New­town first re­spon­ders find it dif­fi­cult to move on

Austin American-Statesman - - NEWS - By Michael Melia DE­VEL­OP­MENTS — wire ser­vices

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.

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