Story Summary

Massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School

27 people – 20 of them children – were killed in a school shooting Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn.

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Local News
12/21/12

Gun sales soar amid talk of assault weapons ban

ar15SEATTLE — It’s not just a big increase in gun sales in this state — it’s enormous.

One Bellevue gun store is seeing  a 1,000% spike in gun sales since the Newtown, Conn., killings at the elementary school. It’s the AR-15 primarily used in that shooting that is now fueling sales.

Wade’s Eastside Gun had no shortage months ago; now the shelves are bare.

It’s somewhat of a feeding frenzy, said owner Wade Gaughran.

Semiautomatic weapons, specifically the AR-15s, which are the civilian versions of the military’s M-16 assault rifle, are on many people’s Christmas lists as the pressure mounts in Washington, D.C., to ban assault weapons.

“Our distributors are sold out, our manufacturers have kind of been caught with their pants down,” said Gaughran.

Nationwide, many Walmart branches are also sold out of these military-style rifles and a gun store in Charlotte, N.C., raked in more than $1 million in sales in just one day.

“Stocking up when I can and I am standing up for my Second Amendment rights,” said Wade’s Eastside Gun customer Paulson James.

If you ask the Second Amendment Foundation they are already under attack. Phil Watson said his group is dodging death threats and complaints from gun opponents using the Newtown tragedy as ammunition.

“We are open to a meaningful discussion about how to keep dangerous firearms away,” Watson said, adding that the focus should be on mental health and not gun control.

In the meantime, the anti-gun sentiment reaches a fever pitch.

“The Second Amendment doesn’t give us the right to bear every single weapon that we know of,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Feinstein is vowing to ban assault weapons and close the gun show loophole, with President Obama on her side.

“There is a danger to society but there is no preventing it whatsoever; there is always going to be crazy people out there. If you take guns, there is going to use something else to hurt people,” James said.

“There are so many millions of these guns floating around if some nutter wanted to get his hands on it he is going to get one of these,” said Gaughran.

Gaughran added that  once he is sold out of the AR-15, it could take months to restock because the manufacturers cannot make it fast enough and distributors are having to ration them out to all their different dealers.

nraWASHINGTON — In an angry and defiant news conference, National Rifle Association Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre on Friday forcefully rejected calls to clamp down on guns in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, arguing instead for a massive deployment of armed guards to every school.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda and School Board President Kay Smith-Blum issued the following joint statement:

“The safety of our students and schools is of utmost importance to us. Our schools have a zero-tolerance policy on weapons on school grounds. We do not believe adding guns to our schools will accomplish the goal of keeping our students safer.

“We agree with Governor Gregoire and President Obama calling for action, including a ban on assault weapons. Further, as a community, we must have deeper conversations about the availability of weapons and the amount of violence our children are exposed to on a daily basis.

“There will be solutions moving forward from last week’s tragedy. We are forming a joint working group with the Seattle Police Department and our community to develop recommendations for improving school safety.”

LaPierre pledged that the NRA would spearhead such an endeavor, appointing former Arkansas Rep. Asa Hutchinson to lead an effort to develop a cutting-edge model school security plan and a program to train volunteers who would be dispatched to campuses around the country.

In the meantime, he called on Congress to immediately appropriate funding to pay for police officers in every school “to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in January.”

For the complete Los Angeles Times story, go here.

newtownEVERETT — In the wake of the deadly school shooting in Connecticut, Everett Police Department School Resource Officers said they’ll do their best to protect students in the event of an emergency.

In a letter sent to parents, the department’s officers said mass shootings, like the one in Newtown, Conn., could happen anywhere, but they are trained to prevent them.

“It is a great honor and privilege to be entrusted with the safety of our most valuable and precious asset — our children,” the letter said.

“We cannot promise to prevent all acts of violence. But, if the unimaginable does happen — we promise not to retreat, to take the fight to the bad guy and do everything within our power to stop anyone from hurting our children.”

Local News
12/19/12

Police conduct active shooter drill in area school

shooterBELLINGHAM, Wash. — If a crisis such as the Connecticut school shooting were to happen in Washington state, local law enforcement agents want to be ready.

That’s why the  Whatcom County Sheriff`s Department conducted a mass shooting drill at Wade King Elementary school on Wednesday.

During the drill, the school bell at Wade King Elementary still rang. But instead of ringing as a way to let students out, the bell signified tactical teams with guns were headed into the school.

“We’re practicing for some kind of intruder, potentially armed, on the school campus,” said Doug Chadwick, Chief Criminal Deputy of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department.

The law enforcement officers going through the shooter drill at Wade King still don’t have the details about how police responded in Newtown, but they said training in an actual school helps a lot.

“Our goal here is to be familiar, be prepared,” Chadwick said. “The goal ultimately is a rapid response and a quick intervention if some tragedy like that was to occur in our jurisdiction.”

Other schools in Washington conducted their own emergency drills Wednesday.Many school district officials are beginning to discuss what changes, if any, can be made to help make our schools safer.

Police response has changed significantly in the years since Columbine, officials said. Back then, police set up a perimeter around the school to contain the shooter. Now, officers immediately go into the building and go towards the suspects.

According to local security consultant Jeff Slotnick the new idea is meant to minimize harm for students.

“The expectation is to move to the shooter as fast as possible,” Slotnick said. “We now know, based on history, that a rapid response, with people that are prepared and equipped to go in immediately and intervene is going to save lives.”

And Slotnick said saving lives is the end goal.

“That’s the whole goal here, to save lives,” Slotnick said.

Obama(CNN) — The nation will have a set of recommendations to address widespread gun violence within weeks, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday.

Vice President Joe Biden will lead an inter-agency group to come up with “concrete proposals no later than January — proposals that I then intend to push without delay,” the president said.

Speaking five days after a gunman killed 27 people, including 20 children, at a Connecticut elementary school, Obama said that “if there is even one thing that we can do” to prevent such tragedies, “we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try.”

“This is not some Washington commission. This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and then pushed aside. This is a team that has a very specific task to pull together real reforms right now.”

The group will include some Cabinet members and outside organizations.

For the complete CNN story, go here.

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Photo: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Two more of the children killed by a gunman who invaded a Connecticut elementary school were buried on Tuesday as officials released new details of the deadly spree that has reshaped the debate over gun control.

The National Rifle Assn., which has been under pressure to comment on the Newtown shootings, broke its silence and issued a statement saying it was ready to offer its plans at a Friday news conference.

“We were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown,” said the pro-gun rights lobbying group, which has repeatedly fought gun-control legislation on the national, state and local levels. “The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”

For the complete LA Times story, go here.

 

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Photo courtesy of CNN

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. has stopped selling guns at its store nearest to Newtown, Conn., in the wake of Friday’s school shooting, the retailer said in a statement on its website.

The statement read:

We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, CT, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to the entire community.

Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chainwide.

We continue to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by this terrible tragedy.

Dick’s, which has more than 500 stores in 44 states, also said that it has suspended the sale of “modern sporting rifles” in all its stores.

Authorities have said that 20-year-old Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster brand semi-automatic rifle to shoot and kill his mother before going into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where he shot and killed 20 children and six adults.

There are two Dick’s stores in the Puget Sound region — one in Renton at The Landing and the other in Puyallup at South Hills.

– The Orlando Sentinel contributed to this story

VigilNEWTOWN, Conn. — Two young victims were laid to rest Monday following Friday’s brutal shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. And as school starts up again for many young students in the area, at least one big question remains:

Why?

Officials in Newtown, Conn., said there was no connection between the shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, and Sandy Hook Elementary school. Officials also said the motive for Friday’s shooting remains a mystery.

“We’ll paint a crystal clear picture as much as we possibly can, but it is a slow process,” Lt. Paul Vance with the Connecticut State Police said. “It’s not something done in 60 minutes as you see on TV.”

Police will continue to interview multiple witnesses in the shooting. Investigators are also reviewing the contents of the gunman’s smashed computer and his phone and credit card records.

Federal agents said he and his mother have visited gun ranges in the past, but not in the last six months. All the guns used in the shooting belonged to his mother. However, friends of Lanza’s mother said she wasn’t fixated on guns.

“I’ve seen a lot of things in the media about her being a survivalist wacko,” Russ Hanoman, a family friend, said. “She did have guns which she used very responsibly.”

Students at Sandy Hook aren’t scheduled to return to the elementary school anytime soon. They will hold class at neighboring Monroe Elementary School. The Governor of Connecticut is also asking for people across the country to take a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

 

 

Sandy hookSEATTLE — The flag is at half-staff in front of the Ryther Child Center in northeast Seattle following the deadly school shooting in Connecticut.

The Ryther campus is home to one of the only residential programs for mentally ill children in Washington.

“We serve children between the ages of 6-15 who have pretty acute psychiatric illnesses,” said Chair of Clinical Services Karen Brady.

Brady said we may never know if Adam Lanza suffered from a true mental illness. She said it’s possible he could have had an anti-social personality disorder with underlying depression and anxiety, some which can come with warning signs in childhood.

“There can be uncontrollable rages, cruel and unusual behavior towards others, a disregard for anyone else’s feelings or to be empathetic,” Brady said. ” These are folks that are involved in really anti-social or hurtful behavior.”

It’s a common tie between many of the shooters behind recent mass killings around the country.

“It turns out that they all appear to be isolated loners who did not appear to socialize well with others,” said Ryther Child Center CEO Lee Grogg. “Even going back to Columbine we have people who were alienated and isolated who harbored a great amount of anger over things many people didn’t know about.”

While Adam Lanza was described as isolated and highly intelligent, the director of the Washington Autism Alliance wants one thing to be clear:

“I can say for sure that rage and violence is not associated with Asperger’s Syndrome or autism,” Arzu Forough said. “There are a whole host of other disorders that have rage and violence associated with them.”

This is why experts say it’s critical for parents to reach out for professional help early if they think something might be wrong. Unfortunately, there isn’t as much help out there as there used to be because of budget cuts.

Amnon Shoenfeld, the director of King County Mental Health, reports there have been nearly 100 beds cut at Western State Hospital since 2009, and nearly $50 million dollars in funding cuts.  At the same time, there has been a 40% increase in involuntary hospitalizations.

Shoenfeld is asking the legislature to maintain current funding or risk more mentally ill people winding up in jails instead of receiving the specialized services they need.

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