It’s a parent’s ultimate nightmare; a shooting rampage by a mentally disturbed person in an elementary school that leaves 20 young children dead, along with six other adults.
I certainly cannot shake the horror of what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary last Friday, thinking as I do of my own three children even now scattered among three different schools not far – yet at the same time all too far – from home.
There of course will be much-needed debate following this terrible tragedy – about gun rights and the needs of the mentally ill vs. public safety, only for starters – and trucking should not remove itself from the discussion.
Indeed, the industry isn’t immune from such violence. Just this past June, a shooting took the life of a truck company owner in Pennsylvania, while another two years ago left seven Teamster truck drivers dead at a Connecticut distribution center.
There will undoubtedly be many lessons learned from the almost unspeakable horror that occurred at Sand Hook Elementary, but perhaps the most poignant – and frightening – one our nation and this industry must absorb is that you really just cannot accurately predict and intercept such tragedies before they unfold.
Take the Teamster shooting as well as one that occurred at a Navistar truck engine plant back in 2001. In both cases, the workers who went on deadly shooting rampages had been accused of theft and were being given opportunities to defend themselves and/or resign quietly. Instead, the accused rained down death and destruction upon their brethren.
It’s also important to remember the selfless actions that took place at Sandy Hook as well; of teachers who stood in the line of fire and died trying to save their young students. Truckers are also well-versed in such bravery, as witnessed by countless acts of heroism on the road in times duress.
In the end, however -- though changes will be made that will hopefully help prevent such future tragedies from happening -- they will come too late for the 26 souls lost at Sandy Hook.
That is perhaps the worst realization of them all.