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Main article: "Reactions to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
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President Obama's remarks on the day of the shooting

President "Barack Obama gave a televised address on the day of the shootings, saying, "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."[160] Obama expressed "enormous sympathy for families that are affected".[161][162][163] He also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the "White House and other U.S. federal government facilities worldwide in respect of the victims.[164] On December 16, Obama traveled to Newtown where he met with victims' families and spoke at an "interfaith vigil.[165]

"Dannel Malloy, the "Governor of Connecticut, addressed the media the evening of the shootings near a local church holding a vigil for the victims, urging the people of Connecticut to come together and help each other. Malloy said, "Evil visited this community today, and it is too early to speak of recovery, but each parent, each sibling, each member of the family has to understand that Connecticut, we are all in this together, we will do whatever we can to overcome this event, we will get through it."[16][166] Hundreds of mourners, including Malloy, attended vigils in various churches in Newtown.[167][168] On December 17, Malloy called for a statewide "moment of silence and church bells to be tolled 26 times at 9:30 a.m. on December 21, exactly one week after the school shooting.[169]

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A makeshift memorial on Berkshire Road in Sandy Hook

"Arne Duncan, the "U.S. Secretary of Education, said: "...our thanks go out to every teacher, staff member, and first responder who cared for, comforted, and protected children from harm, often at risk to themselves. We will do everything in our power to assist and support the healing and recovery of Newtown."[170]

The day after the shootings, Lanza's father released a statement:

Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to all those who were injured. Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express how heartbroken we are. We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.[152]

Leaders from many countries and organizations throughout the world also offered their condolences through the weekend after the shooting.[171]

President Obama honored the six slain adults posthumously with the 2012 "Presidential Citizens Medal on February 15, 2013.[172] President Obama said "And then when Dawn Hochsprung, and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino, Anne Marie Murphy -- when they showed up for work at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14th of last year, they expected a day like any other -- doing what was right for their kids; spent a chilly morning readying classrooms and welcoming young students -- they had no idea that evil was about to strike. And when it did, they could have taken shelter by themselves. They could have focused on their own safety, on their own wellbeing. But they didn’t. They gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care. They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us. And that's what we honor today -- the courageous heart, the selfless spirit, the inspiring actions of extraordinary Americans, extraordinary citizens."[173]

"Sandy Hook conspiracy theories have become social phenomena, despite overwhelming contemporary coverage of the incident.[174]

Gun control[edit]

Gun control after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting prompted renewed debate about "gun control in the United States, including proposals for making the "background-check system universal, and for new federal and state "legislation banning the sale and manufacture of certain types of semi-automatic "firearms and "magazines with more than ten rounds of ammunition.[175]

Within hours of the shooting, a "We the People petition was started asking the "White House to "immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress,"[176][177] and the gun control advocacy group the "Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence reported that an avalanche of donations in the hours after the shooting caused its website to crash.[178] Five days later, President Obama announced that he would make gun control a "central issue" of his second term,[179] and he created a gun violence task force, to be headed by Vice President "Joe Biden.[180] On January 16, 2013, Obama signed 23 "executive orders and proposed 12 congressional actions regarding gun control.[181] His proposals included universal background checks on firearms purchases, an assault weapons ban, and limiting "magazine capacity to 10 cartridges.[182][183]

On December 21, 2012, the "National Rifle Association's "Wayne LaPierre said gun-free school zones attract killers and that another gun ban would not protect Americans. He called on Congress to appropriate funds to hire armed police officers for every American school and announced that the NRA would create the National School Shield Emergency Response Program to help.[184] After LaPierre's press conference, the Brady Campaign asked for donations to support its gun control advocacy and asked NRA members "who believe like we do, that we are better than this" to join its campaign.[185] On January 8, 2013, former Congresswoman "Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and injured in a "2011 shooting in Tucson, launched the gun control group "Americans for Responsible Solutions, with a specific aim of matching or exceeding the fundraising capabilities of the NRA and similar groups.[186]

On January 16, 2013, New York became the first U.S. state to act after the shooting when it enacted the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act.[187] On April 4, 2013, Connecticut and Maryland both enacted new restrictions to their existing gun laws.[188][189] Ten other states had passed laws that relaxed gun restrictions.[190]

Legislation introduced in the first session of "113th Congress included the "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013[191][192] and the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to expand background checks on gun purchases.[193][194] Both were defeated in the Senate on April 17, 2013.[195]

Video games[edit]

A renewed debate about the effects of violent video games on young people began soon after the shooting due to news reports suggesting Lanza frequently played violent video games.[196][197][198] Connecticut Senator "Christopher Murphy stated in January 2013 that, as well as guns, video games played a role in the shootings. He said, "I think there's a question as to whether he would have driven in his mother's car in the first place if he didn't have access to a weapon that he saw in video games that gave him a false sense of courage about what he could do that day."[199] "Wayne LaPierre, CEO and Executive Vice President of the "National Rifle Association, publicly blamed video games for the shooting, specifically targeting the free online game Kindergarten Killers created by Gary Short.[200]

Police found numerous[201] video games in the basement of Adam Lanza's home, which was used as a gaming area. The final report into the shooting, published in November 2013, noted that "[Lanza] played video games often, both solo at home and online. They could be described as both violent and non-violent. One person described the shooter as spending the majority of his time playing non-violent video games all day, with his favorite at one point being "Super Mario Bros.". The report described his liking for "Dance Dance Revolution, which he played frequently for hours with an acquaintance at a movie theater in "Danbury which had a commercial version of the game, and also played the game at home.[68] Investigators confirmed as genuine a video showing Lanza playing Dance Dance Revolution at the theater.[202] The final report did not make a link between video games and the motive for the shooting.[68][203]

Impact on the community[edit]

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Roses featuring images of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

2013[edit]

The school was closed indefinitely following the shooting, partially because it remained a crime scene.[204] Sandy Hook students returned to classes on January 3, 2013, at "Chalk Hill Middle School in nearby "Monroe at the town's invitation. Chalk Hill at the time was an unused facility, refurbished after the shooting, with desks and equipment brought in from Sandy Hook Elementary. The Chalk Hill school was temporarily renamed "Sandy Hook".[205][206][207] The "University of Connecticut created a scholarship for the surviving children of the shootings.[208]

On January 31, the Newtown school board voted unanimously to ask for police officer presence in all of its elementary schools; previously other schools in the district had such protection, but Sandy Hook had not been one of those.[209]

On May 10, a task force of twenty-eight appointed members voted to demolish the existing Sandy Hook Elementary school and have a new school built in its place. The $57 million proposed project was sent to the Newtown Board of Education for approval, to be followed by a public ballot.[210][211] In October 2013, Newtown residents voted 4,504–558 in favor of the proposed demolition and reconstruction, to be funded by $50 million in state money.[212] Demolition began on October 25[213] and was completed in December 2013 at a cost of nearly US$1.4 million.[214]

After the town "clerk's office was inundated with requests from the media,[215] "Connecticut House of Representatives Republican "Dan Carter introduced legislation that would restrict access to public information available under the "Freedom of Information Act.[215] On June 5, both houses (Senate and House of Representatives) of the Connecticut state legislature passed a bill modifying the state's "Freedom of Information Act in order to "prevent the release of crime-scene photos and video evidence from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and other Connecticut homicides, concerned such records would be spread on the Internet." The bill then went on to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's desk for his signature. The bill creates a new exemption to the state's Freedom of Information Act. The release of photographs, film, video, digital or other visual images depicting a homicide victim is prevented if such records "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of the victim or the victim's surviving family members."[216]

2014[edit]

In March 2014, the Newtown city officials announced the design for the new Sandy Hook Elementary School.[217][218] The only remnant of the original school would be its flagpole.[217]

A few days later, the "Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation released results of a survey with over 1,600 respondents. Among other inquiries, the survey asked residents what should be done with balance of the US$11 million in donations that had been received since the incident in 2012.[218] The majority of responses said that money for mental health counseling and other family expenses should be the top priorities. A few responses suggested that some of the money should be used to purchase and tear down the shooter's family home in order to replace it with a park or wildlife sanctuary.[218] Jennifer Barahona, the foundation's executive director, was quoted as saying, "That's not something we're considering at this time. It's really outside of our scope."[218]

On October 21, building site preparation work began on the new Sandy Hook Elementary School;[219] project updates and progress are posted on a dedicated website, SandyHook2016.[220] Citing security and privacy reasons and out of respect for the families of victims, no "ground breaking ceremony was held.[219] Construction was scheduled to begin in March 2015 with the school expected to open by December 2016.[221]

In December, it was announced that the town of Newtown will acquire the property and home of Nancy Lanza at no cost.[222] The property at 36 Yogananda St. was part of the Lanza estate, to which surviving son Ryan Lanza is the sole heir. Lanza's attorney, Kenneth Gruder, arranged for the transfer through a series of transactions so that probate records would not show the city acquiring the property from the Lanza family. Gruder said the notoriety of the home had made it essentially unsaleable.[222]

On December 15, 2014, nine of the families (plaintiffs) affected by the shooting filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers (defendants) of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the school attack.[223] Also named in the suit is Camfour, a distributor of firearms, and the now-closed East Windsor store, Riverview Sales, where the gunman's rifle was purchased. In January 2015, attorneys for the Bushmaster company petitioned to have the lawsuit moved to Federal court because, although the shooting took place in Connecticut, they are located in North Carolina.[224] In February 2015, attorneys representing the victim's families made a motion to move the lawsuit against the manufacturer of the Bushmaster rifle back to state court.[225] On April 14, 2016 a Connecticut court denied the defendants a motion to summarily dismiss the case,[226] the defense filed a second motion for dismissal a month later.[227] On October 14, 2016, the defendants' motion to strike(dismiss) the complaint(lawsuit) was granted. The judge ruled the complaint was not valid per Federal and Connecticut laws. The plaintiffs indicated they would appeal the ruling.[228][229]

2015[edit]

On January 21, 2015, Newtown Legislative Council voted unanimously to demolish the house where Nancy and Adam Lanza lived, and to keep the land as open space.[230] The demolition was completed on March 24, 2015.[231] Also in January, the families of two of the first-graders who died in the shooting filed a lawsuit against the city of Newtown and the Newtown Board of Education alleging inadequate security at the school.[224]

In February 2015, the family of one of the victims, Victoria Soto, applied for "trademark protection for her name. The reason for this was to help prevent others from misusing Soto's name on social media and for the benefit of the memorial fund set up in her name. The victim's sister, Jillian, stated that fake social media accounts existed using her sister's name to promote conspiracy theories about the shooting.[232]

In March, it was announced that parents of children and teachers killed in the shooting had filed lawsuits against the estate of Nancy Lanza. The suits are based on a claim that she did not properly secure her firearms, which allowed her son, a person with mental health issues, to gain access to them. The attorneys representing the families said Lanza is believed to have had homeowners insurance on her home worth more than $1 million and they are seeking compensation based on that.[233]

2016[edit]

In July 2016, the new Sandy Hook Elementary School was unveiled and parents were shown around the building. The new school is on the site of the building where the shooting took place, which was demolished and rebuilt with a state grant of around $50 million.[234]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The 2007 "Virginia Tech shooting[11] and the "2016 Orlando nightclub shooting were deadlier.[12]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

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