Today marks the four-year anniversary of the tragic terrorist shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
It was on December 14, 2012, that the quiet town of Newtown, Connecticut — and, in reality, much of the United States — first came to terms with the idea that random shootings can occur anywhere, at any time, and to anyone — even young children such as those who fell victim to the devastating Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, now the third-largest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Today is the anniversary of that shooting from four years ago when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his own mother dead at their home in Newtown, then drove to the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School and did the same to a large group of total strangers.
In all, 20 children (between 6- and 7-years-old) — as well as six staffers — met their untimely demise in an inexplicable act of violence at Sandy Hook that still leaves people scratching their heads and wondering why.
“My son should still have a sister. My husband should still have a daughter,” recalled Nelba Marquez on the anniversary of the death of her daughter, 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene, per NBC News.
Marquez, reflecting on the fourth anniversary of Sandy Hook, noted that her husband “broke my soul open yesterday as I read his recollection of his last evening with our kids. I wailed so loudly, I scared my son. It just brought everything back.”
Sadly, terrible attacks such as those that took place four years ago at Sandy Hook have become even more common over time. In fact, according to recent statistics compiled by the Huffington Post, for example, there have been more than 200 school shooting incidents — or roughly one per week — worldwide since Sandy Hook.
In particular, the Huffington Post cited data from the Everytown for Gun Safety organization, which noted the following.
“There have been at least 94 gun-related deaths and more than 156 people injured as a result of more than 200 school shooting incidents since Sandy Hook. This doesn’t include plots that thankfully didn’t come to fruition, like the one police stopped this week in Oklahoma, when they arrested a heavily armed 13-year-old girl who had reportedly threatened her classmates.”
Now, those left behind in pain over the loss of children at Sandy Hook on this anniversary can do nothing more than reflect on their tragic loss in an era in which random attacks such as those have become, sadly, more and more commonplace.
“I think there’s really no better way to read the temperature of the people and where this [gun safety] movement is when it comes down to actual voters than by looking at state-level progress,” Brendan Kelly, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told the Post.
For example, 19 U.S. states (seven since Sandy Hook) have closed a loophole that eliminated the need for a background check when selling a firearm privately, such as at a gun show or online.
For the family of Sandy Hook’s Ana Marquez-Greene, though, tighter laws provide no solace.
“As we prepare to wake up and face another December 14th, our fourth without Ana, I am reminded of every detail of the last day we were whole as a family, December 13, 2012,” said Ana’s father Jimmy, also per NBC. “My heart aches and my eyes swell with tears each and every day, missing Ana like crazy and knowing that our family won’t ever be whole again.”
“As believers we know that Sunday is coming,” added Nelba Marquez, who helped organize a fundraiser on December 10 — with a scholarship to West Connecticut State University — in remembrance of her daughter.
“As humans we know that Friday was dark. It is okay to mourn the Friday while believing in Sunday,” she added.
[Featured Image by Connecticut State Police/Getty Images]