Newtown grieves as first victims buried
As families in Newtown, Connecticut, began to bury their murdered children yesterday, authorities tightened security at other schools across the country, and US president Obama picked up crucial support in his push to tighten restrictions on weapons such as the one used in Friday’s massacre.
In what was a precursor for a string of funerals planned in the bucolic, picture-postcard New England town, services were held for two of the 20 children killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner, both aged six, died with their first-grade classmates when Adam Lanza opened fire with a military-style assault rifle.
Underscoring how much grief is mixed with fear and anxiety, schools in two nearby communities were put in lockdown yesterday after police received reports of suspicious people near those schools. No one was arrested, but the precaution taken by authorities showed how some people are on edge following Friday’s attack, the second-worst school shooting in US history.
Security was ramped up at schools across the US to guard against potential copycat attacks. In Boston, police commissioner Ed Davis said his officers had stepped up routine patrols at the city’s schools.
Call for action
Meanwhile, Mr Obama’s emotional call for action, delivered during an 18-minute address at an interfaith memorial service for the victims at the Newtown high school on Sunday night, was quickly bearing fruit.
US senator Joe Manchin, from West Virginia, US representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky, and US senator Mark Warner of Virginia, all of them Democrats from gun-friendly states, went public yesterday saying it was time to tighten controls on some guns, especially military-style assault rifles and high-capacity magazine clips.
Like Manchin, Warner has an “A” voting rating from the National Rifle Association, and is seen as an ally of the gun lobby, making his support for some form of gun control especially significant. Leading Republicans, who are generally seen as more supportive of the NRA and the gun lobby, have been noticeably silent since Friday’s slaughter.
“Enough is enough,” said Warner, echoing a sentiment that has emerged from a growing number of legislators previously seen as staunch allies of the NRA and the influential, well-financed gun lobby. “I think most of us realise that there are ways to get to rational gun control. There are ways to grapple with the obvious challenges of mental illness.”
Police said that establishing whether Adam Lanza was mentally ill is part of their investigation into Friday’s attack, which ranks only behind the 2007 shooting at the campus of Virginia Tech which left 32 people and the shooter dead.