News / USA

Christmas Provides Connecticut Town a Break From Mourning

A boy takes part in a candlelight vigil in Newtown, Connecticut, December 21, 2012.
A boy takes part in a candlelight vigil in Newtown, Connecticut, December 21, 2012.
Reuters
Christmas has helped the grieving Connecticut town of Newtown cope a little better with the shooting tragedy earlier this month, and allowed some people to finally smile.
       
Though more somber than a typical Christmas, the holiday has given Newtown a respite from the mourning. All the funerals for the victims have concluded.
       
"We're getting through this with our faith and our prayer. People are smiling a little more now,'' said John Barry, owner of an information technology staffing company. "The week was so horrible. Now it's time to celebrate Christmas.''

A look at how the U.S. ranks in comparison to the rest of world when it comes guns and gun violence.
 
The U.S. has the highest gun ownership rate in the world. 
 
GUN OWNERSHIP PER 100 PEOPLE
 
1. United States  -  89
2. Yemen            -  55
3. Switzerland     -  46
4. Finland            - 45
5. Serbia             - 38
 
--------------------------------------------
 
Despite the high number of guns, because of its large population, the U.S. does not have the worst firearms murder rate.
 
GUN MURDERS PER 100,000 PEOPLE
 
1.  Honduras     -  69
2.  El Salvador  -  40
3.  Jamaica      -   39
4   Venezuela   -  39
5.  Guatemala  -  35
 
The United States ranks 28th, with a rate of 3 per 100,000 people
 
-----------------------------------------
 
*The U.S. is one of the leading countries in the number of deaths attributed to guns.
 
NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED BY FIREARMS IN 2010
 
1.  Brazil              -  34,678
2.  Colombia         -  12,539
3.  Mexico            -  11,309
4.  Venezuela       -  11,115
5.  United States   -  9,146
 
Source: UNODC & Small arms survey of 2010 
This largely Christian town was shaken on the morning of December 14, when a 20-year-old gunman armed with a military-style assault rifle shot dead 20 children aged six and seven and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

Little is known about the shooter, Adam Lanza, who also killed his mother before the rampage and later himself to create a death toll of 28 in a tragedy that has revitalized the debate over U.S. gun control laws.

The sadness has moved some to act. Makeshift monuments to the dead have popped up all over town, funds have been raised, and many visitors have made a pilgrimage to Newtown, offering support.

 Husband and wife Dan and Michelle McAloon of Newtown decided to go Christmas caroling this year for the first time, gathering other families and children to roam a neighborhood where the families of three victims live.

"We were just spreading some cheer, trying to make the situation a little better,'' Michelle McAloon said.  "They all smiled, and they all cried a little,'' she said of the victims' families.

"Everybody said we are doing it again next year,'' Dan McAloon said of the carolers. "It's going to become a tradition.'' The McAloons and Barry were among those in an overflow crowd who attended Christmas Eve Mass on Monday night at Saint Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which held its biggest service at the high school auditorium.

Nine families from the parish lost someone in the shooting and at least four of those families came to the big Christmas Eve Mass, Monsignor Robert Weiss said.

 "Everything is just a lot more somber. Some people are just going through the motions because it's Christmas. Others are trying to make it special,'' Weiss said after the service. "There is reason to celebrate. Hopefully when people start to see their extended families, or people from outside of Newtown, or even go out of town, they will be able to. You can't get away from it in this town,'' he said.

Christmas Eve Mass featured a pageant that told the Christian story of Jesus' birth. One of the more poignant moments came when people applauded a group of two dozen little girls dressed as angels. They all knew shooting victim Olivia Engel, 6, was supposed to be among them.

"I highly recommend that before you rip open those gifts, say a prayer for those children,'' Weiss told parishioners. "Then give your own children a hug.''

  • Members of the Rutter family embrace early Christmas morning as they stand near memorials by the Sandy Hook firehouse in Newtown, Connecticut, December 25, 2012.
  • A man touches the snow covered grave of six-year-old Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, one of 20 schoolchildren killed in the December 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, at the Newtown Village Cemetery, Connecticut, December 25, 2012.
  • Officials including Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy observe a moment of silence on the steps of Edmond Town Hall while bells ring 26 times in Newtown, Connecticut, December 21, 2012.
  • Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, center, stands with other officials to observe a moment of silence in Newtown, December 21, 2012.
  • Ben Toby of Sandy Hook visits a memorial to the Newtown shooting victims during a heavy rain in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut, December 21, 2012.
  • Jeanne Walker walks through an overflowing memorial to the shooting victims, Newtown, Connecticut, December 20, 2012.
  • A portrait of Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, one of the students killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, stands outside of Trinity Episcopal Church before his funeral service, Newton, Connecticut, December 20, 2012.
  • Boy Scouts of America carry flags as they walk toward Trinity Episcopal Church before funeral services for Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, Newton, Connecticut, December 20, 2012.
  • A long line stretches down the block in front of the First Congregational Church before a memorial service for Lauren Rousseau in Danbury, Connecticut, December 20, 2012.
  • A police officer stands outside as a service begins for teacher Anne Marie Murphy at the St. Mary Of The Assumption Church in Katonah, New York, December 20, 2012.
  • Firefighters salute as a hearse passes for the funeral procession to the burial of 7-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Daniel Gerard Barden, Newtown, Connecticut, December 19, 2012.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Romildo Caldas from: Brazil
December 25, 2012 8:43 PM
Life continues. I know that we can't forget the Tragedy, but we can make it more Bearable. It was a good Idea, to celebrate Christmas this way.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid