Connecticut School Massacre Questions

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Connecticut School Massacre Questions
By Ray Hanania
Southwest News-Herald Friday Dec. 21, 2012
So much has already been written about the massacre at the elementary school in Newton, Conn. that there is very little to add.
Besides sparking a wave of overwhelming grief at the deaths of 20 children, it fueled a new debate on gun control and gave resonance to some serious questions.Why did Nancy Lanza, the mother of the killer Adam Lanza, have an automatic rifle and two semi-automatic guns in her house, weapons that her son Adam used to commit the killings?

It makes no sense. Had the weapons not been in the home, maybe Adam Lanza would not have committed the murders.

I can’t watch the TV screens of the little children without tearing up. I have a son and the idea of it all is so incomprehensible, it’s insane.

Yet, I was most disturbed the conduct of the national news media that covered the event. Oh, they all said the words of being respectful, often. But beneath their somber appearances, you could see an energy of excitement in covering a tragedy that had gripped the attention not only of the nation but the world.

They were in the spotlight. And I think the media was in the spotlight too much.

I didn’t feel comfortable with the media’s coverage, or the demeanor. No matter how much they expressed sadness at the tragedy, it seemed they were really enjoying this huge breaking news story.

It’s far more “exciting” to cover a tragedy of this nature than it is to cover the boring “fiscal cliff” which only involves our often wasted and misspent tax dollars.

I can’t pin it down though. Is it the fault of the news media that I feel this way or the fault of the public, which has a voracious appetite for this kind of tragedy. The public likes to gape and leer at tragedy and someone else’s suffering. News like this sells newspapers and increases viewership and ratings for TV stations and radio too where the hosts are eager to engage in a mob-like debate against the killer, who committed suicide after murdering his mother.

We do not have stronger gun laws.

It seems like a simple thing to do.

First, ban anyone from owning an automatic rifle, or a semi-automatic gun that fires more than six bullets.

Second, ban anyone from owning more than one gun.

Third, require detailed and extensive background checks that are carefully investigated. That means it should take time. No one should be allowed to just go out and buy a gun on a whim, and especially on an emotional whim.

Fourth, increase the prison penalties for anyone convicted of using a gun that injures or kills another human being. Make it a mandatory 10-year sentence on first conviction, 20 years on second conviction and a life sentence on your third conviction. No exceptions.

Fifth, triple the penalty for anyone who is a police officer who is licensed to carry a gun and uses it to perpetrate a crime.

Sixth, make it a mandatory life sentence for anyone using a weapon who is also engaged in any aspect of a drug deal.

Seventh, why do we allow street gangs to do anything? Why not just go and arrest them. The Chicago Crime Commission and Cook County Sheriff have identified the street gang “leaders.” Make it a crime and arrest them.

All of these could make a difference.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at  — City & Suburban News-Herald

This post has already been read 65 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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