Police released thousands of pages Friday from their investigation into the Newtown massacre, providing the most detailed and disturbing picture yet of the rampage and Adam Lanza's fascination with murder, while also depicting school employees' brave and clearheaded attempts to protect the children.
Among the details: more than a dozen bodies, mostly children, were discovered packed "like sardines" in a bathroom where they had hidden. And the horrors encountered inside the school were so great that when police sent in paramedics, they tried to select ones capable of handling what they were about to witness.
"This will be the worst day of your life," police Sgt William Cario warned one.
The documents' release marks the end of the investigation into the December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.
I have little doubt that it was indeed the worst day of that paramedics life, as evidenced by what was revealed in these documents.
Included were photographs of the Lanza home showing numerous rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, shot-up paper targets, gun cases, shooting earplugs and a gun safe with a rifle in it.
A former teacher of Lanza's was quoted as telling investigators that Lanza exhibited anti-social behavior, rarely interacted with other students and wrote obsessively "about battles, destruction and war."
"In all my years of experience, I have known (redacted) grade boys to talk about things like this, but Adam's level of violence was disturbing," the teacher told investigators. The teacher added: "Adam's creative writing was so graphic that it could not be shared."
The documents also fill in more details about how the shooting unfolded and how staff members looked out for the youngsters.
Teachers heard janitor Rick Thorne try to get Lanza to leave the school. One teacher, who was hiding in a closet in the math lab, heard Thorne yell, "Put the gun down!" An aide said that she heard gunfire and that Thorne told her to close her door. Thorne survived.
Teacher Kaitlin Roig told police she heard "rapid-fire shooting" near her classroom. She rushed her students into the classroom's bathroom, pulled a rolling storage unit in front of the bathroom door as a barricade and then locked the door.
She heard a voice say, "Oh, please, no. Please, no." Eventually, police officers slid their badges under the bathroom door. Roig refused to come out and told them that if they were truly police, they should be able to get the key to the door which they did.
Others weren't so lucky.
Police Lt Christopher Vanghele said he and another officer found what appeared to be about 15 bodies packed in another bathroom. So many people had tried to cram inside the bathroom that the door couldn't be closed, and the shooter gunned them all down, Vanghele surmised.
Vanghele also recalled another officer carrying a little girl in his arms and running for the exit. Vanghele ran with him through the parking lot as the officer repeated, "Come on sweetie, come on sweetie." The girl didn't survive.
There were amazing stories of bravery that day from the teachers, the principal who gave her life, and even the janitor who confronted the young gunman.
And the compassion of the police who had to witness such a terrible event, and then had the forethought to select only those paramedics that they thought could handle the scenes of carnage, to send into the school with the warning "This will be the worst day of your life."
This compassion stands in stark contrast to some on the Right who were so desperate to disprove another terrible shooting had taken place that they invented a crazy conspiracy about a false flag operation designed to energize lawmakers into passing new restrictions on gun ownership.
I wonder if any of those people would change their tune after talking to the police or paramedics who had to witness the aftermath of our lax gun laws in this country?
Yeah, probably not.