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New Details Emerging About Adam, Nancy Lanza; Newtown Grieves; How Do We Stop the Violence?

Aired December 17, 2012 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live in this beautiful community of Newtown, Connecticut. I have spent the day here. What extraordinary people. It was just up the block that this horror occurred, that six female educators, 20 innocent beautiful children were gunned down in a matter of minutes by a young man wielding an assault- type rifle. And I spent the day here talking to residents, people in the community, and they all seem to be saying one thing and one thing alone, enough. Enough with the violence. It must stop now.

What we`re going to ask tonight is how can we do that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pray that this culture of death that is overshadowing our entire country, especially now in this our town, will soon be replaced with a culture of life that embraces every person with human dignity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s just 20 little lives, little children who will never see their first puppy, you will never see them graduate high school, you will never see them on their first date.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We, as a nation, we are left with some hard questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Emilie Alice Parker was the sweetest little girl I`ve ever known.

OBAMA: We can`t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The kids were coming out, and when I saw her, the sense of relief is incredible, but it`s really short lived, because I still have one in there.

OBAMA: We can`t accept events like this as routine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have a daughter who is an adult now. And she`s a fourth grade elementary school -- I`m sorry -- teacher, and she could be in jeopardy for her entire life now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to have a culture of peace. Our entire civilization is too inundated with the culture of violence.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It was last night that President Obama spoke at the local high school, which is just a couple of -- just a very short drive from here. That was the high school auditorium. It was an overflow crowd, more than 2,000 people. And of course, many watching around the world. And today, the very terrible task of laying to rest the victims. Funeral services were held today for 6-year-old Jack Pinto. What a beautiful, beautiful boy he was. He loved all sorts of sports, particularly football. Look at that handsome, handsome face. And funeral services were also held today for 6-year-old Noah Pozner, another gorgeous child, and he leaves behind a twin sister as well as three other siblings and cousins who loved him dearly. And the aunt of Noah spoke out about how hard it was for her to tell her young son that one of her favorite cousins was gone. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We told him that a bad person came and shot his cousin and that he had passed away. And our son asked, what does that mean? And I said it means he died. And he, you know, was going to cry. And it`s just -- I think incomprehensible for a boy that`s not even 6 yet. Noah and Arielle and my son, Ethan, they were six weeks apart. They were so close.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight we`re going to talk about how to turn all this grief, all this pain, all this suffering and this anguish into positive action. But first, we have got some breaking news. Rita Cosby, you`ve got some new information. Where are you and what do you have?

RITA COSBY, JOURNALIST: And Jane, I`m right in front of the shooter`s house. This is where he lived with his mother. Remember, this is the first crime scene. Because he opened fire on his mother, shooting her, as we`re told, four times in the head in the bedroom, and then drove five miles to the school, where he committed that terrible, horrible tragedy.

In the last few hours, Jane, there`s been a lot of activity in this house. We saw a whole bunch of investigators with the Connecticut state police, in unmarked cars, and others pulling into the driveway. They were there for about 2.5 hours. Looked like they were looking outside the house and also in one particular section of the house, and looked like they were sort of on a mission, Jane. So there may be more details on the investigation coming soon, as soon as we find out what they were looking for.

They did leave just about 45 minutes to an hour ago. And again, as soon as we get more details, we`ll get that to you.

Meantime, Jane, I`ve been talking to so many people who knew Nancy Lanza. This is, of course, the mother of the shooter. And they say this was a woman who loved guns. The ATF, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, that is the agency, the federal agency that oversees firearms in the United States, they have gone on record and they have told me that she and also her son have gone to a number of different shooting ranges in this area, and that the mother, in particular, very much loved guns. In fact, friends of hers told me that she would teach her son about guns, too, that she thought it was sort of a sign of respect and sort of a way for him to build confidence and get a sense of responsibility, to learn about guns, that she was very much an avid gun person and had them around the house.

But the shooter`s aunt described this as the reason as to why Nancy Lanza had so many guns. Take a listen to what she had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the reason Nancy may have had them, and for the sake of many more for us in this country is self-defense and no other reason. They were not a violent family. They were not ones to -- no. She had it, it definitely would have been for self-defense, because she did live alone. Last time we visited with her in person, we talked about prepping and are you ready for what can happen down the line for when the economy collapses?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A survivalist kind of thing?



COSBY: And law enforcement sources tell me, Jane, that in addition to the four guns found, three on his person, the shooter, one in his vehicle, four that means in total at the school. Law enforcement sources are telling me that two more were found inside the house, all six of them registered to Nancy Lanza. Registered legally.

Also, we know that parts of computers were taken out of the house. They were smashed. We don`t know if there was some sort of altercation with the shooter and his mother or if he smashed them afterwards. But all the parts were taken out and are being checked now to see what kind of websites or e-mails he was looking for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is new information as well. The ATF confirming, as you said, that the shooter -- we`re not using his name -- the shooter and his mother went to shooting ranges and reports are that they did go together sometimes. If you had to boil this entire horror down to one word -- I asked the folks in this community, what word were you use? The word that came up most often, guns.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary. The movie theater massacre in Colorado. The Oregon mall shooting. All part of 16 mass shootings in the United States this year alone. That adds up to more than one a month.

What could be the problem? Well, there are reportedly 310 million nonmilitary firearms that we know of in America today. That`s almost one gun per person. According to the ATF, it`s big business. There are nearly 130,000 federally licensed firearms dealers. Of those, 51,000 are retail gun stores, and there`s a reported 4,000 gun shows every year in our country.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m here with James Beldin of Newtown United. Thank you for joining us, sir. You created this group in the wake of this horror because you wanted to turn this violence into positive change. I understand that your group is having a meeting right now, and you took the time to come here, so I thank you for that. If you had to sum up what your goals are, what would you say your goals are, and why you formed this organization?

JAMES BELDIN, NEWTOWN UNITED: First and foremost, it started amongst just a group of friends, just asking if we wanted to talk about things, have an open dialogue for the people who weren`t directly affected right now, but who feel helpless in this situation, and want to create some sort of long-term dialogue about the issues, the underlying issues that caused this horrible incident. Not just gun control, but mental health and awareness. There are many issues here that created this situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this. You have a lot of power. Because you come from this town, this town that has been devastated. And people will listen to you. Whereas they might not have listened to you two weeks ago. Now -- I understand that there`s a group going to Washington. When you speak, people will stop and say we need to listen to these Americans, who have experienced first or secondhand in this community the devastation of gun violence.

I want to bring in one of my heroes, Marianne Williamson, spiritual adviser to many and author of, among many books, "The Law of Divine Compensation." Marianne, thank you for joining us we try to come up with solutions.

I think back on the women who stopped a lot of the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, the troubles as they were known. And they ultimately won a Nobel Peace Prize for that. And they said the first thing they did was set an intention. They wrote a declaration of peace and they said here is what we want. We want peace. Do we, this organization that this wonderful man has formed and the rest of Americans concerned about this, need to set an intention like that?

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, AUTHOR: Well, absolutely, we do. Because the only way we are going to end a culture of violence is if we proactively and vigorously determine that we want a culture of peace. And right now, the United States is awakening, I think, from a state of denial. And sometimes an individual has to bottom out. And in the same way sometimes a country has to bottom out and recognize.

I think that there`s a sea change with this. You see it with a lot of the politicians who are talking. You are seeing it with the fact that, as you mentioned, in Newtown itself, you said it all comes down to guns.

And so I think that idea of intention, the idea that people really stop pretending that we can continue like this and not have a reasonable expectation that these sprees of massacres will continue.

So, absolutely. Women, of course, but also men. I think that all conscious, truly emotionally sober and intellectually reasonable Americans are right now looking deep within themselves and realizing that if we want a change, we`re going to have to. It`s multifaceted. It has to do with the, of course, the easy access to semiautomatics. Adam Lanza had three semiautomatic weapons with which he perpetrated this crime. Of course it has to do with that. It has to do with easy access for any citizen to get guns, even without background checks. It has to do with our violent video games, has to do with gratuitous violence in movies, it has to do with health care, mental health care, and also it has to do, Jane, with the fact that each and every one of us, I think, has to look inside our own hearts and see every bit of rage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree, Marianne.

WILLIAMSON: -- every bit of unforgiveness -- yes.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with what you said. Peace is every step. Peace is every step, as a famous philosopher, Thich Nhat Hanh, said. And so we all need to look in the mirror, myself included, and say what is it that we want?

I`ll set the intention for myself. I want peace. I think everybody in this community that is suffering so much tonight wants peace as well.

On the other side, we`re going to continue this very important dialogue.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope this is enough. I hope that this opens everyone`s eyes. There`s got to be a solution.




GEORGE HOCHSPRUNG, DAWN HOCHSPRUNG`S HUSBAND: Don`t put yourself in jeopardy, and I have been angry about that, angry until just now, today, when I met two women that she told to go into shelter. While she actually confronted the gunman. She could not -- she could have avoided that, but she didn`t. I knew she wouldn`t.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Final thing I want to ask you is what would you say to your mom right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come back. Just come back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So many heroes that the family of the principal who was slain, a woman who went toward the line of fire heroically, trying to save her students. Amazing people.

We have vigils going on all across the United States. There`s one going on in Washington, D.C. right now. They`re in Wisconsin. They`re in Alabama, Wyoming, Los Angeles. And actually, I was just talking to my niece last night, and she told me, oh, I went to a vigil in Manhattan, and I found out about it on Facebook. So we`ve brought in tonight the organizer of one of the Facebook vigils, Mark Landis. Mark, thank you for joining us.

I understand you`re a father of two. Why did you take it upon yourself to start organizing these Facebook vigils? Tell us all about them. We know very little.

MARC LANDIS: Well, Jane, thank you. We were just so horrified. My children are in first grade and sixth grade. And, you know, to see the tragedy and devastation that was wrought from this attack, we knew as a community we wanted to come together in some fashion. And along with other friends and neighbors, we organized a vigil on the Upper West Side. It was held outside a church that doubles as a interfaith center. It`s also home to a local synagogue and some other congregations. And the reverend from the church joined us, but it was really for the community.

We had folks who were in their 90s who came in their walkers. We had an 11-year-old, a classmate of my daughter, who attended, and who also spoke about how this affected him. It was an opportunity for people to express all their emotions, their sadness, their anger, their sympathies. A sense that we were all Newtown.

But it also turned quickly into a desire for action, just as you`re hearing from the folks in Newtown. Many of our people wanted to start organizing bus trips to Washington to be heard on ending the madness that is gun policy in this country right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s funny that you should say that, because I heard about you through my niece, and she said I want to go -- I want to march on Washington. And so you`re talking about that. And I`m just wondering how these groups -- Newtown United, James, you are here. Your organization is meeting right now in Newtown. You heard about -- this is a gentleman organizing Facebook vigils. How are you all going to get together? Because, honestly, maybe it`s harkening back to all the `70s protests that maybe I attended when I was a teenager, but that would be a real sign, if people went to Washington and marched on Washington and stood in front of the Capitol as opposed to being all over the place in separate vigils, got together. Have you thought about that?

BELDIN: A little bit. Of course, we`re only a day and a half into this, just our second meeting tonight. It`s still an open dialogue. What the people here in Newtown want to see and want to have happen, what we want to come out of this. We`re going to do quite a few things, but it`s going to be up to us, after all the trucks leave, after all the media leaves. I don`t think anybody is going to forget us, but it is going to be up to us to pursue what we get from all the conversation and dialogue that we`re opening up right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to say this. In the era of the Internet, a lot of people, and I have many causes. I`m an animal rights activist, for example. We always talk about, well, what should we do? And people seem to think that marching is sort of passe, that it`s something that happened back when I was a teenager.

I say no. I say march. Get together and take those buses to Washington. And all of these people who are feeling this, this grassroots moment, this moment for change, coalesce into a group and go to the nation`s capital. That`s just a thought. And we`ll see whether that happens. More on the other side.


MARY MENARD: It`s overwhelming what`s happened here. And to be able to just talk to a dog for a minute, that you don`t have to hear anybody say oh, I`m so sorry and deal with that, when you`re already trying to deal with your own grief, to just be able to step back and love an animal for a minute makes a big difference.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jane Velez-Mitchell in Newtown, Connecticut, where we are talking with members of the community about how to affect change, how to make sure something positive comes out of this terrible, terrible event.

But we`re also keeping track of the investigation into the massacre. For that, we go to investigative reporter Jon Leiberman. Jon, what do you have for us?

JON LEIBERMAN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Jane, dozens of investigators are flanked out all over the place trying to figure out for the victims the how and the why. Mainly at this point the why. And the motive is still a big question. But tonight, we`re learning a lot more about the shooter.

Neither the shooter or his mother have any recent connection to this elementary school, though it appears that the shooter may have attended this school for a brief time when he was young. Friends describe the shooter as quiet and reserved, but extremely bright. And Jane, perhaps the most telling interview to this point, when the shooter was 9 years old, he had a babysitter. And the babysitter apparently told the shooter`s mother to, quote, never turn his back on the child, not even to let him go to the bathroom alone. Our L.A. affiliate caught up with the babysitter. Take a listen to what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The general stuff like we had to put him to bed and he wouldn`t like that or we had to stop watching TV and he wouldn`t like that. Normal stuff that a kid would do, but I guess at 10 years old most kids get out of that phase. And that wasn`t the case for Adam.

What I really remember clearly is that Nancy always asked me to always be with him in the room no matter what, like don`t go to the bathroom, don`t ever leave him without supervision.


LEIBERMAN: And it carried on into high school. The shooter was actually assigned his own personal psychologist. The portrait emerging of the shooter of course now is that of a loner and of a young man with psychological problems, Jane.

And I wanted to say one other thing. Police are hoping that the two surviving victims have insight into what the shooter may have said during this rampage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Obviously, a very disturbed young man. And I have to say that now we are seeing a sea change, as Marianne Williamson mentioned. We are seeing politicians from both sides of the aisle -- guns used to be something like religion, you don`t talk about it at the dinner table, because people had their own opinions, and just stay out of it. But now people on both sides of the aisle are starting to come together and saying, we have to do something. We`re going to talk about that on the other side.


PATRICIA MONACO: I think it definitely does have to be a turning point, whether we find some type of regulations to gun control, also a turning point for mental illness.




ROBBIE PARKER, FATHER: Her love and the strength that she gave us and the example that she showed us is remarkable.

HOCHSPRUNG: I`m not angry anymore. I`m not angry. I`m not angry anymore. I`m not angry. I`m just very sad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think as a parent, as an American, as everything, we have to say something. There`s going to be a change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope so. I certainly hope they are. I hope they`re changing their minds, because there`s too many innocent lives that are being lost.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Twenty children gunned down, six female educators gunned down, all in a matter of a couple of minutes. According to investigators, all because this young man had this assault-style weapon with magazines that held 30 rounds of magazines that could enable somebody who is angry, for whatever reason, to kill a lot of people in a very short period of time.

And now it seems it`s a wake-up call to the nation and the world. And politicians of all different stripes are saying we have to change. Listen to this.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D), CALIFORNIA: If there should be a safe place in America, it`s an elementary school. I think these incidents are going to continue until we do something to change the supply mode of these weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a conservative Republican who received NRA`s highest ratings over four terms in congress. I saw this debate over guns as a powerful, symbolic struggle. Friday changed everything. We all must begin anew. And demand that Washington`s old way of doing business is no longer acceptable.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK CITY: It is time to pass an enforceable and effective assault weapons ban. Congress should also ban the high-capacity magazines that have been used again and again in these mass shootings. These weapons and ammunition can be used to kill large numbers of people quickly and regulating them certainly falls within the bounds of the Second Amendment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. That was drafted back in 1791. Marianne Williamson, that was long before Ak- 47s. The founding fathers did not envision -- they envisioned many things -- but they did not envision the technology that would allow one young kid, 20-year-old, with some kind of grudge or mental illness or whatever -- we haven`t figured that out yet -- to mow down 26 people in a couple of minutes.

So there`s a disconnect between the Second Amendment and the technology we have today -- your thoughts?

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, AUTHOR, "THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION: Well, of course, the bill of rights is not negotiable. Nobody is trying to get rid of the Second Amendment. The founders wanted the American citizenry to have the right to bear arms for a good reason so that you can`t have an armed government without an armed citizenry.

However, as you just said, the founders didn`t know about assault weapons. The founders didn`t about these high-capacity weapons. And so I agree with you and Mayor Bloomberg who`s saying that it is well within our respect for the Second Amendment that we want to ban assault weapons, that we want to regulate and even ban in most cases these high-speed magazines. And also these loopholes, Jane, that make people with backgrounds of mental illness so easily be able to move through and buy any handguns whatsoever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, Marianne, here is the problem. I want to jump in and bring in Anthony Amore, security risk advisor. Everybody is talking about mental illness. We don`t really know exactly what was wrong with this shooter. But it really doesn`t matter because at the end of the day, his mother legally purchased the guns. And as far as anybody knows, she had no mental health issues. She purchased these guns legally. And he got ahold of them.

So, to discuss better restrictions for people with mental illness, more gun restrictions for people with mental illness kind of misses the point. She`s the one who got the weapons legally and put them in the house.

WILLIAMSON: But all three weapons were semiautomatics. When we talk about banning semiautomatics and assault weapons, then even the mother would not have had the opportunity to have those guns.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I want to allow Anthony Amore, security risk advisor, weigh in on this.

ANTHONY AMORE, SECURITY RISK ADVISOR: Well, it`s true that the mother wouldn`t have been able to get them. Perhaps that`s reasonable, considering she had a child in the home who obviously had some sort of trouble. We don`t know exactly what it was.

But I think the issue goes back to what you said previous to that, about the Second Amendment. Clearly, the founders had no vision of these types of assault weapons. The other point are the other amendments to the constitution, that bill of rights, they all have some restrictions in place on them. I`m not clear why the Second Amendment seems to be the one that riles people`s temperatures when people talk about restrictions on them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. It`s extraordinary. We have -- we`re passing laws to prohibit all sorts of things, how you drive a car. There was a law passed to try to criminalize people who go undercover to factory farms to try to look at factory farm conditions of the animals. And yet -- and yet these semiautomatic with weapons that can kill children, women and children at the drop of the hat, they`re legal.

I want to go to the phone lines. Jackie, Pennsylvania, your question or thought? Jackie, Pennsylvania?

JACKIE, PENNSYLVANIA (via telephone): Hi. Yes, Jane. I watch your show a lot and I just wanted to know if there`s something us as concerned citizens of America can do to change the gun laws like they did in Great Britain. If we changed the gun laws back during Columbine so many people would not have died.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, absolutely. And I think it`s time to bring in a psychologist, Robi Ludwig. I know you`re not a gun expert but you`re a psychologist. This has been one of these subjects that nobody really wants to talk about because it`s kind of like other hot-button issues. You don`t bring them up at the dinner table. Whatever your opinion is, there`s almost been a fear -- there`s been a political gridlock. We can`t talk about this.

Well, now we are talking about it. Do you feel that the gridlock has been broken, that a dam has broken and now we`re starting to have an honest conversation, and that there`s been a sea change as Marianne suggested, in our approach to this whole thing?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOLOGIST: I mean I absolutely love what Marianne said, that sometimes a society has to hit rock bottom in order to rethink the way we are approaching our culture in general. And do I think that we need to look at some of our gun laws? Yes. I think that this is much more complex than just looking at gun laws.

This is how do we look at mental illness? What treatment is available for people? We have to look at this as well. We have to look at the types of stories that get played, what sort of seeds are being planted for people who have rage issues? All of these factors we need to look at because it`s not just as simple as "let`s take my guns". It`s not that simple. I wish it was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you raise a very important point because a lot of these massacres are being carried out by 20-something young men. Why is that? Let`s recap and review some of the horrors of recent times.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The shocking faces behind the epidemic of mass shootings in America, 20-something young men, killing their own.

April 16th, 2007. 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho shoots and kills 30 people and himself at Virginia Tech, the deadliest act of mass murder at a campus in U.S. history.

July 20th, 2012, 24-year-old James Holmes charged with killing 12 and wounding 58 people at a Colorado movie theater.

Dose 11th, 2012, 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts shoots and kills two, then himself at an Oregon mall.

December 14th, 2012, a 20-year-old man shoots and kills 20 children, six adults and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Four men, all in their early twenties forever linked to the mass killings of innocent people.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Since time immemorial there have been 20-something young men who didn`t fit in, who felt alienated, who couldn`t make friends, who may have had psychological problems but this is the first time in the history of human kind that those young men had access to the kind of weapons that can allow them to become mass killers. That`s the difference. This is the first time in the history of humanity that these troubled boys, men can get hold of these guns.

On the other side, we`ll continue our discussion.



ROBBIE PARKER, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM: She was the type of person that could just light up a room. She -- she always had something kind to say about anybody. And her -- her love and the strength that she gave us and the example she showed us is remarkable. She is an incredible person and I`m so blessed to be her dad.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a heart-wrencher, that father so eloquent, talking about his beautiful little Emilie and able to have compassion even as he has done the most painful thing in the world, see his own precious child pass away.

They say the saddest thing in the world is to bury your child. This man has shown incredible grace because he said that he had compassion and offered his condolences to the family of the shooter, if you can imagine that. He was able to say that they must be going through hell, too. That man is my hero tonight. What eloquent words.

Meantime, the investigation into why, why, why did this happen continues. Rita Cosby, you`ve been looking into it. Give us an update.

RITA COSBY, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: And, Jane, investigators say that they will continue to get to the bottom of this, try to work around the clock because they say families, especially all the victims` families, deserve to know why. They say right now they`re getting a very sort of picture of this guy, of the shooter -- the 20-year-old shooter who lived in the house that you see behind me.

He was a recluse we know by all accounts. We know from the ATF that he did go to a gun range. His mother went to gun ranges. The mother was apparently a big gun enthusiast. There were guns around the house.

In addition to that, Jane, we also learned that in addition to the four guns at the school, sources are telling me two guns were inside the house, all of them registered to the mother, Nancy Lanza. Back to you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s so extraordinary is that the reports are that the mother was aware that her son had troubles and had told a babysitter never leave him alone, had pulled him out of the school district, was home schooling him. And yet she taught -- she went with him to gun ranges, the ATF is now confirming. And also she apparently left these guns in the house and he was able to access them. That is a very bad combination.

On the other side of the break, we`re going to talk to a little girl who -- her mom approved us talking to her. She wants to talk about what she talked about in class regarding this terrible, terrible tragedy.



RABBI SHAUL PRAVER, CONGREGATION ADATH ISRAEL: We need to have a culture of peace, and so many of the young gangs that we have as children at very young ages is about war and killing. Our entire civilization is too inundated with the culture of violence. There can be an incentive and a fun game that has to do with learning about other people in the world and dealing with grievances through active diplomacy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s a great 12-step saying and that is the only thing that has to change is everything when you really want to change. And I think with that rabbi who is from the community was saying is that we all need to look in the mirror and find out how we can all become more peaceful. It`s something I certainly have to work on, but it`s a good goal to set.

In the wake of this tragedy, schoolchildren around the country are trying to come to terms with something that they shouldn`t really have to even think about. We are on the phone now with 11-year-old Lamena from Ohio; you are a fifth grader. You called us and your mom gave us approval to talk to you. Thank you Lamena for calling.

And I understand that you discussed this in school today. Tell us all about that.

LAMENA, OHIO (via telephone): Yes, we were talking about it just as a matter of fact today in school. We were talking about how the people that got shot will never see their future. They`ll never be able -- their parents will never be able to see them grow up. They`ll never have a Christmas and all that other stuff.

But we talked about it for about two hours today. It was really amazing. My heart goes out to the people that lost one and I`m happy for the people that saved their child just in time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, you`re so articulate and you`re a fifth grader. Only 11 years old. That`s extraordinary.

What did you learn from that? How will you perhaps conduct your life differently in terms of maybe -- I don`t know if you play video games or watch TV -- but did it make you feel like I don`t want to watch anything that has to do with violence? How did it change you, Lamena?

LAMENA: Well, yes, I don`t really like to watch that but, see, it`s not so much entertaining. It`s like something just to watch and it catches your eye, you know. So, like, it`s very sad and emotional. Like, it just made me cry when I heard that 20 beautiful, innocent kids had passed away Friday. That`s just outrageous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Lamena, I just want to thank you for calling. You are such an articulate young lady, and I appreciate your call.

I want to bring in Marianne Williamson -- we only have a couple of seconds -- but it starts with the kids, doesn`t it?

WILLIAMSON: It starts with the children, and we need to face as a society what these children -- the violent images that children are seeing on television, the fact that until a certain age -- you know, you were talking about this issue of these young men. Well, we need to take responsibility for the fact that these young people are seeing these violent images at a time when the brain cannot even make a distinction between what is real and what is it fiction.

So the fact we allow this on television, on media the way we do -- once again, it`s a multifaceted issue. Each and every one of us are having to look in our hearts and in our societies for ways that we either promote violence, not even meaning to, or peace. We can`t be neutral anymore.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side. Thank you, Marianne. More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This unspeakable tragedy has raised many important questions. Let`s hope that it all means that these beautiful children and their teachers did not die in vain.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: "Let the little children come to me," Jesus said, "and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."

Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison. God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory.