Making sense of the madness

Americans are still reeling.

It’s been nearly a week since a madman blasted his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and left 20 first- and second-graders, along with six teachers, in his murderous wake. The nation is trying to make sense of what it cannot yet grasp. Why did this killer commit such a heinous act? How does the nation stop this insanity? Who or what is to blame?

PBS will seek to move this discussion forward Friday night. It would serve us all well to tune in, watch, listen and maybe take something constructive away from it.

“After Newtown” will air at 7 p.m. on KACV-TV. Public TV station WNET is broadcasting a one-hour special using journalistic resources from the PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Need to Know and Washington Week in Review to try to analyze what happened in Newtown and how the nation can move forward.

“PBS is going beyond the headlines to provide a comprehensive look at this tragedy and provide a forum for an in-depth national conversation,” said PBS chief programming executive and general manager for audience programming Beth Hoppe.

WNET president Neal Shapiro said, “PBS has brought together the resources of the nation’s most-trusted news and public affairs teams to advance a thoughtful and compassionate discussion about our country’s tragedy.”

Longtime PBS journalist Gwen Ifill will be host for the broadcast that will examine gun control, whether we’re doing enough to help people with mental illness, detecting violent instincts and how communities — such as ours — should react to these tragedies.

Perhaps together we can begin to heal our national heartbreak.

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