Flags are at half staff Saturday in states across the country, in memory of the victims in Newtown Connecticut. Parents, councilors, and psychologists, including those in Vermont, are trying to make sense of the massacre.
"It's a horrible, kind of demented way of constructing reality. In some way that perhaps made sense to him although none of us could really get our arms around it," said forensic psychologist, Thomas Powell.
Powell, of Shelburne, says he doesn't have all the details behind the tragedy in Connecticut. What he does know is that the named shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was known to be alienated growing up and didn't quite fit in.
"When a person reaches that level of psychological decomposition and unraveling and is able to start killing people it may be a fine line of where you stop and where you don't stop," said Powell.
The incident is a stark reminder in this region of August 2006, when an armed Christopher Williams entered the Essex Elementary School, looking for his ex-girlfriend. Police say he had already killed her mother. Two teachers were shot at the school, one fatally.
"These bizarre incidents shouldn't change the overall understanding that schools are a safe place for people," said Jim Fitzpatrick, the retired superintendent of Essex Elementary School.
Fitzpatrick was superintendent the year of the shooting. He remembers it being a random act that no one saw coming. But, he insisted that drastic measures didn't need to be taken.
"You have to get back to normal as soon as possible, which is what we tried to do at Essex at the time, and I'm sure they'll do at Newtown is try to show that these kind of things do not disrupt our lives completely, and we have the capacity to move on," said Fitzpatrick.
"The worst thing we can do is try to scare our kids into acting differently by saying we have to do this we have to do that. Its not fair to the kids. It's not helpful, it does not make them safer by being scared. I think teaching them to live their lives well is the best thing we can do," said Powell.
Advice on moving forward from a senseless massacre.