Tonight on 60 Minutes, the tragedy of the recent Sandy Hook Elementary shootings take centerstage. Unfortunately, when we think of the town of Newton in Connecticut, we think of another deadly school shooting. Tonight, the townspeople share their stories about “12/14” and how they hope to make changes so that it never happens again.
“12/14” refers to the day when the massacre occurred. Nearly 4 months later, Connecticut passed a gun control law that calls for stricter background checks and a limit to ammunition magazine to 10 rounds. 26 lives were lost on that day, and a group called “Sandy Hook Promise” meets with 60 Minutes to share their stories of lost loved ones. Each of the members hold pictures of their lost children, and are understandably emotional.
“Sandy Hook Promise” have met with the state’s legislators with the very same pictures they share on the show tonight to help make changes to “save people” from the pain they’ve experienced. At one point, footage was shown of a woman legislator who simply walked passed them saying, “No thanks, all set. Thank you.” Maybe that woman didn’t know who they were. If she did, maybe her reaction would have been more like the other caucus members who felt for them, cried for them.
The gunman at Sandy Hook used a magazine that held 30 rounds. Connecticut’s state legislature has now limited that 10 rounds. It may not seem like much, but the group shares that there are 11 children out there right now who are alive because the shooter had to take the time to change his magazines. The precious few seconds of having to change magazines are lives that were spared. Ultimately, the group feels that the fewer bullets there are in a magazine the less danger there will be.
The ban on assault weapons is a tougher battle to win than universal background checks and limiting the amount of ammo in a magazine. The group shares that when words like “ban” and “confiscate” are used, it becomes more than just a political problem, more than just Republicans versus Democrats. A greater underlying problem is the state of mental health and care in our country. “We are behind the curve,” the group shares.
Nancy Lanza, the mother of the gunmen, is she to blame? “Something was very, very wrong in there,” one of the parents in the group says. “There is a huge, huge gaping whole in the way [Adam] was parented,” another parent shares. Though no one says it outright, the parents seem to believe that Nancy is at fault. Adam was her child. She was responsible for raising him right.
One parent shares her experiences of the day the tragedy occurred. At the Sandy Hook Firehouse near the school, she shares that were people everywhere in small rooms that just weren’t meant to hold that ‘many people. One of the people in the crowd told the mother that they had seen one her children and said he was okay. Another person had asked her what classroom her other child was in and had replied that the teacher of that room had been shot. She became angry.
As fewer and fewer parents were left in the firehouse, the remaining parents were asked to come into the backroom. That’s where they waited and were finally told that there had been a shooting and that their children were involved. Several hours later, they were then told that if they were in that room, their child would not be coming back to them.
“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” comments one member of the Sandy Hook Promise group. They want universal background checks and a limit on ammunition magazines to be implemented nationwide. “We don’t get to move….We are not going anymore,” share the parents. They’re not giving up their mission. So, how do these parents go on after all they’ve been through? Others have more children; others either choose to live or die and all of them choose to live on and honor their children both alive and dead. It’s a very, very moving part of tonight’s show and I personally hope we share both in the grief and hope that these parents have shared with us tonight.
That’s our recap of the Sandy Hook segment of 60 Minutes tonight on 4/7/13.
Photo courtesy of CBS.