the gun possession system that dominates the U.S. back on the table, in a place that authorizes the sale and possession of guns — with practically no limitations — under the protection of the second amendment of the Constitution and the right to self-defense. After the Aurora slaughter, President Obama promised to put legal measures in place in order to limit free access to certain types of weaponry that can even be acquired in large shopping centers. But Obama defended the irrevocability of the Second Amendment, just as the conservative sectors also do. There is an important reason for this: An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens are in favor of owning a gun. 300 million of these weapons are in the hands of citizens.

Although similar acts have come to pass in countries where gun legislation is the polar opposite, it seems clear that the supposed advantages of a lenient legal system are suffering at the hand of personal and collective risks that entail free possession, leading to tragedies that could perhaps have been avoided.

*Editor’s Note: The final death toll was 27 people.
**Editor's Note: The mother was not a teacher at the school, and Adam Lanza did not kill his father.
***Editor's Note: Lanza's brother was not killed.



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