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Sunday, April 07, 2013

Americans should listen to the brave Sandy Hook families who lost innocent children and loved family members- Scott Pelley Discusses Common Sense Gun Control Legislation

Although it was certainly a difficult 60-Minute segment to watch, (we can hold the Sandy Hook families in our prayers) just imagine how much courage it took for them to speak to Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes.

At the Newtown CT town hall, Pelley met seven families from a group called Sandy Hook Promise, which works for change and remembrance.

I wonder how many of our nation's legislators watched this segment.  

Shame on legislators who may have deliberately avoided hearing what the Sandy Hook parents said to Pelley. Lawmakers who are asked to give an "up or down" vote on proposed national gun regulation must take responsibility for hearing what the victims of a mass murder have to say about this public policy.
Families of Newtown Connecticut, site of the Sandy Hook Elementary, want the tragic memory of 12/14 - the date of the Connecticut massacre -- to spur new gun control legislation in the U.S. They expressed support for universal background checks and limiting the size of large, human killing, ammunition clips, during the April 7, Pelley interview.

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.

Here are the parents in their own words:

Jimmy Greene said: 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 said: This is (a picture of) 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 said: 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 said: This is (a picture of) 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 said: 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 said: 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 said: 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, Connecticut. 
Mark Barden said: 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 said: And we (gave them) 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 asked: Why the photographs?
Nicole Hockley responded: 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. 

Mark Barden said: The universal background check is very important. And to that point, I think (the Connecticut legislation) 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 asked: Mark singles out the universal background check. Does anyone else find another part of the law important?
Bill Sherlach said: 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 said: 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 said: 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. 
Bill Sherlach: It's 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 time 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. 

David Wheeler said: 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.

(Wheeler's statement above is the issue that zealots with  the National Rifle Association won't accept. They continue to spread the mythical venom of "people kill people", rather than guns. For for some bizarre reason, these obsessed NRA supporters leap to the conclusion that owning assault weapons will protect them from other evil intended people. They won't accept the fact that it only takes one bullet to kill a person. Firing hundreds of bullets can only mean a killer is intending to commit mass murder.)

In my opinion, if those brave families who suffered such terrible loss can stand up to prevent further mass murders by supporting gun control, then we have a responsibility to listen to what they are saying.

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