60 Minutes: Newtown Update – Four Months Later
On 60 Minutes, Scott Pelley presented the second part of his report with families who lost loved ones in Newtown, Connecticut, at an elementary school shooting in December 2012. They explained their grieving process and their crusades for reform, including cracking down on straw purchases.
60 Minutes: Newtown Fire Station
On the morning of December 14, parents sent their children off to school like it was any other day. But by 10 a.m., automated emergency calls to parents set off a devastating and life-changing crisis.
Nicole Hockley said that the crowded fire station, an emergency staging area, was chaotic as parents searched frantically for their children. She was able to find her son Jake, but her other son Dylan, his classmates, and his teacher were nowhere to be found.
60 Minutes: Sandy Hook Parents
Jimmy Greene said that his son’s teacher and her students were all gathered in a room at the firehouse. He was relieved to see his son and hold him in his arms.
But there was bad news for their family too, because daughter Ana was still missing. His wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene, was frantically making her way to the emergency location, becoming increasingly more upset about their missing daughter.
60 Minutes: Newtown 12/14
Eventually, reunited parents and children began leaving the scene. But for those still missing loved ones, the dwindling crowd gave way to fear. No one knew what to do, and no one seemed to have all the information.
Remaining parents were ushered into a back room, where family members learned the details about what had transpired. As they absorbed the news, anguish set in, mixed with denial.
60 Minutes: Connecticut Gun Reform
Later in the day, the governor addressed the remaining family members with the devastating news that their family members had perished. Months later, Governor Malloy signed new gun regulations into law for the state of Connecticut.
Now the parents are focused on Washington, where they want to force their agenda to an up-or-down vote from legislators. They are focused on magazine size and background checks, two elements that were successful in their home state.
60 Minutes: Straw Purchases
The families think these changes would cut down on trafficking and so-called straw purchases, where third parties purchase weapons for people who would not pass background checks on their own.
What about the arguments that these changes would not have made a difference at Sandy Hook? Parents seemed to agree that shutting down illegal gun trafficking is something that can unite almost everyone. They also cited recent statistics of overwhelming support for background checks nationwide.
60 Minutes: Sandy Hook Promise
Are the Sandy Hook Promise families worried that the impact of their tragedy is fading, just four months after it occurred? These parents are still reeling from the fresh incident, and they are not going to fade quietly into the background.
“We don’t get to move on. We don’t have the benefit of turning the page,” Jimmy Greene said. “We’re going to live with this for the rest of our lives, so our legislators need to hear us.”
60 Minutes: US Gun Reform
Hockley said that some of the families are just now finding their voices, and they are in this movement for the long haul. The group seemed to agree that this is a “lifelong pursuit.”
How do these parents find the strength and will to persevere in the face of this tragedy? Hockley said that you don’t have much choice other than to move forward and keep living.
60 Minutes: Newtown Community
The Newtown community is very close-knit, and David Wheeler said that we all have the choice each day about how to spend our time and efforts. But every day is hard, he said.
One mother said that she still feels her son’s presence in her life. A father said that he cannot stop thinking about the son he lost, and he has made efforts to engage his other children in conversation about what happened.
60 Minutes: DC Gun Reform
At least one mother said it is too painful to think about the son she lost, and she is struggling with guilt and sorrow. Hockley’s son was cremated, and his ashes are in the family home, where she kisses him every morning and night.
Parents wept openly as they listened to one another discuss their grieving. Mark Barden said that pictures and memories are among the few tangible reminders of so much that they have all lost.
“Now it’s time to turn this tragedy into the place where we all evolve as a society,” he said.
Next, the group is headed to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. While there is much resistance to be found there, they refuse to let those they lost be forgotten.