Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

January 15, 2013

Conn. group launches anti-violence initiative

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Parents of children slain in the Connecticut school massacre held photos of their sons and daughters, cried, hugged and spoke in quavering voices as they called for a national dialogue to help prevent similar tragedies.

“I do not want to be someone sharing my experience and consoling another parent next time. I do not want there to be a next time,” said Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was among the 20 first-graders and six adults killed by a gunman a month ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Members of the newly formed group Sandy Hook Promise spoke out as politicians from Maine to New Mexico marked the one month that has passed since the shooting with renewed demands for tighter gun control.

The Sandy Hook group says it wants to have open-minded discussions about a range of issues, including guns, mental health and safety in schools and other public places. Several speakers said they did not believe there was a single solution.

“We want the Sandy Hook school shootings to be recalled as the turning point where we brought our community and communities across the nation together and set a real course for change,” said group co-founder Tom Bittman.

While the Sandy Hook group did not offer specific remedies, mayors and governors in favor of tighter gun restrictions lobbied for a series of them Monday.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday night that a tougher gun control bill was ready for the Legislature’s review. The bill went to lawmakers for their consideration and legislative leaders predicted it would pass. The measure included called for a tougher assault weapons ban and restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns.

Earlier, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed a summit on gun violence at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and argued for greater federal gun control, including background checks for all purchases and a federal crackdown on trafficking.

“Every state in the union has citizens killed by guns coming from another state and every state is powerless to stop the mayhem,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg is co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, whose members spoke out Monday in cities including Portland, Maine; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Santa Fe, N.M.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he has ordered an analysis of city employee pension funds to see if they hold companies that make or sell assault weapons. In Cranford, N.J., a group of mayors backing new restrictions were joined by a man whose 23-year-old son was shot to death in the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.

“I’m just one member of a Virginia Tech family, Newtown has theirs, Aurora has theirs, Tucson has theirs, and now we’re starting to come together,” Michael Pohle said. “This coalition is growing, and it’s going to become more powerful, and we’re going to have the ability to influence elections as well.”

The gun control debate heated up after 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 and killed 26 people before committing suicide as police arrived. He also killed his mother at their Newtown home before driving to the school and carrying out the massacre.

President Barack Obama is reviewing proposals from Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading a task force on ways to reduce gun violence. Obama told reporters Monday he is looking at actions he can take on his own to confront gun violence amid resistance from the National Rifle Association and wariness among lawmakers from both parties.

The NRA has fiercely opposed new gun control laws and has called for “a meaningful conversation” about school safety, mental health issues and marketing violence to children.

A number of governors were already moving ahead with proposals to toughen state laws.

In Delaware, Gov. Jack Markell on Monday proposed background checks for private gun sales and a ban on military-style weapons. A package of gun control proposals also included a ban on magazines holding more than five rounds for rifles and 10 rounds for handguns, and a ban on guns within 1,000 feet of schools.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, speaking at the same Baltimore summit as Bloomberg, said he will be advocating a broad array of proposals this legislative session, including a ban on military-style weapons, stricter licensing requirements, school safety and mental health concerns.

“This will be a comprehensive legislative package to prevent gun violence, and it addresses not only the guns but also mental health and school safety,” O’Malley said.

Jeremy Richman, whose daughter Avielle was killed at Sandy Hook, said a deeper understanding of mental health issues is essential. He and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, started a foundation to explore issues such as risk factors and successful interventions.

Richman spoke at the same news conference as Hockley, who said she still finds herself reaching for her son Dylan’s hand or expecting him to crawl into bed with her for a hug before school.

“It’s so hard to believe he’s gone,” she said.

At Stratford, Conn., where Victoria Soto had lived, the town decided to rename HoneySpot Elementary School after her. Soto, 27, was a teacher at Sandy Hook when she died trying to shield her students from the gunman.

1
Text Only
National, International News
  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP520422034 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2014. There are 253 days left in the year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Immigration _Rich copy.jpg DHS secretary re-evaluating deportation priorities

    Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday he’s re-evaluating the Obama administration’s deportation priorities to make certain they’re focused on national security, public safety and border security, amid growing pressure from the Latino community and President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats. 

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rethinking Pot 420_Rich copy.jpg Public smoke-out marks pot holiday in Colorado

    Tens of thousands of revelers raised joints, pipes and vaporizer devices to the sky Sunday at a central Denver park in a defiant toast to the April 20 pot holiday, a once-underground celebration that stepped into the mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Submarine Sleep Sched_Rich copy.jpg Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules

    With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the U.S. Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance to life above the ocean’s surface.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Grim work for families as more bodies discovered

    There are no names listed as relatives huddle around signboards to identify bodies from a sunken ferry. Just the slimmest of clues about mostly young lives now lost. Many favored hoodies and track pants. One girl painted her fingernails red and toenails black. Another had braces on her teeth.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP600421099 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, April 21, 2014

    Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Space Robot_Rich copy.jpg NASA’s Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nepal Everest Avalanc_Rich copy.jpg Another body pulled from snow in avalanche

    Search teams recovered a 13th body Saturday from the snow and ice covering a dangerous climbing pass on Mount Everest, where an avalanche a day earlier swept over a group of Sherpa guides in the deadliest disaster on the world’s highest peak.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results