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

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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Ray Hanania