December 18, 2012

Funerals begin for children killed in shooting in US

The US state of Connecticut yesterday buried two 6-year-old boys in the first funerals for the 20 first-graders killed when a gunman went on a shooting rampage on Friday.{{more}}

The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, who is said to have a history of mental illness, shot his mother four times in the head at their Newtown home.

He then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary school, where he used an assault rifle on the children and six staff members.

He turned the gun on himself as police arrived 10 minutes after the shooting began.

The massacre, one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States, where citizens have a constitutional right to bear arms, set off a fresh round of debate on the nation’s gun laws.

President Barack Obama — who was so emotional and tearful that he could not complete his delivery of prepared remarks Friday — on Sunday pledged to seek change in memory of the slain.

The gunman, who had a high-powered rifle, three pistols, and enough ammunition to kill all 600 students at the school, shot each of the students and teachers at least twice.

“What choice do we have?” Obama said of his pledge to seek change.

“Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?”

There was uncertainty about when the school will reopen, even as more funerals were planned for this week.

The Associated Press quoted police as saying that the school was still designated a crime scene and it could be months before it is turned over to the district.

Schools remained closed yesterday and students of other schools in the area were expected to return to the classroom today, amidst questions about whether Sandy Hook Elementary would ever reopen.

Police have offered no motive as to why Lanza, who wore all black during the massacre, killed his mother, the children and teachers.

The rifle used in the killing is believed to be a Bushmaster AR-15, a civilian version of the M-16 rifle used in the military.

Senator Joe Lieberman said Sunday that such military-style assault weapons should be banned and that a national commission should be established to examine mass shootings.

Meanwhile, gun rights activists remained largely quiet in the wake of the shooting. (