Free Essay Describing Major Critical Incident and Impact on First Responders

Published: 2022-10-12
Free Essay Describing Major Critical Incident and Impact on First Responders
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Gun violence
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 757 words
7 min read

The Newtown shooting of 2012 was a mass shooting that occurred on December 14, 2012, in Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut that led to the demise of 28 people and two injuries. The shooter, Adam Lanza, started the shooting at home by shooting his mother four times using a .22 calibre rifle and drove her car to the school where he shot dead 20 students and six teachers before taking his life in one of the classrooms. Before he left for school, Lanza smashed the hard drive to his computer which made the collection of evidence difficult to the authorities. Despite the existence of a security system in the school, he made his way through a window adjacent to a locked security door shortly after 9.30 AM. The school principal confronted him together with the school psychologist, but the shooter killed them both. He proceeded to the classroom of teacher Lauren Rousseau where he killed 14 children and the teacher. He also made his way to the next class where he shot and killed Rachel D'Avino, Victoria Soto, Anne Marie Murphy, and six children. He killed himself shortly after police officers responded to the shooting (Shultz, Muschert, Dingwall and Cohen, 2013).

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Specific Stressors of the Shooting

Two tears after the shooting, investigators unearthed what is believed to be the specific stressor of the Sandy Hook Elementary school mass murder. Investigators analyzed the behavior of Adam Lanza which suggested that the deteriorating relationship with the mother was a significant stressor in the days and months before the shooting as he referred her as an irrational and selfish woman. Langman (2013) reports that Adam Lanza resented her mother's failure and communicated with her mother via email despite them sharing the same house. He also envied the children at the school where his mother volunteered because he felt that she abandoned him and loved the children in the school. Because of this, he became jealous of the children who received a lot of attention from Nancy Lanza, an act which explains the rage that he had towards the students in the school (Langman, 2013). Despite this, he methodically prepared and planned his attack with care and did not snap.

The other stressor was believed to be his sexuality. Adam Lanza is reported to have been pedophilic and advocated for the rights of pedophiles. He also got engaged in online chats concerning fantasies of homosexuals, which show interest in personal relationships. Lanza is also believed to be suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenia thus contributing to his psychosis. Collins (2017) argues that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found out from their investigations that Adam Lanza was suffering from Asperger's syndrome, a disorder related with violence, but he never accepted this and did not take any medication prescribed. In addition to this, Lanza's mother rejected the advice of psychologist for medication and rigorous treatment for the son anxiety and other conditions. The parents and educators of Adam Lanza were associated with his social isolation as they never confronted his problems such as olfactory hallucinations, odd compulsions, lack of verbal interactions, sensitivity to noise and touch, and extreme social withdrawal.

Furthermore, psychologists believe that he was psychotic. Langman (2013) argues that Lanza was obsessed with mass murderers, school shooters, violence, and military. This explains why the killer may have found role models in psychotic shooters who either killed members of the family or participated in school shootings who suffered from undiagnosed schizophrenia. Also, FBI unraveled a spreadsheet that had a compiled list of spree killings and mass murders, and showed that mass shooting is a sign that a society is broken. It is believed that the shooter wanted to save children from harmful influences from adults.

Impact On an Emergency First Responder

The impact of Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting was felt by different people in the society. Responders and law enforcement are tasked with the response to mass shootings and have witnessed scenes that no ordinary person have to see. The healing process that is associated with with such tragedies are challneging and have both long and short-term effects.


Collins, D. (2017). Sandy Hook shooting: FBI files reveal mass killer Adam Lanza had pedophilic interest in children. Independent. Retrieved from

Langman, P. (2013). Revisiting Adam Lanza: The Official Sandy Hook Report. Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers. Retrieved from

Shultz, J. M., Muschert, G. W., Dingwall, A., & Cohen, A. M. (2013). The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as tipping point: "This Time Is Different". Disaster health, 1(2), 65-73.

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