Veronique Pozner knows firsthand the impact gun violence can have. Her 6-year-old son Noah was one of the 20 first-graders killed in the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Just over a month after the shooting, she testified before a hearing of a legislative subcommittee reviewing gun laws at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn. and continues to speak out on the rippling effects of gun violence.
"I would like to show you the last picture taken of our son, Noah. It was taken the night before he was murdered, Thursday, December 13th, before our world changed forever. It shows him holding up a lit Hanukkah candle and staring and smiling into its flame. I will forever cherish this photograph. He looks so innocent and full of wonder. He was cheated of his full potential. I can now only dream of the man he would have become.
Sometimes when a tragedy or an event of this magnitude happens and the facts are so uncomfortable for us to sit with, we tend to render into this abstract concept of memorials and angels and teddy bears. And that’s all beautiful and wonderful; that’s true. But there’s an undercurrent of an ugly reality that made those memorials necessary.
Governor Malloy did come to the funeral, I did ask him to come and see my boy. We did have a private viewing for a select view only. For me it was important to put a human face on what happened. I just felt like I owed it to Noah and to the governor, too, as a major official in the state to bear eyewitness testimony to the ravage of that event. How it just destroyed not only innocent lives but of course, there’s tons of collateral damage, right, when you talk about an event like this. It’s like a ripple effect in a pond. When you throw a stone in, the stone sinks and the ripples just expand. And it just – it was like a mushroom cloud that went off in my family. It went off in the community. And we’re every day suffering the effects of it.
The only way that I feel that I can bring some purpose to it is by speaking out on the issue of gun control. The very fact that an individual close to a permit holder can gain access to these type of weapons and use them as tools of mass carnage demonstrates that such weapons have no place in our society. Noah, and the 25 other victims whose lives ended tragically that day, were stripped of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This is not about the right to bear arms. It is about the right to bear weapons with the capacity for mass destruction. We’re talking about a .223 caliber that is designed to penetrate a steel helmet on a battlefield, that was modified for that purpose, or to take down a 250, 200 pound deer, going into 40 pound children. You know, do these weapons have a place in our society? I say they don’t. Who am I? Well not anyone other than a mother who lost a child."