Random Thoughts About My Father and the Sandy Hook Elementary School Spree Killing

My father used to wake up in the middle of the night screaming. Lying in my bed, I couldn’t imagine the terrors that made the center of my universe spin off into fear and madness. Actually, I could. My father told me what the Nazis had done to him, his family and his friends. The exhaustion. Starvation. Disease. Loneliness. Desperation. Hopelessness. Murder. Torture. Death. Out of all that horror, I knew what made my father scream: the beatings. Twice, he’d tried to escape the labor camp holding him as a slave. Twice, he was caught and beaten unconscious. When my father dreamed of the beatings he saw the faces of the men trying to kill him. He heard their laughter. And he screamed . . .

My father tried to tell me what it was like to stare into the face of evil. He tried to express a simple idea: it could be anyone. You don’t think it could, but it could. It could be anyone at all.

Equally, evil people are everywhere. America is only relatively safe. Maybe only temporarily. Growing up in a sheltered suburban enclave, I had a hard time appreciating the idea. I finally “go it” in Germany.

We were driving through the Federal Republic, tourists. It was a beautiful day; the sun shone on the Bavarian countryside. Everything around us looked neat, clean and prosperous. “It happened here,” he said, simply.

I’m sure the people of Newtown Connecticut are experiencing the same cognitive dissonance. It happened here? It happened here.

Here in a quaint New England town of 30,000 souls, with ten buildings on the National Historic Register, an evil man forced his way into an Elementary School and assassinated 20 children and six adults.

At some point in my childhood, my father bought a shotgun. He thought if he armed himself in the real world he’d be able to arm himself in his nightmares. If his tormentors returned, he’d shoot them.

That’s what you do when you’re faced with evil. Either you suffer at its hands or you destroy it. There is no “understanding” it. There is no accommodation. You get rid of it or you die trying.

“Never again” sounds great, in theory. In reality, as my father knew, it can happen again. If a Jew or the Jews or anyone is defenseless, if they fail to fight evil, and maybe even if they do, “it” can happen.

“It” happened in Newtown Connecticut, 132.6 miles from where I’m sitting. My central thought: I wish someone had shot the evil bastard in the head the moment he came in the door. Just walked up to him and blown his brains out.

I would have done it. I would have been proud to do it. My father would have been proud of me, too.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to shoot another human being. I don’t dream of doing it, thank God. But I’d rather have an evil man’s exploding brains be my nightmare, perhaps my last vision on earth, than experience the nightmare of powerlessness that made my father scream.

Edmund Burke said ”All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” That’s not exactly right. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men be able to do nothing.

A good man will do the right thing. It is his nature. But if you disarm him (or her) you make it more difficult for the good man to confront and defeat evil. You allow evil to fester, spread and destroy all that is good in our world, if not the world itself.

In just three minutes, Adam Lanza destroyed the safe little world of Newtown Connecticut. In truth, it was never safe. In truth, none of us are safe. All of us, especially those caring for our children, should be prepared.

Would I put a two-shell shotgun like my father’s into a locked closet in every classroom in America? I would. Why wouldn’t I? In fact, why not equip classrooms with a far more wieldy and accurate AR-15 rifle like the one Lanza used to slaughter Newtown’s innocents?

Why not indeed.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

58 Responses to Random Thoughts About My Father and the Sandy Hook Elementary School Spree Killing

  1. avatarpk in AZ says:

    Why not…

    It’s exactly what the Israeli’s do…

    • avatarChris says:

      I looked into that. Israel has armed guards at the schools, but the teachers are not armed, nor are there weapons stored in the classroom.

      • avatarAharon says:

        Chris,

        Can you give more information please? I’ve seen photos of armed Israeli teachers with their students. Perhaps the armed guards, armed teachers, etc depends on different schools and location. Thanks.

  2. avatarbrian.z says:

    Well said. A beautifully written article about such an ugly subject. Thank you for sharing that bit of yourself and hopefully this will allow some to see what the armed intelligentsia are really about.

  3. avatarSkyler says:

    Bravo, Robert.

  4. avatarstateisevil says:

    Why?

    “They” don’t care about dead children. They are psychopathic politicians. Obama is a child killer a la Lanza x100 over. Weapon of choice: predator drone.

    He won’t give up his armed guards. He won’t give up his armed guards for his daughters. You and yours? Most pols are thinking “eat shit and die”.

    • avatarpat says:

      Agree with MOST of what you say. While I think Barry is one of the worst prezzes ever, I think it would defeat all your good points comparing him with a cat who DELIBERATELY MURDERED six year olds. This aint the same as the targeted KILLING of TERRORISTS with reduced collateral damage drones (one of the only things I like about Obama….the carrying on of that aspect of Bush policy).
      You are correct in that the cops and military should give up their high caps if we are expected to give up ours.

  5. avatarJohn says:

    Preach!

  6. avatarThomasR says:

    You would be crazy not to; which is what the idea behind gun free zones are based on.

  7. avatarJAS says:

    Great article! I am old now, and the world has changed so much in my lifetime that I sometimes look back at the times I grew up in and it all seems like a dream.

    The Jesuit high school I attended had a, wait for it………….., a GUN CLUB. Yes, only air rifles were permitted but you could even bring your own to school! You would deposit your rifle at the prefect of discipline’s office in the morning and retrieve it after class to go shooting at the club. We were all taught how to safely handle guns, range procedures and of course, marksmanship.

    Those were the days……

  8. Well done, Mr. Farago. That was wonderfully written and a powerful summary of the gun owner’s creed.

  9. My grandfather’s youngest brother and his son fought as Partisans in Belarus. Rather than being captured alive, they committed suicide (by clutching hand grenades to their chests) after running out of ammo in a firefight with the Nazis. As stated, “Those who sacrifice Liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both”. Unfortunately, tragic events will continue to occur at the hands of godless evildoers. However, history has clearly proven that government-sanctioned disarmament will only lead to a far greater loss of innocent life.

    • avatarAharon says:

      That’s quite a story. Like children, gun grabbers can only see today’s victims and blame the wrongful use of guns. Those gun-grabbers fail to consider how guns are a proven deterrent to keeping crimes from being launched and a tool for stopping an active crime by empowering the innocent. Those gun-grabbers fail to see how banning or tightly restricting guns will create a far more ominous target-rich easy victim environment of easy targets for people who will do evil to others.

  10. avatarTommy Knocker says:

    Safety, liberty, all these other words are in a way meaningless or at least without power. The human beast is just that a beast. Everyone is capable of unspeakable horror. Everyone. As they say, the Nazi ‘s never had problems recruiting concentration camp guards. Today we let monsters like lt. William Calley sell used cars after killing 400 women and children. We let Janet Reno walk free after killing 80 women and children. These are our neighbors and friends. All capable of the unspeakable.

  11. avatarEric says:

    I talked with my first grader this am. Had fun with Him. Then I visualized a .223 round shattering his chest.

    And I would gladly have killed Adam Lanza given the opportunity. No doubts no regrets.

  12. avatarRob says:

    “An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.”

    • avatarCaleb99 says:

      All well said, and I don’t think that anyone who would have been able to stop it would hesitate to do so. However, I think that both the arguments about more gun control vs. distributing more arms to have available in a circumstance like this miss the point.

      Given what I have been reading in the news, that the killer’s mother possessed firearms, and that her son obviously was having some sort of mental health issues, it was the responsibility of his mother to get rid of the guns, either by selling them, or having a trusted licensed gun owner hold them for safekeeping until either her son was better or was living away from her, and could not access them. Gun ownership is a serious responsibility, not only to use them properly, but to be aware of the situation that you live in, and act accordingly, even if that means you have to be unarmed.

      His mother paid the ultimate price for her irresponsibility. Unfortunately, so did many innocents. This was a tragedy that could have been avoided.

      • avataruncommon_sense says:

        I see a lot of merit in your comments as well.

      • avatarOHgunner says:

        What if he held a knife to her throat and forced her to unlock her safe? You don’t know what the circumstances were. And we may never know.
        I hate that people are so quick to believe that she was irresponsible.

        • avatarCaleb99 says:

          Yes, any scenario could be envisioned that could lead to the same tragedy (although I had not suggested that she lock her guns, but make sure they were removed from the premises altogether). I do think that a person needs to be aware of what is going on in their life circumstances when owning guns, and make the right decisions accordingly. Her experience (again from the media accounts) was that her son had long faced mental health issues. If that was the case, then keeping firearms around was a bad idea. Not much different than knowing what is behind your target before you shoot.

        • avatarMotoJB says:

          Come on…someone could be “withdrawn” and challenged socially but a parent quite often could never envision/imagine their kid snapping like that. There was apparently no history of violence, etc. That parent still has the right to own fireams, but she failed in her attempt (or lack thereof) to keep them locked up and unavailable to a killer.

          Go back and forth about what could have been done with the situation…but a simple safe used properly could have prevented this tragedy.

  13. avatarjwm says:

    I have grandkids the same age as the victims in this horror. I have a clean record, I was just background checked by the FBI for a state license, a check that I’ve undergone numerous times in my life and passed handily. I have military training and experience.

    I would gladly, without pay, strap on my sidearms and baby sit my granddaughters school. What stops me? My own government. The people that are supposed to protect the innocent and have proven that they can’t will not allow those of us with the skills and mindset to step up and do the job.

    They will instead pass rules that will punish those that had nothing to do with this crime and our kids will be no safer for it.

    • avatarg says:

      Jwm, you sound like an awesome grandpa. I wish we had a couple more like you at my school!

    • avatarBob says:

      “Every time something really bad happens, people cry out for safety, and the government answers by taking rights away from good people.”

      -Penn Jillette

    • avatarspeedracer5050 says:

      @ jwm
      Amen Brother!!! I am with you!! Have 5 grankids from 1 yr old to 10 yr old and my GF’s little girl is 11 yrs old!!
      I would gladly ruck up so to speak and sit by my grankids or my little girls school room door all day to watch over them!!
      I have 15 yrs experience as a Light Infantryman and combat experience, I have my concealed carry license and would gladly take a training class to be able to do this.
      Alas my government doesn’t have the ability to pull its head far enuff out of its ass to see what really needs to be done to protect the children!!

  14. avatarmatt says:

    . Twice, he’d tried to escape the labor camp holding him as a slave. Twice, he was caught and beaten unconscious. When my father dreamed of the beatings he saw the faces of the men trying to kill him. He heard their laughter. And he screamed . . .

    Oh the irony. You vote and lend your voice, legitimacy and tax dollars to the politicians who do the same to millions of your fellow countrymen year after year. If a American prisoner tries to escape, the very same thing which happened to your father will happen to them. Even if they dont try to escape they still may still be beaten. When I spent a month at CCJTDC, I saw the guards drag a 13 or 14 year old boy in to cell and beat him. What did he do to deserve this punishment? He was crying.

    So RF, I would like to ask you, if you are so against this behavior, why do you support it year after year by voting? Was Mitt Romney going to change this?

    • avatarRalph says:

      So if he doesn’t vote the world will change? What planet are you from?

      • avatarmatt says:

        Yes. The same way not cooperating with the police helps ensure other people wont be arrested and subjected to the same treatment his father and and millions of other Americans have experienced. The politicians and their laws borrow legitamacy from the consent of the governed. Stop consenting and they lose their legitimacy. Stop cooperating with the police and the courts (jury nullification) and people stop going to jail and being beaten there. How about you point out these politicians who are against jails, so RF can vote for them, if they do exist as you imply.

  15. avataruncommon_sense says:

    “Would I put a two-shell shotgun like my father’s into a locked closet in every classroom in America?”

    Outstanding idea! (No sarcasm.) Of course it wouldn’t help much for the very first people a lunatic would target — almost nothing can stop that. But it would mean a lunatic would not be able to walk around a school with impunity going classroom to classroom racking up a huge body count. I really, really think this deserves serious consideration.

  16. avatarPhil H says:

    I’ve had a rough couple of days online, arguing with friends over this incident, and what it means or should mean.

    Pro-gun people see guns as the tools with which evil can be stopped. They see the positive use first and foremost. Anti-gun people see guns as the tools with which evil can only be unleashed (and made worse). They see the negative use first and foremost. In fact, they don’t see any positive use. They complete discount (and ridicule) the idea that a firearm can have a positive use in the hands of a citizen.

    It’s a flip-flop of the adage that liberals see only the good in people and conservatives see only the bad. In this case, liberals see only the bad in people (and in the tool), and conservatives… well, they see both. They see the evil people who must be stopped, but they trust what good citizens can do with weapons when they are trained well and are directed by the right moral/philosophical stance.

    It’s difficult for me to see how this country is going to emerge from this horrific event without some sort of new gun law passed, even though I’m damned if I can see how any new law (shy of outright prohibition) could have prevented it from happening. There is just so much energy out there right now. Coming so soon after the Aurora incident… I just don’t know if the laws can be stopped.

    It was an excruciatingly sick event. I can understand people going off and being extreme in their thinking. This tremendously disturbed man has crossed the Rubicon here, as far as what an individual shooter will do. I mean, McVeigh’s bomb demolished a day care center, and young children were maimed and killed, but to the best of my knowledge, we’ve not had anyone focus their hatred on grade-schoolers before, and be the immediate, shot by shot, personal “eyes-on” agent of their destruction. Amidst all of the emails and posts about gun control and the mentally ill, we may be missing just what a line has been crossed here. And I cannot help thinking that our media’s sensationalizing responses to these events is dropping gasoline onto a lot of smoldering fires.

    • avatarJames H says:

      Valid insights Phil.
      I’ve got to say that I’m a little wore out as well. The CT. massacre has forcibly pushed our American Society into another realm. The vitriol spewed from the Anti’s is exhausting to contend with.
      I too think that this uphill warfare will not end so well for American freedom. All morning long the mainstream media spouted it’s gun control mantra while pummeling the few who stood against this maelstrom of liberal/socialist usurpation.
      The horrific assassinations by this deranged monster has led to a tidal shift in this country. I believe that we are at a critical turning point today. Are we to remain a Nation of Free-Willed Individuals pursuing the dreams of our Fore-Fathers, or are we to fall under the servitude of our totalitarian masters will?
      Yes, I do think the stakes are that high and it is happening now!
      I will continue this battle. I will strongly support our gun rights groups. I will strive to educate the mis-informed. I will continue to “verbally spar” with the subversives who masquerade as the “peaceful enlightened” while shattering the pillars of our American Birthright.
      This will not be an easy fight it may not even be a successful fight, but it IS the GOOD fight!
      Saddle up warriors! Let’s ride!

  17. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    The sad irony, Robert, is that most of the prominent voices thundering for gun bans right now are Jewish. Bloomberg, Blumenthal, Nadler, Feinstein, Schumer, Lautenberg… the list goes on.

    Your brethren don’t seem to have learned the same lessons you did.

    • avatarAharon says:

      Unfortunately, those Jews you wrote about have not learned the right lessons from history. I think most or all of them associate guns ie the tool (that can be used for good or evil) as the oppressor on equal footing to those evil people who were the actual living oppressors and used guns to harm innocents.

      There is a story about a single Mongol warrior riding into an Indian village in the 1300s. He used his sword to murder the entire village. No one tried to fight back individually and the people could not find the courage to unite to stop and kill one warrior. The people were so filled with terror in their hearts of the Mongols that their imaginations caused them to associate the Mongol even one Mongol with a power that was unstoppable.

      I think those gun-grabber Jewish politicians are much the same filled with emotional terror and ignorance of an object.

    • avatarTommy Knocker says:

      Bloomberg is not Jewish but Presbyterian. Also do check out the jpfo.org A great organization.

      • avatarAharon says:

        Wikipedia states that Bloomberg’s religion is Reform Judaism which is essentially the same as the Democrat Party. I’m a member of the JPFO and just re-newed last week. Their DVD ‘Innocents Betrayed’ is a must see.

    • avatarGreg in Allston says:

      Indeed DG, ironic, sad and incomprehensible.

  18. avatarAharon says:

    Robert,

    Thank you for writing this piece. I don’t know if it was difficult or easy to write something so personal that you have such strong feelings about. While I sometimes disagree with your perspective on guns and politics I always do understand clearly where you are coming from. Happy Hanukkah.

  19. avatarMotoJB says:

    Well sad…that “powerlessness” you speak of that your father endured…and/or men watching their children and wives being slaughtered during home invasions, is something these Anti’s have no concept of. They instead are hiding behind their imaginary veil of safety. If/when the SHTF, they’d be happy I’m armed.

  20. avatarAccur81 says:

    That got me thinking that a good shotgun loaded up with 00 buck would be useful as a backup weapon locked up in a principal or AP office. You could securely lock up an 870 in every school in the nation for less than $400 bucks, including the cabinet.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      You’re absolutely right. A couple of those would have been extremely helpful and could have saved many lives.

  21. avataruncommon_sense says:

    Phil H said, “I’m damned if I can see how any new law (shy of outright prohibition) could have prevented it from happening.”

    Phil even outright prohibition of all firearms would NOT have stopped this from happening. There is an excellent chance the lunatic would have acquired firearms anyway. And even if he was not able to acquire firearms, killing 20 or more children is as easy as driving a car into a crowd of children or tossing a container of gasoline and a match into a classroom.

    Make sure your gun control friends understand this. They need to realize that gun control does not solve the problem. Once they understand that, you can help them understand how gun control (which criminalizes citizens and school personnel who want to be armed) actually hampers good people from stopping lunatics.

    • avatarPhil H says:

      Yes, good catch – prohibition never works with anything, it just drives it under ground. Even if we could wave the magic wand, and obliterate every firearm, lunacy would prevail with some other tool. As I said in a FB post last night, “I find it impossible to believe that this horrendous murderer, in the absence of an available handgun, would have said, oh well, guess I will just watch TV instead. That sort of mental illness is neither triggered by a gun nor extinguished by its absence.” But so many people do not understand that logic, because it prevents them from “doing something.” A lot of the clamor right now is just existential pain – people not wanting to believe that there is some s__t that cannot be prevented, but can only be stopped.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      What they also need to understand is that guns can be made. There is nothing particularly special about guns. They’re easy to make. And I don’t mean just some .22 zip gun. I mean functioning semi-auto rifles and handguns are easy to make.

      Drugs are outlawed – including many drugs which are made from ad hoc methods, like meth. Said laws don’t seem to be stemming the production of flow of drugs.

      Mexico’s drug laws are rather draconian. Doesn’t seem to hamper their gangs from obtaining weapons.

      Outlaw something and you’ve created a black market and a profit motive. Outlaw guns in the US and there will be a river of iron flowing over the border from Mexico in a week, eventually supplanted by a cottage industry of small shops of making effective guns and ammo here in the US.

    • avatarGeorge says:

      I knew a guy who was basically a pacifist. He finally admitted that he would shoot Hitler if he had a gun. Of course this is childish thinking. Hitler didn’t do all the murderous things in the beginning, he was democratically elected by the German People. It was done piecemeal to consolidate power. Many Germans who opposed Hitler went gaga over him when they defeated the French. By the time anybody who was a so called pacifist could have shot Hitler, it was too late. The regular “Folk” had been disarmed.

      Self-defense is the first law of nature. Anytime a government wants to take away your natural right, it sends a warning bell that the government is up to no good. Some people might not see it that way and hope they will shoot Hitler given the chance, but there is no chance if you are disarmed unless you engage in childish fantasies .

  22. avatarBuuurr says:

    Great read. Thank you, Robert. I said it earlier the week and I will say it again. What is wrong with putting some police in our schools? We have them at our grocery stores. Someone thinks it is prudent to protect food stuffs and the people shopping for them but not our children? Guns are okay at the grocery store but a no-no at schools where there are shootings all the time? What the fuck is wrong with people? I am happy not to be able to grasp this massive shut down of brain function.

  23. avatarDerryM says:

    Nice article. Good points and thoughts.

  24. avatarS.CROCK says:

    maybe not in each classroom… well maybe each classroom. but defiantly somewhere in the schools there should be a small arsenal for the teachers and principles to defend their children with. in any “gun free zone” it should be the law to have a armed guard. or better yet just let people exercise their 2nd amendment and defend themselves.

  25. avatarإبليس says:

    From what I’ve been reading Newtown is a rather well off dacha for NYC expats. It’s actually surprising they didn’t have an armed resource officer. One certainly would’ve been within their budget.

  26. avatarJPH says:

    “A good man will do the right thing. It is his nature. But if you disarm him (or her) you make it more difficult for the good man to confront and defeat evil.”

    The real tragedy is that from all the news reports two good women ran towards the gunfire–unarmed. The first requirement for stopping the carnage was there: raw courage and the will to act. The means were not.

  27. avatarwolfpack 46 says:

    I am a conservative, my heroes are everyday folks doing un-common deeds, the police officer that takes the extra step for someone, the firefighter, the nurses that give so much of themselves, doctors, EMT’s. The really special ones are the young people wearing our nation’s uniforms.

    But after watching the aftermath of the murders in Newton, CT I have to say; I am starting to believe that this “anti-gun creeps” hold these psycho’s as their heroes. Their fake emotions and their, “we know all the answers” trash do not cover the feeling that they see the killings as necessary, as long as their objectives are reached.
    I believe that to many of them this kid in CT is a heroe.

    How low will they go? We ain’t seen nothing yet.

  28. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    A very moving and insightful essay Robert. You should submit it to the editorial boards of every major newspaper, radio and television station in the country. I know, for all of the good it will do going that route, but maybe a few of the people on those boards may read it and it may rattle their world view a little. Hearts and minds, one at a time.

  29. avatarSanchanim says:

    Thank you for the article RF. This is also why we have the JPFO.

  30. avatarOle says:

    Thank you RF for that wonderfully written article and for sharing your story. I pray for your father and all who have experienced something like that.
    I also pray for our government and our society, that they may somehow understand this.

  31. avatarGregolas says:

    Robert, your father drew the right conclusions and passed them on to you so you could then pass his wisdom on to others. God bless you for your efforts on TTAG.
    “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

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