One week after the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, the name Sandy Hook
is one we all know, a part of our nation's consciousness alongside Columbine and Virginia Tech
. We've learned the names of the 26 adults and children who were killed, and we've looked at their photos again and again while mourning so many young lives lost.
Christmas stockings with the names of shooting victims hang from railing near a makeshift memorial near the town Christmas tree in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn., Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. The memorial, which was put up in the aftermath of the elementary school shooting that shocked the small town, is increasing in size as the days go on. More funerals are scheduled for Wednesday, as the town continues to mourn its victims. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
It's a tragedy that will go down in history not only for its magnitude, but also because it came at the end of a year that seemed to be filled with tragic stories of deadly mass shootings – so much so that the Associated Press has named the mass shootings of 2012 the top story of the year.
On February 28, we were shocked by a smaller but no less horrible school shooting. Ohio's Chardon High School mourned the deaths of three students after a fellow student opened fire in the cafeteria.
Six college students and a secretary were killed on April 2 at Oikos University in Oakland, California, shot by a nursing student who had been expelled.
With the next deadly shooting coming just a week later, we wondered what more could go wrong in 2012. Three adults were killed on April 9 in an apparently random attack in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
On July 20, the nation reeled at the news of a shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve moviegoers were killed during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises."
Six were killed at a Milwaukee-area Sikh temple on August 5. A possible hate crime, it prompted anger and grief throughout Wisconsin and the country.
Not three months later, Milwaukee suffered further when three were shot and killed at a spa in suburban Brookfield on October 21. Police also found an improvised bomb on the scene.
Just a few days before tragedy struck Connecticut, we watched the horrifying news of a shooting at a mall in suburban Portland, Oregon on December 11. Two were killed while holiday shoppers filled the mall.
And then, of course, came Sandy Hook. It was a horrific bookend to a year that sometimes seemed filled with violence and grief.
But as we continue to watch coverage of the Newtown tragedy and a nation's response, we're reminded that while this kind of violent act comes occasionally, gestures of goodness happen every day. We see that in #26 Acts of Kindness going viral on Twitter…
…in the relief funds that strangers have set up for the families of those who were lost…
…in the tens of thousands of condolence messages sent from a grieving nation to those same families…
Violence may always be a part of our world, but goodness can outshine violence… if we let it.