Asked for a reaction to Friday’s statement from the NRA that on-site armed security officials should be installed in every American school by next month, a grassroots organization out of Newtown said its core mission remains unchanged.
“Newtown United stands with the children, the teachers, the community, and the families touched by the massacre of innocent lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14,” Rob Cox, a spokesperson for Newtown United, told Patch in an email.
“We are united with the country to drive national efforts to turn the tide on gun violence,” Cox continued. “We are dedicated to ensuring the senseless act of violence that occurred in Newtown is never repeated.”
The National Rifle Association broke its weeklong silence following the horrific shooting of 26 people last week in Sandy Hook and called for a surge of gun-carrying "good guys" around American schools.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for a new kind of American domestic security revolving around armed civilians, arguing that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
The statements came about 90 minutes after Newtown and much of the nation observed a moment of silence for the 20 schoolchildren and six adults killed during the Dec. 14 shooting. It also came at a time when voices for gun control are steadily rising. On Friday morning before the press conference, President Obama released a video citing a petition by hundreds of Americans calling for swift action.
LaPierre also railed against violent video games, accusing the media of selling "violence against its own people" through violent video games, music videos and "blood-soaked" films. He did not take questions from reporters, and did not acknowledge the protesters.
Suzy DeYoung, a parent coach and Newtown resident for nine years who has three children, said LaPierre was playing to people’s fears.
“People are much smarter than this,” DeYoung said. “He is saying we need to be protected from guns by more guns. This lack of logic speaks for itself, and I truly believe the response you are abut to see from parents all around the world will offer better commentary than I ever could."
Joanna Zachos, a mother in Sandy Hook, said that while she supports an increase in gun control and personally does not believe in guns at all, that the larger problem goes "way beyond that."
"The problem we have is our immunity to violence as a society as a whole," she said. "Violent video games, violent movies, addiction to horror films. We've developed immunity to violence and violent images."
Zachos said she worried about taking her children to the mall during Halloween because they'd be exposed to troubling images. And she said that after Friday's shooting, she’d be even more careful.
"Going forward, I feel i'm going to have ask people, 'Do you have a gun?' before we go for a playdate," she said.
"We have police to protect this community,” she said. “If someone wants to keep something, one small thing that will make them feel safe, that's their prerogative. But there's no need for semi-automatic weapons at home. None. Absolutely none."
Patch Editor John Ness contributed to this report.