A roomful of Morristown residents made “The Sandy Hook Promise” on Saturday, pledging to press for change to honor the memories of 26 children and staff members gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, three months ago.
A co-author of the promise, Rob Cox of Newtown, told the gathering at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown that legislation alone won’t prevent gun violence. Our best hope, he said, is a “holistic approach” that includes common-sense laws and gun safety practices, stronger mental health programs and community outreach for those in distress.
Rob told the audience that he is not anti-gun; he owns shotguns. The Rev. Cindy Alloway of the Presbyterian Church said she grew up in farm country where guns were part of her life, too. She lamented a mental health system that failed her brother, a Vietnam veteran who used a gun to take his own life.
Suzie DeYoung of Newtown said outsiders keep telling her neighbors they can’t imagine the horror of Sandy Hook.
“Yes you can,” she says in this video. Only by envisioning the horror of placing your kids on a school bus, never to see them again, can you confront the issues that must be addressed, she said.
The event was organized by the Morris Area Committee to Reduce Gun Violence, co-founded by Pam Hasegawa and Councilwoman Rebecca Feldman.
They were joined by Mayor Tim Dougherty, Council President Michelle Dupree Harris and state Sen. Barbara Buono in making the Sandy Hook Promise.
The morning included a sweet rendition by local high school students of My Beautiful Town, an anthem written by a Newtown resident after the massacre, and a moving version of You’ll Never Walk Alone by Morristown resident John Hammell, whose son was shot and paralyzed trying to break up an altercation.
“This means a lot,” John told the packed room.
The next morning, cyclists from Newtown passed through Morristown en route to Washington DC, where they plan to press Congress for tougher gun laws.