Sunday’s “60 Minutes” interview with Newtown parents and other relatives of the Dec. 14 massacre should be required viewing for members of Congress, state lawmakers, other policymakers, parents — really anyone who makes decisions about firearms proliferation, in communities and their own homes.
The assembled members of the group Sandy Hook Promise — all remarkably composed — are the accidental experts on the swirling issues of the day, from background checks for firearms buyers to limits on ammunition clip sizes; the man who killed their loved ones used 30-bullet clips, allowing for a long, leisurely, and largely uninterrupted slaughter.
In the extended segment with CBS’s Scott Pelley, they set forth a clear roadmap for those committed to reducing gun violence. Last week, they helped push a package of reforms through the Connecticut legislature, where the push back from gun-rights proponents was as forceful as ever. Their renewed focus is on Congress, soon to take up a medley of mostly watered-down fixes — a reflection of the gun lobby’s hold on lawmakers.
Smartly, not all of Sunday’s advice was for lawmakers. David Wheeler, whose son Ben was lost in the attack, offered this:
“I would like every parent in this country – that’s 150 million people. I would like them to look in the mirror, and that’s not a figure of speech, Scott. I mean literally find a mirror in your house and look at it, and look in your eyes and say, ‘This will never happen to me. This will never happen in my school. This will never happen in my community,’ and see if you actually believe that.
“And if there is a shadow, the slightest shadow of doubt about what you’ve said, think about what you can do to change that – in your home, in your community, in your school, in your community. Because we have an obligation to our children to do this for them. It’s going to happen again. It’s going to happen again. And every time, it’s somebody else’s school, it’s somebody else’s town, it’s somebody else’s community — until one day you wake up (voice breaking) and it’s not.”