I do not yet know much about the school shooting that took place in Connecticut today. I do know that there will be much moaning, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, some of it about the need for gun control, some about the moral degradation of society, and so forth. Much of that is necessary emoting: I have no advice for how best to process and grieve for events such as these.
I can, however, offer some historical perspective, as I observed in August over at Political Violence at a Glance following the movie theater shooting in Colorado, though mass killing is abhorrent, it is not unusual. And in this case I want to again draw attention to May, 1927 when an elementary school official in Bath, Michigan “killed 38 elementary school children, two teachers, four other adults, and himself,” while injuring 58 others via bombs he had set in his home and a local school. As horrific as these events are, they are not peculiar to the time in which we live, but instead are a rare, yet ever present aspect of American society.