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December 20, 2012

Action is Path to Healing for Many in Newtown

Watch Newtown Community Seeks Meaning, Change After Mass Shooting on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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In the days after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. residents came together to mourn the loss of 20 elementary school students and seven adults who died during a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook school. However, they were also demanding answers as to prevent such events from happening in the future.

“I feel the politicians have failed to protect our children,” said Newtown resident Po Murray, “They need to really pass legislation that is going to have a meaningful impact to prevent further tragedy.”

While some feel that talking about changing gun laws in the wake of Sandy Hook politicizes the tragedy, many community members are looking for a way to make a positive impact in the face of a tragic situation.

“This catastrophe happened in our town. This is an opportunity for us to do something really good from a very tragic event that happened. OK? This is a watershed moment for meaningful change,” said Murray.

Politicians in Washington have called for stricter gun regulations, including a renewed ban on semiautomatic rifles like the one used in the shooting. However, of the residents that spoke to Sreenivasan, most didn’t want guns banned outright.

“I support responsible gun ownership. I have gone to firing ranges. I have fired guns. I don’t own a gun. I would be happy to listen to responsible gun owners as well,” said resident Linda Lubinsky. “I don’t support banning all guns, just weapons that can just keep shooting and shooting and shooting.”

While emotions are raw and there is a fresh desire for action, history shows this rarely translates into political change. However, this doesn’t dissuade some members of the Newtown community.

“Well, my mother always told me, if you don’t try, nothing will happen,” said Lubinsky. “So at least we’re going to try.”


“I think a lot of us were feeling the same thing, that we were impacted by this event, not as much as some people, but that we felt helpless. And we needed an avenue to discuss how we felt about what was going on,” – James Belden, Newtown, Conn., resident.

“When we tell people we’re from Newtown, people will say, I’m sorry to hear that. What I want people to say is, I’m sorry for the pain you experienced, but also — but I’m so proud of what you did with that experience,” – Linda Lubinsky, Newtown, Conn., resident.

“Almost every issue in politics nationally right now is so polarized, it’s difficult to see a middle ground from the fiscal cliff to immigration to gun control. But the fact is this event was so heinous in its nature, that there is now a willingness for middle ground,” – James Belden.

“If there was a weapon in a school, it would have to be locked. Would she have time to get that weapon? And I certainly hope people wouldn’t be suggesting that she would carry the weapon,” – Linda Lubinsky.

Warm up questions

1. What do you know about the school shooting in Newtown Connecticut?

2. How do you think the community feels about guns?

3. Why is the conversation about gun violence in America so complicated?

Discussion questions

1. What is your reaction to this conversation?

2. How did this video affect your feelings about the tragedy?

3. If you lived in Newtown, how would you try to recover from this event?

4. What kind of laws might help prevent another tragedy like the one in Newtown?

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