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26 Killed At Connecticut Elementary School, 20 of Them Children: Can We Ever Talk About Gun Control?

A school shooting worse than Columbine, this time affecting children as young as kindergarten, at the end of a year of deadly mass shootings.
 
 
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This post has been updated.

26 have been reported killed, including 20 children, in a Connecticut School shooting. The gunman, identified as 24-year-old Adam Lanza, died at the scene (Ryan Lanza was originally wrongly identified as the shooter).

In a press conference this afternoon President Obama appeared to tear up as he offered condolences to the families of the victims.  "We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. Each time I learn the news I react not as a president but as anybody else would as a parent."

The AP has the latest information about the shooter and his weapon :

A law enforcement official says the attacker in the Connecticut school shootings is a 20-year-old man with ties to the school.

The official said that a gun used in the attacks is a .223-caliber rifle.

This image has been circulating on Twitter of that weapon.

From the Hartford Courant, the situation this morning was chilling: "o ne entire classrom unnaccounted for outside the school, sources said."

Different casualty reports, all of which are alarming in the extreme, have emerged, but the higher AP numbers seem to be the most predominant reports. 

The Guardian's live-blog notes that no matter the figure, this is one of the worst shootings in US history: "to put it into context, the number of deaths in the 1999 Columbine shooting, previously the the worst mass killing at a US school, was 13. "

More details from the Courant:

Police were still searching the school at 11 a.m., and police dogs had been brought in. Around noon, the triage area was broken down, stretchers were taken away and the SWAT team left the building.

Shortly after 9:40 a.m., police reported that a shooter was in the main office of the school. A person in one room had “numerous gunshot wounds,” police said.

Groups of students — some crying, some holding hands — were being escorted away from the school by their teachers. Some students were still in the school at 10:30 a.m., parents said.

School and local emergency officials are accounting for the children, who will be released to their parents to get them home. A staging area has been set up at the Sandy Hook fire department, directly in front of the school. 

What can you say on an afternoon with news like this? Gun control advocates are always accused of politicizing tragedies, but the tragedies are coming so regularly these days that it's impossible to bring the issue up at a time that is  not in the wake of one.

Besides, gun advocates are already politicizing this (warning--disturbing tweet follows).

This type of massacre has now happened over 30 times since Columbine in schools alone, not to mention mall and now movie theater mass shootings. It's an epidemic caused by many things, but enabled by guns and gun culture. Until we do something about guns, violence like this will continue.

Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.

Sarah Seltzer is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published at the Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, Jezebel and the Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahmseltzer and find her work at sarahmseltzer.com.

 
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