Children in Newtown returning to school

2012-12-18 17:48
26 teddy bears, each representing a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. (David Goldman, AP)

26 teddy bears, each representing a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. (David Goldman, AP)

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Newtown - Most children returned to school for the first time on Tuesday in Newtown, as the toll of funerals for the 26 dead continued.

At least one funeral was planned for one of the 20 young students - 6-year-old Jessica Rekos - as well as several wakes, including one for teacher Victoria Soto, who has been praised as a hero for sacrificing herself to save several students in one of the worst mass shootings in US history.

Security remained high, and the small, affluent Connecticut community was still on edge.

Across the United States, the conversation about what to do to prevent more gun massacres continued.

And the mystery of why a smart but severely withdrawn 20-year-old, Adam Lanza, shot his mother to death in bed Friday before rampaging through a school, killing 20 children ages 6 and 7, was as deep as ever.

The first two children, including the youngest victim, were buried on Monday, the first of a long, almost unbearable procession of funerals as the rest of the country prepared for the Christmas holidays.

Classes resumed on Tuesday for Newtown schools except those at Sandy Hook, where the school is located and will remain closed indefinitely.

"It's the right thing to do. You have to send your kids back. But at the same time I'm worried," said Dan Capodicci, whose 10-year-old daughter attends another local school. "We need to get back to normal."

Investigators say Lanza had no ties to the school he attacked, and they have found no letters or diaries that could explain why he targeted it. He forced into the school on Friday morning, wearing all black, and is believed to have used a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, a civilian version of the military's M-16.

Versions of the AR-15 were outlawed in the US under the 1994 assault weapons ban, but the law expired in 2004.

Gun control

Debora Seifert, a spokesperson for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said both Lanza and his mother fired at shooting ranges and visited ranges together.

The outlines of a national debate on gun control took shape. At the White House, spokesperson Jay Carney said curbing gun violence is a complex problem that will require a "comprehensive solution." He did not offer specific proposals or a timeline.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, perhaps the most outspoken advocate for gun control in US politics, again pressed Obama and Congress to toughen gun laws and tighten enforcement.

"If this doesn't do it," he asked, "what is going to?"

At least one senator, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, said on Monday that the attack has led him to rethink his opposition to the ban on assault weapons. And West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat who is an avid hunter and lifelong member of the powerful National Rifle Association, said it's time to move beyond the political rhetoric and begin an honest discussion about reasonable restrictions on guns.

In Newtown on Monday, minds were on mourning.

Two funeral homes filled on Monday for Jack Pinto and the youngest victim, Noah Pozner, who turned 6 just two weeks ago..

A rabbi presided at Noah's service, and in keeping with Jewish tradition, the boy was laid to rest in a simple brown wooden casket with a Star of David on it.

"I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room," Noah's mother, Veronique Pozner, said at the service, according to remarks the family provided to The Associated Press. Both services were closed to the news media.

Noah's twin, Arielle, who was assigned to a different classroom, survived the killing frenzy.

At 6-year-old Jack Pinto's Christian service, hymns rang out from inside the funeral home, where the boy lay in an open casket.

- AP

Read more on:    nra  |  us  |  us school shooting  |  gun control
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