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Originally Posted by petegz28
bla bla bla....ban high cap magazines, universal background checks, bla bla bla...nothing about increasing penalties for people who commit crimes with a gun I bet is in there
The following script is from "12/14" which aired on April 7, 2013. Scott Pelley is the correspondent. Henry Schuster, producer.
"Newtown" is now synonymous with unimaginable tragedy. But many of the families who suffered through it call it something else,"12/14," the December day that they lost a son, daughter, or wife when a dark young man with dark dreams awoke, murdered his mother and drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School.
More from parents of Newtown victims
Nearly four months later, just last week, Connecticut passed a gun control law that expands background checks and limits ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. Tomorrow, these families will push for the same in Washington. They believe that their only chance is to keep the resonance of that date ringing. Something else we noticed about "12/14," add them together, and you get 26, the number of lives lost at Sandy Hook.
At the Newtown town hall we met seven families. They're part of a group called Sandy Hook Promise which works for change and remembrance.
Jimmy Greene: Our daughter, Ana was six years old. And in those six years, can look back and say it was an honor to know her. She taught me about how to love, how to give. She was beautiful and every day I cry.
Francine Wheeler: This is Benjamin Andrew Wheeler. Ben was six years old. He has a brother named Nate. And Nate was hiding when he heard Ben and his classmates and educators get shot.
Mark Barden: And we lost our sweet little Daniel Barden. He was known as the kid that would talk to somebody sitting alone. He was genuinely an old soul.
Nicole Hockley: This is Dylan. I think the picture kind of sums him up perfectly. He was always smiling and always laughing. And he was very pure. Possibly because of his age. He was six. And possibly because he was autistic.
Neil Heslin: I'm Neil Heslin, Jesse Lewis's dad. Jesse was six years old. He was my best friend and my buddy. He'd introduce himself as Jesse and Daddy. He was my whole life.
Bill Sherlach: Mary was the school psychologist at Sandy Hook Elementary School for 18 years and truly believed that that was the place that she was meant to be, doing what she could call "God's work."
Terri Rousseau: Lauren grew up with this idea that she wanted to be a teacher and work with other children. She had a sort of innocence about her, a kind of denial of all the ugly things in the world. We had no idea that some ugly thing would come and take her from us.
Those are memories Terri Rousseau, Mark and Jackie Barden, Nicole Hockley and others wanted state legislators to remember in Hartford.
Mark Barden: The lawmakers are going into their caucuses to discuss the legislation at hand. And the rope is there, I think, just to separate the various lobbyists who want to approach them as they go in there, as a last ditch effort to appeal to their cause. That's where we were.
Mark Barden: And we had a letter that we wanted them to read. And we had pictures of our children to give them a personal connection to why we're asking them to go in there and legislate.
Scott Pelley: Why the photographs?
Nicole Hockley: They need to not just look us in the eyes, but look our children and the lost ones and see those faces, see what's gone and remember this isn't just about political parties. This isn't just about careers. This is about people. And this is about making change to save people. And it's important to remember the people you are doing this for.
Scott Pelley: At one point a woman walked past. And as you were holding your cards of your children out she said, "No, thanks. All set."
Scott Pelley: And kept going by. Probably didn't know who you were.
Nicole Hockley: Probably not.
Scott Pelley: But I wonder how that feels.
Nicole Hockley: That is not a good feeling.
[Voice: I'm sorry for your loss.]
Nicole Hockley: Several of the caucus members, when they realized that we were people from Sandy Hook, the vast majority of them, and spoke to us and many of them were crying with us. They weren't being callous. They just didn't know who we were.
[Voices: My heart goes out to you... we just don't want this to ever happen again.]
Nicole Hockley: It was good that they listened to us and they made the time to hear what we had to say, and that it made a difference. It's made some changes. And that's what it's all about at the end of the day.
Scott Pelley: Mark, what in your estimation is the most important change that the legislature has voted for?
Mark Barden: The universal background check is very important. And to that point, I think Connecticut has done a wonderful job. They've worked very hard and they have passed almost everything that we were hoping they would. And they have done it in a bipartisan way, which I think is a great message to send out to the other states and to the federal government as they begin this process.
Scott Pelley: Mark singles out the universal background check. Does anyone else find another part of the law important?
Bill Sherlach: I think the idea of limiting the size of the magazines is critical.
Bill Sherlach's wife, Mary, tried to stop the gunman.
Bill Sherlach: You can have a million bullets, but if you have to put them in one at a time, the ability to do any kind of real damage is significantly reduced.
Scott Pelley: The legislature has decided to limit the size of magazines in Connecticut to 10 rounds. The gunman at Sandy Hook was using 30-round magazines. I've heard the argument made, "You can change these magazine clips in these rifles in a matter of two seconds. So what difference does it make?"
Bill Sherlach: Well, I mean, there was one instance where it wasn't two seconds. And it allowed 11 kids to get out of the classroom.
Scott Pelley: Tell me about that.
Bill Sherlach: It's just a simple arithmetic. If you have to change magazines 15 times instead of five times, you have three times as many incidents as where something could jam. Something could be bobbled. You just increase the time for intervention. You increase the timeframe where kids can get out. And there's 11 kids out there today that are still running around on the playground pretty much now at lunchtime.
Scott Pelley: Who escaped from these classrooms?
Bill Sherlach: Right.
Mark Barden: Another point on changing the magazines is the data that they used or that they'll tell you it takes two seconds or three seconds or however many. That's in a controlled setting. That's at a range. That's in the comfort of your home. When you're in that situation, if you want to picture yourself murdering children in a classroom, the police are coming in to kill you, and then you're about to commit suicide, your brain is in another place. You're not neatly and effectively changing that magazine.
Nicole Hockley: And when we looked at the search warrants as well, and know that he left the smaller capacity magazines at home, that was a choice the shooter made. He knew that the larger capacity magazine clips were more lethal.
David Wheeler: The more bullets you can get out the end of that gun in the least amount time, that is the single area that I believe affects lethality. And the size of the magazine placed in that weapon is a direct contributor to that--a direct contributor to that factor. There is a place for 30-round magazines, in the military, on the battlefield, at a range. If they stay at the range, they stay at the range.
These parents don't speak for all. There are different opinions.
But we asked David and Francine Wheeler, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene to tell us what they've learned in four months.
Scott Pelley: Now, when I asked about the gun control legislation, you mentioned the background checks, you mentioned the high capacity magazines. But nobody has mentioned yet the idea of a ban on assault weapons of the kind that was used at the school. What do you think of that?
Nelba Marquez-Greene: At first, that was where my heart was. "We've gotta get-- you know, let's have a big bonfire and burn everything. Let's burn all these damn guns. I have since learned that it's a more complex issue than just saying, "Let's ban assault weapons." We're looking for real change and common sense solutions. Not things that just sound good.
Jimmy Greene: When we talk ban and confiscate, we-- it becomes a political argument. It's so much bigger than a political debate. It's so much bigger than Democrats versus Republicans, conservative versus liberals. I believe, in my humble opinion, this all transcends that.
Scott Pelley: What about the mental health care piece of all of this? What ideas, what thoughts do you have on that?
Mark Barden: I think mental health, brain health is paramount. It's just as important as everything else. It's just that, at this particular time, the focus on legislation is about the gun part of the issues.
Nelba Marquez-Greene: I'm not an expert on guns. But I am an expert in mental health. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. We need to put a lot more dollars behind our mental health system in America. I've had the benefit of practicing in another country for quite a while. And I can tell you that we're behind the curve on how we deal with mental health issues and family issues in this country.
Scott Pelley: Based on your expertise, what do we do wrong? Why do these people seem to fall through the cracks and not get caught by the system?
Nelba Marquez-Greene: I think one of the barriers or one of the challenges is that there's a whole lotta stigma attached to getting help. The fact that you have to go to a therapist or a psychiatrist or a psychologist, and then get a diagnosis for your child, that can be very humbling and scary for parents. I can't speak specifically for what happened with Adam Lanza and his family. As a mother, my heart breaks for Adam Lanza's mother.
Scott Pelley: We will never know with any precision what was happening in the Lanza home. But I wonder whether any of you blame Nancy Lanza. Is parenting part of this?
David Wheeler: It is obvious to anyone who looks and sees any of the information that's come out about that family, specifically Nancy and her son, that was anything but typical. It was like a set of dominos in many ways, just waiting for the first one to be tipped over. I think it's pretty obvious to anyone who looks, that something was very, very wrong in there.
Scott Pelley: One of the things that we learned in the documents that were released last week by the investigators was that the gun safe that all of these guns were in was in his bedroom.
David Wheeler: Something was very, very wrong in there.
Jimmy Greene: As a parent, it's my job to love my children. And by loving them, doesn't mean to give them whatever they want, or to feed whatever-- they're passionate about if it's potentially harmful to themselves or to someone else. So I feel like there is a huge, huge gaping hole in the way that that child was parented.
David Wheeler: It's more than a parenting vacuum as well. There's a community vacuum here. I mean, this didn't happen by itself. This didn't happen in a bubble, you know? She had a life. She had friends. People knew. They had to know.
Bill Sherlach: We have this sense of complacency where it should be someone else's job to take care of this. "I shouldn't have to worry about this." Well, you know what? You do have to worry about it. You have to worry about your family; you have to worry about your community. You have to be involved. You just can't sit off and say, "Well, you know what? I have mine, so I don't have to worry about that 'cause it's not gonna affect me." Well, you had 26 families that became directly affected by this sense of complacency that seems to be overwhelming our country at this point in time.
David Wheeler: I would like every parent in this country -- that's 150 million people. I would like them to look in the mirror. And that's not a figure of speech, Scott. I mean, literally find a mirror in your house and look in it and look in your eyes and say, "This will never happen to me. This will never happen in my school. This will never happen in my community." And see if you actually believe that. And if there is a shadow, the slightest shadow of doubt about what you've said, think about what you can do to change that in your house, in your community, in your school, in your country, because we have an obligation to our children to do this for them. It's gonna happen again. It is going to happen again. And every time, you know, it's somebody else's school, it's somebody else's town. It's somebody else's community until one day you wake up and it's not.
In a moment, what they want from Washington and some of what happened on 12/14 that we never knew.
The morning of 12/14, parents in Newtown put their kids on the bus, a quick, confident step in a hurried morning routine. Nicole Hockley sent 6-year-old Dylan and her 8-year-old son, Jake. Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene said goodbye to 6-year-old Anna and her older brother, Isaiah. It was about 10 o'clock when an automated, emergency phone call lit up the cell phones of the parents. They were directed to the Sandy Hook Firehouse, near the school.
Scott Pelley: When you got into the firehouse what did you see? What did you hear? What was the first thing that happened?
Nicole Hockley: There were just people everywhere. There were several rooms. And there were just parents everywhere 'cause these are small rooms. They're not meant to hold that many people. And you really had to push to get through. And we're all just jostling 'cause we're trying to find our kids. And someone said to me you know, "I've seen Jake. He's in one of the other rooms." And that was a relief, you know, a moment of, "He's OK. And that's OK that he's OK." And a woman asked me, "What classroom was your other child in?" And I said, "Ms. Soto."// And she said, "I heard she got shot." And I got really angry at her. And I remember very clearly saying, "Don't you dare say that to me if you don't know it's true." And I just pushed by her, but I couldn't find Dylan's class or anyone from his class anywhere.
Jimmy Greene: I ran into the firehouse and frantically was just looking around. I saw my son's teacher in like a living room area of the firehouse. And all of the kids in her class, seated on the floor and I ran in the room and Isaiah popped up and I just went and grabbed him and held him and he was just crying, "Daddy," you know, "There were so many gunshots and," you know, "I saw this and I saw that." So I just took my son in my arms -- he's a big kid -- I took him like he was 2 years old again, and held him on my shoulder and was just running from room to room, trying to locate Ana's class.
Nelba Marquez-Greene: And then I got a text from Jimmy, "I have Isaiah, but I don't have Ana yet. So I was driving with my friend back to Sandy Hook and I just kept texting Jimmy every 10 or 15 seconds: "Ana?" Question mark. And then, "Ana!" exclamation point because we had Isaiah. I didn't understand why we didn't have Ana.
Nicole Hockley: I just kept looking thinking, "When am I gonna see Dylan? When am I gonna see Ms. Soto?" Or, "When am I gonna see any of the kids from his classroom?" Then everything was just going home and you just don't know what you're supposed to do or who to talk to because no one had all the information. And then-- and it just started to be fewer and fewer parents and kids in the room. Then they asked everyone who was left to come to one of the back rooms.
Nelba Marquez-Greene: And I remember looking at Jimmy and saying, "I don't want to go in that back room. I don't want to go in that back room." 'Cause I know what the back room meant. In my heart, as a mother, I know what the back room meant.
Nicole Hockley: And then we just waited for what seemed like hours. And eventually they announced that there has been a shooting. And they told us that people had died. And the room just erupted with anguish. But even then you still think, "Dylan's OK, he's gotta be OK. Because this wouldn't happen to Dylan." And then it was several hours later that I believe it was Gov. Malloy who had the duty to stand in front of a room and tell us that if we were in that room that our child or adult wasn't coming back to us.
Last Thursday, Gov. Malloy signed the new gun law as some of the parents stood behind him.
Scott Pelley: Now that you have an outcome in the state of Connecticut that you're reasonably pleased with, what has to happen in Washington, in your estimation?
Mark Barden: They have to be our government and vote. Up or down. They have to vote.
Scott Pelley: And what provisions would you like to see passed in Washington? What do you think will be most effective?
Bill Sherlach: Personally, I would think limiting magazine size and universal background check. If I had to pick two--
Nicole Hockley: And anything that helps reduce gun trafficking as well, in the straw purchases.
Scott Pelley: Straw purchases are those when a person who has a clean record buys a gun for a person who would not have been able to pass a background check?
Nicole Hockley: Correct. And that--
Scott Pelley: It happens all the time.
Nicole Hockley: That's commonsense,
David Wheeler: Commonsense laws.
Scott Pelley: But gun rights advocates make the argument, "This wouldn't have helped at Sandy Hook."
David Wheeler: I mean of course, on the federal level, not every law passed is gonna have-- make a difference in what happened to us. Generally speaking, it is important for us to try and control the illegal flow of weapons. I don't think anyone is against that. I don't think anyone is against-- you know, I mean, if you look at the subject of universal background checks, and you look at the study that came out of the New England Journal of Medicine in mid-January, the majority of Americans asked support that. You hear all the time that guns don't kill people, people kill people. Well, then let's start some background checks for people.
Scott Pelley: Do any of you fear that after only four months the impact of this on the Congress is beginning to fade, and the memory of how we felt on that day is beginning to fade?
Francine Wheeler: Well, people do change because the country goes in different places. But we're gonna bring it right back, so that America can see. Four months, to them, it feels like it just happened a moment ago. And yet--
Scott Pelley: To you.
Francine Wheeler: And yet it's been years since I've seen my son. OK? So we're just-- we're not going anywhere. We're here. And we're going to be here.
Jimmy Greene: We don't get to move on. We don't have the benefit of turning the page to another piece of legislation and having another debate and playing politics the same we we've been doing. We don't have that benefit. We're gonna live with this for the rest of our lives. So our legislators need to hear us.
Nicole Hockley: For many of us, coming up to the four-month anniversary, we're only just starting to find our voices and to be able to come out of that initial state of shock, to be able to do something actively ourselves. So we-- we are not going anywhere. We are gaining momentum now to prepare for this marathon.
Scott Pelley: This is a lifelong pursuit for all of you?
Group: Yes. Yeah.
David Wheeler: To have a moment where we don't feel the depth of this loss is a luxury that is rare and certainly can't be depended upon. That's never gonna change for me.
Scott Pelley: So many people have said to me, "If something like that happened, I would not be able to go on." So how do you?
Francine Wheeler: What are your choices? OK? We have another child. And even if we didn't have another child, your choices are you live or you die. My goal every day right now is to get up in the morning, to be present for David, to be present for Nate. If I get other stuff, great. If I don't, I don't. But what are your choices?
David Wheeler: We're a part of this community. This is an astonishing community, this town, Newtown. It's an amazing place. And there are a lot of amazing places just like Newtown, all across this country. And every single morning you have the choice, as Francine said. You can either crawl in a hole and shut out the light, or you can pretend that nothing happened. No-- neither of those are an option for me personally. So somewhere on that continuum is where you'll find me every day.
Scott Pelley: How do you stay in touch with the child that you lost?
Francine Wheeler: You know, I dream about him all the time and we talk and he and I talk when I take my walks and I just feel him. If I ask him to be present, he is. And I know he'll always be there. And I have faith too. I faith that he is.
Mark Barden: I think about Daniel every minute of the day. Every waking hour, we try to engage James and Natalie, Daniel's older siblings in conversation, we want that to be a topic that can be discussed instead of swept under the rug.
Jackie Barden: I do feel the distance though. I-- sometimes it's too painful to think about him. And then I feel guilty 'cause I need to think about him and keep him alive. But it's so hard because I miss him so much.
Nicole Hockley: We had Dylan cremated. So I have his urn next to his picture in a cupboard in our bedroom on our dresser. Every morning, I kiss him good morning and say, "Hi." And he's the last thing I kiss before I go to bed at night. Every night I beg for him to come to me in my dreams so that I can see him again. And during the day, I just focus on what I need to do to honor him and make change. And it's the private moments at home that I will speak to him.
Mark Barden: So here we are, we're left with pictures and dreams and memories and any little shred of evidence of their physical time with us. And we just have to ask people to remember that. To please think about that always, because now is the time to turn this tragedy into the place where we evolve as a society and look to any possible way you can do that.
They'll look for a way tomorrow on Capitol Hill in Washington. It will be much tougher going. Even expanding background checks, which had bi-partisan support, is now in serious doubt. And there's little discussion of mental health. These families told us they're not asking for everything. But they worry nothing is possible if 12/14 is forgotten too soon.