Home / Healthcare Updates / A Physician Tries to Make Sense of Sandy Hook

A Physician Tries to Make Sense of Sandy Hook

By Birdstrike M.D.


Since the massacre of innocent school children and those that gave their lives educating and trying to protect them this past Friday at Newtown Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, I’ve struggled to make sense of this calamity as much as much as anyone.  As a Physician who has worked to save the lives of sick and injured children, and as a father of children the same age as those massacred in cold blood, I have searched for answers to the questions, “Why?”   “How do we make sure this never happens again?” and “How do I know this won’t happen to my family?”  along with everyone else.  As I’ve read, seen and listened to various explanations and solutions, some better than others, most have rung very hollow.  The arguments and blame fly back and forth, “We need to ban guns,” “We need more guns,” “We need more outpatient mental health treatment,” “We need to re-institutionalize the mentally ill,” and so on.  The more I listen, the less I am convinced that anyone I’ve heard, from the checkout clerk at my local grocery store, to the President of the United States has any real solution to prevent this from happening again, or even make such happenings less frequent.

As I dropped my daughter off at school today, and let her get out of the car and walk away from me and out of my sight, I realized that to a certain extent, this was and always has been an act of faith of sorts.  As I’ve thought more and more about this horrible incident, the questions keep coming, but without answers.  I have no good answers to the above questions.  In a nearly post-spiritual world where technology can do practically everything but find answers to the truly important questions in life, I realize there is a word that does perfectly describe this incident, and consolidates all the pain, hurt, chaos, insanity, confusion, murder, blood and tears.  All religion, preaching, atheism, agnosticism and separation of church-and-state arguments aside, the only word I can find that offers any sort of explanation, summary or satisfying consolidation of what we saw last Friday is…..evil.

Pure evil.

If anyone doubts the existence of true evil, you’ve seen it.  That is the most disturbing and frightening thing about the incident at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Despite all the good in this world and all the good we may try to achieve with varying levels of success as physicians trying to heal sick and injured children, or trying to protect our own children, we share this world with a certain element of pure unadulterated evil.  Despite all of our necessary efforts to prevent, protect against and deter it, when someone chooses to truly commit an act of pure evil, they can.  When one does so, there is very little any of us can do about it but hurt, mourn the lost, support the living and move forward with acts of good hoping time will offer at the very least, some solace and clarity.  My deepest condolences go out to the victims of this incident, their families and all of those touched in any way.


  1. Dr. Birdstrike…

    I grew up not far from there. Just a 10 minute ride to my Aunt in Newtown for sleepovers. You hit the nail on the head. Evil.

  2. I 100% agree with you – pure evil.

    I also believe it is due to a breakdown of morals, family values and desensitization in our society.

    I actually put guns last on the list.

    And desensitization because of VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES, MOVIES AND THE AVAILABILITY OF VIOLENT PICTURES ON THE INTERNET and God knows what else on the internet.

    As a mom, I tried to keep our sons away from violent video games and movies. We had discussions for why they couldn’t see it and some friends could, etc. I was horrified to hear my then 78 yr old son ask me if he could be Freddy Kreuger for Halloween and asked how he knew about him. Turned out he saw the movies at a friend’s house. Some people feel this stuff is harmless.

    But, violence must have a cumulative effect over time and I do believe they get desensitized.

    And I’ve seen the war games the kids play and I don’t even think they’re healthy for anyone, at least not if over used and certainly not if not age appropriate. And what do you hear kids repeatedly say when they play any games. “I’m dead.” then they always come back to life and just begin a new game. We played dead when acting out games as kids, but I do think playing in realistic video/gun situations is a whole different level.

    I don’t think it is much of a reach to think that some people who are off balance psychologically for whatever reason …could be strongly and negatively influenced by the non reality of these violent games. to play them non stop ..just shooting away with no real life consequences (if not mentally stable) i would think could cause some to seek out guns for violence/detached from reality – consequences.

    I also think anyone getting involved with any kind of Satanist activity could have seriously dark consequences …even if they went into it undisturbed. personally I do believe in God and there is a satan and an entire spiritual realm around us. That people can be influenced by evil if you they do things that open the spiritual door to their soul.

    Also and obviously ..psychiatric disorders, life experiences …so many factors involved.

    But …at the crux of these senseless and violent acts …there is a lack of respect and value for human life.

    The guns didn’t cause that.

    The problem runs far deeper than the guns.

    banning guns is like treating an open wound with a bandaid, but if you don’t clean it out first …and just treat it topically …it will begin to fester underneath.

    I know the argument can be made if his mother didn’t have the guns it wouldn’t have happened. maybe not that way …but something would have.

    It was unbelievable that even since that massacre there were STILL people threatening to harm others and even called in a bomb threat to Newtown.

    Sick people!

    It is a societal problem.

    I know I may get flack for this …but I think the ten commandments should be allowed back in schools. maybe they should teach courses on the value of human life, morals, etc., …but we live in a society that tells us there are no absolutes ..if it feels good do it. And maybe now we are seeing the consequences.

    I also believe that there will always be guns in the black market and if someone wants a gun ..they will find it. But the normal people won’t be able to protect themselves.

    And didn’t the Co shooter go to 2 other theatres 1st, but they allowed people to carry guns and the theater he chose had a rule that no one could carry a weapon? He would’ve been stopped much sooner had he gone to the other 2.

    • Your points are well taken and thank you very much for the comment. I appreciate it.

      Just to clarify, for the purposes of this post, my use of the term “evil” was in the secular sense, such as “Profoundly immoral and malevolent.”

      You may be interested to go over to KevinMD.com where this was cross-posted to read and address some of the comments that vehemently disagree. The response was quite different.


      Everyone seems to want to direct blame at someone or something other than the shooter. Is it possible this 20 year-old adult, who by all reports was very intelligent, may have been fully aware of his actions, their potential consequences, and may have purposefully and willfully committed these crimes?

      • Thank you for your comment.

        I know that “evil” can be taken in different contexts. Although for me …the source of something so heinous is from the pit of hell. How he got so depraved? I honestly haven’t followed up as I just needed to shut down from it for awhile. Not because I don’r care …but because i care so much.

        I also want to be clear that I don’t see a devil behind every bush …not at all. It’s an imperfect world and bad things happen. And we also make our own choices …free will and all. That being said, I do believe that humans can open themselves up to dark spiritual forces …sometimes intentionally and other times unaware about seemingly innocent choices they make.

        I did go over to read a bit and I think some of them overreacted. Evil …regardless of context certainly describes the horror that occurred that morning.

        “Is it possible this 20 year-old adult, who by all reports was very intelligent, may have been fully aware of his actions, their potential consequences, and may have purposefully and willfully committed these crimes?”

        Yes. Still …something has to be askew because normal people just would not do that.

        Son of Sam claimed he heard demonic voice commanding him to kill, but not every killer hears voices. But for the killers who don’r hear voices …there just has to be some pathology or influence causing them to do these things.

        And I STRONGLY believe that our culture of violence regarding movies, internet and video games needs to be seriously addressed. And better parenting, role models, and stop trashing moral values – there should be absolutes in life.

        Personally, I believe faith is important, but I also don’t believe you have to believe in God to be a good person. But, I do believe we need to teach respect for human life and there has to be consequences to bad behavior.

        And maybe people will vehemently disagree with me …but I also believe it is wrong to take God out of society.

        Sadly, there are just sick people out there. We do need better mental health coverage and also to remove the stigma of seeking mental health intervention. maybe there should be public service announcements addressing the importance of seeking help for psychological problems, encouraging them, letting them know they are not alone and it is a sign of strength to seek help and life can be better. And better insurance coverage. It’s ironic that insurance companies don’t want to pay out on physical health claims and yet they skimp on mental health coverage. Perhaps if they had better mental health coverage …people would be healthier because they then make better choices after having addressed the issues driving them into the bad behavior. Just a thought.

        I do take issue with a post at kevin MD in which a physician said that we were all responsible for what happened in CT. I don’t feel the least bit culpable. Perhaps I misunderstood. But, I think there were several things going on… that were missed …or were too hard for mom and people to face. I think we humans see things wrong at times …think something should be done but then become afraid to rock the boat …for whatever reason and it’s easier to pretend it’s okay, etc. Or they try …but the people that need to help ..look the other way, deny, etc.

        Life can be so complicated. So much gray area at times.

    • I don’t know if anyone will see this now or if interested. It’s 7:23 pm est.

      Aaron Klein an investigative reporter is on abc talk radio now and for two hrs will be discussing the role Satan worship may play in these kind of murders and he will end up bringing it all back to the Sandy Hook murders. He was just talking about the Araura, Co shootings and link. An important consideration to look at while trying to understand motivations with these things. He stated he will be discussing this topic from an investigative journalist perspective.

      I know not very night before Christmas Eve topic. I’m listening to that from one room off kitchen while baking and while simultaneously listening to Celtic Christmas music from another room on another side of the kitchen. :)

      Off topic: On other shows …Aaron also discusses news not often delved into on main cable or local news networks. Definitely get interesting information regarding the Middle east, terrorist interviews, etc.

  3. I have avoided the temptation to engage in a gun debate on this blog and realize that the sides to this issue are very polarized.

    The founders of this country believed so strongly in the principles of gun ownership and the security that gun ownership afforded to members of “a free state” that they created the Second Amendment to the Constitution. I don’t believe that the sensationalism of these horrible yet isolated incidents should blind us to the principles upon which this country was created.

    There is a very informative post about guns, gun ownership, and gun control here. It discounts several of the reasons that people give for wanting to control guns – especially those who claim that controlling guns controls crime. It is a long post, but well reasoned and informative. I hope that those who feel strongly about this issue, whether pro or con, take the time to read it.

  4. Hi WC – I 100% agree with you regarding your second paragraph.

    I had to laugh when I read the headlines to an article this past week that said the Chinese government thinks American people should be disarmed.

    People need to go back and read about the founding principals of this country.

    And America did really well following said principals and we should not undo what worked for so long.

    personally, I feel there are those that would undo the constitution and that is a dangerous road to go down. I also think America should NEVER give up her sovereignty, yet even that seems to be under threat. There is a reason America has been a beacon of light ..drawing people to her shores from around the world, been the bread basket of the world and been able to help defend, liberate and rebuild other countries around the world.

    Why do things seem to be crumbling now? What is different? How do we fix it? I say revisit the principals America was founded upon. Sorry – I digressed. :)

    Will check out that article after Christmas. :)

    PS – I worked with a woman who’s 10 yr old son was accidentally killed when he and a friend were playing with a gun they found at the top of his parent’s closet. Some years ago …a woman in our community was shot in the head while sleeping, allegedly by her husband.

    If guns weren’t in the house the boy would be alive ..possibly the wife. So …I understand why people think less deaths would occur if guns banned. I do.

    Btw …how is it a man can allegedly murder his wife and still not have gone to trial for it (keeps getting postponed – last I knew)and be out walking around in the community?????? He has been known to have a temper. Doesn’t prove his guilt – but no one was surprised.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *