tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 17, 2012 9:00am-11:00am EST
catherine, chase, jesse, james, grace, emilie, jack, noah, caroline, jessica, benjamin, avielle, allison -- god has called them all home. for those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. >> a tough thing this morning. happening now in the news room, amid one man's unspeakable cruelty, tales of courage are emerging from newtown, connecticut. as shots drew nearer, teacher victoria soto threw herself between the gunman and her students. her family tells us how she
should be remembered. president obama comforting the families of those killed and how he remembers the love and prayers of a nation. we'll share his speech from last night's vigil. part of the speech, a call to action. president obama vowing to prevent another massacre. today gun control seems to have a tone of determination. a special edition of "newsroom" begins right now. good morning to you. i'm carol costello here in atlanta. joining me shortly, don lemon. hees in newtown, connecticut. let's begin here, shall we? we'll begin with the latest at sandy hook elementary school. today the first of the funerals get under way. 6-year-old jack pinto and noah pozner will be the first of the 26 victims laid to rest. we'll also learning more about the remarkable acts of heroism. one teacher, ann marie murphy, died while shielding students with her body. another read to kids to distract
them from the gunshots that exploded outside their room. last night in newtown, president obama met with survivors and the families of those killed. he vowed to prevent another massacre and called for a national discussion on gun violence. more on the gun control debate in just a moment. but first the president's message to a community in anguish. here are some of the president's comments from last night's vigil. >> i am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. i can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not alone in your grief, that our world too has been torn apart. that all across this land of ours we have wept with you. we've pulled our children tight.
and you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear. newtown, you are not alone. >> the president's words are providing a measure of comfort for the families of those killed. after last night's vigil, we spoke with the parents and siblings of vicki soto. she's the first grade teacher who was shooing her students away from the door when the gunman burst in and shot her. >> i appreciate all his kind words that he did say about my sister. she was a hero, and she still is. >> i would just like everyone to know that she was just a beautiful, beautiful young lady. she had such passion for
teaching and for life, and especially for her family. she was extremely close to her siblings that are sitting with me and her cousins and loved them dearly and wanted to be a teacher from the time she was 3. that's all she ever wanted to do, and she just loved her kids. she just talked about them all the time with such fondness and caring, and she just adored them. i have no doubt in my mind she did everything she could to protect every single one of them. >> investigators say vicki soto almost certainly saved lives by acting so quickly. the newtown tragedy is the nation's fourth mass shooting in just the past two years, and in the aftermath of each, conversation naturally turns to the issue of gun control. this time, however, the tone seems different. listen to the president's resolve in his speech last night. >> in the coming weeks, i'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens
from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. >> cnn's dan lothian is at the white house this morning. dan, the president vowed action, but he offered no specifics. what kind of reforms could he push for? >> reporter: well, i think, as some people have pointed out, maybe during that service wasn't the time for the president to be laying out any specifics, but a couple of things we could see the president do, first of all, there's the assault weapons ban which expired in 2004. that had been in place for ten years. the president during the 2008 campaign said he supported it, but there was no real movement in that area. in fact, the brady center to prevent gun violence said after the president's first year in office was a, quote, abject failure when it comes to this issue. we could see the president put more pressure on lawmakers to reinstate that assault weapons
ban. perhaps the president could also focus on strengthening mental health laws that would prevent those with difficult mental health issues from getting these dangerous weapons and then carrying out these mass shootings. those are some of the areas where we could see the president push. but, again, we haven't heard the president lay out any specifics, and it really hasn't been a big priority for the president during his first four years, and when it comes to congress, there have been some bills, some gun related bills that have been put forward but really went nowhere. there is some indication now this is something lawmakers could start looking at, but we'll have to wait and see, carol. >> dan, sadly, we have been down this road so many times, too many times. nothing really changes. i mean that as far as gun control laws go, help for people with mental illness, more money being poured into psychiatric centers or counseling centers that might help people. nothing is ever accomplished.
is the tone different this time? >> reporter: the tone is always different after a mass shooting. we heard the same thing after aurora. the president has been involved or had to deal with four mass shootings during his presidency, and there's always a lot of tough talk, and this debate really intensifies in the days following these mass shootings, but then nothing really happens. we do see a slightly different tone where you hear lawmakers talking about going up to capitol hill and really pushing forward on something, but we don't know. we'll have to wait and see. right now there are a lot of other pressing, big pressing issues that are also critical here in washington. there's the fiscal cliff obviously that needs to be resolved before the end of the year. so we'll have to see once those issues are dealt with, whether or not there will be this serious effort to deal with guns. >> we'll see. dan lothian reporting live from the white house this morning. looking at that picture there beside dan. we're actually awaiting a news conference from newtown.
authorities expected to brief reporters any moment when that begins. we'll take it live for you. let's head to newtown right now to check in with don lemon. good morning, don. >> carol, good morning to you. we are awaiting a news conference. they have been giving those news conferences just about every day, a couple times a day, updating the public on exactly what's happening here in newtown, giving specifically as many details as they can, not releasing a timeline, but yesterday releasing information about the guns, about the victim, and about the suspect as well. you know, by all accounts sandy hook principal dawn hochsprung, she did everything, everything she could to prevent friday's rampage. she had a new security system installed in the school. and when that wasn't enough, she confronted the gunman herself while yelling to teachers to lock their doors. cnn's gary tuchman talked exclusively with her heartbroken family. >> reporter: principal dawn hochsprung was quite a bit younger than her husband george, but when they got married ten years ago, both for the second time, she with two daughters and
he with three, george was marrying his boss. >> when dawn and i met, she was the assistant principal at our school, and i was a seventh grade math teacher at that time. i just fell in love with her. >> reporter: george made the big decision. the time had come to propose. >> she turned me down five times. >> reporter: you asked her to marry you, but she turned you down? >> five times. >> reporter: what happened the sixth time? >> the sixth time, iwate y wait until it wasn't such rough sailing. >> reporter: indeed, george had been popping the question on a sailboat they owned together. >> i popped the question on a sloop on the pacific. >> reporter: beth and ann are george's daughters from his first marriage. erica and the teenager. >> we built this beautiful house in the adirondacks, our dream. our dream was a chronological
dream. it was going to be dawn's house because i was going to die. i'm much older than dawn. it was going to be dawn's house and dawn's grandchildren and all these children could use the house on the lake, and it would be wonderful. we built rooms downstairs for kids. it was going to be dawn's house ultimately. with all the children. all the children. and now it's me. i can't -- i don't think i can do that. >> reporter: i want to reiterate to you, george, you have these beautiful daughters and son-in-laws and grandchildren, and everyone will be here to take care of you. is that right, ladies? >> yes. >> of course. >> my job has always been to take care of other people. >> reporter: it's all right if someone takes care of you for a while. >> no one has ever taken care of me. >> stop being so stubborn. >> reporter: while dawn was at sandy hook, george still taught at the middle school where they met. in the middle of day, this is
how george found out what happened. >> the kids came up with a computer and said something has happened at asandy hook school, and your wife has been killed. >> reporter: george raced out of the school and into a nightmare. like all the families of victims, they want to know more. on this day, they have learned more. two teachers who survived told george they were having a meeting with dawn when the shots started ringing out. >> dawn put herself in jeopardy, and i have been angry about that. angry until just now, today, when i met the two women that she told to go under shelter while she actually confronted the gunman, and she could not -- she could have avoided that, and she didn't. i knew she wouldn't. so i'm not angry anymore. i'm not angry. i'm not angry anymore. i'm not angry. i'm just very sad. very sad. they said we were at the meeting. there were gunshots. somebody shot the window.
somebody came in, into the -- not into the office, but into the building, the foyer of the building, and dawn told us to go hide, and she and at least one other teacher ran out and actually tried to subdue the killer. i don't know where that comes from. dawn was, what, 5'2". >> reporter: everyone here is so proud, no one more so than erica, who said her mom was always there for her daughters. >> every game she was there. every practice she was there. all of my sister's cheerleading stuff, she was there. every dance competition. she was doing homework on the bleachers, but she was there. and she was my rock. my rock. >> reporter: and now she is a hero too. final thing i want to ask you is
what would you say to your mom right now? >> come back. just come back. >> cnn's gary tuchman with dawn hochsprung's family. carol, as we wait on this press conference, i heard you talking to our dan lothian. wouldn't it be great if they were holding a press conference so that people didn't have to deal with this, about some sensible gun rules in this country and we wouldn't have to deal with what the hochsprung family and many other families are dealing with now, carol. >> a lot of conversations have to go on, don, not just about gun l kro, but about mental illness, and so many things we just don't talk about, at least in any in depth way. don lemon, we'll still get back to you. we're still waiting for that news conference from newtown, lieutenant vance of the state police and the medical inspector. one of the unanswered questions in this tragic shooting, who were nancy and adam lanza?
what kind of life did the mother and son live before the shootings in connecticut? we'll take a closer look. have a good night. here you go. you, too. i'm going to dream about that steak. i'm going to dream about that tiramisu. what a night, huh? but, um, can the test drive be over now? head back to the dealership? [ male announcer ] it's practically yours. but we still need your signature. volkswagen sign then drive is back. and it's never been easier to get a passat.
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16 minutes past the hour. we're still waiting for the news conference to begin at newtown. expected to brief reporters at any moment now. first a check of some of the other stories we're following this morning. three months after the deadly attack at the u.s. consulate in libya, the state department expected to receive an independent report on the incident today. secretary of state hillary clinton ordered the review. it will be presented to congress before a private briefing this
week. the u.s. ambassador to libya chris stevens and three others were killed in that attack on september 11th. looks like house speaker john boehner is putting more on the table to avoid that fiscal cliff. a source close to the talks tells cnn boehner is offering to raise the debt ceiling. something republicans oppose. he's also proposing higher taxes for those who make $1 million a year or more. president pushing for higher taxes for those making $250,000 a year. in money news, some 6 million credit card holders will get a welcome gift, a refund. discover american express and capital one giving back $435 million as ordered by the government as part of a crackdown on deceptive practices. the refund should be out by the end of march. in the weather, parts of the pacific northwest are getting hit by the worst storm in six years. you're looking at mt. rainier. a tow truck driver was killed on sunday when he was run over by another car in near whiteout
conditions. this storm could drop three feet of snow on the area. back to newtown now. the big question, what's next for the students at sandy hook elementary? when will they be returning tos c classes? can you imagine sorting through all that? cnn's sandra endo has been doing just that. what have you found out, sandra? >> reporter: when a tragedy like this happens, you hear experts talk about how it's so important for students and children to retain a sense of routine and a type of normalcy, and that's what school administrators here in newtown are certainly hoping to achieve for a lot of the students at sandy hook elementary school. it remains a crime scene, so students there cannot return to class. what administrators are trying to do, carol, they're trying to work out a plan with a neighboring town in order to accommodate the students of that elementary school. so sandy hook elementary school
students will likely go to chalk hill school, which is in monroe, about seven miles from here as early as this week. today all newtown schools are closed so that staff can talk to experts on how to talk to students and how to deal with this tragedy that hit this town. tomorrow all classes are expected to resume for those schools. carol? >> sandra endo, reporting live for us it this morning. we're also learning more about the man police say was responsible for the shooting at sandy hook and his mother. don lemon joins us once again from newtown with that part of the story. >> thank you, carol. police say adam lanza's first target on friday was his mother. some who knew nancy lanza call her a reasonable neighbor, a friend who -- a personal and reasonable neighbor. a friend who -- one of her sons call her a social butterfly. it's a different story for her son adam. nancy pulled her son out of the school district and home schooled him. those who knew adam remember him
for not standing out. >> basically, he was a quiet, shy kid. he stood out to me because of the fact he didn't interact with too many other kids on the bus. he was older, i believe, when i had him. this is going back a few years. i don't recall everything, but that did stand out. the one thing about it. >> the more we learn about adam lanza, the more confusing it becomes. cnn's brian todd looks deeper into who he was. >> reporter: his motive for this unspeakable act is still not clear. law enforcement officials say. in digging for details about shooter adam lanza and his family, accounts emerge that are still confusing, sometimes conflicting. a neighbor who knew him in recent years describes lanza as troubled, but listen to this account from a young man who knew him. >> he was just a kid.
>> reporter: just a kid? >> just a kid. >> reporter: never antisocial? >> no. adam's got -- no. >> reporter: trouble maker? >> no, definitely not. >> reporter: noticeable? did he just kind of blend into the background? >> yeah. nothing that would warrant any of this. >> reporter: ryan kraft says he baby-sat adam lanza about ten years ago when lanza was 10 and kraft was 15. he describes lanza as focused, quiet, introverted. he never saw evidence of violence, kraft says, but he says lanza did throw the occasional temper tantrum. >> just general stuff like we had to put him to bed and he wouldn't like that or stop watching tv and he wouldn't like that. normal stuff kids do, but i guess the a10 years old normal kids get out of that phase, and that wasn't the case for adam. >> reporter: kraft was only a year older than lanza's older brother ryan. his mother said to let ryan do what he wanted. but as for adam. >> nancy asked me to always be
with him in the room no matter what. don't go to the bathroom. don't ever leave him without supervision. >> reporter: kraft says adam had a contentious relationship with the mother nancy. she'd split with the boy's father, peter lanza, who's described as the job networking site linked in as tax director at ge financial services. but kraft says nancy lanza was an engaged mother, always setting up play dates for her two sons and taking part in neighborhood activities. nancy lanza enjoyed gardening and had taken time off from a job in finance. >> just like anybody else in this neighborhood. decorate the house, and the house was always pristine. i mean, she was just like any other housewife. >> reporter: but like her son, there are gaps in nancy lanza's story that still need to be filled in. she owned the weapons that adam lanza used in the killings, including a semiautomatic rifle, according to a law enforcement source, and it's not clear why she purchased them. brian todd, cnn, washington. >> all right, brian.
we're still awaiting that news conference from newtown lieutenant paul vance, expected to brief reporters at any moment. you see the producers and reporters there and the microphones set up. we'll bring that to you when we get it here live on cnn. we're back in a moment. ♪ [ male announcer ] with a select terrain dial that adjusts the jeep grand cherokee's performance for specific weather and road conditions... ♪ ...even heavy snowstorms... won't keep you from getting to work. our apologies. ♪
violence. as the president says, what choice do we have? the blame game has already begun. mike huckabee, pastor and fox news host, says our godless schools are to blame. >> we ask why there's violence in schools, about you we've systematically removed god from schools. should we be surprised that schools have become a place of carnage? we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means. >> cnn contributor and tea party supporter eric erickson says in his column today single parent homes lead to violence. many are also blaming violent video games and movies. after all, 11 violent movies are now in the theaters just one week before christmas, the day we celebrate christ's birth. >> i am simply a customer trying to conduct a transaction. >> last chance, fancy pants. >> very well. [ gunshot ]
>> including quentin tarantino's movie "jango unchained." >> it's just a horrible tragedy. what are you going to say about it? it's horrible. but, yeah, at the same time, no, i don't think it has anything to do with that. this has gone back all the way down to shakespeare's days, when there's violence in the street. the cry becomes blame the play makers. i actually -- i think that's a very fascile argument to pin on something that's a real life tragedy. >> republican law maker billy gomer says it's too few guns. if the principal had had a gun, she could have taken out the shooter and prevented a rampage. or maybe there's too many guns. senator dianne feinstein plans to introduce legislation to stop assault weapons. the talk back question for you today, what can be done to prevent another newtown?
get married, have a couple of kids, [ children laughing ] move to the country, and live a long, happy life together where they almost never fight about money. [ dog barks ] because right after they get married, they'll find some retirement people who are paid on salary, not commission. they'll get straightforward guidance and be able to focus on other things, like each other, which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. good morning. thanks so much for joining us this morning. i'm carol costello in atlanta. with me today, don lemon in
newtown, connecticut. >> good morning to you, carol. we're still awaiting the news conference from newtown. lieutenant paul vance expected to brief reporters at any moment now. you see they're getting ready. we'll carry that for you live right here on cnn. for now we'll give you the latest on the shooting at sandy hook elementary school. this afternoon 6-year-olds jack pinto and noah pozner will be the first of the 27 victims laid to rest. and we're also learning more about the remarkable acts of heroism. one teacher, ann marie murphy, she died while shielding students with her body. another read to her kids to distract them from gunshots exploding outside the room. and last night president barack obama met with the families of those killed. he vowed to prevent another massacre and called for a national discussion on gun violence. >>i itright now we want to conte the discussion we started with talk back. what can we do to prevent another newtown?
it's not a democratic or republican problem because we're all subject to gun violence. but merely saying we need gun control is too simplistic. we have many other problems. let's bring in cnn contributor will cain. i'm going to have to interrupt you guys. we're going back to newtown because the news conference just started. lieutenant vance. >> we'd like to deliver to you a message from the superintendent of schools relative to educational process here in the town. we'll start off with the lieutenant about the schools right now. >> good morning. as you know, the healing is still going on. the schools are working very closely with all the faculty, students, and parents to try to be respectful and resume what normalcy we can after a tragedy such as this. all the faculty is meeting today at newtown high school to try to plan further on how to handle it best and address the needs of the students and faculty involved in this horrendous,
horrendous tragedy. there will be no school today. the plan is to try to resume normalcy for school classes tomorrow, except for those members of the sandy hook school. they will be excused, of course, until further notice, and they're developing plans on how to best handle that as we speak. >> thank you, lieutenant. we're continuing the line of communication with the troopers and officers assigned to the families as we begin the services. additional troopers have been assigned to work each one of the funeral services with local officers and other police partners. we're asking the media again, at the families' request, to please respect their privacy as they go through this extremely difficult time. as i stated, state police major crimes detectives have been
working 24 hours a day since this tragedy occurred and will continue to do so indefinitely as they continue to answer questions surrounding this tragedy and how and why it occurred. they're continuing to interview witnesses, as i've stated previously, and i cannot overstate there are many, many witnesses that need to be interviewed. we will not stop until we've interviewed every last one of them. we are holding both crime scenes, the school and the secondary crime scene, indefinitely. we've seized it under search warrants, and we're going to hold those locations until we've completed our work and we feel it is appropriate to let them go. so as not to read anything into that, it is common practice to do that, to hold on to the crime scene as long as it's needed for investigatory purposes. we had begun processing the evidence, analyzing the evidence. as i stated yesterday, just to use an example, the weaponry,
every single facet of the weapons will be analyzed. every single round of ammunition will be looked at and examined for any kind of physical evidence. i alluded yesterday to the volume of rounds, for example, that, in fact, were seized and recovered. each singular round will be examined. it gives you an idea of the painstaking length of that process. all the evidence will be processed. we'll continue to analyze every single piece, and, again, i cannot detail the content of any evidence or even what that evidence is for public consumption. i want to restate again, thank you for helping us in this, but any threats, any information intended to mislead investigators in this case will, in fact, be completely and thoroughly investigated, and if appropriate, prosecuted if anyone attempts to threaten or mislead this investigation. as you know, there were a couple
yesterday, and those too are active criminal investigations. teams of state police detectives and newtown detectives have been assigned to investigate those as ancillary criminal cases, if you will. the crisis teams are still in place. i want to give you that phone number again. there are many people in the town, and this phone line is open to anyone, anyone who needs to discuss anything or needs support from professionals. they're staffing this line from the hospital. the number is 203-270-4283. at this time, i will entertain some questions. again, please keep in mind that there are certain areas that we just cannot go down at this point in time. yes, ma'am? >> richfield schools are currently under lockdown. is it all related to sandy hook?
>> what i'll do is i'll address that. i'm aware of that situation in the town of richfield. the local police department is handling that situation. there's a report of a suspicious person that may, in fact, be armed. we're not sure what the situation is. we sent appropriate personnel in that direction to assist richfield, but richfield is handling that situation. there's been no updates other than that. >> do the schools feel safe right now? >> the schools, again, are safe with the ridgefield officers and ridgefield police department with that. >> you're saying you're interviewing every witness. obviously, that includes children. can you talk about how you're handling that? >> i don't want to get into detail. it's a very, very tender, tender issue. i can tell you that any interviews with any children will be done with professionals, with parents, and with investigators, as appropriate. the investigators will determine
how, when, where, and why we'll do this. again, understand we will handle that extremely delicately when the time arises. >> lieutenant, have you had any medical or mental health professionals come forward to say whether they were treating adam lanza? if there are any out there with such information, would you ask them to come forward? >> certainly, we would encourage anyone with any information to come forward that can assist us in this investigation. when i talked about the weaponry and the historical analysis, all the weaponry involved, the same thing holds true with the suspect. we will go back to the date of birth. we will continue on through. we will answer every single question determining any kind of medical condition, any kind of issue whatsoever that may have been involved in. i am not at liberty to discuss medical content. i'm not at liberty to discuss any of the information so far uncoughed, bu uncovered, but suffice it to say, i want to say we will cover every single facet.
>> there are reports that law enforcement was concerned about adam lanza previous to this. do you have any insight into that? >> no. we've been in discussions with newtown police, and there was no previous contact or concerns prior to this tragic event. yes, sir. >> can you tell us more detail on how he proceeded to get in the school and what he did once inside. >> i can't do that. it's too difficult to discuss. i'm not going to lie to you, it's too difficult to discuss. i can tell you, as i've been telling you, the suspect forced his way into the school before and as he began to take human life therein. i simply don't want to -- and it's not appropriate for us to go any further with that. yes, ma'am. >> are officers still talking to gun shops and gun ranges to find out information about whether lanza tried to possess other firearms. >> good question. we're not only checking the weaponry, but atf is working with us.
newtown is working with us. other agencies working with us searching every database, every record, searching everything we can possibly uncover. again, if anyone had any contact with the suspect at any range or any location, we want to talk to them if we haven't reached them yet. yes, sir? >> has any progress been made in trying to ascertain some information from the computers you found smashed. >> i can tell thaw our computer crimes unit, working with the forensic laboratory, are working nonstop examining any evidence that was seized at any location, literally. whether it be cell phones, computers. and i'm not naming anything that was seized. i'm saying all that electronic evidence will, in fact, be analyzed. we certainly will dissect it, if you will. >> did adam leave any evidence at the home? >> i can't discuss the evidence. >> is there a separate survivor? reports that there are two survivors. >> yes, there are two adults that were injured in the
facility, in the school, that suffered gunshot wounds and are recovering. >> why did he have his brother's i.d.? >> i don't have any information about what he was carrying at all. >> no information about how he got his brother's i.d.? >> no information about what he was carrying at all. >> was there a surveillance system inside that school? >> i'm not aware of that. i'm sorry. i don't have that information. >> about what should happen with the school after it's no longer a crime scene? >> that will a town decision, the town leaders. again, we are possessing that school. we are holding that school as a crime scene indefinitely. and i can't even tell you what that means. i don't know how long that will be. i'm suspecting months. at that time, it's up to the town officials to determine exactly what's appropriate with that facility and with that building. yes, sir? >> can you talk about how the two survivors are helping at all
if in this investigation? >> we provided the survivors with the same conduit we provided all the other victims in this case, and that is law enforcement escort, if you will. our investigators will, in fact, speak with them when it's medically appropriate, and certainly they will shed a great deal of light on the facts and circumstances of this tragic investigation that we're undertaking. >> lieutenant, would you talk about the tremendous amount of ammunition that he had with him. you alluded to that yesterday. the governor talked about that yesterday as well. do you now believe that he had much wider intentions inside that school that were thwarted because of the efforts of law enforcement? >> i think what's important is that i can't speculate what would have occurred. that would be wrong on my part. i can tell you that the faculty, staff in that school did everything that they possibly could to protect those children. i can tell you that the first responders that got to that scene with the active shooter team entered that school and saved many human lives, and i can tell you it broke our hearts
we couldn't save them all. so quite frankly, there are the victims, the families in this situation that really are a focus of our attention right now. we'll leave that there, please. >> is there any added police presence in other schools around this state. >> that's what i've done under the leadership of the governor and the educational commissioner and law, all the local officials. many, many schools are showing law enforcement support and security, and i must state very emphatically, very emphatically, that it is not funny. it is not a joke. it is not acceptable for anyone to make any kind of inner threat or make any statement relative to the security and the individual schools, respect what's occurred here. i would ask people to respect what's occurred here, and certainly we're going to do our best to ensure security statewide. law enforcement will do so as well as the professionals at each and every educational institution in connecticut. what i'd like to do now is tell you that i don't want to keep
coming. we'll come here every day. lieutenant and i come here every day if it's necessary. i don't want to come and just tell you everything's under investigation. our next briefing we'll have will probably be about 12:00 noon today, just before 12:00 noon if we can get here to bring you up to date with anything we have. but we're going to -- we're going to start scaling back the briefings, and we'll put everything that's necessary applicable to this investigation on our website. we truly believe that keeping you here is probably somewhat counterproductive. i would restate again, please, the families have requested privacy during the services, and i know you folks have been great. i would ask you to continue to do so. we'll see you just before noon. thank you. >> can you give us some numbers on investigators and staff involved in this investigation. >> i can tell you significant. well over a couple hundred troopers and detectives and
local police officers. in addition to local police officers, newtown police, federal agencies, federal agents. a total number, i would just be grasping a number out of the sky literally. >> lieutenant vance from the connecticut state police. you heard that he said there's increased security in part provided by the educational system of connecticut and in part provided by police departments across the state. extra security at all of those schools, which leads us back to our question. how do we prevent another newtown? front and center, how do we protect our children in schools these days? so let's bring back our contributors. will cain, l.z. gran der soders don lemon. l.z., you had a very touching column about how parents can keep their children safe. what conclusion did you come to? >> sadly, the conclusion i came to as a parent was it's virtually impossible to ensure that my son or anyone's child
will be protected from any harm that can happen once they're out of our sights. as i was dropping my son off this morning, i watched him walk all the way into the building, and it literally took every effort in me not to get out of the car and walk him personally to the building, and he's 16 years old. you know, when you see something like this, you see the little lives that were taken, i don't know how any parent can have peace when their child is not near them. so it's very, very distressing, and we're really hoping that the conversations that have begun to happen this weekend don't end once all the funerals have been held. that true legislative power comes from this. >> we'll see. will, i'm going to ask you a tough question. i know at least two school districts in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, have given security officers in schools permission to carry guns today. is that the answer? is that how we keep kids safe? do we arm school security guards?
do we arm the principals? >> carol, that doesn't -- from a common sense, instinctual level, no, that doesn't ring as appropriate to me. here's the deal. just like l.z., i dropped my son off at school this morning. my son is 5 years old. he's right in this age range. it's impossible to escape the emotion of this moment. it's impossible to look at this in strictly rational terms. that being said, i think that our focus on guns, it just -- it's too narrow. it doesn't stand up to critical thought. here's the deal, carol. gun violence is, quite honestly, it's down from a peak in the 1990s. and yet these mass killings are up. six of the deadliest 12 have happened since 2007. so if guns are somewhat constant, what is the determining factor? what has changed? we must figure out a way to address mental health, analyze mental health. something has changed in our country in the last 40 years. the process of
deinstitutionalizing mental health or the rise in psychotropic drugs. this seems to be the only thing that i can pinpoint now that is the delineating factor, and that's where we must focus. >> let's head to newtown, connecticut, and don lemon, what are people there saying? >> let me -- listen, for the past three days, i have been on the verge of tears every second, and most of the people here have been crying 24 hours straight. yes, we need to address mental health, but mental health in this particular issue -- let's not get it twisted -- is a secondary issue. if someone who has a mental issue did not have access to guns that should only be available in war zones, we would not be dealing with this. who needs a bullet piercing, armor piercing bullet to go hunting? who needs an assault rifle to go hunting? you can't even use the prey that you kill with an assault rifle
if you indeed do it. no one needs an assault rifle to go out and shoot a deer. no one needs an assault rifle that's capable of shooting 10, 20, 30 rounds off at a time to shoot a duck or to shoot quail. it does not make sense. the first thing that we need to do, according to everyone who is here, even gun enthusiasts, is talk about what we're doing with assault rifles. why should guns that should only be available in war zones, why are they available to people who are mentally healthy and people who are not mentally healthy? that's the issue that we need to deal with. so to say that gun violence is down does not make sense. to me, it's insulting to everyone who lost a loved one here and who was dealing with that. it doesn't matter if gun violence is down. 20 children are dead here and 6 adults are dead, and the mother of a person who was not mentally -- who is mentally challenged in some way is dead. so to say that gun violence is
down -- we need to talk about mental health, yes. mental health is a secondary issue. we need to get guns and bullets and automatic weapons off the streets. they should only be available to police officers and to hunt al qaeda and the taliban and not huntchildren. >> we are going to have to wrap this up. thanks so much. >> thank you. quick check on some of the stories making news today. [ male announcer ] when it comes to the financial obstacles military families face, we understand. at usaa, we know military life is different. we've been there. that's why every bit of financial advice we offer is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. [ laughs ] dad! dad! [ applause ] ♪ [ male announcer ] life brings obstacles. usaa brings advice. call or visit us online. we're ready to help.
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the talk back question today is a tough one. what can be done to prevent another newtown? encourage the family setting that's washed away in our society. a loving home is the best thing you can do for a child. god belongs in church not in public schools. two, mental health professionals should be available to everyone. lee, there should be more control over who has asalt-type weapons. first we stop riding a stage for manipulators that distract plus decisive legislative action to protect our children. this is not a gun control issue. guns don't kill people. people kill people. this needs to be about mental illness and what our country can do to keep that under control. a lot could be done but nothing will be done. because of the gun lobby. the nra and the republicans who are supported by these groups. they enable mass murderers. ban guns and criminals or people with intent on killing others will have easy access to guns in
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how can we prevent another newtown? gun control? better mental health services? putting god back in our schools? we will talk with connecticut senator joe lieberman. investigators dig importances. who was the man police say was behind these deadly shootings? this tragedy could have been, if you can believe it, a lot worse if not for the teachers at sandy hook elementary school. they are being called heroes for their action when the shootings began. you will hear from one of them. a special edition of "newsroom" starts now. ♪ good morning. thank for being with us. i'm carol costello in atlanta. with me today, don lemon, newtown, connecticut. good morning. >> good morning to you. we are going to begin this hour with the latest from newtown, connecticut. minutes ago police held a briefing to update reporters one topic wrestling with the question of when or even if kids can return to sandy hook elementary.
>> there will be no school today. the plan the s to try to resume normalcy for school classes tomorrow except for those members at the sandy hook school. they will be excused, of course, until further notice. they are developing plans on how to best handle that. >> today the first of the funerals get under way. this afternoon, 6-year-olds, jack pinto, and noah pozner will be the first of the victim to be laid to rest. one teacher, anne marie murphy died while shielding students with her body. another read to her kids to distract them from the gunshots exploding outside of their room. and last night in newtown president obama met with survivors and families of those killed and vowed to prevent another massacre and call for a national discussion on gun violence. more on the gun control debate in just a moment. first the president's message to a community in anguish. here are some of the comments from last night's vigil.
>> i am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow nor can they heal your wounded hearts. i can only hope it helps for you to know that you are not alone in your grief. that our world, too, has been torn apart. that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. we pulled our children tight. and you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly
bear it. newtown, you are not alone. >> reporter: we are going to be back here in newtown in just a few minutes. for now, i'm going to hand it back over to carol who is in atlanta. i watched it here in a tavern not a dry eye in the house. it was such a moving memorial last night. >> it really was. the president talked about doing something. he sort of intimated gun control was part of that something. how did you take that, don? >> reporter: i think he had some very strong language on gun laws. i don't know if gun control is the right thing -- i think what the president is saying and most people are saying, it is not about taking away anyone's second amendment rights. it is about having a sensible, non-politicized conversation about our gun laws, takinging a second look at them. i think that's appropriate at this point. >> okay. don, after what happened in newtown, schools are struggling with gun control. guns in general and how to keep kids safe. one way armed school security guards. according to the pittsburgh gazette, at least would pittsburgh area school districts
will allow armed guards to patrol their schools. the superintendent told the paper, quote, it was our intent to do this anyway. the must have town shooting caused us to think about it and work over the weekend to expedite that process. gun advocates are also for it. >> i wish to god she had an m-4 in her office locked up so when she heard gunfire pulled it out and didn't have to lung heroically with nothing in her hands but takes him out. >> he mentioned an m-4. if you are wondering what an m-4 is, here is a picture of it. an assault rifle used by the u.s. military. joining us now is connecticut senator joe lieberman. good morning, senator. >> good morning, carol. >> i'm just going cut right to the chase. is that the answer, senator, more guns? >> i don't believe it is.
obviously security at school buildings is important. but this -- as the president said, very eloquently last night is a very complicated problem. but the fact that it is complicated doesn't mean we can't doing in about it and i thought the president issued a call to national action preceded by discussion when he said that it is time for these tragedies to end. i mean, clearly part of it has to be -- to make it harder to -- for people who shouldn't have guns to have them. and to keep some guns that are military guns and not hunting or sports guns out of the hands of most people in our country. but it is more than in a. it is about balance and the culture. mental health services. it is about spotting these kids who fit the profile, troubled young men, who everybody in hindsight says i should have noticed this. how we make sure we notice it before they strike and get them help so that -- so never strike
and hurt anybody. >> senator, i think a lot of people out will think, you know, these tragedies happen. we hear big talk from politicians, what they don't -- they don't have the political will or courage to really change things. >> i don't blame people for thinking that because -- that's the record. you know. the last thing we really adopted a law on guns, for instance, was in 1993 or '94, the brady act named after jim brady, president reagan's press secretary, who was disabled by gunfire when hinckley ride to kill president reagan. that took seven years to pass. we had an assault weapons ban that passed at about that time, had a ten-year life as a statute and not a consensus to reauthorize it. that's why i think what the president said last night is so important because i think he was saying he wants -- he's committed to doing something about violence in our society and in this second term.
it is why i'm proposing a commission to make -- once you appointed commission, they hold hearings. they talk to people. eventually they produce a report with recommendations. that's some small guarantee we won't walk away from this. >> i think when people listen to that and say that's great, you want to point a commission and we will talk about these things. oftentimes, nothing comes of it. i want to ask you about the nra because the nra remained silent on this issue. we haven't heard word one. facebook page is down. why do you think that is? why isn't the nra coming out and standing up for itself when so many out there are blaming the nra for what happened in newtown, connecticut? >> yeah. well, i mean, obviously you would have to ask folks from the nra. let's just hope it is out of respect for this tragedy. but, you know, from the president on down, we all have to engage the nra and people we know who have guns and want to keep their guns and remind them just as don lemon said a moment
ago, none of these proposals will take guns out of the hands of people who have them now. this is all about trying to limit access to guns by people who shouldn't have them. based on their records. and to keep military weapons off of the commercial market. that shouldn't inhibit anybody's right to hunt, target shoot, or even to defend themselves with a gun. i think -- this murder of 20 pure, innocent children is a tipping point. i'm proposing this commission so we don't lose the anger and hurt we have now before we really get something done about this. i don't want the commission to be an excuse for not doing something. if the president can do something now executive order, god bless him. if congress can get together soon and get something done, god bless congress. but -- >> even after gabrielle giffords, one of your own, who is still damaged to this day because somebody got ahold of a gun who shouldn't have, nothing
happened even after that. >> you are absolutely right. i mean, i go back to columbine in 1999. i actually proposed after that a commission very similar to this. john mccain and i and others did. got adopt medical the senate and was dropped in a conference committee. never even convened. but we have -- all got to be angry. this is not us and them. us against the nra or us against the entertainment industry. this is all of us. this is a question of how we all protect ourselves from wanton violence and most fundamentally how we protect our children. again, i want to say -- i was heartened by the president's words last night. they were strong and he was moved. i happened to be at a bill signing at the white house friday morning when he first learned about how extensive the slaughter was in newtown.
he was so visibly moved. i think he's -- he's struggled with this over the weekend. i think this is going to be a centerpiece of his second term. when you think about it, 12,000 people killed in this country every year with illegal guns, wow. if we can do something about that to reduce that number, that will be a remember legacy for president obama and anybody who supports these efforts. >> senator lieberman, thank you so much for joining us this morning. >> thank you, carol. >> how do we talk about this tragedy? don lemon will join us again from newtown, connecticut. hi, don. >> reporter: thank you, carol. one of the most difficult things moving forward in this tragedy is how to explain what happened to children. chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta joins us. you are a father. i'm an uncle, great uncle. i can't even -- i have been on the verge of tears almost every minute here. as a pear, i heard you
explaining how you talked to your girls about this because they are asking. how do you explain this to your kids? >> yeah. i was skyping. i was here with you. you know. and -- you know, one of the first questions, just inside my 7ier old asked, she immediately asked for the names. names of the children. i thought that was interesting because we talk about humanizing and kids, they just do that instinctively. we obviously are trying to put the these things in context for people. these are tough conversations. people talk about the loss of innocence. you have to be honest. in medicine we say you check your own pulse before going in to treat a patient sometimes. here check your own feelings to some extent. you don't want to overtalk to the child and frighten them more than necessary. up want to be honest. question will come up. my 5-year-old will ask today because they are going to hear about it. social media ask otherwise and say is their school safe. you know, you have -- it didn't happen in daddy's school, it didn't happen in mommy's school. this obviously happened.
>> reporter: is your wife limiting watching television at home? >> she is. the types of stories i cover she does that often. i think this one in particular. >> reporter: i think what people -- you know, what -- obviously the death of children. but it is a time of the year as well. these are kids who in a week who believe in santa claus, who are going to be -- bolting down the stairs towards that christmas tree going look at what santa brought me. now instead the parents are not going -- did i get my kid the right present? did i go too far, too much? did i not go enough. instead these parents are picking out coffins. that's what i thought about this morning when i woke up. brothers and sisters are not figuring out what am i going to get little jane. how am i going to go to this funeral for my sister and brother. >> i don't know what to say, don. you are absolutely right. you know, i think -- you know, i don't even know how to respond to that. i think -- some of these things
are unprecedented and so horrific that certainly as scientists we want to provide answers to things and -- you know, look at how these sorts of things have been handled in the past. i know after other school shootings, three to four months latest, the children had post-traumatic distress. it exists in children. we think about it in adults. it can be -- they behave differently and may regress in terms of behavior, nieces or nephews may start to regress in terms of development. sleep -- it sounds so simple but sleep is such an important component. you can predict -- such a powerful predictor of how they will cope is if they are getting sleep. something the parents can do is check in to make sure your child is sleeping well with all that's going on. yeah. i mean, i don't -- i don't know -- it is the holidays, as you say. i'm sure some of the parents already purchased the presents for these children. and they went home to see those presents lying under the tree. i can't -- you know, i mean,
look -- it is -- i don't know what to say. i don't know what to say about that. you hug your kids tighter, i guess. >> reporter: and everyone. everyone you care about. everyone you may have a beef with that you still -- you tell them, i love you, care about you and i'm glad you are in my life. >> this was happening yesterday. walking around this town, people were coming up to me. they see a little bit on tv and feel like they know you and just give you a hug. i think the idea that people -- you know, feel like -- look, we are going through this together. the worst thing would be to suffer in silence or isolation. i don't know what to say. but i'm here with you. you know, as -- it is a really important thing. here's what's going on in the crisis centers as well. >> reporter: people need it. every hug yesterday i accepted and embraced longer. thank you, dr. sanjay gupta. glad you are here. we will move on in this tragedy. how do you move forward in newtown and elsewhere? we are going to hear from one of the hero teachers who saved lives in the chaos. that's next. i always wait until the last minute.
♪ we have been before. mass shooting followed by calls for better gun control. but nothing much seems to happen. but good newtown be the tipping point? >> i'm going to introduce in the senate and the same bill will be introduced in the house a bill to ban assault weapons. it will ban the sale, transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but perspectively and it will ban the same for big clips,
drums or strips, of more than 10 bullets. so there will be a bill. >> there might abbill introduced but does not mean that bill will pass. let's bring in dana bash. i talked to senator lieberman and he says this is the tipping point. in the coming weeks we will see some movement on gun control. what are you hearing? >> you know, the sentiment definitely seems to be different. i mean, over the -- here's the reason why we haven't seen movement on gun control, significant movement on gun control, for the past decade. it is because democrats who have been the party who have pushed it million about 2000, they shied away from it. the reason is because they really felt that they were hurt politically in red states and even in not so red states by the being so overtly for gun control. and so they pulled back politically. it has changed in the past 24 to 48 hours. there's month question. more democrats, not just dianne feinstein who is a senator who has been in office for decades
from a blue state, it is also others like joe manchin. he has an a-rate prosecuting the nra. he's very much pro-gun. he used himself, shooting guns, and in political ads, west virginia, obviously is a very pro-gun state. even he says it is time to talk about it. listen to what he says. >> i just came with may family from deer hunting. i never had more than three shells in a clip. sometimes you don't get more than one shot anyway at a deer. it is common sense. it is time to move beyond rhetoric. we need to sit down and have a common sense discussion and move in a reasonable way. i ask all my friends in the nra. i have been an nra member and always have been. we need to sit down and move this dialogue to a sensible, reasonable approach to fixing. it is part of it, not all of it everything has to be on the table and i think it will be. >> he didn't explicitly say he would vote for or support senator feinstein's bill she will introduce on day one of the
new congress which would ban assault weapons. assault weapons ban expired back in with our. nobody did anything to reinstate it. he did say that as a hunter, he said, you don't need 30 rounds to kill a deer. that's something that we might hear from more and more -- even democrats who previously had been against my gun control. >> we will see what happens. dana bash reporting live from capitol hill this morning. let's head back to newtown. hi, don. >> reporter: families are calling the teachers at sandy hook elementary school heroes. anderson cooper spoke to one of those teachers. janet balmer. about what it was like inside of her classroom. >> reporter: explain again, you knew something was going wrong. how? >> well, i mean, we were in our classroom and we heard what
sounded like gunshots, noises. >> reporter: you heard that on -- >> there was a loudspeaker that -- >> reporter: p.a. system. >> p.a. system was not working in the way it normally is because you don't usually hear things unless someone is making an announcement. there were noises that didn't sound correct. so there was no -- telling us it was a drill. we thought something was not right. we took the children and went into a lockdown. we go to a certain place in the room. we pulled the blinds down. we locked the classroom doors. and we cover the window at the door. >> reporter: this is something you practiced. >> about a month or so before. make sure we do that, you know, we -- go to a safe place. and typically when it is a drill they tell us, okay, then we even exit the building, fooling certain path. and if there was an emergency we go down to the sandy hook firehouse and gather there. which is what we did that day. you know, we knew that. >> reporter: you sat the kids down. >> we sat in the cubby away from the door so no one could see us,
read them a story and talked to them. they kept saying we are here for how long. it will be always longer. you know. when they are 5 you tell them whatever you do to get -- keep they will safe and calm. >> reporter: this is what i have been thinking about all weekend, though. the courage for you to be able to just sit there and read a story and keep them calm. >> i think the adrenaline kicks in and you do what you have do. there were two other people in the room helping me with pulling down the blinds. i was focused on the kids. just keeping them safe and i'm not about to tell them i think something is very bad or remember wrong. so we waited and waited. you know, it seemed like a very long time and maybe it was 20 minutes, half an hour. i'm not sure. there were knocks at the door. it was -- police. someone telling us that we had to leave. didn't want to open the door at first but we did. you know, they said have the children walk, hold hands, cover their eye it is they could because, you know, he didn't say why.
he said have them cover their eyes. at 5, covering your eyes and walking isn't so easy. i just -- had them, you know, look towards the wall and we went down the hall and out of the building. and, you know, we got on the sidewalk and i said boys and girls, remember the adventure we had, we all walked to the firehouse, you know, we are going to do that now again. >> reporter: in responding to people calling her a hero, vollmer said she did what she needed to do to keep the children safe. we will be right back.
that is a tough question. because it requires thoughtful discussion. something that seems impossible when it comes to gun violence. as the president says, what choice do we have? the blame game has already begun. mike huckabee, pastor and fox news host, says our godless schools are to blame. >> we ask why there is violence in our schools but we systematically removed god from our schools. should we be so surprised schools would become a place of carnage because we have made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means. >> cnn contributor and tea party supporter eric ericson says in his column today, single parent homes lead to violence. many are also blaming violent individual yes games and movies. after all, 11, 11 violent movies are now in theaters just one week before christmas, the day we celebrate christ's birth. >> simply a customer trying to conduct a transaction.
>> last chance, fancy pants. >> very well. >> including that one. quentin tarantino's "django unchained." >> a horrible tragedy, you know. what are you going to say about it? it is horrible. but, you know, at the same time, no, i don't think it has anything to do with that. but this is going back to shakes peier -- shakespeare's days. i think that's a very facile argument. >> republican lawmakers, louie gomer, blames too few guns say if the principal had a gun she could have taken out the shooter and prevented the rampage. maybe there are too many guns. dianne feinstein plans to introduce legislation banning assault weapons. but will that or anything else stop the carnage? talk back question for you today. what can be done to prevent
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removed god from our schools. should we be so surprised schools would become place of carnage because we have made eight place we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means. >> let's talk about that with father thomas reese. thank you, father, important being with us today. >> thank you. >> i'm going to ask you the big question first. why does god allow these things to happen? >> well, that's -- if i knew, could answer that in a simple sound bite, i would be a genius. this is an issue that people have been struggling with for centuries. all religious believers struggle with this question. i think part of it is what we think about god. do we see god as this abstract being that is in control, micro manage it is universe?
i mean, the god of greek fills on perfects? or do we look at the god that's portrayed in scriptures where we see a god of compassion. a god that, you know, sometimes doesn't get what he wants. bad things happen and he -- weeps over it. he weeps over what happens to his children. this is the god for me. the god that jesus showed us. a god who is suffering, a god who is compassionate towards his friends, who wept when lazareth died. he doesn't always get his way and that's when these kind of tragedies happen. >> let's go back to what governor huckabee said. he said rae moving god from our public schools and society in general, that's to blame for the evil that happens in this world. do you agree? >> well -- as a catholic priest, i obviously believe in the importance of having religion
and god in schools. that's why we have catholic schools. but to think that somehow magically that will solve the problems of violence and bullying or will somehow cure people who have mental diseases and disorders or will somehow deal, you know, take care of dysfunctional families, mine, that's totally absurd. and it also misses the point that, you know, how do we talk about god and religion in public schools in a pluralistic society where there's lots of disagreement? it is interesting, almost 50 years ago, 1963, when the supreme court said that public schools should not promote devotion, should not be having prayers, it said we should teach about religion. we have been, you know, had lots of conversations among religious leaders about how to do that and how to do that in a constitutional way. because we immediate to know more about religion.
>> then, you know, another question i have been wonder being. when people talk about personal liberty, they always say god and guns as if god and guns are synonymous, are equal. where does that come from? >> well, i mean, i think -- you know, we have liberty but we also have responsibility. with freedom comes responsibility. and as -- as a nation, i mean, i personally think, you know, were do we immediate assault rifles? we don't immediate them to shoot deer. we don't immediate these weapons that are weapons from war as sports weapons. i think we should deal with this in a rational way. and, you know, but it -- it is all of these things. it is dealing with mental disorders. it is dealing with the amount of weapons that are out will in society. it is dealing with dysfunctional families. all of these kinds of things
need to be, you know, part of the solution. but, you know, again, you know, for the freedom we have is also the freedom to reject god and to sin and to do violent acts and that's part of the human condition also. >> pear thomas, thank you so much important being with us this morning. i can talk to you all day. thank you so much. we will be right back. questions? anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah. one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. approved! [ female announcer ] live the regular life. phillips'. [ female announcer ] live the regular life.
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♪ a town and a nation in mourning. but at the same time, a pew families here in newtown are overwhelmed with grief and gratitude. this couple had would children inside of the school and they both made it out alive. they say their son ran past the shooter and escaped. now the couple is grappling with the challenge of telling him his teacher is gone. >> he's reassuring himself she is going to be okay. he really, really, really cared about his teacher.
he was very close with her. she really loved them. he keeps saying i really hope she's okay. i hope it is not her. he missouri that she's been hurt but doesn't know the end result. he missouri the kids that he saw getting shot, he doesn't know the outcome. so i think he's reassuring himself in his 6-year-old mind, i know he is processing it, but -- i think he is reassuring himself. telling himself it is going to be okay. >> aaden's teacher was victoria soto who placed herself in front of her students before the gunman shot her. 27 years old. how do you talk to any child who has been traumatized? how do you talk to them? let's ask psychologist wendy walsh. she joins us from los angeles. good morning to you. >> hi, don. >> reporter: where do you begin? >> well, you begin, of course,
by doing the -- obvious physical things, keep them safe in their surroundings, as safe and normal as possible. letting them have free play. letting them play in a familiar surroundings and in their home and with their regular toys. and you let them lead. now, remember, kids aren't verbal. they are not going to suddenly turn did and go to mom, i have fears at night and anxiety at night. you will watch how they play with their toys and watch how they do artwork. remember, children are less verbal than adults when expressing things and have you to give them all of the tools possible. and it has to be about gentle reassurance and the most important piece is that parents have to contain themselves, don, because if we are -- you know, sobbing in a pool of tears, that's the cue to them they should be feeling more distressed than they are. it is really important parents contain themselves. >> reporter: how does a parent dashes person there parents here say -- if a kid says mommy, is
bobby going to come back? or what do i do with jane's christmas present? i went and bought it and she's not here. how do you -- what do you do in that particular situation? >> every family is different in how they explain death to a child. depending on the age of the child, it may only have a slight ability to understand really what death is and what permt is. parents have to think, these are -- these are the really prickly times of parenthood where you have to explain death to your child. death of someone is who very close, maybe even a family member, can be very, very difficult. don, as you know, i two daughters myself. i had to explain this to them. i'm -- i'm following the large group on twitter that are doing 20 acts of kindness as a family, as a way to honor the spirits of each of the 20 children who died. therefore, yesterday we bought some things for foster children
for christmas. we made a toiletry kit for a homeless man. we did a -- food drive and donate to a food bank. we have three down and 17 more to go. this is a way to allow my children to grieve and to take positive steps at the same time toward healing. >> reporter: yeah. i have to say, you know, these are remarkable parents, wendy, but it would be hard to be -- i would imagine a good parent and take care of your child when you are trying to take care of yourself, no parent wants to lose a child. how -- how do you balance that as a parent? >> look, right now most of those parents are still in complete shock, don. this trauma is going to work its way through their body and through their brain and in many different ways. the thing about post-traumatic stress disorder, whether it is in the children or the parent or anyone who witnessed or people watching it on tv, it is for everybody, it is different. some people become very active. they take to facebook and twitter and try to solve
problems. other people get very distracted and rye to avoid the feelings and get busy doing a lot of other things. some other people, the lucky artists in the world, can create some very provocative, compassionate art. we all deal with trauma in different ways. it is really important to remember that because of this, children's brains can heal very well. not all these children are going to have post-traumatic stress disorder. many of them may heal very well. maybe easier than the parents and adults. we don't know what the outcome is going to be in the short term, though, we want to be calm, reassuring, and loving. >> reporter: you are absolutely right. when i was younger, it was much easier to get over things. now you realize that, you know, life is short. it is tougher sometimes to really get over it. you realize someone is never coming back as an adult. thank you, dr. wendy, we appreciate it. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health
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to school this morning. what did they tell you? >> yeah, at sandra day o'connor elementary school in mesa, arizona, outside of phoenix. there was a lot of concern by parents who are bringing their kids to school today. the first day of school after that tragedy in connecticut. this is a very middle-class community. it is a community not that far away just a year ago from tucson where a mass shooting happened. six people killed. congresswoman giffords injured. these folks have some experience with these mass shootings. we asked them what their thoughts are on gun control. and just like the rest of thenition, parents here are very divided. >> there should be more gun control, yes. >> reporter: why do you think that? >> well, you know, guns are -- guns are in the wrong hands, very dangerous. >> guns don't kill people. people kill people. >> definitely should be a gun control issue.
should be no guns out there. lot of crazy people don't know how to handle guns. >> i don't think taking guns out of civilians who are good contributing members of society are the answer. >> reporter: that father you heard will, matthew, he's actually an assistant pastor at a local church. he says the answer, he believes, is more people should be armed. here's something you hear a lot from gun advocates here in arizona and in other places. that if that teacher or school officials in connecticut were armed, that maybe so many children would not have been killed. we also talked to the principal at this school about security measures that he may be taking in the wake of what happened on friday. he said nothing special but they did go through and review their security procedures here at the school, found doors that maybe that were open that should have been locked. the parents we spoke with said they are not concerned about security here at this school
today but they are very concerned about the issue of gun control nationally. >> you talk about the desire for guns. i would -- i would think gun shows across the country, maybe the -- canceled some of them? >> reporter: well, that's not exactly true. as a matter of fact, my colleague was at a gun show in ventura, california, over the weekend. and will be bring you a report that includes some of the sneaks were attending that gun show later in the day on cnn. they were telling us that this was about as busy as they had ever seen that gun show. obviously some of these gun enthusiasts and people that believe in gun ownership wanting to get their hands on more weapons because they fear that tighter gun control regulations are coming in the wake of the shooting. [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all?
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>> at this time please stand and join in a moment of silent reflection for the victim, their fami families, and loved ones. >> but there were other much more touching tributes. victor cruz, mine, just -- breaks your heart. >> i know. it is a heartbreaking story. you know, couple of teams in close proximity to newtown, giants patriots offering tributes as well. i want to start with a poignant moment, though, that took place in st. louis. this was prior to the vikings/rams game. you see the players in april giant circle inside of the circle, two head coaches and two number 26es from both teams holding hands in prayer. representing the number of school victims. sunday nature at gillette stadium, foxborough, massachusetts, it is the patriots, new england's only nfl team, paying tribute by lighting 26 white flares.
wes welker's helmet. newtown is 60 miles north of new york city. this is the story you are talking about. it involves the giants. they wore the letters shes. the most personal tribute, involved victor cruz. the favorite player of one of the murdered children. 6-year-old jack pinto. cruz has been in contact with the pinto family and he spoke following the game along with his head coach. let's listen. >> seem like a strong family. i spoke to -- spoke to the older brother and, you know, he was distraught as well. i told them to stay strong and i will do whatever i can to honor him. >> we felt terribly about it. i'm sure the whole nation does. it is not just us. but being close to home, it did -- the players were greatly upset about it. and -- many of the players have
rung children. they can empathize parents of the young children killed. >> jack pinto's funeral is this afternoon. and according to victor cruz, the family is considering burying the child in cruz's jersey. >> will victor cruz go to the funeral? >> that's -- that was the plan. i would imagine if possible he is going to attend. >> just really heartbreaking. it really is. we are all trying deal with it in our own way. victor cruz trying to deal with tonight his way. give some comfort to the family. >> right. you know, athletes grieve like everyone else. this is their expression of that grief over the weekend. >> thanks so much. >> thank you. we will be right back. we understand. at usaa, we know military life is different. we've been there. that's why every bit of financial advice we offer is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. [ laughs ] dad! dad! [ applause ]
talk back question today a tough one. what can be done to prevent another newtown? we immediate a ban on assault weapons and more restricted handgun use. month self-respecting hunter worth his salt needs an ak-47-type weapon. we need to have a physiological test for everyone that buy as gun. people are unstable and have mental illness should be banned from getting guns. i think he meant psychological. maybe we should be talking about all the violent video games our children are watching. they start shooting people with the game. when they play the games they become numb to the value of real life. we immediate better security any location where we live our children.
keep the classrooms separated from the administration. maybe by secondary security doors, swipe cards to open, enter and exit. this from nancy. no assault rifles when the constitution was written and i can't believe the writers intended the right to bear guns that can mow down hundreds of people down at a time. many states cut their funding of state mental institutions, society has to reap the repercussions for that. thank you so much for joining the conversation. more than a thousand of you responded today. many more looked at the post. i appreciate you important being with me today. i'm carol costello. "newsroom" continues right now with ashleigh banfield. hello, everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield live in newtown, connecticut. a town in mourning to say the