In light of the James Holmes trial, it is hard not to think of Adam Lanza, and his heinous shooting spree on December 14, which took the lives of 20 young students, and six teachers. Lanza also killed his mother before going to the school. Unlike Holmes, Lanza turned a gun on himself. Adam Lanza took the coward's way out, committing suicide before first responders arrived. Had he lived, Lanza would most surely be locked up, facing a long and arduous trial. But in Connecticut, there is no death penalty, and where Holmes is facing trial in Colorado, the state does have the death penalty. Would the Adam Lanza case change the thinking in a state marred with some of the strictest gun laws in the country?
The Adam Lanza shooting has people seeing red, blood red. This young man forced his way into an elementary school, and took out his rage out on innocent children. The 20 schoolchildren he killed were all ages 6 and 7, and sickeningly all 20 were shot more than once. Lanza also callously gunned down Principal Dawn Hochsprung, as she tried to tackle him, as well as first grade teacher Vicki Soto, who courageously faced a hail of bullets while hiding her students in a closet. The toll of this crime is unimaginable. One month later, it is still impossible to contemplate that this event actually happened.
As James Holmes faces his judgment day, I can only wonder what the citizens of Newtown, Connecticut would be preparing for. Holmes faces 166 counts, including murder and attempted murder. He shot and killed 12 people, injuring 58 others. But Holmes will have his day in court, as he has been ordered to stand trial. And hopefully, they will come out with a death penalty conviction.
The victims of Sandy Hook do not have this luxury. While we know a trial and sentencing are not perfect and do not make up for the lives that were lost, they do help provide some closure. There will be no impact statements, no words from Robbie Parker, who lost his precious 6-year-old daughter Emilie at the hands of a maniac. What would he say if he had a chance to speak at Lanza's trial? I can only imagine that he would want the strictest punishment available for the sake of his daughter. But in Connecticut, the strictest punishment Lanza would get would be life in prison without the possibility of parole.
One would have to believe this would incense the citizens of Connecticut: this diabolical, rampage killer not having to pay with his life, and instead getting to sit out the remainder of his days locked away, while their children and teachers are dead. Their babies were slaughtered at school. Knowing what they know now, would the state of Connecticut rethink its policies on the death penalty? One would hope it would open their eyes to the need for severe, harsh punishment.