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

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday 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.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs