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Living, not just surviving: Hope after the massacre

Aleteia - published on 09/20/19

A teacher who survived the Newtown shooting shares her reasons for hope

Dawn is a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT (USA). On the morning of December 14, 2012, she was at the school when a killer burst into action, killing 26 people: 6 adults and 20 children.

“How does God allow this to happen?” Dawn remembers the events: She was in a meeting room with 8 other people. At the sound of the first shots, they took refuge in the corners of the room. The only phone for sounding the alarm was on the wall near her. She made it to the phone and tried to get an outside line, but the shots began again, and she went back to the corner, leaving the receiver hanging off the hook.

According to the police, that telephone activated the school’s PA system, allowing everyone to hear what was happening and take cover. But that telephone wasn’t connected to the PA system.

“It wasn’t me,” she said. “A miracle happened that day. The answer to the question, ‘Where was God?’ is ‘God was there.’”

Dawn cries when she recounts those dramatic hours. She needed all her family’s and friends’ help, but the support of countless strangers—thousands of messages from around the world—were also a balm on the wound. “I saw hope in the kindness of others. There’s more good than bad in the world, and I think we need to nurture it and cultivate it by being good to each other.”

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