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'Raising Adam Lanza' and PBS' week on Newtown

Students at Miller Avenue Elementary School in Shoreham

Students at Miller Avenue Elementary School in Shoreham walk past a quilt on display in the lobby of the school. The quilt was made by the students to be sent to Connecticut for Sandy Hook Elementary School. Each square was decorated by students using "hope" as the central message. (Jan. 9, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara)

PBS will devote a considerable amount of airtime next week to the horrific shootings in Newton, Conn., last December, and I've just seen one of the most highly anticipated programs in the lineup, "Raising Adam Lanza," about the 20-year-old killer who took a Bushmaster rifle to Sandy  Hook Elementary School and slaughtered 20 first-graders and six adults. (Go here to find out more about the weeklong series, "After Newtown," which begins Monday.)  

 "Frontline," which produced this 32-minute film in conjuction with the Hartford Courant, has asked that all details be embargoed until Sunday, when the Courant's print piece runs. ("Frontline" will air in its usual time period Tuesday. The Lanza piece comprises half of the hour; the other half focuses on guns and Newtown.)

  Meanwhile, here are a couple of quick observations that I don't think violate the spirit of that embargo. First, don't go into this thinking that all answers will be supplied, all mysteries resolved -- including the most terrifying one: Why? If you do, you are bound to be disappointed. The two Courant reporters who follow this story -- Alaine Griffin and Josh Kovner -- are obvious pros, but they run up against the limits that any investigation, no matter how thorough or diligent, ultimately must confront in a story like this. Simply put, complete answers may never be known. (The feds and local authorities continue their investigation and to what extent results of their inquiry will be made public are unclear at this point.) 

  Meanwhile, great credit due to PBS, Frontline and the Courant in pursuing this story and devoting so many resources to it  -- more reason why public television is so vital and why newspapers like the Courant are so indispensible.    

Watch Adam Lanza As a Child on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

  

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