Churches will ring bells at 9:30 in remembrance of the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook elementary school just a week ago. Hoping for Newtown to be the final in a string of gun-related violent acts, Peter Read, the father of a Virginia Tech Shooting victim stopped by to discuss the change he finally hopes comes.
Though it’s been five years since a lone gunman carried out the deadliest shooting incident in U.S. history, not much has changed to prevent incidents like this from happening. Peter Read’s daughter, Mary Karen Read was one of the victims. He says it is time for President Obama to take action. “I would like to see what many of us have been asking for a long time and people who lost their loved ones to gun violence before me, the things that the president talked about, the things we heard Mayor Bloomberg talk about. The majority of gun owners and NRA owners support, like improving background checks, dealing with the high capacity magazines. It is important to address mental health issues. I’m a huge supporter of that. And it has to be dealt with,” he says.
After the Stockton shooting in 1989, it took five years to pass the first assault weapons law. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is determined to get effective change following the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. He stopped by to discuss his plan with Soledad.
His plan starts with the basics that have been discussed time and time again when we are faced with a tragedy involving guns. He says, “It begins with common sense on a ban on assault weapons of the type that was used in this horrific massacre as well as high-capacity magazines, also enabling this killing to take place. Better background checks, right now only 60% of all sales involve any background checks. And, of course, keeping guns out of the hands of deranged people.”
The president had choice words at a press conference recently, declaring, “I will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. We won’t prevent them all, but that can’t be an excuse not to try.”
Following the president’s lead, Senator Blumenthal has already started working on legislation, “Senator Feinstein and I have moved ahead forcefully with action even during this period of mourning because we need to bring together the movement in the community…I think that we are at a historic moment,” he says.
However determined, he is also realistic. His bottom line is that an attempt needs to begin and he is confident that he will follow through. “But there’s no one single, simple solution to this problem. And nothing that will prevent all of them perhaps, but as the president said so forcefully yesterday and Sunday night at the vigil where he spoke so powerfully to the families and first responders, we need to try. We need to do something,” he says.
In a string of mass shootings from Tucson, Aurora, the Wisconsin Sikh temple to now Sandy Hook elementary school, there is a strong call to action from the president. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg painted a picture of what could happen is nothing is done, “if he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns. That is roughly the number of Americans killed in the whole Vietnam war.”
Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, laid out his organization’s top three targets for tackling gun violence. He said that background checks need to become necessary to anyone trying to own a gun, assault weapons with high capacity magazines need to be regulated better and a federal trafficking statute needs to be imposed with penalties for buying guns for those that are unable to get their own.
Glaze has faith in the American people’s want to end these types of tragedies from happening. He says, “With the escalating and rapidly quickening series of mass shootings, I think the country has reached a point where it recognizes the scope of the problem and is ready, not just to move against the kind of problems that cause mass shootings like this that dominate the headlines, but to deal with the kinds of problems, once the cameras leave, that murder 34 people every day.”
As we honor the 27 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, the focus turns to how to prevent this from happening again. James Garabino has worked with troubled youth and was granted the only interview by Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold’s parents. He speaks with Soledad and John about getting inside the head of Adam Lanza.
A psychology professor at Loyola University in Chicago, Garabino shares a common thread among many shooters, “usually tempermentally, they’re particularly sensitive, a little bit odd. They experience social rejection.”
To prevent rejection from manifesting into this kind of rage, this behavior needs to be understood. Garabino explains, “They get fixated on this delusion, this idea, that somehow this grandiose act of violence will make their lives resolved, that it will deal with their profound sadness. It will give back to the world something that they feel has been done to them.”
The author of “Lost Boys: How Our Sons Turn Violent and How You Can Save Them,” has interviewed many young boys, both that have carried out a mass shooting and those that have been prevented. What he found was that, though the plan seems unbelievable to most people, to these kids, they seem right. “It doesn’t make sense from the outside, but inside, all of the killers, inside this makes sense to them,” he says.
President Obama joined the Newtown, Connecticut community last night to comfort the families of the victims. He vowed to, “use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”
Steven Barton survived the Aurora, CO theatre shooting to see this tragic event in his own hometown. He says, “We have basically heard the same message after Aurora, after Tucson, and those words weren’t followed by any action. I mean, he spoke more forcefully last night, but it remains to be seen if anything will actually come of those words.”
Hit with 25 shotgun pellets in his face, neck, and chest, he now works as the Outreach and policy associate for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
If he could begin the process today, Barton states he would start with background checks. “Currently 40% of guns sold in this country under federal law aren’t subject to a background check. There’s been a lot of talk about high cap magazines, assault weapons. But if you want to reduce the 34 Americans murdered with guns every single day, background checks are the easiest way to do that and the simplest way to do that,” he says.