Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting: 5 Rules for Coping with Tragedy

As new information comes in about the horrifying mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, here's a Reason TV video we released just after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in January 2011.

Original text:

Tragedies like the mass shooting in Tucson at a public event organized by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) are horrifying enough on their own, but they also have a way of bringing out the worst in reporters and politicians.

In fact, knee-jerk reactions often leave us with misconceptions and bad policies that stick around long after the healing has begun.

And so presents: 5 Rules for Coping with Tragedy

Approximately 2.45 seconds

Produced by Ted Balaker; written by Balaker and Nick Gillespie.

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Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • SIV||

    TOO SOON ! You Insensitive CLODS! The blood of those children isn't even dry.


  • Hugh Akston||

    So how long do you think that's going to be funny? Like ten posts ago?

  • SIV||

    Get sum priorities, Hugh.

  • ||

    If Amerrrrika can invade a country of brownies a day or two after getting some agro, then it's not too early to take action against a far bigger threat to American lives, statistically speaking: guns on our streets, in our homes and - mostly - in the hands of dickless losers who think they need protection against an invasion of King George III.

  • CZmacure||

    From 2009- 2012 there have been 133 people killed in mass shooting events during that same time period, there have been 181 people killed by Tasers

    and you want to ban what? lol - im not saying guns should or shouldnt be banned, for all i care, americans can keep on shooting yourselves until youre all dead..

    bunch of idiots all of you

  • Michael Ejercito||

    From 2009- 2012 there have been 133 people killed in mass shooting events during that same time period, there have been 181 people killed by Tasers


  • Rick Santorum||

    If Amerrrrika can invade a country of brownies a day or two after getting some agro

    How's that Obama foreign policy working for ya?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    And cars should also be banned. They are are far more deadly and naughty than guns.

  • Jerry on the road||

    Twitter is going to be awful in the next few days.

  • SIV||

    Twitter is ALWAYS awful. How will it be any different?

  • The Last American Hero||

    You obviously don't have the Iron Sheik in your Twitter Feed.

  • CE||

    What's Twitter?

  • tarran||

    2.45 seconds!?!

    How much information can you pack into 2.45 seconds?

    Is there a mind control ray involved?

  • A Serious Man||

    Reason and the Koctopus have been using subliminal messaging in their videos for years.

  • CE||

    It seems to have worked on me. I have the "Koch Industries" micro-etching on my monocle to prove it.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    The best way to cope is to get a little stronger and push on with your life. It's a sad, horrifying story, but it's a wonderful thing to realize that elementary school shootings are so rare, it's practically non-existent.

  • Tim||

    I hope that media doesn't plaster this monster's name, face and grievances everywhere. Maybe I'm wrong but I think these bastards fantasize about becoming celebrities.

  • Bruce Majors||

    He's dead. Unless he had an accomplice who isn't. But I guess you are saying the attention would stimulate other nuts. Maybe so.

    I just hope to god no future Ayn Rand scribbles a note about the affect of the shooter, since then leftovers will try to interpret her entire life work based on that note.

  • Mongo||

    I disagree.

    A shooter into the idea of becoming a celebrity would want to remain alive to enjoy the fruits of his infamy.

    I think it's suicide combined with taking down as many people as possible with them.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I think it's suicide combined with taking down as many people as possible with them.

    As a way to dull some sense of inner pain, sure. It can be cathartic to hurt others because one hurts.

    But one should not dismiss the current okay-ization of collateral damage when going after your target. For this guy yesterday, the target was his mother. That he had to take 2 dozen others is simply collateral damage en route to a goal. We see this justification when killing children everyday in our media, and from our highest representatives in government. Collateral damage is nothing but those individuals who can be easily brushed aside and justified as necessary.

    If it's okay to bomb children to get to that dirty rag-head turrist, what are a few brats when trying to kill your mom?

  • An0nB0t||

    He killed his mother at home, then went out of his way to kill more by driving to the school to murder the children and staff.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    His picture should be posted. That way people can draw a visual of what evil looks like- because it IS that simple to pin down evil and all.


  • Bruce Majors||

    Obama and Jay Carney have already commented on it, though politely. Gawker has already run a photo of a Ryan Lanza which turned out to be the wrong Ryan Lanza. This provoked me to look on FaceBook for a Ryan Lanza who is actually from the correct locations (a NJ resident born in Newton CT) and there is one here:

    But now I heard that Ryan Lanza is the brother of the shooter, and that he is being questioned by the police. So rule number 1 seems relevant.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Boy, I love Michael Shermer, but even he's capable of using an obtuse line of reasoning every no and again.

  • rts||

    Franklin Harris ‏@grandmofhelsing

    @michaelshermer That's like saying the First Amendment gives you the right to have a hand-cranked printing press.


  • Caleb Turberville||

    Yeah, I got the Shermer tweet from Harris's twitter. (He comments here, by the way.) Just don't read the dude who replied to Harris!

  • SIV||

    Are you and Harris the Quad Cities Mafia?

  • Russell||

    The Gods of Rhetoric are evidently angry at mankind, witness yesterday's attack by a crazed knifeman that left 22 Chineses schoolchildren hospitalized

  • Australian||

    Guns don't cause KRIME people cause KRIME!!

  • Bruce Majors||

  • Rick Santorum||


  • Agile Cyborg||

    From what I can recall the UK has some pretty fucking prohibitive laws on knives also.

  • Australian||

    You should come to Victoria to see the idiotic knife laws that we have. I would not be allowed to carry around a pocketknife unless I say I'm fishing, in which case I can bear what is basically a 9 inch, serrated machete.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The suspect in the Connecticut school shootings is Adam Lanza, 20, the son of a teacher at the school where the shootings occurred, a law enforcement official said Friday. A second law enforcement official says the boy’s mother, Nancy Lanza, is presumed dead.

    Adam Lanza’s older brother, Ryan, 24, of Hoboken, N.J., is being questioned by police, said the first official. Earlier, a law enforcement official mistakenly transposed the brothers’ first names.

    And yet, these are the "infallible" guardians that bed-wetters are trying to convince us are the only ones that should possess firearms?

  • Sevo||

    First rule:
    Do NOT "do something" to be "doing something".

  • Harvard||

    I realize that it's early, and the facts are not in by any measure, but why does a local tragedy bring an immediate federal response? Why the FBI and ATF (replete with SWAT team) presence at the scene?

    The only federal response that would seem appropriate at the moment would be the usual political posturing in front of cameras and microphones that we have come to expect from presidents and lawmakers, shedding faux tears and promising corrective "measures".

  • CE||

    Good point.

  • ||

    Yeah, I don't get that either.

  • uythsb||

    merry christmas to u,thank you so much.

  • ||

    What a sad, inexplicable tragedy. As a father of a seven year-old, it just hits home.

    May God bless every single one of those beautiful souls and angels and their families.

    I don't know what else to say.

    We own a daycare and my sister and mother were crying all day. I was driving back from Toronto with my wife and her mother - both teachers - and we just sat in stunned silence listening on Boston radio.

    As for the immediate political reactions about gun control from the left. For shame. They can't even wait a day before babbling. Their position presupposes they have tha answer. They don't.

    We'll debate this in the upcoming days.

    For now, just think - neigh pray - for these kids and what their families are going through on the most Holiest of months.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Yes, I have a son in elementary school. I can't even begin to think what it would be like to have this happen in our town. This is the most awful story in a very long time.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Prayer helps YOU cope which isn't a bad thing, but don't pretend it does anything else.

  • waaminn||

    Its sad that not ONE person in that school was armed! If only ONE person had been carrying a concealed weapon, they could have saved lives! Lesson, NEVER leave the house unarmed!

  • Bruce Majors||

    No money for that. NYC spends $7 million on rubber rooms for perv teachers they can't fire.

  • cdh3021||

    Please read, sign, and share! We need 25,000 signatures by Jan 15 to get a White House response!

  • cdh3021||

    Sorry. I forgot. It is a petition for the Secure Our Schools Act.

  • fit2post||

    When one abuses our freedoms, do not respond by abusing the free.

  • Russell||

    It's an old issue:

    Morriftown, December 14 1788
    My dear Mifter Jefferson

    Recalling the late massacre in Bofton of folk unready to return the fire of King George’s murderous Dragoons, and the Defeats inflicted on our infant Republic by his well-ordered Hessian militia, I judge we have a Duty to amend the prospective Constitution: of what Use is keeping & bearing Arms if many merely posefs themselves of single-shotted Mufketry ?

    Were the new Constitution to compel every Man, Woman & Child to bear Arms proper to repelling Assault, viz, the thirty-shotted Puckel Gun the mere sight of which would compel the bloody Lobfterbacks and Barbaree pyrates to flee our shores.

    Some Quaker Clergymen quail at the prospect of a well -armed Infancy, fearing naughty schoolchildren may efcape Chastisement by training Ordnance at their Preceptors.

    Nay, say our sober Physicians , who reckon the lofs of Students by Teachers returning Fire would be small compared to that from serving lunch in the Nation’s clafs-rooms.

    So by all means let the Bill be Amended to assure every Citizen departs the cradle for the School-Room bearing a Puckel-Gun, and thus able to deter hif Neighbor.Confident that thif ‘Anti-Bullying” amendment is the Gift of almighty Providence to Hif preterite Sheep.

    I remain Sir, your moft humble & Ob’nt Servant

    Gouverneur Morrif


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