Thoughts and Prayers



One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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93 Responses

  1. Avatar Tim Kowal says:


    Every other thought that comes to mind seems wildly unconstructive. I’ll stick with Thoughts and Prayers.Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Just a quick note to the community: We’ll probably be more vigilant about eliminating inappropriate comments than usual on this day on this post.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      Good idea, Tod.

      Jeebus… it’s as if people are suddenly detonating at random, all over the place. It’s soul-crushing, to realise we’ve come to this sad state of affairs.Report

      • Avatar M.A. says:

        Jeebus… it’s as if people are suddenly detonating at random, all over the place.

        People detonating at random… it seems to come in waves. Maybe that’s our own memories at work, though, trying not to remember instances from times past unless they’re so ubiquitous that they aren’t something our collective memory can let slip. Maybe it’s the stress of the times. Maybe it’s just something that happens because it happens.

        Maybe we just don’t have anywhere for those likely to crack, someplace for them to go to get away from what’s cracking them.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Holidays are…more stressful than most times of year.

        Money woes, work woes, life woes. Christmas, well — it’s a time for joy with family, but sometimes it’s a long month of feeling it’s keen absence.

        Nothing more depressing than then realizing even during the most ‘joyful time of year’ you have nothing but worry, heartache, and sorrow.

        Thankful for my family right now, more than ever.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Very much a good idea.

      The sadness is unbearable.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      Another little request, folks. Let’s not indulge in rumour and scuttlebutt on this post. The first sitreps are always wrong: count on it. There will be waves of horrific tittle-tattle and conspiracy theories. Let’s all do each other a favour here and not indulge in any of that on LoOG, eh? It’s bad enough, what we do know.Report

  3. Avatar zic says:

    18 kids.


    This is terrorism.Report

    • Avatar M.A. says:

      Heart-crushing. Soul-shaking. Something that should never have happened; something went horribly wrong in society, in someone’s heart, in someone’s head, to get to where it happened.

      I don’t know that the t-word is appropriate, though.

      Can we address it as what it is, without making it into what it isn’t?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        That’s what I did, M.A.

        I’m not going to argue with you here, not now.

        Some future day, we can discuss the whys and the definitions; but please don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m blaming a group here. I’m describing a type of action and the horror it produces, the grief it causes.Report

  4. Avatar joey jo jo says:

    EDIT: Yeah, this is the kind of thing I meant. Tomorrow, Jo Jo, tomorrow. Not today. -tkReport

    • Avatar joey jo jo says:

      It’s your joint, do what you want.
      I put absolutist with regard to the 2nd amendment in there. I’m a gun owner. I’m not advocating any sort of ban or anything. I reject the false choice of absolute right v. ban everything.Report

  5. Avatar James Hanley says:

    My god, those poor parents. And for the rest of their lives, every Christmas tree they see, every carol they hear, will remind them of their lost children.

    I feel a desperate sense of terror just imagining it was my child, and yet I’m sure I can’t conceive of the real anguish they’re feeling.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Live your life, with just a little less eye to the future…
      a little less assurance that it’ll be there.
      Live with a few fewer regrets…
      don’t put off the small things.

      And hope, if tragedy should strike, that you can say,
      “I did what was best, I kissed them goodnight, and
      I told them that I love them.”Report

  6. I’m so sorry this has happened.Report

  7. Avatar NewDealer says:

    This is absolutely heartbreaking news.

    Details will emerge. How many tragedies do we need before we start having frank discussions on prevention, on access to mental health. We should not be fatalists for these kinds of events? They should not be seen as inevitable and unpreventable.Report

  8. I’ve been fighting back tears for the last couple hours as I count down the minutes until I can see my daughter tonight.Report

  9. My son is napping right now. I do not know if I will be able to let him go when he wakes up.

    This absolutely breaks my heart.Report

    • Avatar Tim Kowal says:

      We’re still doing the attached parenting thing with our 16 month old daughter. Might just continue doing so until the age of majority now.Report

    • Avatar Plinko says:

      I got a call from a shaken up better half this morning explaining that baby girl was not going to school or anywhere without her ever again.
      I had no idea what she meant, I’d not seen the news until she told me about Newton.

      I’ve been struggling with it all day now. This morning, as I was leaving for work, baby girl toddled out of bed with tears in her eyes begging me not to go to work today – normally I am out the door long before she wakes up.
      I’d burned a vacation day yesterday to spend time with her after a week of getting home from work so late she was already asleep each night.
      I held her for a minute on the couch before I had to go – I was already thirty minutes late.
      If I’d gotten the news before I’d left I’m not sure I would have made it out the door at all.

      This little thing, a few minutes of sadness that I cannot spend more time with my greatest joy in life, is so hard to take. I cannot fathom what that community is starting to go through. The only word is unthinkable.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      I just messaged my wife, told her to feel free to bring my son by the office anytime today. Dad could use a hug.Report

  10. Avatar Kazzy says:

    My school shutdown our internet to keep our students from finding out the news on their own. Once it’s back, I can write up a post with some tips for talking with young children about the tragedy, if folks are interested.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Thank you, Kazzy.

      Some tips for aging mothers who remember when their children were small would also be appreciated.

      And anyone, some tips for parents of teenage/20-something men in this country. They have no easy place in our culture right now.Report

    • Avatar mark boggs says:

      Please, Kazzy. I’ve got an 8 year old who is too scared to poop at school. Not sure how I explain this without him refusing to ever leave the house again.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Will do. FYI, not pooping at school is very normal. There bowels are the one things children can control almost entirely, so if they are anxious, that seek to control that which they can.

        Zazzy still won’t poop at work. Pregnancy is challenging her position on that.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

          “Zazzy still won’t poop at work. Pregnancy is challenging her position on that.”

          If she doesn’t poop at work, how does she get the extra 30 minutes of breaktime each day?Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            Zazzy, the little angel, feels guilty if she eats lunch at work. Taking extra break would never occur to her. The Navy did a number of her, I’ll tell ya.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

              I used to work with an old union guy. He told me once, “Never work on the clock, never sh*t off the clock.”Report

              • Avatar Gaelen says:

                Sage adviceReport

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                More seriously though, I do advise parents to be mindful of toileting issues as an indication of anxiety. Same with eating issues. You can make a kid do a lot of things, but it is pretty hard to make them eat and poop. Those are the two things they have the most control over in the world. And if they feel the world around them is out of control, as they might after an incident like this, they are prone to take hyper control over that which they can. Do not be surprised if accidents or instances of “picky eating” tick up in the coming days as young kids process the events.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs says:

                Well, you and the school counselor sure pegged his poop and control issues pretty quick. They need to pay you guys more.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I wish we had a school counselor! Now more than ever…Report

  11. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Defenceless under the night
    Our world in stupor lies;
    Yet, dotted everywhere,
    Ironic points of light
    Flash out wherever the Just
    Exchange their messages:
    May I, composed like them
    Of Eros and of dust,
    Beleaguered by the same
    Negation and despair,
    Show an affirming flame.

  12. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    I cannot fathom this and I want to scream.Report

  13. Avatar NewDealer says:

    This song seems appropriate today:


  14. I’ve posted this on Facebook for my church about the tragedy and wanted to share it here. It’s from Matthew 2:18:

    “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and much grieving. Rachel weeping for her children, and she did not want to be comforted, because they were no more.”Report

  15. Avatar joey jo jo says:

    [Comment deleted; Family Guy doesn’t strike quite the right chord today. -TMK]Report

  16. Avatar Johanna says:

    It is unfortunate that often it takes devastating news to remind us to appreciate those we love when we may not be doing such a good job or could do better, never the less I suspect I will be hugging my family a little tighter and longer today.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I also think there is a tendency to assume we are lacking in these ares when we are not. We are often our own worst critics. The vast majority of children are amply loved and parents should be commended for that.Report

  17. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Just want to say thanks to Tod and others who took the reins on the conversation here. My school went into an internet blackout following the breaking news to stop our older kids from discovering it themselves on the internet, so I was unable to do so.

    I hope all are faring as well as possible given what has happened. My wife’s aunt works in a neighboring town’s school which went into lockdown but thankfully was spared any violence.Report

  18. Avatar Shazbot5 says:

    Hell is an awful place to live.

    When can we talk about passing laws that will make our hell a little less likely to be as hellish as it is?

    Tomorrow? Or should we wait for our hell to get worse when this happens again two months from now?

    We all know what needs to be done.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      Let’s outlaw evil tomorrow, eh? We’ll work out a clever scheme for restraining madness, sure to eliminate all such horror from the world. I, myself, have a cunning plan to eliminate war and suffering, you’ll be pleased to see it, I’m sure.Report

    • Avatar Ramblin' Rod says:

      Taking a clear-eyed look at actual data is a good place to start. Here’s an article from The Atlantic that was published in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting in Arizona. The authors started with state-by-state statistics on deaths attributable to gun violence and correlated that with various factors that are assumed or proposed to be causative. Standard caveat that correlation doesn’t equal causation, etc., but the analysis is interesting and they conclude with:

      While the causes of individual acts of mass violence always differ, our analysis shows fatal gun violence is less likely to occur in richer states with more post-industrial knowledge economies, higher levels of college graduates, and tighter gun laws. Factors like drug use, stress levels, and mental illness are much less significant than might be assumed.


      • Avatar Ramblin' Rod says:

        Let me add that yesterday’s tragedy occurred in just such a state that would be presumed to have less of this kind of violence based on their analysis. There is no secret sauce or magic fairy dust for this problem.Report

        • Avatar zic says:

          It’s from 2000, but here’s data-rich analysis from the NYT:

          It pretty much lays out mass shootings as falling across the spectrum of wealth, of race, though it’s gendered male. The most common trait is signs of schizophrenia and job loss. Also of note is that the perpetrators are generally older — in their 40’s — which pushes against more recent incidents, in particular considering the numbers of times I heard/read “white men in their 20’s” yesterday.

          Also, a knowledge of prior incident seems to play a role, so the frenetic media coverage may spur copycats.

          There is also an analysis from after the shootings in AZ at Mother Jones, which focuses on mental health.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        Ramblin’ Rod – I saw that mentioned artical on Rachel Maddow last night too and have a note sitting here on my desk to dig in when I have some time. Thanks for posting it.Report

    • Avatar Scott says:


      Perhaps you can you can tell us what needs to be done? Or perhaps you can tell us what if anything is wrong with Conn’s current gun laws.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

        1. No one will ever know if this specific tragedy would’ve happened if you had changed policy X, Y, or Z.

        2. My claim is that gun deaths and deaths in general will be less likely overall if we had a gun policy like Japan’s, a virtual ban on most kind of guns, and strcit licensing for the weapons that will be legal.

        3. I recognize that this will never happen. Americans love their right to easily own a wide class of guns (instead of being able to own, with some difficulty, a narrower class of guns) more than they love making it less likely that children (and people more generally) will be killed by those guns.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


          What is the ‘class of guns’ that you believe is the problem?Report

          • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

            Japan allows onl “shotguns and air rifles” as the Atlantic details here:


            We could possibly allow rifles as long as we ban high capacity magazines.

            I know people enjoy other guns, and to buy them easily, but that is the solution to having as unnecssary many dead children as we do. We won’t stop every crime, but we can make crimes less likely and less deadly.Report

            • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

              So an AR-15 with a 10 round magazine? That okay?Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                I’d say a rifle with 5 rounds.

                And only with a license that needs to be renewed anually, with an annual psych check. Also, the license would be expensive to discourage ownership except by the most committed hunters and shooters.

                Also, the law would forbid bringing the gun anywhere that isn’t rural. If you lived in a rural area, you could keep it in your home for farming/ranching purposes. But if you lived in a populated area, you would be forced to keep your gun at a rural police station, or perhaps a local business certified to hold a gun, where you could check it out for a day to hunt, provided you returned it by the evening. (No return would mean possible police investigation.)

                Certified shooting ranges would be allowed to keep and own other guns as long as they took the proper measures to prevent theft.

                It won’t end murder outright, but it might bring us closer to Japan’s homicide rates, and could lower suicide and accidental deaths a bit too.

                We would be giving up the right to own lots of guns easily, though. So less dead children, but less easy access to shooting. A just trade, IMO, but not according to people who love easy access to a variety of guns over the lives of children.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                Shazbot – I have no idea you think this is a good idea, but it’s 100% nonsense. There are about a dozen flaws in this plan, even if had a chance of being implemented, which it doesn’t.

                And you last statement is the worst kind of absolutism. It’s akin to saying people who think we should have cars care more about getting around town quickly than the lives of those killed in car accidents.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                Works in Japan, as outlined in The Atlantic article I cited. It’s feasible here too, if people and the Supreme Court didn’t value the right to own (not just a gun, with strict licensing) but a wide variety of guns easily purchased without much regulation more than they value the loves of children (and adults.)

                There is a massive loss to society if we didn’t have cars or if we restricted them as much as Japan restricts guns. We would need to spend billions, nay trillions, restructuring where our homes are in relation to work. cating mass transit. It isn’t feasible. (Though it is feasible that we work towards more mass transit amd more urban living, which will reduce car accident deaths. And it is feasible that we pass road rules and safety regulations for vehicles (while we need them for the foreseeable future) that save lives).

                If we allow the few people who need guns to have them, provided the guns are licensed, controlled, rare, and less powerful (especially in terms of magazine size), then we will save lives. in short, people in Japan are fine without guns. We would be fine without them, too. But the loss of cars in the U.S. or Japan would cost lives and require billions and trillions to reatructure transportation networks. There just is no analogy between guns and cars. We need one and not the other. And to the extent that we need guns (as they do in Japan), a proposal like mine would allow access to them.

                IMO, if someone says they are against a law that requires babies to be in car seats because some parents should have the right to drive their kids as they want, then that person loves the right to drive kids as parents see fIt more than the lives of the babies who are now more likely to be killed. That’s just analytic.

                I’m not alone in this. Here os Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker:

                “The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children. They have made a clear moral choice: that the comfort and emotional reassurance they take from the possession of guns, placed in the balance even against the routine murder of innocent children, is of supreme value. Whatever satisfaction gun owners take from their guns—we know for certain that there is no prudential value in them—is more important than children’s lives. Give them credit: life is making moral choices, and that’s a moral choice, clearly made.

                All of that is a truth, plain and simple, and recognized throughout the world. At some point, this truth may become so bloody obvious that we will know it, too. Meanwhile, congratulate yourself on living in the child-gun-massacre capital of the known universe.”


              • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

                Since you felt the need to reiterate this:

                “It’s feasible here too, if people and the Supreme Court didn’t value the right to own (not just a gun, with strict licensing) but a wide variety of guns easily purchased without much regulation more than they value the loves of children (and adults.)”

                …even after I pointed out that it was a douche thing to say, i’m going to leave you to your own conversation. I’ve got zero interest in participating.Report

              • Avatar Dan says:

                There is a massive loss to society if we didn’t have cars or if we restricted them as much as Japan restricts guns. We would need to spend billions, nay trillions, restructuring where our homes are in relation to work. cating mass transit. It isn’t feasible. (Though it is feasible that we work towards more mass transit amd more urban living, which will reduce car accident deaths. And it is feasible that we pass road rules and safety regulations for vehicles (while we need them for the foreseeable future) that save lives).

                What about alcohol? Do people who oppose banning it care more about getting drunk then people killed by drunk drivers? If the number of people killed by gun crimes justifies the gun restrictions you favor why doesn’t the number of people killed by drunk drivers justify banning alcohol?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Turned up for more, eh, Dan? Quit trying to change the fucking subject. This isn’t about booze. Nobody around here is seriously arguing for a repeal of the Second Amendment. But the 21st Amendment didn’t give people the right to drive around drunk. Where’s the argument for responsible gun ownership? I see it from others around here, Mike Dwyer, avid hunter, respectable netizen, has some ideas on how we might attenuate this murderous epidemic. But not you.

                Go the fuck somewhere else and play those Reindeer Games. Maybe Redstate will take you in and give you a hug. Around here, we’re about thinking through problems, respecting others, coming to terms with those who disagree with us, finding some common cause, no matter how small. Japan’s another society. It banned gunpowder weapons when they began to destroy its ancient society. But here in the USA, where the Second Amendment gives our gun owners the right to keep and bear arms, reasonable people are only asking for gun owners to secure their weapons and ammunition and we don’t make excuses for drunk drivers.Report

              • Avatar Dan says:

                <I.Go the fuck somewhere else and play those Reindeer Games. Maybe Redstate will take you in and give you a hug

                Hey asshole every time I post here you treat me with blatant disrupt. You’re a motherfucking asshole and I don’t debate with people like don’t expect me to ever respond to you.Report

              • Avatar Dan says:

                Go the fuck somewhere else and play those Reindeer Games. Maybe Redstate will take you in and give you a hug

                Hey asshole every time I post here you treat me with blatant disrupt. You’re a motherfucking asshole and I don’t debate with people like don’t expect me to ever respond to you.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Here I am and here I’ll stay. I say things people never forget. I am far and away the meanest son of a bitch on this blog. You aren’t up to what I have on offer, trust me on that.Report

              • Avatar Dan says:

                Here I am and here I’ll stay. I say things people never forget. I am far and away the meanest son of a bitch on this blog. You aren’t up to what I have on offer, trust me on that.

                Your right I’m here to engage in thoughtful civil debate when someone tells me to fuck off they are clearly not interested in civil debate and I ignore people who don’t treat me civilly.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:


                It is not a douche thing to say. It is true. Society requires you to rank your values. The right to easy access to many firearms (not just the right to a restricted class of firearms only under difficult conditions as they have in Japan) makes homicides significantly more likely. By being against my “Japan proposal” you are valuing the right to easy access to a variety of guns more than you value making it less likely that people will die. If you are mad about that, take it out on yourself, not me.

                Guns are not necessary like cars are necessary in modern life. And to the extent guns are necessary (at shooting ranges, on ranches, etc.) we can allow people to use guns in those circumstances while massively restricting, indeed banning, their use and ownership elsewhere.

                I’d also argue that guns are strongly disanalogous with drugs. Banning drugs doesn’t kill demand for them and creates a nasty black market with a worse social problem. The black market for guns in places where guns are virtually banned, like Japan, is not a social problem in the way or to the extent that is caused by the black market for drugs. Just isn’t.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Dan and Blaise,

                I’m going to ask you both to back off to neutral corners for a bit and return if and when you’re ready to have constructive dialogue. If there is nothing left to say to that end, lets just leave it at that. No need to devolve any further.


              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                Last point Mike,

                I don’t think you value access to guns more than making children and adults safer.

                I think you probably think the ban will make people less safe. I suspect we disagree on facts, not values. But that is up to you to say.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Go the fuck somewhere else… Around here, we’re about…respecting others,

                Way to sell the message.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                It has no chance of being implemented because voters values and beliefs about facts concerning guns are messed up.

                But what are the flaws in Japan’s strict set of gun laws. Why can’t we make that work here, with tweeks and patches when needed.Report

              • What percentage of private citizens in Japan owned guns when Japan implemented its laws? To what extent was hunting deepky engrained in Japanese culture? How many guns needed to be seized to implement Japans laws? Those are just for starters.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                See, what you’re talking about here is a big problem for gun control laws. In the US, there’s about 1 gun per person. That’s a helluva lot of guns.

                Rights have very little to do with it, it seems to me. American’s love their guns. So much that you’ll have to pry them from their cold dead hands.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                This Loving business is awfully tricksy. When respect dies, the rest of love is irrelevant. So America loves its weapons. That’s okay, I think. But when that love loses its respect for the intrinsic dangers involved, it becomes a problem. Becomes a danger for everyone involved.

                I once knew a couple who were routinely involved in domestic violence. He’d beat the crap out of her, she’d refuse to press charges. Said she loved him, all that jazz. Well one day he beat her into unconsciousness and he ended up doing some time because she wasn’t there to rescue him. Took her about six weeks of mourning to get over his abusive ass.

                Love kinda makes people stupid. Can’t argue with emotions. But sometimes, cold dead hands do appear in the equation. It’s a miracle she survived him.

                That’s kinda where we’re at with the Gun Debate. The responsible gun owners, poor bastards, are routinely lumped in with the abusive husbands, as if the capability of abuse translated to abuse itself. We just can’t go there as a society. We have to discriminate on the basis of respect.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                Stillwater, there may be about one gun per person in the US, but the percentage of people who actually own guns is decreasing. So fewer people own more guns.

                What drives that, is a big part of the question. That’s the culture that needs pushing on. But truth be told, it’s a frightening thing to push on. Because they’re armed and potentially dangerous.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:

                Mark and Still,

                I admit that people love guns or want guns too much to make the ban doable. But that is a tradgedy that people want easy access to guns (not just at shooting ranges, say) more than they want to make people and children safe.Report

              • It’s more than that, though- you’ve presented a false dichotomy, as if the choices are simply Japan or the US, without considering that one of the reasons that the US cannot become Japan is because the US isn’t Japan. You’re asking, nay demanding, that millions of people give up a tool that is an integral part of their way of life and who are using it entirely responsibly because some people, for whom that tool is often not an integral part of their way of life, use those tools irresponsibly and in a manner that is already criminalized. Your proposal doesn’t merely seek to limit access, it actively seeks to punish tens of millions of responsible gun owners by taking away their property.

                You are not even considering that there may be far more narrowly tailored measures that achieve similar or even better safety outcomes. Meamwhile, by insisting on a maximalist goal, you’re also giving inadvertent credence to a lot of the reasons why gun owners have serious objections to otherwise reasonable incremental measures (eg, mandatory firearms registration).Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 says:


                I agree that there are a spectrum of policy positions. I strongly suspect weaker-than-Japan gun regulations will be insufficient, but am glad to start slowly adding more and more regulations to see if we can make less regulations work. So I am for moving towards maximalism until we find, empirically, what works.

                But folks like Mike will argue, correctly I think, that weaker gun regulations won’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals. and are useless at preventing crimes.. (This has been a talking point on the pro-gun right for a while).

                I mean to argue that the maximalist position (or something near it) is morally justified as it will prevent homicides. And if you disagree with me, you must believe either

                a.) We can prevent all the homicides without the kinds of policies that are in place in parts of the world that do work to prevent homicide


                b.) You think the reduction in homicides, even of children, is not valuable enough to warrant the loss of easy access to a wider range of guns.

                I think everyone agrees that moderate gun control won’t work, on both sides of the debate. So the question is whether you value gun rights or overall reductions in dead people and dead children more. That is not a false dichotomy, unless we can reduce homicides to levels found in places with strict gun control without having the strict gun control ourselves.Report

  19. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I’d been out of touch all day. I was driving home and heard that the president had made a statement about the shooting, and honestly thought it was the one in Portland. I obviously need a way to keep up with the latest mass killings. Is there an app for that?Report