NEWTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — As the country grieves yet another school shooting, Sandy Hook Promise is sharing the heartache and renewing its pledge to put an end to these tragedies once and for all.
On Monday, six people including three children were killed at an elementary school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee.
Mark Barden, CEO and co-founder of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund said when a friend in Nashville texted him about the shooting, his mind immediately went to his son Daniel.
Daniel was one of the 20 children who were killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“I just stared at the text with a blank,” he said. “I could just feel everything draining out of me as I read those words, taking me back to when my 7-year-old son Daniel was shot to death in his first-grade classroom. It’s very challenging to now think about these families who are embarking on this devastating, lifelong journey of pain of losing a loved one, of children being hunted and shot to death in their school.”
Sandy Hook Promise: Turning tragedy into purpose
While thinking about those families, Barden said he is leaning on the work Sandy Hook Promise is doing to prevent gun violence.
“I made a promise to my Daniel and to my surviving children, James and Natalie, that I would do everything I can to prevent other families from having to relive this pain,” he said.
Sandy Hook Promise teaches schools and communities how to recognize the warning signs that someone wants to harm themselves or others. Barden said these trainings have prevented 14 school shootings. The organization is also working on legislation at the state and federal level that focuses on school safety, mental health and gun safety.
“Those are proven effective policies that when implemented and people know that they have them and know how to use them, save lives when people are in crisis and actually protect people’s rights to own a firearm,” he said. “It’s not inevitable, it’s preventable and that’s why we continue to do the work that we do.”
“Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation shared the heartbreak, saying more needs to be done when it comes to gun laws.
Senator Chris Murphy said in a tweet, “The upside of assault weapons is just not worth the carnage.”
Also in a tweet, Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote, “Congress can help stop this senseless violence—now. Our thoughts & prayers are not enough.”
The president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Holly Sullivan, issued a statement:
“Sadly, we again see the devastation left by a depraved human-being intent on inflicting mortal harm on the most innocent. While impacted families are still processing today’s heinous events and an investigation has just begun, politicians are queued for the microphone. This is simply not a time to be politicizing broken hearts. There is an appropriate time and place for discussions on public policy but it is not tonight. This is a time share in the tears of our fellow Americans who are hurting and solemnly reflect on the love we have for all of our families and our communities.”