Should places where mass shootings occur be returned to their former use?

After last month’s massacre, townspeople in Newtown, Conn., are debating whether to return Sandy Hook Elementary School to service. Family members of some shooting victims are angry about the reopening of the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Columbine High School in Colorado was partly rebuilt after the 1999 shootings there, and Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis is back in business after a massacre there last September. Today’s Question: Should places where mass shootings occur be returned to their former use?

  • GregX

    that assumes there is a choice.
    for many communities… that just isn’t so.
    we are a nation memorializes everything.
    halls of fame, gold stars, greeting cards, jersey shore…

    what a mix …
    have we give ourselves something to cry for?

    • Keith

      I totally agree – we are a memorializing culture. Nothing against remembering bad (and good) things that happened on a particular day or at a particular place, but attaching a plaque to everything and insisting that we can’t forget anything is a bit much. Just like all those roadside crosses you always see. Life goes on.

  • Gary F

    If ti is a private business, it’s up to that business to re-open, sell, or develop it into something that fits into the zoning regulations.

    If its a school, the community must make that decision. Not everyone will be happy with the decision. I think they should re-open it, and show the world they aren’t going to back down.

    In either instance, I hope they let legal people carry. Gun free zones are just game preserves for evil people.

    • GregX

      How does an average citizen, just standing there, know the difference between a psychopath with a gun waiting for an opportunity and a legal CnC’er standing there with a hog-leg strapped to their chest, hip or leg ?

      When I (as a stranger) asked CnC’ers what they are carrying … they typically respond with anger of varying levels. That’s led my anecdotal study to perceive paranoia … not pride or citizenship.

      • david

        Interesting observation GregX. I actually know more then a few people who obtained the CnC permit, but none of them actually every carry a gun in public. It was more for the novelty of obtaining it. If i had more disposable income i might do the same. Anyway the ones that scared me were the ones who didn’t bother with the conceal part. They were proud to be packing, and it was an obvious boost to their self image. These were the people i would avoid at all costs.

        • GregX

          Two of my friends train/certify people for CnC. 80% hate the idea of lugging a weapon around day in day out. but those that do … seem to fall into two categories…. justifiably concerned and just a fry billy with nerves.

  • reggie

    Maybe we should develop a simple, elegant marker to commemorate sites of tragedy, much like we have with the brass plaques of the National Registry of Historic Places, or the moving rows of plain grave markers in national cemeteries. We can’t afford (psychicly, more than financially, perhaps) to perpetuate an escalating cycle of memorials, nor can we afford to allow the perpetrators of tragedies like the spate of recent school shootings to render community resources unusable. An abandoned or demolished school or business becomes as much about the perpetrator as about the victims.

    • Steve the Cynic

      I don’t know exactly what the price of brass is, but all those markers could get expensive. Maybe they could be paid for with a tax on assault weapons and ammunition. 😉

    • Wally

      Well said, Reggie!

  • Steve the Cynic

    Shouldn’t it be up to whoever owns the property? If the business owners want to persevere and reopen, good for them! If the people of a school district want to do something other than simply try to get back to normal (as if that’s possible), so be it.

  • Bear

    Like most things, there is no one answer that applies universally. For a private business, economics would be a major factor. Can a business afford to abandon a facilty? A school is more problematic. School districts are nor replant with cash. So, abandoning a building has economic impacts. On the other hand, what are the impact on the students? Tough decision!

  • Jim G

    Whatever the Sandy Hook Elementary community decides to do, this place has become sacred in the way that all places become sacred…blood was shed here. Lives were taken and nothing will change that reality. Whether the building is re-purposed or razed, I hope it becomes a place where the lives of the children so violently taken and staff who sacrificed themselves trying to protect their students are celebrated.

    These places of sacrifice, both public and private, have become sacred places, the mountain tops on which we should build our altars: to stand upon and see what they saw; the horrific, the innocence, the courageous, and honorable. Here we can pray for wisdom.

  • Wally

    Use the buildings again. Place a memorial, to be seen when people enter the building. That way it will be seen more often, than if the structures are razed and some marker is placed in an empty field. If the buildings are used for something different, that’s okay, but don’t take the buildings down.

  • david

    In the case of the sign company, i am sure their only real options was to go back to work there or close. Sad to say but i would guess the shooting in the movie theater was ultimately good for their business. We humans do have a grotesque and morbid curiosity. The school is a tough call. They can’t really afford to move I’m sure, but do they want to keep subjecting their kids to the memories. It’s hard to find a balance between moving on with one’s life and not forgetting history so not to keep repeating it.

  • georges

    Of course they should be used again for their intended purpose.

    And no……definitely no public memorial items……no brass plaques……no stained windows…….no interactive historical walkways……..

    This is the kind of thing that feeds the ego of the mentally ill would-be self-glorified SuperHero-in-his-own-mind of the future. Don’t give it to him. Refuse to add fuel to his fire.

    He wants only 4 things:

    To make his plan.

    To execute his plan.

    To kill himself at the end of his plan.

    And to be remembered by all.

    Any kind of solid-item public memorial will give him number 4. Don’t give it to him. He doesn’t deserve it. The friends and family of the victims will properly remember them. In private, where the wannabees of the future can derive no encouragement or power from them.

    • David P.

      georges – while I agree with your fourth point on this issue, I pause to ask myself about memorials for 9-11 or the Oklahoma City bombing. By doing so, aren’t we feeding the same ego – for the perpetrators to be remembered?

      • georges

        The functional equations are very different, as to 9-11.

        Those people are going to hate us and attempt to kill as many of us as they can without regard to any memorials we may erect. They have no problem recruiting new devotees.

        Oklahoma City, on the other hand, is similar in some respects, and I would rather they had built something else on the site where the memorial is.

        • David P.

          georges – Why do “they” hate us? That is another question for another day… I do think that part of the incentive for “them” is to leave a legacy, and a memorial serves as another recruiting tool.

        • GregX

          I think you are on very thin ice.
          No once “memoralizes” the killers. Just the victims.

          Any notoriety killers might gain is from the media .. and I’ll assume you would never support denying a constitutional right – lie free press, the right to bear arms … or both to confront each other..

          • georges

            “No once “memoralizes” the killers. Just the victims.”

            You are making the mistake of assuming the killers think like normal folks think. That is absurd. If they had a conscience, like normal folks, and values, like normal folks…….they wouldn’t go around killing little children.

            In their twisted minds, any brass plaques, etc., are perceived as glory to their greatness.

            If you want to stop them, the first thing you have to do is understand them. You will never be able to do that if you think that they think like normal people. They don’t. And they prove it by their actions.

          • Steve the Cynic

            These are helpful comments, georges. You seem to have some insight into the psyches of those killers.

  • JasonB

    Some stock responses:

    Yes. It sends a message of defiance and determination to move on and not live with a permanent scar or a possible shrine to the act.

    No. It is hallowed ground and should be treated with reverential respect to honor and remember the victims and families.

    Both are valid. Let your conscience decide what’s best.

  • Eric M. Brock

    Yes, we don’t close highways or bars because of drunk drivers, and more people die from DWI than from mass shooters.

    • georges

      More people die from just about any other cause than mass shootings.

      Choking…..25 times as many as mass shootings.

      Fires….27 times as many

      Drowning……20 times as many

      Falls (bathtubs, icy steps, etc.) ……..250 times as many

      Poisoning…….390 times as many

      Auto accidents……..420 times as many

      Bad doctoring………1,200 times as many
      Yes, dying from a mass shooting is very low on the list. Statistically irrelevant.
      I guess worry warts can’t get really worked up over slippery bathtub bottoms………

  • Ann M

    According to some people, it is important that we not forget what happened. The community probably doesn’t want Sandy Hook School used as a school. The building could be used in many ways for people who need help. It could be a drug treatment center for people having problems with legal and illegal drugs. I would like to have more places where people can go to use the Internet. Some of us can only afford dial up Internet or no Internet at all. It makes it more difficult to be a part of the community.

  • Roy Wehking

    Those decisions are up to that community and those affected. It
    Is not a question for the people not affected by the tragedy.