Editorial: Lessons in the unthinkable

School shootings were already echoing through America when on Dec. 14, 2012, a madman massacred students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. On a day they should have been preparing for the holidays, 26 families were forever shattered.

The most innocent were victims, and our own innocence as a society was itself killed.

In the nearly 20 years since the Columbine shootings, everyone involved in schools has thought and rethought the situation. What do we do in the classroom? What do the responders do when they reach the scene? What should we have done, what could we have done, to prevent this in the first place.

Inevitably a political debate ensues over whose right outweigh whose, and nothing is decided until the next attack — yet another in a string that already numbers too many.

But more lives would be saved if we addressed the issues that create a society in which a person, regardless of how many warning signs have been displayed, can obtain a weapon and use it on our most vulnerable.

For those inclined to lend their voices to the efforts to promote stricter gun safety laws, here are a number of opportunities.

CT Against Gun Violence works to reduce gun violence in Connecticut by keeping firearms out the hands of dangerous people, limiting the lethality of weapons, and advocating for federal laws that bolster Connecticut laws and reduce the flow of illegal guns into the state. More information is available at cagv.org.

The mission of Sandy Hook Promise is to prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge so that no other parents experiences the senseless, horrific loss of their child. Information: sandyhookpromise.org.

Do Not Stand Idly By is a campaign of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, a network of people of all faiths and backgrounds. By leveraging market power, this organization wants to move gun manufacturers to set standards for the dealers they use as sales outlets. It is also urging the manufacture of smart guns that can only be fired by authorized users. Information: donotstandidlyby.org.

YANA of Bridgeport stands for You Are Not Alone. The group offers comfort and support for families who have lost children to violence in and around the city. There is also a YANA Sisterhood for girls 11 to 18. Information: yanaofbridgeport.org.

Educators are doing their part to create a safe place. The rest of us need to outside of school.