Updates on Connecticut Shooting AftermathBy THE NEW YORK TIMES
Todd Heisler/The New York TimesFour days after the school shooting in Connecticut took the lives of 20 children and 6 staff members, classes resumed at most Newtown schools on Tuesday and the National Rifle Association broke its silence. “The N.R.A. is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” it said in a statement. Also on Tuesday, at least two more funerals were held, and a New York Post editorial echoed Rupert Murdoch’s calls for tighter gun control.
6:15 P.M. Governor Calls for Nationwide Moment of Silence
Mr. Malloy also asked that houses of worship and government buildings ring bells 26 times to commemorate the victims. He wrote a letter to all governors in the United States asking that they also participate.
“Let us all come together collectively to mourn the loss of far too many promising lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Mr. Malloy said in a statement on the governor’s Web site. “Though we will never know the full measure of sorrow experienced by these families, we can let them know that we stand with them during this difficult time.”
4:28 P.M. N.R.A. Pledges to Help Prevent Similar Attacks
The four-million-member gun rights group, one of the country’s most powerful grass-roots lobbying organizations, had stayed silent in recent days, issuing no statements, deactivating its Facebook account and declining interview requests since the killings of 20 schoolchildren and 7 adults, including the mother of the gunman. Its Facebook account was reactivated on Tuesday evening.
In a statement sent by e-mail on Tuesday, the group said, “Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.”
In the wake of the Newtown shootings, gun opponents and others have called for tighter restrictions on the sale of weapons and better background checks on buyers, measures that are sure to face an uphill battle in Washington. The N.R.A. said Tuesday that it would participate in the debate, but it did not provide details.
“The N.R.A. is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” the statement said.
Full text of a statement released from the National Rifle Association on Tuesday.
The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.— Nicholas Confessore
Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.
The N.R.A. is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.
The N.R.A. is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, D.C., area on Friday, December 21.
Details will be released to the media at the appropriate time.
4:13 P.M. Murdoch’s Support for Gun Control Echoed in His Paper
The holdings of News Corporation, of which Mr. Murdoch is chairman, include The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and Fox News.
Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy.
Nice words from POTUS on shooting tragedy, but how about some bold leadership action?
Has technology rendered the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution obsolete?The piece acknowledges that the cow is well out of the barn, with enough privately owned guns in the country to arm nearly every adult citizen, and political will for gun restrictions likely to fade as the Newtown shootings recede from the nation’s consciousness. “But that won’t negate the need for reform,” the editorial says, concluding:
That is, has the application of modern military design to civilian firearms produced a class of weapons too dangerous to be in general circulation?
We say: Yes.
Weapons designed expressly to kill human beings, and then modified (wink wink) to meet the federal machine-gun ban, have no legitimate place in American society.The response from The Post’s online commenters was largely negative.
Time to get rid of them.
“The entire premise of the article is ridiculous,” wrote one reader. “The idea that the writers of the constitution would look at the weapons available to criminals today, and then say law abiding citizens should only have bolt action rifles is ludicrous in the extreme.”
“The first responsibility of a gun owner is to secure that weapon when not in use or in your custody. Mrs. Lanza?” wrote another.
“The usual knee jerk reaction by the news media…” wrote a third, putting The Post in some unfamiliar company indeed.
Even some of the few who applauded the editorial expressed surprise. “Wow!” one reader wrote. “One of the few times I agree with a Post editorial.”
— Andy Newman
3:54 P.M. Funeral of Jessica Rekos, 6
Todd Heisler/The New York TimesThe opening paragraphs from the obituary of Jessica Adrienne Rekos, published in The Newtown Bee, the local newspaper.
Jessica Adrienne Rekos, 6, beloved and cherished daughter of Richard S. and Krista A. Lehmann Rekos of Sandy Hook, died tragically, December 14, with her friends and classmates at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Born in Danbury May 10, 2006, she was a lifelong resident of Sandy Hook.
Jessica loved horseback riding, learning about orcas, writing, and playing with her little brothers.
3:39 P.M. Computer Hard Drive From Lanza Home Sent to F.B.I. Lab
Investigators have been unable to get any information off the hard drive, which they believe Mr. Lanza, who had taken computer classes at a local college, smashed in an effort to prevent the authorities from determining what he had done on the computer.
Within the past few days, the F.B.I. had the hard drive hand delivered to bureau personnel and agents in Quantico who specialize in data retrieval, according to the official.
“It is going to be tough to get anything from it,” the official said. “If they are able to do so, it is going to take quite a while. But it is going to be tough.”
The F.B.I.’s technology division, national laboratory and training academy are in Quantico.
The official said that he did not know of any other electronic devices – like the computer console that was taken from the house – that had been handed over by local authorities to the F.B.I. for analysis.
The investigation of the shooting is being led by the Connecticut State Police.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be identified discussing an ongoing investigation
— Michael S. Schmidt
1:49 P.M. Funeral of James Mattioli
Suzanne DeChillo/The New York TimesThe opening paragraphs from the obituary of James Radley Mattioli published in The Newtown Bee, the local newspaper.
“Our Beloved Prince,” James Radley Mattioli, 6 ¾, fondly called “J,” died December 14, in his classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He was born March 22, 2006, in Bridgeport.
An energetic, loving friend to all, James loved baseball, basketball, swimming, arm wrestling, and playing games on the iPad (especially the lawn mowing game). He loved to wear shorts and t-shirts in any weather, and grab the gel to spike his hair. He would often sing at the top of his lungs and once asked, “How old do I have to be to sing on a stage?”
James loved to dive off the diving board at the Treadwell Pool, swim like a fish in both of his grandparents’ pools and ride his bike, proudly without training wheels. He often said, “I need to go outside Mom, I need fresh air.” He spent endless hours playing hockey with his best bud and cousin, George.
He loved and admired his big sister and wanted to do everything that she could do. They were the best of friends, going to school together, playing games together, and making endless drawings and crafts together.
2:02 P.M. No Gun Show in Danbury, Hotel Says
“It is absolutely not happening at this hotel,” Jamie Santacroce, the hotel’s controller, said by phone Tuesday afternoon.
Ms. Santacroce said that while Big Al’s has had gun shows at the hotel in the past and that the hotel had sent him paperwork for the show he wanted to have on Jan. 5 and 6, the gun-show organizer never returned the contract for the January show.
In any case, Ms. Santacroce said, “We would have canceled it regardless,” adding, “we wouldn’t have that sort of event here given the circumstances.”
Ms. Santacroce said that the hotel was trying to get the organizer to remove the listing from his Web site.
A man who picked up the phone at the number listed on the Big Al’s Web site declined to comment when asked about Ms. Santacroce’s statement.
Update, 4:30 p.m. | Sometime after 3 p.m., the Danbury show was marked “Cancelled” on the Big Al’s Web site:
ScreengrabUpdate, 5:50 p.m. | Sometime after 5 p.m., a Big Al’s show in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in February was also marked “Cancelled” on the Big Al’s site.
— Andy Newman
1:35 P.M. Nearly 2 Million Sign Sympathy Card for Newtown
To: Community of Newtown, Connecticut, including the families of the victims and the survivors and their families.The cause was started by a man named David M. Paine, who in 2002 helped start www.911day.org, a movement that marks the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 with good deeds.
Our Sincere Condolences.
We wish to express our deepest sympathies to all of the families of those lost, to the survivors and their families, and to the others impacted by the senseless and unthinkable tragedy that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We cannot begin to comprehend the depth of your sadness and grief. Please know that we care deeply for you and we join with you in sharing your sorrow and pain. We only hope that you receive some measure of comfort in the knowledge that we, and an entire nation, stand with you during this extraordinarily difficult time.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
In the face of yet another senseless act of violence that took the lives of innocent people in America, this time including very young children with their entire lives ahead of them, we are inviting our members and friends to join us in signing a national sympathy card for the families of the victims, the survivors and their families and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut. We will deliver this note with the names of those signed to the community of Newtown, Connecticut.Mr. Paine started the sympathy card on Dec. 15. Within 48 hours it had passed 1 million signatures, and by midday on Tuesday it had more than 1.7 million signatures, setting a record for the Web site.
Friends… we just surpassed 1.5 million signatures on the Sandy Hook Elementary School National Sympathy Card, making this the single largest gathering of signatures ever within the Causes community. Remarkable! Please keep inviting your friends to sign as well — we want to reach at least two million signatures.The card was receiving 1,000 signatures per minute at its peak on Saturday, mashable.com reported, a day after the shooting by Adam Lanza, 20, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and 6 adults were killed.
— Christine Hauser
1:26 P.M. Most Schools Reopen, but Threat Keeps One Closed
Newtown police officials said on Tuesday that the school was closed as a precaution. They declined to provide details.
No classes were held at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which is still considered a crime scene. Arrangements have been made for Sandy Hook’s students to attend classes in a former middle school in nearby Monroe. The school had been closed because of declining enrollment.
The Hartford Courant reports that Superintendent Janet Robinson told parents and the staff that moving into the middle school was the best option.
In the e-mail, Ms. Robinson said the Monroe school “allows us to keep the entire faculty together.”
“In the meantime, we need to tend to our teachers’ and students’ needs to feel comfortable after this trauma in this new place,” she wrote
School officials said the school, known as Chalk Hill, would not be ready until after the first of the year. But that did not stop the people of Monroe from sending a message of welcome.
This sign is in front of Chalk Hill School, which is going to temporarily be where Sandy Hook El. classes are held pic.twitter.com/kTax1sR0
The funeral for Jessica Rekos, 6, began at noon in Newtown (today’s other funeral, for another 6-year-old, James Mattioli, was held at 10 a.m.).
Earlier this week, in an interview with ABC News, Richard and Krista Rekos said talking about their daughter, who loved horseback riding and wanted cowboy boots for Christmas, brought them tiny moments of comfort.
12:25 P.M. Gun Show Coming to Danbury, 13 Miles from Newtown
A gun show is scheduled in the vicinity of Newtown, Conn., in a few weeks.
Big Al’s Gun Shows is bringing its traveling firearms market to the Crowne Plaza hotel in Danbury, 13 miles from Newtown, on Jan. 5 and 6.
Gun shows are the national bane of gun-control advocates – in most states, people who buy guns from sellers at gun shows are not required to undergo background checks the way people who buy guns at licensed firearms dealers are, according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
In Connecticut, background checks are required at gun shows only for sales of handguns, according to the coalition.
A man who answered the phone number listed on the Big Al’s site said “yes” when asked Tuesday morning if the show was still on. When asked further questions, he replied, “I really have no comments, buddy.” When asked his name, he said, “Have a good day” and hung up.
— Andy Newman and Elliott Malkin