Newtown first responders find it difficult to move on
NEWTOWN, CONN. — While the people of Newtown do their best to cope with loss and preserve the memories of their loved ones, another class of residents is also finding it difficult to move on: the emergency responders who saw firsthand the terrible aftermath of last week’s school shooting.
Firefighter Peter Barresi was driving through Newtown on Friday when police cars with lights flashing and sirens blaring raced toward his oldest son’s elementary school. After he was sent to Sandy Hook school himself, he saw things that will stay with him forever.
With anguished parents searching for their children, he prepared to receive the wounded, but a paramedic came back empty-handed, underscoring the totality of the massacre. Barresi, whose son escaped unharmed, discovered that among the 26 dead were children who played baseball with his son and had come to his house.
“For some of us, it’s fairly difficult,” said Bar- resi, of the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co. “Fortunately, most of us did not go in.”
Newtown and environs weathered a fourth day of funerals Thursday, six days after Adam Lanza killed his mother at home, 20 children and six adults at the school, and himself. Mourners buried Catherine Hubbard, Benjamin Wheeler, Jesse Lewis and Allison Wyatt, all 6; and Grace McDonnell, 7.
While family, friends and even strangers weep, members of the emergency forces that responded to the shooting, many of them volunteers, are wrestling with frustration, guilt and anguish as they receive counseling from a state intervention team to help them deal with the horrors they saw and heard.
Firefighter Marc Gold, 50, a father of three who rushed to offer help even though his company was not called, said he is haunted by the trauma of the parents and the faces of the police who emerged from the building. “My heart is broken for these families beyond anything I can explain to you,” he said.
Dozens of Michigan schools canceled classes for thousands of students to cool off rumored threats of violence and problems related to doomsday scenarios based on the Mayan calendar.
The Obama administration will push to tighten gun laws in response to last week’s massacre,Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday, and SpeakerJohn Boehnersaid the GOP-controlled House would consider the proposals.
Two Democratic Connecticut state lawmakers are offering the first legislation in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Newtown. The list includes prohibiting the sale and possession of any rifle, shotgun or pistol magazine that has a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition, instituting a 50 percent sales tax on the sale of ammunition and firearms magazines, requiring a permit to purchase ammunition, and banning online ammo purchases.
New York officials are scrambling to negotiate the first new gun control laws in the nation since the Sandy Hook shootings.