Adam Lanza’s violence came from a disturbed mind, not a loaded gun. (Photo credit: Fox News)

Anthony Sganga, Editor-in-Chief

On the morning of December 14, one of the most heinous tragedies in recent memory occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, described as an intelligent, shy 20 year old, entered the school and proceeded to kill 27 people, including himself, in a scene that has become all too familiar in recent years.

I felt my phone buzz shortly after 10:00 a.m., Friday, and saw the update that there had been a shooting. Sadly, before knowing the details, and being part of a society as numbed to violence as we have become, no surprise or shock registered over me. I had figured, just as the other times this year, as with various times in the last few years, this was yet another shooting that would be talked about for a bit, then forgotten. Just like Aurora. Just like Arizona. Just like Virginia Tech.

However, as the news continued to roll in through my Twitter feed and on the various news websites, the horrific reality of what had happened began to make me realize that this was, for better or for worse, going to have an impact on how violence is viewed in America.

Two classrooms full of innocent and helpless first graders gunned down at close range in a building that is supposed to be a safe escape. Children, all six and seven years old, unable to comprehend the idea of death, nevertheless face it.

A heroic principal, rushing out upon the sound of gunshots, only to be shot and killed herself, now leaves behind five children and a husband.

First responders, who will forever have the scarring images of what they saw upon entering that elementary school etched in their minds.

A Connecticut town of a little over 27,000, now stunned and silent, tasked with the unimaginable duty of trying to understand such a loss.

The president, a father himself, brought to tears when making a statement about what surely in his mind could have been his own children just as easy as any other.

And a nation, once again, for the the fourth time in five years, faced with a tragedy that just doesn’t make sense.

As of now, the answers aren’t clear, and they likely won’t be for a while.

However, what is known is that Lanza killed his mother at their home, took her car, drove to Sandy Hook Elementary, and proceeded to kill six adults and twenty children before turning the gun to himself as police entered the building.

Instead of trying to understand what would lead someone to cause such violence, the first reaction from many in the media was that this was the moment for stricter gun laws. However, is that the answer?

The gun laws we have now stopped Adam Lanza from buying a weapon. Two days before the shooting, Lanza went to a local sporting goods store to buy a rifle and was denied due to Connecticut’s waiting law on weapons.

Would stricter gun laws have made Lanza a more stable person and erode the obviously disturbing thoughts that led to this tragedy? No, Lanza was clearly disturbed and in some form or fashion would have found a way to act upon his plans.

Would stricter guns laws have stopped Lanza’s mother from being a gun enthusiast? I don’t believe so, as any new laws would still allow citizens the right to own a weapon as long as they cleared background and legal qualifications. No, Nancy Lanza would have in all chances have had at least a couple of weapons in her home.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. And as much as this phrase has been shunned in the last few days, it nonetheless remains true. While the argument is that the guns were the vehicle that allowed Danza to commit his rampage, he most likely have found a way to cause his violence. Ironically, on the very same day, in Beijing, Min Yingjin, a disturbed man, stabbed 22 children. The same thing that could have prevented the stabbings, as well as what happen in Newtown, is vigilance.

A person who is disturbed enough to shoot 20 children does not exhibit warning signs randomly one morning. In many of the shootings, going back to Columbine, those who knew the shooters often saw signs of impending violence.

With Columbine, the school was warned months in advance that Eric Harris, one of the shooters, was potentially dangerous. Harris had a website with a “hit list” as well as mentioning the use of pipe bombs. Even though the school had begun to institute a security procedure before the shooting, nothing was done to sit down with Harris.

In the Virginia Tech tragedy, a college faculty member had become aware of Seung-Hui Cho’s disturbing writings and behavior in 2005, nearly two years before the attack that killed 32 students. The professor, Lucinda Roy, tried to alert campus officials. No action was taken.

In Aurora, a psychiatrist had expressed concern to the University of Colorado about James Holmes behavior a full six months before the July 20 shooting. The University did nothing.

In all these cases, signs were shown and ignored. The blind eye we turn to those who are clearly disturbed is the same eye that sees the signs so clearly after the fact.

The Newtown warning signs have already begun to show. According to recent reports, Nancy Lanza felt that she could no longer reach Adam in the days leading up to the shooting. The mother believed that she was “losing” Lanza and that he was getting worse.

We as a society need to better understand what drives these people to such acts. Knowledge, not fear, will allow these acts to be stopped. Only if we better understand the kind of mentality that allows someone to kill others without regard can we prevent what happened in Newtown. In the last few days there has been a push for a national debate on stricter gun regulation. However, there needs to be a national discussion, not a debate. Take from what was in Adam Lanza’s head, not his hand.