(The Root) — While most Americans pulled together and really showed the world America at its best following the tragic murder of 20 kids and six adults at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., there were some Americans who went out of their way to epitomize America at its worst.
From insensitive remarks to even more insensitive behavior, below is a look at the worst offenders.
1. Eleven-year-old brings gun to school.
What's a reasonable reaction to hearing that a bunch of kids got shot in a school by another kid whose mother left guns within his reach? Apparently one family thought that leaving a gun within the reach of their kid made sense. An 11-year-old boy in Utah was caught with a gun at school and claimed his parents gave it to him for protection at school in light of the Newtown massacre, a charge his parents deny. But one thing they can't deny is that somehow their son got his hands on a firearm, and had he not been caught with it by more responsible adults at his school, our nation could have ended up grieving a second school shooting tragedy in just as many weeks.
2. Gun owners aim to deport Piers Morgan.
British TV personality Piers Morgan certainly has earned a diverse cadre of critics, sparring partners and enemies over the years, among them Madonna, Touré and actor Hugh Grant. But Morgan's latest set of enemies may actually end up winning him some fans. After Morgan used his CNN show to criticize America's gun-friendly culture, some American gun lovers decided to start a petition to have him deported back to his native United Kingdom. Unfortunately for Morgan, he has a lot of enemies there, too, so he may actually be more welcome here, despite the fact that more than 40,000 Americans have already signed petitions on the White House website to have him deported.
3. Gun enthusiasts stock up on assault weapons.
While a growing number of American adults responded to news of the Newtown tragedy by increasing their support for more gun control, others responded by buying more guns — and not just any guns. Purchased were some of the most deadly: assault weapons. According to local reports, the sales of assault weapons — military-style firearms that were banned under federal law from 1994 to 2004 — have gone through the roof since the Newtown shooting.
4. NRA says put armed guards in schools.
While many people have put the blame for the Newtown shooting on more immediate safety loopholes within the system, among them lax oversight or the access that those deemed mentally or emotionally unstable have to firearms, Wayne LaPierre, spokesperson for the NRA proposed that the problem that led to the Newtown tragedy was not too many guns, but too few. In a press conference that has even been decried a disaster by gun-rights supporters, LaPierre proclaimed, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." LaPierre's proposal was widely ridiculed, so much so that LaPierre went on Meet the Press to try to make his case further. It didn't work. He ended up giving the media this money quote: "If it's crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy." Many people now are.
5. Copycats come out.
In the days since the Newtown tragedy, a number of teens and adults have been arrested nationwide for threatening to launch attacks on schools and students, inspired by the shooting. According to Yahoo News, studies found that in the two months following the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, there were 350 threats on schools in Pennsylvania. Experts theorize that heavy news coverage of such attacks increases the notoriety of the attackers, notoriety to which some would-be attackers then aspire.
Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.