What Is the Media Doing to Mass Shootings?
On November 25, the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury released its report on the December 14, 2012, shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street, in Newton, Connecticut. The report concludes — as many had expected or already knew — that Adam Lanza acted alone when he shot and killed his mother at their home before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he shot and killed 26 people and injured two others before turning his gun on himself.
“With the issuance of this report, the investigation is closed,” writes Stephen Sedensky, the state’s attorney. ”The obvious question that remains is: ‘Why did the shooter murder twenty-seven people, including twenty children?’”
Sedensky provides the hard but truthful answer: We may never know. The nearly yearlong investigation unearthed a pile of evidence suggesting that the shooter was not necessarily of sound mind, but that’s it. No clear motive, no history of violence, no indication that the shooter, just 20, would commit the most horrific mass shooting of 2012.
Although the report illuminates much of what happened at Sandy Hook, there is still a lot to unpack as we approach the anniversary of the event. The investigation could not answer the obvious question, and as a result, it will hang over every conversation related to the tragedy and the questions that inexorably ensue.