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The Truth About Sandy Hook

An official Connecticut report dismisses most of the gun control narrative.

by
Mike McDaniel

Bio

January 15, 2014 - 12:00 am

After Newtown, President Obama and gun control advocates were shocked to discover — yet again — that sweeping anti-gun legislation would fail miserably. The nation rejected their pointing to guns as the explanation for the massacre. Obama has since been reduced to speechifying and exploiting the parents of Sandy Hook victims; his political arm — Organizing for Action — has barely made a ripple in the political pond.

The people of Newtown have asked the rest of the world to be kind, and to leave them alone.

The Danbury Judicial District state’s attorney, Stephen J. Sedensky III, issued his report on the shooting on November 25, 2013. As one might expect, the facts as revealed in his report bear little resemblance to the media and Obama’s narrative regarding the massacre.

(Media/Obama talking points in bold.)

—————-

Adam Lanza and his mother had strong ties to Sandy Hook Elementary School that caused him to attack there. While Lanza attended the school — he happened to live in the neighborhood — nearly a decade earlier, he had no discernible ties to the school thereafter. It’s possible his mother did a little volunteering at the school when Lanza attended, but she was never employed there. The most likely possibility is Lanza chose Sandy Hook merely because he was familiar with it and it was close to his home.

Lanza used multiple weapons, including an AR-15 and a shotgun, in his attack. He used a high-powered “assault weapon” and “high-capacity magazines.” The only weapon Lanza used to kill and injure all of the victims was a Bushmaster AR-15 pattern carbine. The AR-15 is the most common and popular sporting rifle in America. Its cartridge is, in terms of rifle ammunition, of low to intermediate power, and its 30-round magazines have been standard since the Vietnam era. Lanza’s rifle belonged to his mother and was semi-automatic, an action type more than a century old.

A shotgun was found in Lanza’s car, but it was not used in the attack. Lanza also carried a Sig-Sauer P226 9mm handgun, but did not fire it. Lanza killed himself with a shot to the head from a 10mm Glock 20 handgun, and before attacking the school killed his mother with a Savage .22LR bolt-action rifle he left on the floor of her bedroom.

The police response was very rapid; Lanza had five minutes to kill before shooting himself. The first 911 call to the Newtown police occurred at 9:35:39. The first officer arrived at 9:39, but no officers entered the building until 9:44:47, nine minutes and eight seconds after the 911 call. Lanza began his attack at 9:30 and shot himself at 9:40:03, four minutes and 44 seconds before the first officer entered the building. He had more than ten uninterrupted minutes before he shot himself. If he wished, he could have had at least five minutes more.

While the police response was relatively rapid, as in virtually every school shooting in American history, the police had no active role in saving lives or stopping the shooter.

The high-capacity magazines Lanza used contributed to the death toll. Magazine capacity limits would have saved lives. Lanza had multiple magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Magazine changes take only a few seconds; experts can do one in a second. Lanza fired more than 137 rounds, requiring at least four magazine changes. Fifteen round magazines would have required nine magazine changes and an extra 36 seconds. This would have made no difference in the death toll at Newtown and elsewhere. Even if Lanza were limited to ten round magazines, there would have been no difference.

The principal heroically attacked Lanza, saving lives. Unfortunately, there was no video recording system in the school. When Lanza shot his way through a window near the locked main doors to enter the school, Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach were in a meeting in a nearby conference room. Hearing the gunfire, they stepped into the hallway and were immediately shot and killed. Two other staff members that stepped into the hallway were shot and wounded, but retreated back into their rooms and survived. Caught in a narrow hallway with no concealment, cover, or means of fighting back, Hochsprung and Sherlach didn’t have a chance. No one abandoned their students and there is evidence the four additional teachers killed tried to shield their students. There is heroism in their devotion, but no evidence any of them had the opportunity to fight back.

The remotely locked doors and video system in the school allowed school staff to promptly call the police and saved lives. The school had video only on the remotely locked front doors, video with no recording ability. The video was displayed on three monitors on the desks of secretaries in the main office near the front door. The doors were entirely glass, and a large glass panel adjoined them. It was this panel Lanza shot out with eight rounds to enter the building, taking only a few seconds.

Lanza could have easily shot out the doors, or used a crowbar to pry them open, again taking only seconds. This is true of the doors of virtually any school. Schools are always vulnerable. For obvious safety reasons they can’t be fortified like prisons.

The office staff had no time to call the police and were forced to hide as best they could. After shooting Hochsprung and Sherlach, Lanza actually entered the office and briefly looked around, but chose not to search more carefully and soon left to enter two classrooms where he killed the children; no one in the office was hurt. It was five minutes and 39 seconds into the attack before the office staff was able to make a 911 call. By then, Hochsprung, Sherlach, and many children were dead or dying.

There were warning signs of Lanza’s intentions. Unfortunately, as is the case with virtually all school attacks, there were no red flags. Lanza was interested in firearms and mass shootings, and was known to be a strange young man with obvious social deficits and obsessive behaviors, but no one — including multiple psychologists over many years — detected the slightest propensity toward violence or intention to attack a school. There was no lack of opportunity for professionals and laypeople to see warning signs, but there simply were none.

From the report:

“It is important to note that it is unknown, what contribution, if any, the shooter’s mental health issues made to his attack on SHES. Those mental health professionals who saw him did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior.”

Lanza liked violent video games, which contributed to the attack. Lanza did play a variety of video games, some of which were popular war and shooter games, but one he particularly favored — frequently playing a commercial version — was a dance game. Lanza also had images of Lego creations and hamsters. There is no evidence these things, and many more, in any way contributed to the attack.

Lanza was bullied. Extensive interviews of friends, acquaintances, family, school personnel, and mental health professionals are contradictory. Some thought he may have been bullied, but more believed otherwise. While some thought him withdrawn and remote, others found him able to interact appropriately with his peers. A friend of Lanza’s from 2011-2012 said Lanza never spoke of being bullied and said and did nothing that might have indicated his intentions.

More mental health laws and more mental health spending could have made a difference and will make a difference in the future. Obama is now spending significant federal money on mental health services, but there is no evidence any of it would have made a difference, then or now. As I noted in 2011, the political left is largely responsible for the state of the U.S. mental health system since the 1960s, and it remains primarily a creature of the left today.

Involuntary commitment laws are always a matter of balancing individual liberty with public safety. The kinds of changes some on the left have suggested would amount to allowing arrest and indefinite incarceration for thought crime, which is not a power any rational man wants the Obama administration to have. To be sure, some states can use more effective — and constitutional — involuntary commitment laws, but one cannot imprison and “treat” the odd, the unusual, or those who pose no real threat to themselves or others.

Adam Lanza had the full benefit of the mental health system. He was, at various points in his life, prescribed medication. He refused to take it. He was prescribed behavior therapies. He refused to participate. Through all those therapists and all those years, not one considered him a danger to himself or others. Not one saw any sign of what he would eventually do. Not one could present evidence that would have prevented him from owning firearms. He knew right from wrong and functioned in society; he was just odd.

Perhaps the most horrifying realization is that there may be no way to detect and to stop school shooters like Lanza.

What the media has not reported and will never report are the facts about what will work to deter and to stop school attacks: doing away with “gun free” school zones and allowing willing school staff to carry concealed handguns.

Lanza, from the beginning to his suicide, was vulnerable to return fire. In fact, at many points, armed school staff would have had significant advantages in cover, concealment, and superior knowledge of the facility.

If Newtown’s school district publicized that its employees were allowed to carry concealed weapons and that many were — while keeping their names, numbers, and locations secret — it is likely Adam Lanza would never have attacked that school district.

If engaged at or near the point of entry, Lanza would almost certainly have been unable to harm a single child. But because the staff were unarmed, because their only options were trying to run or hide, and because politicians and administrators believed in the magical value of “gun free” school zone signs rather than the unalienable right to self-defense, 26 students and teachers died.

That is the lesson, and tragedy, of Newtown.

Mike McDaniel is a former police officer, detective, and SWAT operator, and is now a high school English teacher. He blogs here.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
so it's a coincidence then that every mass shooting one can think of, from Sandy Hook to Aurora to Tuscon to Luby's to VA Tech occurred in places where people are prohibited from carrying guns. Is that really the case you want to make?

Of course, your case would be improved if it relied less heavily on unfounded accusations about law-abiding people, most of whom are not wanting to shoot somebody nor are they advocating free access to guns. What is it with you gun-grabbers that robs you of the ability to make an intellectually honest argument?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great plan. Right up until you need to get to it. Who has the key or combo? Can anyone venture out into the hallway to get to the office? Does person x who makes it there actually have a clue how to use any of it?

No, concealed carry works just fine. Been proven lots of times in the real world.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
A locked up, unloaded weapon is largely useless in this sort of situation. In the vast majority of cases, there would not be enough time to retrieve, load, and utilize the weapon in an effective manner. And that's assuming everyone has a key to unlock it, which is also unlikely.

The only effective methods of stopping mass shootings are a significant number of persons carrying concealed handguns, or armed guards patrolling the grounds of a given location. The former is more effective at stopping shootings quickly, the latter acts as an extremely effective deterrent.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (49)
All Comments   (49)
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Hey man, like, don't let your facts get in the way of my agenda!
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would really like to know what the boy was reading. Why attack innocent children? A sacrifice?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I downloaded the entire report, including the video. It is a lot of material to review. I'm not sure how much of his actual writings were included, but what little I read indicated he had fantasies about hurting children. I would want to read more of his stuff to find out why.

I also was looking at the inside of the home, and noticed what was not there, as much as what was there. There was nothing remotely Christian. The books on the shelves showed a complete lack of spiritual wisdom, although I recall seeing something that I would consider related to witchcraft (maybe it was astrology, or something like that, can't remember exactly, now). In any event, God wasn't there in the home.

That left him to chart his own course, based on his own aberrant thought processes, and the anti-Christian, secular humanistic school system that had his mind for 12 or 13 years, and pop culture, to whatever extent he dabbled in it.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for that insight.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Four of my children and I made a video about the shooting that agrees with a lot of what you said. Maybe you'd like to see it?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_UdVsVKgpM
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
very sweet, and right on point
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks :)
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for researching and writing this.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
OK oldlarry, you got me. I'm a "paranoid idiot" and I "just can't hardly wait to shoot somebody". I'm probably as old as you are and have been shooting for as long as you have, but at least I haven't gotten so cantankerous that I believe nobody can "tell me anything new." I'm kind of worried about you, pal. Maybe you should calm down, cool it with the invective, and open your mind to a new idea before you give yourself an aneurism.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
why the concentration on 26 dead here, or 12 dead over there I wonder? that many are kilt in chicago or detroit or n.y.c. in what, a couple weeks, or weekends? and why concentrate the gun laws on long guns carried by honest Patriots, calling them scary names like assault weapons and demonizing those who own such guns? statistically speaking, very few people are killed in violent attacks by long guns. its almost entirely pistols, usually wielded by obamabots in deep blue cities, that are doing all the killing. you won't see this happen much in rural places in the South, for instance. pull a gun here and start shooting at innocents and the number of dead killed by the (now) dead murderer will be few. there will probably be more holes in the murderer than the number of dead and wounded he created.

a lot of people use guns to help themselves and others, always have. the N.R.A. mag. devotes a section every month to people safely using a gun to save lives. not that the gun grabbers care about the many reasons honest citizens own guns. the fact that these instances go unreported isn't a surprise to those who follow gun violence. been that way forever. they have a sinister agenda. it goes back decades, and they see our time as when gun confiscation is destined to work to their advantage.

strangeness: you tube videos shot from helicopters show men running from behind the Sandy Hook school into the adjacent woods during the attack, chased by police. one of them, dressed in camo and black, was caught and (according to witnesses interviewed on the scene) handcuffed in the FRONT of a cop car. listening to the radio police talk time line during the shooting, the janitor radio reported 2 men running past the gym in a timeline matching the chopper videos of those 2 men running into the woods and splitting up to evade capture. yet nothing about this was explained in the report. sound strange? that's just the tip of this ice berg sticking out of the water.

maybe its just me, but these days when I smell something strange, things don't add up, legitimate questions go unanswered (and they are many here), and the press tries to demonize anyone who asks, well, go to you tube yourself and listen to the latest round of questions that are going unanswered. pls keep an open mind when you delve. very interesting stuff.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
The fear of losing your guns makes you crazy. The idea those people pick gun free zones to go to is full of crap. The Colorado shooter went to that theater because of the Batman midnight show, didn't have a thing to do with gun free zones. You folks just can't hardly wait to shoot somebody. The ones doing the crazy stuff are really crazy and to try to prevent efforts to restrict folks access to weapons because they are mentally ill because you're afraid it might hit you probably verifies you're on the list.

How dumb is it to be so desperate to make sure nothing comes between you and your gun you want free access to guns by everyone and you solution is for everybody to carry. While you're defending gun rights remember how many gun owners get shot by people that shouldn't have guns.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well oldlarry why is it then that so many, no, not all, but very many of these mass shooting seem to occur in self declared "gun free zones"? What is the explanation? Or is it good old plain coincidence? Just imagine that Principle Dawn had a permit and was carrying her handgun that day. After hearing the first shots she could have stayed hidden in the hallway until the shooter was closing in and unloaded on him. I know she would have been nervous, trembling, knees knocking and heart racing. But if she had some training she could have controlled all that and put that mad dog down. The only real defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And no, I don't have any desire to shoot someone and in fact will go out of my way to try to avoid being in a situation that might escalate or perhaps invites an armed bad guy to act like an armed bad guy. But I carry my firearm when and where I can and try to stay alert as to my surroundings, possible exits and the people around me. And I go to the range at least once a month to practice and hone my skill.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
If that's the case, why do people keep shooting up "gun free zones?"

90% of the time, mass shootings happen in gun-free zones. Explain that? Considering how many guns we have in this country, and how few "gun-free" zones we have in this country, relatively speaking, why do mass shootings keep happening in gun free zones? The Colorado movie theater, Public school after public school, the Virginia Tech Campus.... and on and on...
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
There were several theaters closer to him showing the same movie, he chose the ONLY one that forbid concealed weapons. Sure, maybe he liked some other feature, but these shooters always go to "gun free zones". They also always stop when confronted with a real threat, usually a citizen or cop with a gun. Then they go to "stage two" and either try to escape or more often kill themselves.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
so it's a coincidence then that every mass shooting one can think of, from Sandy Hook to Aurora to Tuscon to Luby's to VA Tech occurred in places where people are prohibited from carrying guns. Is that really the case you want to make?

Of course, your case would be improved if it relied less heavily on unfounded accusations about law-abiding people, most of whom are not wanting to shoot somebody nor are they advocating free access to guns. What is it with you gun-grabbers that robs you of the ability to make an intellectually honest argument?
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was pretty much with the author until we got to the mental health part. Blaming that on the left wing is incorrect. Although the left side of the political spectrum had expressed concerns over the institutionalization of those who were borderline or could be taught or trained to function in society, it was the Reagan California Governor years it was first tried in California. What it was was a proposal to move those who could function in society with some help and coaching out of institutions into group homes where they could live together and have some support from counselors. The ones who were not fully successful in being around others but were non-violent could be move into such homes with a little more support and structure. IT turned into a nationwide policy after Reagan became President. This was a right side policy that was not completed or supported even today. Thousand of mentally ill folks were turned out of their institutions greatly reducing the States' cost of housing and caring for these folks . At first there were a few homes and support structures built, but it soon became more of a budget demand than the States wanted to support after seeing the big budget reductions already seen.

So the story is left wing folks wanted better treatment for the mentally ill and saw this as a more humane treatment for these folks who could function in society and were not dangerous. The right saw it as a great way to reduce States' budgets. So thousands were turned out onto the streets without the homes or support they were supposed to have. Many of the thousands were not dangerous, but many were.

The release of thousands of people who could not necessarily fend for themselves, many of which could become dangerous if not on their medication among them was a Reagan proposal and implementation.

The real question here is, is it worth having this guy and a plethora of others able to obtain guns and ammunition at will so you, the gun aficionados, have nothing that hinders your fun and games with your guns. If you own guns to protect yourself from the government, you're a paranoid idiot and shouldn't have them for the same reason as this guy. If you have guns for hunting and target shooting, wonderful, use them in good health and have a good time. If you have guns to protect you home and get rid of varmints, if you live in the country, then wonderful and more power to you. If you can't keep your guns safe and at least make it difficult for someone to steal them or misuse them, particularly if misused to kill a family member, then you don't need to have any.

The idea that letting everybody walk around with guns is about as dumb as can be. I don't give a crap what the Constitution says, it's plain stupid, stupid, stupid. I have plenty of faith in the Constitution and ALL the Amendments. What I don't have any faith in is the idiots who think they are Rambo or John Wayne and are so hopped up to go shoot somebody, and all you have to do is listen or read what these folks have to say to realize they really want to go shoot somebody. They are not just ready to shoot a bad guy, they are so turned on about it, they think anybody who doesn't want to carry a gun or shoot somebody is a coward or an idiot.

There is no sense to making guns available to anybody and everybody. I find it ironic that the same people that think guns are so wonderful are often the same ones who perish from the gun. Adam Lanza's mother was killed in her sleep. Didn't matter how many guns she had. Chris Kyle and a friend died from being shot in the back while trying to help a traumatized vet. There's a long list of guards and others with guns that were shot before even getting their guns out of their holster. The idea that everybody walking around carrying a gun or guns for protection is a good idea is a fallacy. Plenty of people already carrying guns get shot by someone else who sneaks up on them or approaches them not presenting any danger all the time. there simply isn't any case for the unfettered carrying of guns in public. And before any snot-dragging weenie starts in, I probably started handling and shooting guns before you were even thought of and you sure ain't gonna tell me anything new. People in those days acted one hell of a lot more responsibly with their guns that the wild west idiots of today. Today it's a parade of fools led by stupid (Rick Perry).
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
"it was the Reagan California Governor years it was first tried in California. "

Not much interested in facts, are you?

It was CONGRESS under Carter that emptied the nuthouses into the streets, with Teddy K leading the charge.


44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
and ACLU that started the ball rolling with the lawsuits over rights of mentally unstable individuals not to be incarcerated against their will.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
You just have no freaking idea of what kind of people have CCW's...it's like people who get all their opinions about business executives from movies...
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nothing that we can do, which will leave us with anything like a free society, will ever really prevent these situations from occurring. However, changing how we respond when they do occur could remove one of the primary motivations for these events. In almost every case, the perpetrators of these tragedies are alienated losers who are desperate for the world to pay them some attention. Personally I believe this has been a driving force in their choice to commit these acts. The way we respond to these incidents at present gives them exactly the reward they seek, massive public attention.
For years I have proposed a an approach which addresses these errant motivations. When the next incident of this type happens the first authorities on the scene will secure the body of the perp, it will be body bagged, taken to the farthest back of beyond available and run through a woodchipper. No effort will be made to identify the perp to the public and no public mention of it will be permitted. A team of archival and media specialists will be tasked with scouring through for any mentions of the perp in any public record and systematically deleting any they find. We will solemnly commit as an entire society to never, ever. speak of this person again, with severe consequences for any violators.

Obviously, for reasons of legality and social commitment, my plan would be nearly impossible to enact fully, but I strongly suspect that any movement we could generate from our present approach toward what I suggest would help reduce the likelihood that we will experience more of these events in the future.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
An unloaded gun is a HAMMER. Concealed Carry would work even if no one carried a gun. A sign out front that says "We encourage our staff to be armed and accurate" is all it would take.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe for a while it would work until someone with an alligator mouth overtaking their canary ass comes into the picture & the veritable truth gets out. "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." #badidea
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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