Newtown families mark anniversary with a plea for parents to unite
Updated: 2013-11-14 23:38
NEW YORK - Mark Barden liked to call his son Daniel the "custodian of all living creatures," the sort of 7-year-old who would comfort someone sitting alone or looking sad or who would help another child with a stuck jacket zipper.
Daniel was shot to death last December 14 along with 19 of his classmates and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. After the massacre, his relatives started a Facebook group, "What Would Daniel Do", to encourage people to show kindness to others.
"Daniel had just a wonderful little way about him. He just was wired for compassion and empathy," said Mark Barden.
Organized efforts like that will be part of a campaign unveiled on Thursday called "Parent Together" that seeks to increase communication between parents nationwide and implement strategies to identify mental illness early, promote gun safety and combat social isolation in communities and schools.
"There's been a lot of work done on this issue of gun violence and a lot of what we're seeing doesn't seem to be working," said Barden, who is a professional musician. "So what a great place to start, with that foundation of love. And hopefully the whole idea of parenting - parent together - is going to be the vehicle that moves the conversation forward."
In the 11 months since the massacre, Barden and other members of the relatives' group "Sandy Hook Promise" have pushed for stronger gun control and laws related to mental illness.
Last April, a background check bill backed by some of the families as well as President Barack Obama failed to win enough support in the U.S. Senate, which was widely seen as stalling the momentum gun control proponents had gained after the Newtown shooting.