News / USA

Teacher, Father Recall Terror, Grief a Year After Connecticut Shooting

Family members of shooting victims hold candles at a vigil for victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connectricut, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013.Family members of shooting victims hold candles at a vigil for victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connectricut, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013.
x
Family members of shooting victims hold candles at a vigil for victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connectricut, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013.
Family members of shooting victims hold candles at a vigil for victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connectricut, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013.
Reuters
It has been a year since Kaitlin Roig barricaded herself and 15 first-graders in a bathroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School, hiding from a gunman who would go on to kill 26 people in an 11-minute rampage.
 
Roig doesn't know if Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter, ever entered her classroom in Newtown, Connecticut, although she could hear gunfire and terrified pleas from the hallway and adjacent first-grade classroom.
 
“For myself, I am so aware that roles could have so easily been reversed,” said Roig, 30, who has since married and now uses the name Roig-DeBellis.
 
“I remember, in the days after, it was so hard to get out of bed,” she said, sitting on a sofa in her Greenwich, Connecticut home. “I just walked around singing 'Amazing Grace' just over and over and over, because it was just so incredibly hard.”
 
  • 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.

The Dec. 14 tragedy at Sandy Hook, among the most deadly school shootings in U.S. history, rocked this leafy, suburban town 70 miles (112 km) northeast of New York City. Coming just five months after a gunman opened fire in a Colorado movie theater, killing 12, the murder of 20 six-and seven-year-olds forced a national reckoning about gun violence.
 
Lanza, a loner who appears to have had severe emotional problems, used guns that were legally purchased by his mother, Nancy Lanza. He killed her in her bed, then drove to the elementary school he had once attended, shooting his way in just as the school day was getting started. After the rampage, he shot himself.
 
As the nation prepares to mark the first anniversary of the Dec. 14 massacre, Newtown has asked the public to stay away.
 
For her part, Roig-DeBellis has planned a trip - a spa visit and maybe a nice dinner - anything to turn her focus away from the terror and excruciating sadness of that day.
 
“An open heart”
 
Recent Mass Shootings in the United States

  • December 2012: A gunman kills 20 children at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • August 2012: An Army veteran kills six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
  • July 2012: A gunman kills 12 people during a showing of a Batman movie in Colorado.
  • January 2011: A gunman kills six people and wounds U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.
  • November 2009: A U.S. Army psychiatrist kills 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas.
  • April 2007: A Virginia Tech university student kills 32 people before committing suicide.
  • April 1999: Two Columbine High School students kill 12 students, one teacher and themselves in Colorado.
The offices of Sandy Hook Promise, a parents group founded in the weeks after the shootings, are located in downtown Newtown. Artwork sent by children from across the country has been framed and mounted on the walls there. Scattered on tables are pamphlets on foundations set up by the families.
 
Seated at one of those tables, Mark Barden, who lost his son, Daniel, gives a long pause when asked about forgiveness.
 
“I'm trying to approach every bit of this with an open heart and an open mind,” said Barden. “It's a work in progress.”
 
Like many other Sandy Hook parents, Barden has kept up a punishing schedule over the last year, traveling to Washington to meet with lawmakers to support a gun law that stalled in the U.S. Senate, and promoting the work of Sandy Hook Promise.
 
“Maybe it has saved me,” he said of the group. “The way that Daniel lived his short life, I know that he would have done a whole lot of good. We take it very seriously now that it's our responsibility to do that good work.”
 
For Barden, a guitarist who often performs in town, every day is an anniversary. The last haircut. The last swim team practice. The last Thanksgiving.
 
“A lot of the memories are happy. But we're still so new at this. It's still so early on that it's hard not to get caught up in the grief,” he said.
 
The parents of the children who died that day talk often about their struggle to break through the feeling of helplessness. Parent Together, an effort Sandy Hook Promise launched in November, aims to show people, regardless of their politics, that gun violence can be prevented.
 
“Nobody's pro gun violence. So, it's not like there's two sides to this,” Barden said.
 
“If we can save another family from going through what we are going through, then I can feel good about that for the rest of my life,” Barden said.
 
Holiday sharing
 
When the shooting started last Dec. 14, Roig-DeBellis's class was seated in a circle, sharing their holiday traditions.
 
“I got up, I closed the door, I turned the lights off and I turned to my students and I said: 'We need to get into the bathroom - right now,”' she said.
 
The bathroom was not more that three by four feet, too small to even hold a sink. Children climbed onto the toilet, behind the toilet. One perched on the toilet paper dispenser.
 
“They were hearing exactly what I was hearing. It was extremely loud. It was extremely scary,” she said.
 
Some 45 minutes later, when the police arrived, Roig-DeBellis would not let them in. For days after, she was in a daze, unsure if she was alive or dead.
 
She ended up taking more than a year off from teaching, and has devoted that time to Classes4Classes, a charity that facilitates acts of kindness between groups of students across the country. She plans to return to teaching this summer.
 
“What happened that day has nothing to do with being a teacher,” she said.

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: Jerry Frey from: USA
December 14, 2013 8:04 AM
Veronique Pozner, whose son Noah died in the attack, showed task force members the last picture taken of her son the night before the shooting as she urged broad new restrictions.

She recalled her son’s inquisitive nature. “He used to ask, ‘If there are bad guys out there, why can’t they just all wake up one day and decide to be good?’ ”

http://napoleonlive.info/did-you-know/pray-for-the-children/


by: Jerry Frey from: USA
December 13, 2013 12:15 PM
Iconic image: Yoko Ono has tweeted this image of John Lennon’s bloodstained glasses together with a message about how many people have been killed by guns in the U.S. since his death
http://napoleonlive.info/did-you-know/pray-for-the-children/

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