Newtown tragedy a warning for us all

Published 12:28 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

There are no words to describe the horror we felt upon learning the details of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting tragedy.

Twenty-seven people dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including the gunman. Twenty children, all 7 years of age or younger. Six adults who died attempting to protect the students at the school. Their lives, which held so much promise, were squandered in a horrifying way.

Additionally, the mother of the alleged gunman was found dead at the home she shared with her son.

Officials in Newtown are still trying to piece together the parts of a heartbreaking story; they’re still trying to understand what happened to 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who police say committed these crimes. Why did he make the decisions he made? Why did he choose to cut short so many lives, including his own?

We may never know the true answer to those burning questions, but for officials at the Shelby County School System, the priority is making sure that a similar tragedy doesn’t happen here.

To that end, system officials increased security measures at all local schools after finding out about the Newtown shooting, including providing a police presence in and around all schools in the district.

Officials at each county school are also reviewing their safety plans and procedures, as well as ensuring that school entrances are well-monitored.

We support these moves by the school system. Our schools must be places where our children are safe from aggressors.

As parents load their children onto school buses, they should never have to consider if it’s the last time they’ll do so. And our children can’t properly learn in situations where they don’t feel safe.

It’s truly a tragedy that we have to take these measures to protect those who can’t protect themselves. However, it’s essential that we do so, because the terrifying truth is that Newtown is a tight-knit community just like any other community in America. What happened there — as much as we can’t stand to even think it — can happen anywhere. Even here.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.