Sandy Hook shootings: 20 kids who should still be with us

Donna Soto, right, mother of Victoria Soto, the Donna Soto, right, mother of Victoria Soto, the first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who was shot and killed while protecting her students, hugs her daughter Karly while mourning their loss at a candlelight vigil in honor of Victoria at Stratford High School in Stratford, Connecticut. (Dec. 15, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Joye Brown Newsday columnist Joye Brown

Joye Brown has been a columnist for Newsday since 2006. She joined the newspaper in 1983 and has ...

We know now the names -- Sandy Hook's young scholars, students who were slaughtered in their Connecticut grammar school.

Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase and Jesse; James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin and Allison.

We know now that they were first-graders; that most of them were 6 years old; and that the four eldest in the group were only 7.

We know now that one child, Chase, was born on Halloween; that two others, Grace and Noah, had birthdays last month and that one girl, Josephine, celebrated her birth three days before her death.

We know, from Dr. H. Wayne Carver II, Connecticut's chief medical examiner, what the children were wearing.

Carver said so during a news conference Saturday, reviving something of their too-short lives by using present tense.

"They are wearing cute kid stuff," Carver said. "It is the kind of stuff you would send your kids and your grandkids off to school wearing."

We also Saturday learned the names and more of the heroic deeds of adults who were killed trying to thwart a gunman twisted enough to kill innocents.

Just as we are beginning to learn more of what happened during the last minutes of the victims' lives, we also now know -- in no uncertain terms -- how they were killed.

"I believe everybody was hit more than once," Carver said, referring to the semiautomatic rifle that he said was used to kill the victims.

Carver handled the autopsies of seven victims. Each body bore the devastating evidence of multiple wounds.

At one point during a news conference, Carver paused because he said he didn't want to be too technical about the carnage. "The energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullet stays in," he said.

Carver also said that two people he examined had been shot at close range.

He was asked whether the children suffered, the same question, according to a local priest, that so many of their parents asked when he accompanied officials to homes so parents could identify photographs of their babies.

"If so," Carver replied, "not for very long."

There's a lot we still don't know, especially the why of what pushed a young man to commit so heinous an act.

Or how he managed to get semiautomatic weapons.

Carver said each of the children he examined was shot between three and 11 times -- which echoes survivors saying they heard multiple rounds.

Pop, pop, pop.

Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.

Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase and Jesse; James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin and Allison never had much of a chance against the onslaught.

How much more do we need to know before finding a sensible way to curb access to so efficient, so lethal a tool?

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