tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 17, 2012 12:00pm-2:00pm EST
as you can imagine, a cloud of grief hangs over newtown, connecticut, today. the community begins the first of more than two dozen heart-wrenching good-byes. funerals for two of the 6-year-olds killed in the elementary school massacre are being held today. i'm suzanne malveaux in atlanta with "newsroom" special coverage as newtown remembers. >> reporter: and i'm wolf blitzer here in newtown, connecticut. the funerals will continue for days as the 20 children, the 6 teachers are laid to rest. all this follows a very moving and emotional service last night.
♪ it includes a prayer sung by a rabbi, readings from the bible and the koran, prayers from christian leaders and a promise from president obama. >> 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. >> tonight the crowd at the prayer service gave a standing ovation to the first responders, those who answered the call at sandy hook elementary school. we want to update you on the investigation as well, the developments in the aftermath of the tragedy in newtown. here's what we know now. police say that two people shot and wounded in the rampage are recovering. initial reports indicated only
one person who was wounded had survived. now, investigators continue piecing together exactly what happened. now, they say they're not going to stop until they've interviewed every witness and analyzed every piece of evidence including each round of ammunition. faculty members are meeting today. schools in newtown will reopen tomorrow. but the classes at sandy hook elementary, they're going to be suspended until further notice. we are also expecting another briefing from connecticut police, could start any minute now. we'll be monitoring that, going to bring it to you live as soon as that starts as well. >> reporter: lieutenant paul vance who's been briefing roertds, he'll be briefing once again. they were just 6 years old, their lives cut short by a horrific act of violence. next hour families face what seems unbearable as they say good-bye to two first graders killed in the shooting at the elementary school here in newtown. funerals are set to begin for jack pinto and noah pozner. jack loved sports, baseball,
wrestling, but football was his favorite. noah loved playing with his siblings, especially his twin sister. jack and noah are two of the 20 children who died. at last night's prayer service, president obama called out each one by name. >> let the little children come to me, jesus said, and do not hinder them. for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. charlotte, daniel, olivia, josephine, ana, dylan,
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. >> i certainly hope we do just that. this is a tragedy beyond belief or understanding. people want to know how this could have happened. what could have driven a young man to kill his own mother and then gun down 20 young children and 6 adults? and there are questions that are raised about his own childhood, his family life. i want to bring in deborah feyerick in newtown. deb, we've been learning more things about the gunman in the days prior, adam lanza, leading up to this massacre. what do we know about specifically some computers that were smashed, things that investigators are looking at to try to come up with some clues or some answers? >> reporter: you know, it is so important for investigators to try to piece together everything that happened in the days leading up to the crime. what we do want to do is show
you the home. this is where the tragedy took place. it is still considered a crime scene. you can see it's surrounded by crime tape. investigators, the police, will hold on to this home until they've gone through it with a fine-tooth comb. we do know that firearms were a large part of nancy lanza's life. she's described as a country girl, a gun enthusiast who really liked to shoot. we are told by the atf, the alcohol, tobacco, firearms bureau, they're the ones to handle the guns, the weapons, the firearms. that, in fact, adam lanza and his mom did visit a gun range in the days leading up to the shooting. now, again, she was a gun enthusiast. it appears she was teaching her son how to shoot. we don't know why. and that's one of the things that's under investigation. but on friday, her son got hold of at least three of those firearms. he killed her early in the morning before setting out and leaving this home to go on the rampage at the school, according to a report in "the wall street journal," when he was a freshman at the local high school back in 2007, he was appointed a school
psychologist, and they were very concerned not that he was a danger that, in fact, he was so vulnerable that he himself could become a target. so all of that is being investigated. the computer, suzanne, that you mentioned, that, too, there are reports that the hard drive was broken, that it was smashed. the question, did that happen before he snapped, or was that something that he did once he determined that he was going to go on this shooting spree? so investigators really holding the information pretty close just so that they can piece it together and try to recreate the final moments leading up to this slaughter of innocence, suzanne. >> deb, do we have any idea, any sense of, again, the shooter's mental state or what he was going through, or is there any more information regarding motive or his connection to the school? >> reporter: we do know that the detectives are questioning a former doctor, former teachers, anybody who may have come in contact with him.
what is so fascinating about this particular case, suzanne, is that usually when this kind of tragedy happens, the motive of the gunman, it's able to be pieced together very, very quickly. but in this case, it seems as if he was so removed from society in such a fundamental way that there's so little information that's coming out right now. and again, that is part of the puzzle. and that is one of the things investigators are looking into is to whether he was so isolated and whether the reason for that was because he was on this dangerous path, suzanne. >> deb, do we have any idea whether or not he had a connection to the school at all? there were conflicting reports about whether or not his mother ever taught there, and then that was dismissed. do we know what the association was with the school? had he been a student at that elementary school back a while? >> reporter: yeah. you know, we have been searching for that answer as to why he decided to pick that school. it's really unclear. all i can tell you is, you know, this home that he moved into, he
would have been about 6 or 7, the same age as the children that he went after in that elementary school. he was at a local high school here. there are reports that he went to a local college and took some courses there. but as to why that school, no, it's not clear. and when you get inside the mind of somebody like him, he could have read a reference. he could have known somebody that went to that school. it's just so unclear right now. and that's what the detectives and all the police are trying to piece together. >> and deb, finally, we understand that adam's aunt, marsha, told an affiliate that she owned her guns for self-defense, but she never felt threatened. why did she even have this collection of guns, and do we know how accessible they were to her son? >> reporter: you know, there have been reports, and people who knew nancy lanza, that she simply sort of liked shooting, that she was a gun enthusiast, sort of a country girl. you drive out here, and you really do feel like you're pretty much out in the country.
the reasons as to why she had such high-powered weapons, a lot of legitimate gun owners have that kind of weaponry. that's just what they do. that's what they have. whether she felt she was at risk from him, if she were, the question is is would she have left those guns unlocked? why weren't they locked up so that, in fact, if he was a danger either to her or to someone else, why weren't those guns properly holstered, basically, properly locked up? >> deb feyerick, thank you so much. appreciate it. still a lot of unanswered questions. families are calling the teachers at that school, sandy hook elementary school, heroes. you can imagine why. they protected their children from that massacre, from the gunman's assault. and our own anderson cooper, he actually got a chance to speak to one of those teachers, janet vollmer, about what it was actually like inside the classroom. >> reporter: explain again, you heard -- 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 it on the -- >> there was a loudspeaker -- >> reporter: the pa system. >> the pa system was not working 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 wasn't anyone telling us it was a drill. we just thought something was not right. we took the children into what we call a lockdown. and we go to a certain place in the room. we pull the blinds down. we lock the classroom doors. and we cover the window out the door. >> reporter: so this is something you had practiced? >> about a month or so, dawn made sure that we do that. you know, we'd go to a safe place. and typically whether it's a drill, they tell us, okay, and then we even exited the building following a certain path. and if there was an emergency, we'd go down to the sandy hook firehouse and gather there, which is what we did that day. so, you know, we knew that.
>> reporter: but you sat the kids down -- >> we sat in the cubby area away from the door so no one could see us and read them a story, talked to them. you know, they kept saying how come we're here so long? i said, well, it will be a little longer. and they're 5. you tell them whatever you do to keep them safe and keep them calm. >> reporter: this is what i've been thinking about all weekend, though. i mean, 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 to do. i mean, there was two other people in the room that were helping me with, you know, pulling down the blinds and that. i was focused on the kids. you know, just keeping them safe. i'm not about to tell them that i think something is very bad or very wrong. so we waited and waited. you know, it seemed like a very long time. and maybe it was 20 minutes, a 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 eyes if they could because, you know, he didn't say why. he just said, have them cover their eyes. well, at 5, covering your eyes and walking isn't so easy. so i just had them look towards the wall. and we went down the hall and out of the building. and we got on the sidewalk. and i said, boys and girls, remember the adventure we had? we all walked to the firehouse? we're going to do that now again. >> as the entire nation grapples to come to terms with what happened in this small connecticut town, we also want to take a look at how other countries approach gun control. our fareed zakaria is going to weigh in on that as well. >> reporter: also, we're standing by, just want to remind our viewers for a news conference. connecticut state police will be giving us all the latest on their investigation, what they can show us. you're looking at live pictures, the microphones are set up. and we will have all that information for you. you'll see it live right here on cnn. we're getting to know more about the innocent young kids, the teachers also, who were gunned
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were actually recovered. >> the weapon that was utilized most of the time during this horrific crime was identified as a bushmaster ar-15 assault-type weapon. it had high-capacity magazines, and in addition to that, the subject had in his possession a glock .10 millimeter, a sig sauer .9 millimeter. both weapons had multiple magazines and ammunition. >> and they were legally purchased and registered to nancy lanza, the mother of the suspected shooter, adam lanza. and now the national tragedy, this senseless killing of 20 little children and 6 adults is reuniting the debate on guns in this country. i want to bring in fareed zakaria from new york. fareed, you look at what happens in this country, we've got shootings in churches, malls, movie theater, other schools, even the attempted murder of
congresswoman gabby giffords, and now sandy hook. when people look at what happens in our country, what do they make of it? what do they think of us? >> well, for everyone around the world, this issue of the united states is utterly mystifying because we know what works. the united states has 15 to 20 times as much gun homicide and gun suicide, by the way, a lot of it is suicide, than any advanced country in the world. what's different? do we have 15 times as many mentally disturbed people? highly unlikely. do we have 15 times more violent tv or video games? no. japan has lots of violent video games, and they actually have astonishingly low gun violence. the big difference is that we have these incredibly loose gun laws that make access to the kind of weapons you just showed, suzanne, very easy. the idea that people -- that anyone other than law enforcement official should have that kind of weaponry, semi-automatic weaponry, assault
rifles, is regarded by most of the world as crazy. in australia, the conservative government -- by the way, this is usually a conservative issue -- cracked down on easy access to guns and saw a 59% drop in gun homicide over the -- >> fareed, why do you suppose this is a political and a partisan issue in this country as opposed to other countries that don't seem to have that division over this issue? >> some of it does come from a tradition of gun ownership from a suspicion. the original reason for the second amendment was concerns that the british government were trying to stop americans from having arms. some of it is certainly that. but, look, places like australia have some of that individualistic spirit as well. i believe a large part of it is that over the last 40 years, we have had a very well organized, well-funded lobby that has made it impossible to have any kind of common-sense regulation of guns. we regulate cars much more than we regulate guns in this
country. we regulate toys more than we regulate guns. you have -- guns can go off in this country when they fall, when they hit the floor. you've had examples of guns going off, and you can't regulate so that that doesn't happen. you regulate toys not to malfunction like that. >> how do you actually deal with that powerful lobby, the nra, the nra now saying that they are not yet in the debate. they'll comment with had they get all the information from this latest massacre. but we've already had some indications, congressman manchin who says, look, perhaps i will go ahead and suggest to my nra friends that they need to engage and need to take a different approach. is this the moment that that is even possible? >> i hope so because what i hope that we will do is now we'll start looking at facts rather than, you know, emotions. the time for emotions remains with regard to this horrific tragedy, but let's translate into action. and the action depends on facts. why do we have 15 times as much gun homicide as the rest of the
world? what can we do about it? what can we learn from other countries that have dealt with some of these issues? why do countries like japan have these extraordinarily low rates of gun home skpooicide and gun ? if we can come up with something sensible -- and frankly, if has to be more far reaching. even the legislation proposed by dianne feinstein, though a step forward, it has 900 exceptions on the assault ban. 900 separate exceptions. how can something like that be enough, given the kind of tragedy we've just seen? >> and fareed, finally, i want to read this quote from neil mcdonald, a senior washington correspondent for cbc news off the canada. yet another national discussion about guns is under way, and it's so anti-rational, so politically cowardly, so unbearably stupid, that you have to wonder how a nation that has enlightened the world in so many other ways could wallow in this
kind of discussion. does this target the united states' image in the eyes of many who look at this and say, really? another gun discussion? >> of course it does, and it does for appropriate reasons. i've been listening to some of the commentary, and you know, we keep talking about the evil of this person and the psychology and, you know, maybe the violence in the culture. all that could explain any one instance. it cannot explain the fact that, as i say, we have 15 times as much gun violence as other countries. we have to be willing to confront the reality that we're way out of line here, and we have something to learn from other people. >> all right. got to take a real critical look at our culture here in the united states. thanks, fareed. really appreciate it. >> reporter: faith tested by tragedy. we're going to hear from a newtown sunday school teacher about how she's talking to her students about what happened. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health
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>> reporter: president obama has a message for all of us in the aftermath of the massacre here in newtown. these tragedies, he says, they must end. at a prayer service last night, the president said he wants the people of this heartbroken community to know they are not alone. >> i come to offer the love and prayers of a nation.
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. >> reporter: the president turned to scripture as a way to console all those suffering families and the whole community. many look to their faith for comfort after a tragedy like this. even sunday school kids. and here in newtown, there were some empty seats in one sunday school classroom yesterday. jason carroll has more. >> reporter: this is where some of the children who were killed at sandy hook elementary prayed and went to sunday school at trinity episcopal church. sue vogelman taught some of those children. she was back on this sunday for all her students including some
of those who survived. you had a lot of children here in this room. what was that like for you? >> it was a little bit -- it was actually very scary because i spent yesterday trying to prepare for today, but you don't know what's going to happen. and you know, right in the middle of it, a child just raised their hand. i said yes. and they said, "my friends died." and then later on when we got to the part where we prayed, pretty much every child in here all had a prayer. and many of them were, "my friend jack died. my friend ben died. my friend charlotte died." so we prayed. we prayed -- we probably prayed more than we've ever prayed before. >> reporter: vogelman knew there would be anxiety among the children and their parents. she saw both. >> we were a little worried, there were kids, their parents had said that they didn't want to come to class because, again, it's like a school, and they were worried. and the first grade class, one girl didn't want to come because ben wouldn't be there.
so there was a lot of anxiety. ben would have been sitting right here on this carpet with me. so, you know, when the kids bring it up that "my friend ben died," i had to do the taepdance. we have attendance sign-in pages. as i was putting them in the boxes last night, the first grade page had ben's name on it. and i remember thinking, this is going to be hanging in the hall, and his name's not going to be signed in. i didn't know if i should leave his name on there or take it off. so i printed one out with it off. and as i was going up to ask pastor kathy, i started crying. it really hit me. i deleted his name. >> reporter: to help ease the grief, vogelman had the children write cards. this one says, "charlotte is safe now." >> yeah, that's for charlotte. that was for little charlotte who went here. >> reporter: charlotte was 6
years old. another card reads, in part, "you're not alone." vogelman says she felt pride, strength she saw in the children. >> i've been working with kids my whole adult life. they're my kids. they're my kids. you know, people on facebook are like i'm so glad your kids are okay. i'm, like, i am obviously very glad my kids are okay, but my kids are not okay. my kids died. that's how everyone feels in newtown. sorry. they were babies. >> reporter: jason carroll, cnn, newtown, connecticut. >> of course, there are no easy answers after a tragedy like this. but what are lawmakers, politicians, can they even do anything? we'll go live to washington to find out.
reduce the number of people murdered in gun-related deaths. powerful lobbying groups allow the ownership of guns to reach beyond the constitution's intended purpose of the right to bear arms." well, the white house has to respond to petitions that receive more than 25,000 signatures. so several democratic lawmakers, they are proposing new restrictions on guns in the aftermath of the school shooting, the massacre in connecticut. independent senator joe lieberman, he is proposing a commission to hold hearings on the issue. >> 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 defend themselves with a gun. >> i want to bring in dana bash from capitol hill. and dana, you know, a lot of people just get really frustrated when they hear something like "another
commission," "a study" "hearings" on the issue. what can lawmakers do? >> reporter: suzanne, as soon as this happened, i went back and looked at some of the stories i did on the question of whether gun control can happen after some of the shootings that we've had over the past several years. unfortunately, as we've been talking here, they've been happening about every six months. the movie shooting. before that, the assassination attempt of former congresswoman gabby giffords, and the answer always was likely nothing. and the reason was because of democrats. democrats have politically shied away from this issue from the past decade or so just because it's been bad politics from them, and they learned that the hard way, losing seats on the congressional level and even on the presidential level in key red or more rural states and districts. this time does seem to be different because those democrats who shied away are now talking about it. chuck schumer, for example, he said that he could put that on the table and maybe most importantly joe manchin.
he is the senator from west virginia, very pro-gun, used himself with a rifle in some of his political ads. he says it's time to look at this. >> i just came with my family from deer hunting. i've never had more than three shells in a clip. sometimes you don't get more than one shot anyway at a deer. just common sense. it's time -- it's time to move beyond rhetoric. we need to sit down and have a common-sense discussion and move in a reasonable way. and i ask all my friends in the nra member and i'm a proud member and always have been, we need to sit down and move this dialogue to a sensible, reasonable approach to fixing part of it, not all of it, but everything has to be on the table, and i think it will be. >> reporter: now, dianne feinstein, democratic senator from california, has already said she's got an assault weapons ban bill written that she'll put up on the first day of the new congress. of course, the assault weapons ban lapsed in 2004 with nothing more than a shoulder shrug from
most people up here. whether or not that can actually get the votes despite this new talk is another question. >> dana, you bring up a really good point because you're absolutely right. i mean, people have just been sitting on this, nothing has been done for years. we heard the president come out very strongly last night in that memorial and before saying that, you know, we have to do something. you can't let this just accept that this is the way this is in the country. but we also know that the last four years, the president has actually expanded gun rights. he signed legislation that would allow folks to carry weapons on amtrak trains and in national parks, those kinds of things. what do we think he is serious about doing? >> reporter: you know, that is really the big, open question because everybody here on capitol hill from democrats to republicans, no matter where they sit on this issue, say that it is if something is done, it's going to have to come from the bully pulpit, from the president. and listening to him last night especially, he definitely did strike a different tone. i mean, suzanne, you covered him. you saw, he campaigned on reinstating the assault weapons
ban in 2008 but didn't do much about it, didn't do anything about it, really, because as i said, democrats here on capitol hill, many of them just didn't want to touch it. the open question still is the votes. and just even looking ahead, you've got to still talk about politics. the next election, 2014, you have a number of democratic senators up for re-election in conservative states, whether it is kay hagan of north carolina or mark begich of alaska or mark prior of arkansas. those are people who were trying to get in touch with their offices but may be reluctant, even in the case of this horrible tragedy, to do much because they're afraid of getting pummeled back home. the one thing that maybe we're hearing more talk of is maybe not so far as the assault weapons ban, but something to curb those 30-shot magazines, things like that, which even joe manchin says, you don't need that for anything, not even hunting. >> that's a very good point. we know the justice department was looking at a number of things at least to beef up the background process, the
background check process. they dropped that during the campaign, during the re-election campaign. it will be very interesting to see what comes out of the white house, what the president decides that he is going to stand behind and really push through congress. dana, thank you very much. really appreciate it. there is another issue, of course, that the president is dealing with. we are only 15 days away from this fiscal cliff. so the president and house speaker john boehner met again today at the white house. what they're trying to do, well, they're trying to reach this deficit reduction deal by january 1st, top of next year. if they don't do it, automatic spending cuts, they're going to go into effect. practically everyone's taxes are going to go up as well. well, a source is telling cnn that speaker boehner has now agreed, in some form, to raising taxes on people making $1 million a year or more. the white house still wants a tax increase on households that are earning more than $250,000 or more. south carolina's governor announced her choice to replace republican senator jim demint.
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in the hours after the rampage in newtown, the mother of a 13-year-old boy in idaho, she wrote an essay. it is startling about her own life. it's getting a lot of attention online. most of the time she's a sweet kid who loves harry potter and stuffed animals, but then this quote. this is from the mother. a few weeks ago, michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill
me and then himself after i asked him to return his overdue library books. that conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son to a gurney and an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. liza says her son's i.q. is off the charts but that he could snap at any time. anti-psychotic, mood-altering drugs have not helped because she says she thinks that there is the potential here of this chilling thought that this could happen. >> every time i hear about a mass shooting, i think about my son. and i wonder if someday i'll be that mom. >> i am joined by jeff grenier, licensed clinical psychologist. she thinks that her own child in some way could commit the kind of crime that we saw from this young man, adam lanza, last
week. what kind of help is there for her and for other parents who are afraid in some ways of their mentally ill children? >> well, it's a very tough terrain, suzanne, for many of these parents. i work with them every single day. they have children who are on the onset of schizophrenia or a very serious personality disorder such as a schizo type where we don't have the hallucinations but we do have the magical thinking and isolation and sometimes some naked aggression. and what happens is because at the time they may not be a danger to themselves or others, you can't get them involuntarily committed, especially if they are of age. and if you are able to get them into the emergency room and admitted by a psychiatrist because there isn't a lot of bed space, within two or three days, they are discharged, on medications, but the medications have such severe side effects that even older adults but in this case younger adults don't
want to take that medication, and that's the conundrum. >> and she writes here, she goes on to say, i don't believe my son belongs in jail, but it seems like the united states is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. what kinds of options does she have? >> well, she certainly is speaking out of frustration. we don't want to use jails in that way. i was a chief psychologist for federal prison for many years, but i can tell you, because a lot of these folks couldn't get into psychiatric hospitals, sometimes the marshals, the police officers, would bring them to jail because they were so dangerous that you couldn't keep them on the streets, but yet it was crazy, no pun intended, but we couldn't keep them in the hospitals. but what we really want to do at this point is to diagnose as early as possible, make sure that we try to keep the kids on these medications. there are 15 different anti-psychotic medications and
more being made, so you do have to find the right medication. you have to manage the side effects, but you have to keep them in therapy. and parents just have to try to be consistent in making sure that their kids get help. >> and jeff, it certainly seems like you've got to deal with the stigma. some people still feel like you can treat any other illness, but if it's a mental illness, they don't talk about it. people treat them badly. you really have to deal with that as a society and as a culture as well. jeff, thank you very much. really appreciate your perspective. our special coverage of the connecticut shooting continuing after a quick break.
>> reporter: here's lieutenant paul vance of the connecticut state police. he's briefing reporters, all of us, on the investigation. >> -- literally the word is "plead." families are grieving. many of the families have asked to please afford them their privacy as they go through this ter shs t terrible tragedy. the lieutenant has asked me to pass that on to you as concisely as possible. that's the best way i can do it. at this time i can take a couple questions. we'll see if we can clear up anything. then i'm going to speak a little bit about our future get-togethers.
>> [ inaudible ]. >> correct. >> [ inaudible ]. >> you're going to ask me a hard question, and i'm trying to recall. there were two phone calls. the question was about the threats. there were two threats of violence. we can just simply say that came in, two separate phone calls against the same facility, which was the church, the catholic church in town. two telephone calls received. again, as i stated before, those are criminal acts. those are acts that are being thoroughly and completely investigated, and follow-up will be done by either state or federal authorities relative to any threats of that nature that someone set forth. those were the two threats. next, please. >> [ inaudible ] any indication where and how long? >> certainly -- you know, and i can't even begin to speculate. we just simply don't have that
information to provide to you. as i've stated numerous times, we definitely -- we definitely are peeling that onion back layer by layer, and we'll know all that information. and believe me when i tell you, there's a team that are working on just that, working with atf and federal -- other federal authorities, state authorities and local authorities to make sure that no stone is left unturned regarding that specific training, sir. yes, sir. >> did he remove the hard drive at his home [ inaudible ] that's making it difficult [ inaudible ]. >> i didn't indicate what evidence that's been seized at any location. i don't know where that information came from. but we did seize significant evidence at the residence. we are analyzing and will analyze, and that's a very painstaking process in forensic science. it's going to take some time to do that. we don't discuss evidence, sir, i'm sorry. we do not discuss evidence, its content or detail what it is. yes, sir. >> can you clarify just a couple
of things. >> yes, sir. >> you said earlier there were two people who were shot and survived. >> that's correct, sir. >> do you know where -- what location of the school? >> i can't. the question was, there were two people that were wounded in this and did survive, two adults, that is correct. there were wounded in the lower extremities. i do not know the location in the school. i cannot answer that question. >> do you know how many students were in each classroom, how many survivors were in each classroom? >> no. >> versus how many -- >> no, i'm sorry, i don't. he's asking about, do we have specific location of survivors and location of students and faculty and staff, and i don't have that, i'm sorry. yes, ma'am. >> have you identified any of the injured adults yet? >> no, we have not. they're considered witnesses, and we do not identify witnesses. yes, ma'am. >> in the case of the electronic evidence was destroyed or unavailable, will you be working with internet companies like google and twitter, facebook and others to get information?
>> good question and good way to ask it, but i can only tell you we've seized evidence if -- if there is computer evidence. and i strenuously say that, if. we do have a computer team, and our state and ferentz orensics laboratory that are retrieving any type of evidence and data. i'll leave that there, please. >> is there any update on the schools that were locked down earlier today? >> no, those will be handled by local authorities. those two lockdowns in surrounding communities have been cleared, yes. >> can you tell us if the alleged bushmaster assault rifle is legal under connecticut's law to possess by anyone? >> i cannot tell you that because i do not know. as i said this morning, that weapon, from the day it was built to the day we seized it, we will look at every aspect of it from stem to stern, where it's been, who's had it and all the clips, the ammunition, everything to do with all the weapons. >> just a follow-up to that, a lot of people watching at home say there's no mystery here
anymore. but there's so much effort being put into the investigation. and they might say there will never be justice. what are the answers that you're getting? >> the answers are for the poor victims, the families, the people of connecticut that need to know and see a clear picture as to exactly what happened here. as i said many times, there are many people, including first responders, including town residents, including people right in this audience that have broken hearts over this. and we're going to do everything that it takes to ensure that we uncover every bit of evidence, that we are expecting every facet of it, that we conduct as many interviews with everyone that we need to do to paint a clear picture as to exactly how and why this tragedy occurred. yes, ma'am. >> can you clarify the mother, the .22 caliber rifle and were other guns seized in house? >> i can't answer that, again, ma'am, anything that was seized in that house would be evidence. and as far as the wounds that the victim suffered, the medical
examiner was very clear, it was multiple gunshot wounds, and that's as far as we went with that description, ma'am. one more question. yes, sir. >> can you speak any -- can you speak any more to the connection between the shooter? >> there was no connection between the shooter and the school according to school authorities here in newtown. >> not at all. >> according to school authorities in newtown. >> can you answer about a lockdown in a school nearby today? >> we addressed that before and i'll restate that. there was -- in anything whatsoever to do with school security, anywhere within our state, we're obviously all on the edge, are all on edge in anything that's suspicious, anything that even remotely appears to be a lack of security or a breach of security, any educational institution in connecticut, and i'm sure in surrounding states and across the country will treat it very, very serious. this morning there was a suspicious individual in close proximity to one of the schools. a local police department
responded, investigated and cleared the matter. it was not a threat, but in doing so, they did put nearby schools in lockdown simply as a precaution. i do know that across the state, the governor and the education commissioner and local authorities and local officials are putting a little bit of extra security. we're supporting the educational system throughout the state of connecticut. we're certainly, as you well know, the teachers are well trained. the faculty are well trained. all the personnel in the school are well trained. they practice for fire drills, for emergencies. and believe me, the blanket of security on public safety is going to be strict in the state of connecticut. what i'd like to tell you today, this is going to be our last press gathering today. we've come to a point in this investigation, yes, we are still working, but i don't want to keep you here, and i don't want to keep coming up and trying to give you information if we have no new information to give you. what we're going to do is i handed out a slip that gives you
information. anything new is going to be posted on our website. all press releases, all press announcements will be posted on our website. if there were anything that erupted or evolved during this investigation and we needed to hold a press conference, it would have to be something significant, then we'd give you ample time to gather at a central location and provide that between the lieutenant from newtown and myself. i, again, am imploring you to please give the families privacy as they go through this very devastating period of time in their life. we will stay in contact. if you have specific questions, we can address them via e-mail. that would be the smartest and the best way. and we'll be more than happy to address that. yes, sir. >> i'm wondering, obviously, motive is the key question we ask you all the time. >> yes, sir. >> you keep deferring it. can you give people some guidance, people who might be impatient about how long it might take, why it takes so long and how long might we have to
wait before you come up with a motive to tell us? just so we have some idea. >> that's a long question, and the answer is very long, but i can simply tell you, as we've been alluding to between newtown, state police, other law enforcement agencies, federal authorities, analysis of evidence, conducting hundreds of interviews, literally hundreds of interviews, putting that whole package together and following each piece of evidence on every trail that it goes, it's going to take a substantial amount of time. i know -- we know as investigators that the people of connecticut, the people of this town of newtown want to know what happened. we're going to do that. we're going to provide them any information and all information. we'll paint a crystal-clear picture as much as we possibly can. but it is a slow process. it's not something that just is done in 60 minutes, as you see on tv. we will keep the public informed. we will make sure if there's anything that's emergent, that we get it out immediately and that it's through you folks. i want to thank you for everything that you've done. you folks have been very
professional, and we do definitely appreciate that, all right? thank you. >> can you confirm that he may have been wearing a bulletproof vest? >> no, i cannot. >> reporter: he's been briefing us sometimes two, three, four times a day, although he says this will be his last formal briefing of the day. lieutenant paul vance, the spokesman for the connecticut state police telling us that yes, there are developments, but he's reluctant to provide too many details right now out of respect to those who have suffered so much. we'll take a quick break. much more right after this. people have doubts about taking aspirin for pain. but they haven't experienced extra strength bayer advanced aspirin. in fact, in a recent survey,
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well, first the unthinkable happened. today newtown, connecticut, faces what seems to be the unbearable. funerals for two of the 6-year-olds killed in the elementary school massacre. they are being held at this hour. i'm suzanne malveaux in atlanta with "newsroom's" special coverage as newtown remembers. >> reporter: and i'm wolf blitzer here in newtown. the funerals will go on for days as 20 children and the 6 adults who tried to protect them are laid to rest. all of this following a moving and emotional service last night. ♪ it included a prayer sung by a rabbi, readings from the bible and the koran, prayers from christian leaders and a promise from president obama. >> 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. >> also last night, the crowd at the prayer service gave a standing ovation to the first responders who answered the call at sandy hook elementary school. i want to update you on the investigation and in the aftermath of that massacre. here is what we know. police say two people shot and wounded in the rampage are actually recovering. initial reports indicated only one person who was wounded had survived. investigators continue piecing together exactly what happened. they say they're not going to stop until they have interviewed every witness, analyze every piece of evidence including each round of ammunition. faculty members, they are meeting today. and schools in newtown will reopen tomorrow. but classes at sandy hook elementary will be suspended until further notice.
well, they were first grade classmates. funeral services are being held this hour for jack pinto and noah pozner. bright-eyed little boys whose lives were cut short by the massacre. they were two of the 20 children who died in the elementary school shooting on friday. sandra endo joins us from newtown, connecticut. sandra, i can't even imagine what the families and the community are going through at this point. tell us what we are learning about these two little boys. >> reporter: well, little jack pinto, suzanne, was a big sports fan. he loved baseball, basketball and wrestling. he even won his first wrestling match and won a medal. and we're told that some of his teammates came to his funeral wearing medals as well. but his favorite sport was football. and his idol was new york giants' receiver victor cruz. and over the weekend during the game, victor cruz wore a tribute to pinto on his glove saying "today's game is for you, jack." here's also what he had to say.
>> it was very emotional. obviously going in when a family is facing that much tragedy, you want to be someone that inspires them, someone that can put a smile on their face in a time when it's tough to do that. it was definitely an emotional one going in, and we wanted this victory. >> reporter: of course, a very, very emotional and sad day here in newtown. jack pinto, only 6 years old. suzanne? >> tell us about his classmate, noah. >> reporter: well, noah, he is also 6 years old. he just turned 6 a month ago. and he will also be laid to rest here in newtown. here's what his aunt had to say, talking with cnn from seattle. >> noah was extremely lively. he was really the light of the room. he had a huge heart. and he was so much fun.
a little bit rambunctious, lots of spirit. he loved playing with all of his cousins. he loved his twin the most of all and always said that they were best friends. he just -- you know, those big blue eyes. he was a gorgeous, gorgeous boy. and he could really get what he wanted just by batting those long eyelashes and looking at you with those big blue eyes. you really couldn't say no to him. >> reporter: lives certainly taken too soon. and according to family members of noah, he loved his little sister, his twin sister, survives him, and family members say they still don't know how to explain to her how exactly he passed away. suzanne. >> i understand his twin sister was in another classroom, is that right, that they were not in the same class together because they separate twins. they don't actually allow them to be in the same class. >> reporter: that's right. she did survive the horrific
shooting. and of course, that's something a lot of these students here at sandy hook elementary will have to deal with. they are still grappling with figuring out where to resume classes here in newtown. today all schools are suspended. tomorrow most classes will resume. but of course for the students at sandy hook, they will still have suspended classes until they can find another location. >> all right. sandra, thank you very much. it's such a loss. wolf? >> reporter: it's a tragedy beyond belief or understanding. people want to know what could have driven a young man to kill his own mother and then gun down 20 young children and 6 adults? inevitably, questions are being raised about his childhood and his family life. our own deborah feyerick is here in newtown. she's got more on what's going on. part of this investigation. what are we hearing about, for example, the computers found inside the home of the shooter? >> reporter: you know, wolf, the
one thing we all have to keep in mind is that much of the forensic evidence as to why this happened, the entire motive is probably locked somewhere in this house. this is one of the first places that police came to immediately after the shooting. they allegedly found a computer. there are reports that, in fact, the computer was smashed. the question is is when was that computer smashed? was it smashed before this whole shooting spree began, or was it what prompted him? and that's something that investigators are going to be looking into. while the state police would not confirm, they said they don't talk about evidence, what they did say is that they've got an excellent forensic team that's going to look into electronic data. that's pretty much as far as they'll go. the question is why. first of all, police also say there was no direct connection with the school. the gunman had no direct connection with the newtown elementary school. so why did he go there? that is one of the mysteries locked in his mind. what we do know is that there was some movement in the lanza family, in what was going on in the home because we now find out
that the mother apparently had made comments to friends that she was -- that this was going to be her last winter here, that she was planning on moving, getting away from here. again, why? nobody knows. police will not be able to obviously find the answers since she was found shot dead in the head inside this home. and, of course, the mysteries there, they just sort of keep on coming, wolf, as everybody tries to work through their grief and bury the children and the teachers who were victims of all this, wolf. >> reporter: deb, investigators are talking to people who knew adam lanza, the shooter. tell us about that. >> reporter: what's so interesting is usually after a shooting like this, a lot of information comes out on the gunman, why he did it. but the information that we have about him is that apparently he did not go to the elementary school. he did go to some high schools here in the area, but it seems like there was a lot of turnover, that he was going to a number of schools here. and at one of the schools that
he went to, he was assigned a school psychologist because not that they were worried about him as a threat to worry students. in fact, they were more worried that other students would be picking on him. so that's why he was assigned to that. again, his demeanor very quiet, very sort of, you know, anti-social. and you talk to so many people. a relative will say adam lanza was a brilliant kid, that he was a really smart kid, but they can't tell you other details about him. he was a computer geek, but they can't tell you if he loved sports. so details like that are missing. and to find somebody who actually knew adam lanza and who can talk about adam in his later years, that is really what's so difficult. and that's why investigators are hoping that the information that they seized from inside the house, i don't know if you can see it, but there is a police officer standing there at the front of the door. again, this is still a crime scene. they're still going through it. if they can get a lot of the information from the computer, then perhaps, wolf, we will have an answer.
>> reporter: a lot of questions and still only a few answers. deb feyerick, thank you. the shooting has certainly many parents wondering how to explain all of this, this great tragedy to their own children. we're going to talk with a psychologist about how to do just that as we continue our special coverage.
these makeshift memorials are coming up all over newtown here. you can see people are just bringing teddy bears, they're bringing flowers, little bells, as you can see over there, even legos to remember the victims from newtown, what's going on. ashleigh banfield is also remembering what's going on. she has a closer look at one of these makeshift memorials near a school. >> reporter: it didn't take long before this community began to start bringing christmas trees to what's become a makeshift memorial not far from the school. and there are more than 20 of these decorated trees. each one of them with stuffed animals and candy canes and bows
and names and flowers. what you see mostly is the repetition of 20, at least 20, whether it's candles that are brought out, they're out out in collections of 20 to represent these victims. you also see the flowers that have been brought out from local florists. it's just remarkable that the sheer number of teddy bears that are here and stuffed animals. if you notice up here, one of the permanent pillars someone has brought out angel wings. and there's a sign below saying "we promise to never forget you." just moving a little bit farther on, you see the real collection of where this makeshift memorial started. there's a tent now, but everything is so wet from the rain. there's just hundreds of teddy bears and flowers and messages and candles. the ones that are still burning are now under the tent. and if you look up here, you'll see why. this is the permanent sign for sandy hook school. it's just beyond here.
>> children in newtown and cities nearby are still off of school today, but for the rest of the country, school bells rang this morning. parents and teachers still struggling, probably going to struggle for a while now. how do they explain this mass shooting at an elementary school and whether or not this could even happen at their own child's school. here's what one dad said on friday. >> my kids are already asking, when is this going to happen again? you know, it was only a week ago that we were talking about this type of situation. and i said the chances of it happening are 1 in a zillion at sandy hook. i was wrong about that. >> i'm joined again from new york by clinical psychologist jeff gardere. and jeff, we might have to interrupt you if the white house briefing starts. >> sure. >> to go to that. but in the meantime, let's talk about this. what do you say? there are kids all over the country, they're getting bits and pieces of this story. they're probably afraid. they're probably very upset. how should parents communicate and reassure them that it's okay
to go to school? >> well, first and foremost, suzanne, we've got to let the kids know that yes, they are safe. there are no guarantees in life at all. but they are safe in their schools. and the way that we can do that is taking them to school, spending some time with them and certainly the teachers have to spend the time hugging them and talking to them and reassuring them in addition, of course, to their learning their lessons of the day. secondly, i just think it's important that we listen to our children. it's not about lecturing to them, but knowing where they are, asking them, just throwing out little bits of information and try to pull them in and see where they are coming from. what their issues are, what the anxiety or the fear may be. >> jeff, should there be a plan? should you arm your child with a little emergency plan to help reassure them if there is a situation that is as tragic as that, or if they feel threatened in some way like they used to teach us not to talk to
strangers and that kind of thing? >> sure. >> what can you do in a practical sense? >> suzanne, i really like that empowerment idea, and that's what i'm calling it. because we know the opposite of anxiety is action. and so by giving them a plan, by giving them some information on a piece of paper who to call, where they should go, what are the safe havens, all of those things take a lot of that psychological energy away from worrying and more towards being empowered and doing something positive. >> how do you know if your child is not doing well with this? >> well, it's very difficult to tell because i will tell you as a father of many children and have little children, when i asked them about it, they didn't really want to talk. they were very silent about it. suffering silently. so it's important that we realize it's not about their being so resilient if they don't want to talk. it simply is that they are processing it and therefore we can do things like get them to draw and play.
but we'll also see they'll try to avoid school. >> all right, jeff, i'm sorry, i have to interrupt. we have jay carney at the white house speaking on this. let's listen in. >> -- using the power of his office to push for tighter gun control? >> i appreciate the question. the president spoke last night at the vigil in newtown. and he spoke about the fact that the families of newtown are not alone. and he also spoke about the fact that the kind of violence that occurred in newtown occurs too often. in this country, although what we saw in newtown was particularly horrific. he said that in the coming weeks, he would use the power of his office to engage the american people and lawmakers,
law enforcement, mental health experts, educators and others in an effort to try to prevent these kinds of terrible tragedies from happening in the future. it's a complex problem that will require a complex solution. no single piece of legislation, no single action will fully address the problem. so i don't have a specific agenda to announce to you today. i would simply point you to what the president said last night about moving forward in coming weeks. and i would look for him to do that. >> and the comprehensive solution, do you think it's fair and accurate to say that addressing gun violence, gun control would have to be part of it? >> i think that it's part of it,
but it is far from all of it. and as you know, the president has taken positions on common-sense measures that he believes should be taken to help address this problem, but he made clear that more needs to be done, that we as a nation have not done enough, clearly, to fulfill our number one obligation, which is to protect our children. >> one more on this. as you know, we've seen these horrific moments come and go and that the debate about gun safety, children's safety, goes with it. does the president think that he needs to capitalize on this, get this conversation going and see some action in the short term, or does he feel like he can get through the fiscal cliff, immigration and there's now a mindset and a will to get this done months down the line? >> i don't have a specific time
line for you for what the president will do moving forward. i would simply refer you to his remarks last night when he talked about the action he hoped to take to engage the american people in the coming weeks. i think that what happened at sandy hook elementary school has clearly shocked the entire nation. and has laid bare the necessity of evaluating the various things that we can and must do as a nation to try to better product our children. >> quickly on fiscal cliff, the president said to the business roundtable recently that republicans need to reach what he called a conceptual breakthrough on rates, tax rates going up, and then once that happens, that you have to come together pretty quickly. does he feel he has ha now that
speaker boehner, he is talking about rates in the conversation? >> i won't comment on specific reported proposals or counterproposals on internal conversations between the president and the speaker or the president's team and the speaker's team or with other members of leadership. the president's insistence that rates need to go up on the top 2% was based on an economic reality, which is that in order to achieve a broad deficit reduction package that puts our economy on a sustainable fiscal path in the future, a certain level of revenue gleaned from the wealthy has to be met. and the only way to do that was through, in part, rates rising. that remains his position.
so we have seen since the election a change in tone and in some cases a change in position from different roepublicans including elected republicans on the issue of first revenue and then acknowledging that rates have to go up. but thus far, the president's proposal is the only proposal that we have seen that achieves the balance that's so necessary. and the balance is important because a plan that does not have it puts unduly the burden on senior citizens. through -- or on middle-class americans or on parents with disabled children. and that is not acceptable. balance is essential because in order to move forward in a way that protects the middle class, we need to have the package include the kind of revenue that the president has talked about. >> last question.
the president campaigned on taxes going up on households over $250,000. he was very clear and specific about that. when you were asked about that threshold over the summer, you said the president's position has been the same for a long, long time. it has not changed and it will not change. i know you don't want to talk about the boehner proposal of $1 million, but i'm just asking about the president's stance. is it still and will remain that $250,000 is the threshold? >> well, i will say what i've said many times from here in recent weeks and months, which is that the only plan that we have seen that achieves the size and the balance that's required for sustainable -- for long-term deficit reduction and putting our economy on a sustainable fiscal path is the president's. and an element -- important element of that on the revenue side is allowing current law, when it comes to the top 2%, to remain in place, which would see
rates on those wealthy americans rise even as we extend and in the president's mind make permanent tax cuts for 98% of the american people, for the other 98% of the american people. that's the president's position. and again, it's not, as i've said repeatedly, his position is not based on the notion that these rates have to go up because that's good in and of itself. it's based on the necessity of having enough revenue -- >> press secretary jay carney weighing in on both issues here, very important, of course, the fiscal cliff, the negotiations that continue between the president and house speaker boehner. the two leaders meeting earlier today at the white house to discuss it. jay carney saying that there is some room, some wiggle room, if you will, that the gop republicans giving a little bit more here, perhaps even tax increases for those who are making more than $1 million, but not less than that. and also weighing in as well on the tragedy that occurred, the
school shooting, the massacre there, saying more must be done. we don't have specifics on how the white house is going to move that debate forward, but that they are engaged. we're going to take a look at both sides of the gun control debate right after a quick break. ak. 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. that's the power of german engineering. get $0 down, $0 due at signing, $0 deposit, and $0 first month's payment on any new volkswagen. visit vwdealer.com today.
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the aftermath of friday's devastating attack is spreading from online petitions to members of congress who are now proposing new bills. these are the type of guns police say 20-year-old adam lanza had on him when he attacked sandy hook elementary school on friday. police say lanza used a semi-automatic gun like the one at the bottom of the screen to fire multiple magazines, each containing 30 bullets. according to "the new york times," this is the same type of assault rifle used in the oregon mall shooting and the colorado theater killings. van jones is a cnn contributor, former special adviser to the president. and van, good to see you. i know you're weighing in on this. you sent out a lot of tweets. you've got a conservative democrat west virginia senator joe manchin today who says look, there needs to be a discussion, a serious discussion, about whether or not we need assault-type weapons on the street or whether or not they should be banned. on the other hand, you've got a group -- the michigan coalition for responsible gun owners arguing that actually having a gun saves people's lives. here's what he says.
>> the shooter in the mall in oregon was confronted by a legally armed citizen who pointed his gun at the shooter and then decided not to squeeze the trigger because he was afraid of missing and hitting bystanders. he was acting very responsibly. and the next shot that that shooter fired that the killer fired was on himself after he was confronted with an armed citizen. so that's actually one example of a responsible gun owner using a gun to save lives. >> van, where do you fuall on this? because they make the case on both sides. on one hand, it is a very dangerous situation to have people armed. on the other hand, it does save lives in some circumstances. >> well, first of all, nobody is saying that, you know, all people should give up all their g guns, but people are tired now. we're tired -- it's not just these children, there are funerals all across the country every day. we're tired to going to funerals
in chicago. we're tired of going to funerals in oakland. we're tired of seeing young people in caskets and old folks like myself sitting up in the pews. people are tired. and a majority of the nra membership, not the leadership, not the people who jump on television, but even the majority of the nra membership says common sense says you don't need a 100-clip -- these megaclips for people to go hunting. we can do something now. in australia, people keep saying, you can't do anything about this, it will happen anyway. but in australia, when they had a has kerr that was horrible, the government said enough is enough. we're not going to have these military-style weapons. we'll have a buyback. homicides and suicides fell by half in aus trail which is also a democracy. so people are tired. i'm sorry, go ahead. >> let me interrupt if i may. what do you think that the white house, the responsibility of the white house is? because we know after the gabby giffords shooting in 2011, the justice department drew up plans and steps. they wanted to expand background checks so that the guns would
not fall in the hands of mentally ill folks or criminals. they scrap it had during the campaign. it was just too hot of an issue. what do you want the white house to do now? >> well, we've all been too cowardly. i've been on your show many times. i've never mentioned this in public. all of us have been too cowardly, republicans, democrats, gun owners, everyone, we bend too cowardly. i think we've got to now say we cannot have this become the new normal. we cannot adapt to absurdity. let's look where the chon ground is. first of all, there's good news. republicans and democrats are now saying that health care is very important. you haven't heard that discussion. let's use that to push forward more support for health care. you've got republicans and democrats saying we don't want these military-style megaclips out there. let's move on that. the president ran in 2008 on putting the assault weapons ban back in place. let's at least go back to the common sense that we had before. there's an opportunity to do something, but the idea that the leadership, not the members of the nra, i'm a southerner. i believe in the second amendment. but that the membership of the
nra can't have its desires heard because of some gun extremists, those days are over. >> and van, do you think the president should use executive order to get some things done here, to push some things through, to force it through? >> well, i think he should do everything that he can do. i think the department of justice should be much tougher on people who are not supposed to be getting these guns, who are trying to get these guns. but we do need to have congress take action. and i'm so proud of senator manchin, senator feinstein for stepping up to the plate, and republicans and democrats could be united on this now. >> all right, van jones, thank you. we'll take a look at the other side of the argument. we'll talk to oregon state representative dennis richardson who is calling for schools to arm the teachers. [ sniffs ] i have a cold. [ sniffs ] i took dayquil but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms,
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so after the devastating school shooting on friday, oregon state representative dennis richardson wrote an e-mail to his state school superintendent saying that gun bans on school property should be overturned. dennis richardson is joining us from medford, oregon. good to have you here. first of all, i want to just throw out this quote that you gave to the a.p. so everybody is aware of your position. you say "if i had been a teacher or the principal at the sandy hook elementary school and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide." so explain your position here.
more guns in the school? armed teachers? how does that help? >> well, it's been 13 years since the tragedy in columbine. almost 6 years since virginia tech, and now we all mourn the massacre that occurred in connecticut last friday. we cannot continue to be passive when the only person who's armed in a school shooting situation is the shooter himself, the psychopath. what i'm suggesting is that we set up -- >> okay, go ahead. i'm sorry. >> what i'm suggesting is that we have campus responders, two or three volunteers, that are on the staff, whether administrators or teachers or staff members hopefully maybe prior military, prior law enforcement, but people who are trained who will be armed and when the first shot is fired on the next campus, they can respond and meet lethal force with lethal force. >> dennis, a lot of studies have been done that when you have more guns in people's hands, so
many accidents happen, misfires, people get ahold of these guns even if they try to put them in a safe place and lock them up, that it only turns to more violence. i mean, how would you actually control or prevent something like that from happening if you introduce weapons inside of a school? >> well, by having -- by taking safety measures. first you make sure that those who are your campus responders are trained. secondly, you make sure that the weapons are not easily accessible. i mean, there are metal containers that require a code before they can be opened. so we can secure the weapon. but what we can't do is just allow us to continue to take a passive approach. the assault weapon that was used in connecticut is already banned in connecticut. the teachers already were trained in lockdown. that's a passive response. we o it to our children and our educators to ensure that we have the ability to respond in every school with lethal force in an event of such a shooting in the future. >> you know, there's a public
health specialist at harvard who's written a book on gun violence and he says children ages 5 to 14 in this country, 13 times likely -- as likely to be murdered with guns than children in other industrialized countries. but most of these deaths, these killings, take place in neighborhoods, in homes. it's not in the schools. so are you really directing your solution, your proposed solution, to the right place? >> well, this isn't about a gun ban. there's over 250 million guns already in circulation in the usa. that bell has already been rung. we're focusing on whats occasionally in our schools. and what can be done to protect our children and their educators in the event that this happens again, which is inevitable. we cannot continue to have the only armed person on the premises of the school be the mass killer. and we can't afford to put police in every campus. there's a one in a million chance this is going to happen, but if we have volunteers who are trained and prepared to
respond with lethal force, then we can lessen the number of casualties that will occur in the future. >> who would be responsible for this training and this vetting of these armed people in the schools? who do you propose would do that? >> well, i think local law enforcement. i mean, presently when something happens like this, we call 911, and there's a five to ten-minute delay before the police arrive. seconds count. when there's that kind of delay. and so the police can help provide the training, the updated training. we need regular review and practice so that whoever is volunteering as the campus responder, and this is not a mandatory thing, but whoever does that is as prepared as possible. and no one can be fully prepared for the stress that occurs in such a situation as being confronted with a killer. >> i'm curious, have you gotten much support for this idea, for this notion? are there people who feel like this is a good idea who are backing you?
>> oh, there's many people. i was called by one teacher in southern oregon on saturday morning. and he said, i want you to know, i've been carrying a pistol for years on campus. i know of a principal who's recently retired who also carried -- concealed carried for years because he wasn't going to let what happened in columbine happen in his school. there's many people who say a passive approach only gives power to a psychopath. and it's not a federal issue. this can be resolved by school districts. it's being resolved right now in harold school district in texas where they've researched it and said we're going to allow concealed carry permit holers who are teachers and other staff to be able to carry in our schools so that what happens in other places will not happen here. >> we've got to leave it there. we're running out of time. representative richardson, thank you very much. appreciate your perspective. more of our special coverage after a quick break.
>> reporter: they were just 6 years old, their lives cut short by a horrific act of violence. today families faced what seems to be unbearable as they say good-bye to two first graders killed in the shooting at their elementary school. funerals are being held this hour for jack pinto and noah pozner. jack loved sports. he loved baseball, wrestling, football was his favorite. noah loved playing with his siblings, especially his twin sister. jack and noah are two of the 20 children who died. at last night's prayer service here, the president called each one by name. >> let the little children come to me, jesus said, and do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. charlotte, daniel, olivia,
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the massacre at sandy hook elementary school has reignited the raging debate over guns. the weapon used to murder those 20 little children and 6 adults, here is what it looked like, a semi-automatic bushmaster .223 caliber assault rifle. people are angry, some people, this combat-style weapon is not illegal but is protected under the constitution. i want to bring in john. federal gun laws what is the general idea here? >> look, first of all, your producer asked us to look into gun laws. we thought this would be a
straightforward assignment to explain the laws, turned out to be more complicated, more convoluted than you could ever imagine. we tried to boil it down to its most basic parts. let's first talk about the federal gun laws. first of all, we know that you have to be 21 in order to purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer. licensed dealer is the key here. also, 18 to purchase a long gun, a rifle, from a licensed dealer. but that's really where it stops. >> tell us about the federal restrictions. >> there are several federal restrictions, if the person knows that you fit within this criteria. again, so there are no restrictions on private sales of any person can sell a gun to another person under federal law. there are no restrictions under sales at gun shows, but if a seller knows that a person fits within any of this, i'll list it, if we have this graphic to show, if you are a convicted felon, a fugitive of justice, an unlawful user or addicted to controlled substances, adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution, if you're an
illegal alien or unlawfully living in the u.s., if you're an alien admitted to the u.s. on a nonimmigrant visa, if you're dishonorably discharged from the armed services, a citizen of the u.s. but renounced citizenship if you are under protection order or restraining order due to domestic violence or convicted of domestic violence, it is a long list, but if you fall within any of those categories, then when it comes to private sales, a person should not sell to you. but if they don't know, they can do it. >> all right. we'll bring you back, george. we're running out of time. we'll bring you back to talk about the states with the toughest restrictions and those more lenient because it is very different. thank you, george. the debate over gun control likely to continue, of course, in the wake of this massacre. [ male announcer ] this december, remember -- what starts with adding a friend... ♪ ...could end with adding a close friend.
dawn hochsprung, the principal of the sandy hook elementary school here in newtown is being remembered as a hero. she was killed when she confronted the gunman in her school. her colleague said she was a great educator, whose enthusiasm never flagged. now her husband george is also talking about his wife, and their life together. the two were married ten years ago after meeting when they were both working at another school. gary tuchman spoke with the family. >> reporter: while dawn was the principal at sandy hook, george still taught at the middle school where they met. in the middle of the day friday, this is how george found out what happened. >> one of the kids came up with a computer, and said, something's happening at sandy hook school, and your wife's
been killed. >> reporter: george raced out of 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 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 into shelter while she actually confronted the gunman, 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. >> dawn's daughter christina has been tweeting about her mom. she says, my mom, dawn hochsprung, was taken tragically from me. but she went down in a blaze of glory that truly represents who she was. she also tweeted out this
picture of president obama, holding dawn hochsprung's granddaughter. for more information on how you can help those affected, visit cnn.com/impact. is it really 100 calories? let me put you on webcan... ...lean roasted chicken... and a creamy broth mmm i can still see you. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. it's lots of things. all waking up. ♪ becoming part of the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ trees will talk to networks will talk to scientists about climate change. cars will talk to road sensors will talk to stoplights about traffic efficiency.
the ambulance will talk to patient records will talk to doctors about saving lives. it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. the next big thing? we're going to wake the world up. ♪ and watch, with eyes wide, as it gets to work. ♪ cisco. tomorrow starts here.