On a special edition of 20/20 devoted to Friday’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT, ABC’s Deborah Roberts introduced an interview subject, “David Donahue knows all too well the trauma of a school shooting. He had just turned 14, when a classmate opened fire on his high school prayer group in Paducah, Kentucky, 15 years ago. The shooter, another freshman, had been at David’s birthday party a couple of months prior.” She asked him, “what do you remember most about that morning?”
“Just the chaos right after it happened,” he said. “I remember sitting in my gym class waiting for it to start, and a girl came in running, saying that somebody was shooting.”
“So what do you go home and say to your kids tonight?” she asked.
“That there are bad people out there that do evil things,” he answered, “but we can’t go around afraid for our lives all the time and hide. We have to do our best to live our lives as normally as possible.”
Roberts added, “many of the kids at Sandy Hook may have a better chance at normalcy soon, because it appeared their school had a plan in place when disaster struck.”
Donahue said, “I can’t even imagine being one of the parents who lost a child tonight. I would definitely say that you need to go home and love your kids tonight, because that’s definitely what I’ll be doing.”
It was this same time of year, fifteen years ago, when three students were killed and five wounded during a prayer circle at Heath High School, in West Paducah, Kentucky. It was December 1, 1997, pre-Columbine. Then-principal Bill Bond, later retired in 2000, and now serves as a security consultant. He was quoted in Saturday’s New York Daily News as saying, “”The school could not have stopped it without prior knowledge that he was coming.”
Sandy Hook elementary school did have a doorbell system and identification procedures in place.