Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut is shocking and horrifying – the time and the place of these massacres inevitably catch us unawares. But the fact that another mass shooting has occurred is not shocking, any more than the last one was, or the next one will be.
Just as with the mass killings earlier this year at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and the Aurora movie theater, near Denver, Colorado, the chorus of empathetic responses that will follow these tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut marks a stubborn refrain in a perennial American elegy. Different singers mouthing different words, but basically singing the same song.
Psychological profiles of the shooter emerge, along with portraits of the victims, while the political class closes ranks so that the nation can heal. Incanted tones to sooth a permanent scar.