Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Connecticut Massacre Victims Remembered; Investigation Focusing on Why; Sandy Hook Students to Change School; The Mood Today In Newtown; Preventing Violence: What's Required?; Sandy Hook Elementary: Love And Loss
Aired December 17, 2012 - 16:12 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Visibly moved, the governor of this state of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, briefing reporters on what is going on.
He, like the president of the United States on Friday, choked back tears. This is a very sad day of raw emotion here in Newtown, Connecticut, as families begin burying the children killed in the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School right down the road from where we are right now.
We're watching all of this unfold, and the pain is clearly, clearly evident. While every day here in Newtown is sad, today, it's especially, it's especially sad. This afternoon, the first funerals were held for victims of the elementary school massacre.
Connecticut's governor, you just saw him here. He attended one of the services today, and he summed it up this way, and I'm quoting him -- "You see little coffins and your heart starts to ache."
As this town and the nation tries to come to grips with this huge, huge tragedy, the investigation is focusing in on the question why. Some of the answers may come from a computer found in the home where the gunman, Adam Lanza, lived with his mother.
CNN's national correspondent Deborah Feyerick is keeping track of the latest developments. She's joining us now live with more.
What are you learning, Deb?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we can tell you law enforcement sources are telling us that the computer is being analyzed. That it was found smashed inside the home, and investigators right now gathered up the piece, putting it together, trying to check all the forensics on it, who he may have been in contact with, e-mails, Web sites, anything that may give them some insight into what he was thinking in the days and the moments leading up to this crime.
We want to tell you that around 3:00, two unmarked police cars traveled up the long driveway and you can see, this is as close as we've gotten to the home since this all happened. Three people did enter that home. We believe they're investigators.
I can also tell you, wolf, something equally sad. And that is on our way here, we noticed there were marked squad cars in the driveways of some of the nearby homes. We've been told by Connecticut police that any home directly affected by this tragedy would have those cars in their driveways. So we're trying to confirm whether, in fact, the homes nearby the Lanzas may have been affected.
CNN has also confirmed that Nancy Lanza, the mom, who was shot and killed by her own son, shot in the head, by her own gun, that, in fact, she had confided to friends that this was their last winter here, that they were planning on moving, that she thought about possibly going to Washington state, possibly enrolling her son in a college there.
We've been able to trace a little bit of his academic history, Wolf. We can tell you, right now, there is no known connection to the Sandy Hook Elementary School. He first appears in public records as a freshman in high school back in 2007, and at that time, we spoke to a security director, who said that Adam Lanza immediately was identified as a child that needed to be watched. Not because he was a threat to other people, that he was so gawky and so awkward that security officials felt that others may be a threat to him. So not only did they keep an eye on him, but also he was, at that time, assigned a school psychologist.
He left that school in about 2008. He enrolled in classes at a nearby university, just about 15 minutes from here. He was taking computer science, macro economics, American history. This is a 16-year-old kid, mind you, he was taking those classes. In 2009, he just fell of the grid, never went back to the school.
He took up shooting as a hobby. The ATF telling us he was spotted at a local gun range. And even his mom saying to a friend that it was a hobby, that he enjoyed and he wanted to pursue -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick, thanks very much.
People across the nation have become fascinated by the stories of the 20 children, the six women, all educators, who died at the school, and they're reaching out to Newtown, sending gifts for the makeshift memorials that are springing up all over this town.
CNN's Brooke Baldwin is here. She caught up with a first responder, delivering Christmas wreaths from Oregon. And as Brooke discovered, has quite a story to tell us.
Brooke, the story is powerful. And it's a symptom, a symbol of what has going on here. You and I have walked around this town.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BLITZER: People just want to show some emotion.
BALDWIN: It's pretty incredible. You know, it's been difficult to talk to some of the first responders. You can see it in their eyes what they saw but they don't exactly want to share it to you and we're respecting that. But I just happened upon in the town square where I see box after box after box and I said to them, I said, excuse me, what are you delivering, hanging up, and it was a wreath, 26 wreaths from a perfect stranger, a wreath farm all the way across the country in Portland, Oregon. Here's what he shared with me.
BALDWIN: How many wreaths are there?
JEFFREY THOMAS, FIREFIGHTER: Twenty-six.
BALDWIN: So, where did -- did they get sent to the firehouse?
THOMAS: They were sent to the firehouse through UPS.
BALDWIN: Did you know they were coming?
THOMAS: No, no, they were -- the truck pulled up and she says, "I have a delivery of 26 wreaths." So, we unloaded them all and we figured we'd come up with a place to put them, try to keep them all together. Got shipped all the way from Oregon.
BALDWIN: How long have you been here?
THOMAS: Since Friday.
BALDWIN: Where are you based out of?
THOMAS: The Sandy Hook firehouse.
BALDWIN: How long have you been at the firehouse?
THOMAS: We're going home at night to sleep but --
BALDWIN: Years? How many years?
THOMAS: Since high school. I'm 38.
BALDWIN: Since high school and you're 38?
BALDWIN: Did you ever in a million years think you'd be experiencing this in your little town?
THOMAS: Nobody in this town would think that. Yes.
BALDWIN: Where were you when you heard?
THOMAS: Working. Working across town. We saw the helicopters.
BALDWIN: When you saw the helicopters, what did you think it was?
THOMAS: Not on a scale it was, one or two. We heard, you know, the principal at first and -- as time went on, we got the reports, and just didn't believe it, and we came down the road, it was just all surreal. Seeing all the cars, all this. It's tough. Yes.
BALDWIN: Where did you go once you saw the cars, straight to the firehouse?
THOMAS: Yes, straight to the firehouse. From there, we just --
BALDWIN: Help us around the world understand what you, as a first responder, are going through.
THOMAS: Sadness, anger, guilt in some aspects.
BALDWIN: Why guilt? What could you have done?
THOMAS: Exactly. We were having counseling, as a group.
BALDWIN: Just, finally, what do you make of the wreaths, just people you don't know sending you al these wreaths to put up in your town?
THOMAS: I mean, it's --
BALDWIN: What would you say to the people of Portland, Oregon?
THOMAS: Thank you. It makes us feel warm to know -- this is amazing that people that far away care about us.
BALDWIN: A lot of these people have been in that firehouse. It was the same firehouse in which a lot of those parents were waiting Friday morning to learn the fates of their sons and daughters, and to get out and hang these 26 wreaths in the middle of the town square and just those two simple words, "thank you," you can just tell it meant the world to these guys.
BLITZER: I just myself walked up to that firehouse and I saw those little trees, saw the toys, the flowers, everything. People are --
BALDWIN: The stuffed animals --
BLITZER: I walked in, I spent some time, a little time with some of the first responders there who were -- we're going to show it to our viewers later. But, you know, they all said the same thing they said to you. They never expected that they would be -- and that's sort of the command center. It's a crime scene because that firehouse is right down the street from the elementary school.
BALDWIN: From elementary school.
BLITZER: And that's where they're reviewing everything, they're checking everything, and I was going to meet with one of the lead commanders over there, but they were busy returning personal effects of some of those who were killed to their parents and just, you know?
BALDWIN: It's a tough scene at the firehouse.
BLITZER: Very tough. BALDWIN: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: We never expected to be covering something like this either.
BALDWIN: I never want to cover something like this again.
BLITZER: Yes, neither do I.
Students at the Sandy Hook Elementary School won't be returning to their school. Stand by. We have the latest on the plans for all the survivors, they're changing schools.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: All right.
Among the victims, James Mattioli. He always wanted to wear shorts in any weather. He loved to swim and he was always hungry for his dad's omelets and his mom's French toast.
Meetings are under way to prepare for the reopening of schools here in Newtown. However, officials say the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School are dismissed until further notice.
You had a chance, Kate Bolduan, to meet with some folks here who are planning to deal with this issue. It's a sensitive issue. Where are these kids going to go to school?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a sensitive issue and it's a massive undertaking. I mean, obviously, after the horror of Friday, no one is ready to send children, students, back into Sandy Hook Elementary.
But at the same time, so many folks are looking for a sense of normalcy. That's what I'm hearing over and other again, getting the children back on a path to healing. That's where the city of Monroe stepped in.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): Truck loads filled with everything from desks to bulletin boards leaving Sandy Hook Elementary, heading here to the neighboring town of Monroe.
(on camera): Book cases that's --
STEVE VAVREK, MONROE, CONN. FIRST SELECTMAN: That's the students' materials, the backpacks that they left. When the children come in, whenever the school is started, they walk into a classroom that is as close as possible as their classroom that they left.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): Steve Vavrek is the town's chief executive. He said as soon as he heard about the horror at Sandy Hook, he offered up Chalk Hill Middle School. It's empty because it closed recently. Vavrek met with some of the students and teachers at Sunday's vigil.
VAVREK: Most of them were very thankful they had a chance to go back to work. The children and the teachers were -- it was emotional.
BOLDUAN: All day, contractors from around the region donated their time to transform this former middle school into an elementary school.
JIM AGOSTINE, SUPERINTENDENT, MONROE PUBLIC SCHOOL: Just to give you a sense. The toilets all have to be replaced to a smaller size. You know, things have to be made accessible. Towel dispensers, things like that, lowered.
BOLDUAN: Jim Agostine is Monroe's school superintendent.
(on camera): Why is it so important to get the students of Sandy Hook into a building like Chalk Hill and back in their classroom?
AGOSTINE: Well, that's exactly the sense of normalcy that they need to begin the healing process and to feel safe and protected and to get back into a routine.
BOLDUAN (voice-over): One change every parent will notice at schools across the area after Sandy Hook, police patrol.
(on camera): Is that a protective measure? Is that the new normal? Or is that more a way to help families and students alleviate some anxiety as they return to class?
AGOSTINE: All of the above. All of the above. Unfortunately, it may be the new normal. It may be the way we have to take course, take action in the future.
BOLDUAN: Now, there's no official start date for the students to begin back -- well, to begin in their new school at Chalk Hill Middle School, in that building. But officials in that town say the building at least could be ready as early as tomorrow, which is an amazing thing to think about. They're really completely transforming this building in just a matter of days.
But when they want to bring the students back into school, that's completely up to the Newtown school officials. And there's no word yet if they want to start back.
BLITZER: There were almost 600 kids in that kindergarten through fourth grade, the elementary school here that's obviously now a crime scene.
BOLDUAN: That's now a crime scene but it's amazing how they're doing everything they can. You can see in those truck loads of things. They're trying to replicate almost down to the desk and the chair and the picture on the wall, each room, as much as they can, in order to try to give them a sense of normalcy, of safety, of something that they're familiar with, to try to get them on the path to healing. But this Friday is supposed to be the last day before holiday break for many -- for I think every school in the area. So, it's up to, if they want to get them back for a couple days or they want to get them after the holiday.
BLITZER: They got to get into a routine too. I guess it's good they're going to have the Christmas break coming up so they won't -- that will be normal for them to just spend some time with their families.
BOLDUAN: Exactly. With their family, which we know is important.
BLITZER: Kate is going to be with us throughout all of our coverage here.
So, can America prevent tragedies like Newtown from happening again? What needs to change? We're going to take a closer look at what parents and communities can do.
BLITZER: Right here in Newtown, all these makeshift memorials are springing up. They are springing up all over the place. CNN's Don Lemon is right in the middle of all of this.
Don, walk us through. Explain to our viewers what you're seeing and what's going on because this is such a powerful and emotional part of this story.
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Powerful is right, heart warming, right. Wolf, flowers here, teddy bears, candles, seems to be the theme here. As you and I were talking yesterday, when I arrived here on Saturday, it was just candles here, just a small number of candles.
And now this has grown exponentially. This appears to have become the heart of this Newtown community, people gathering here all day and all night for 24 hours, 24 hours a day they've been doing this.
Want to walk over here and show you some of the things they're putting up. You see this Origami over here. Some people call them Japanese birds they put up for blessings for everyone involved.
I want to go over here and talk with Emily and Paulina and Lauren. You guys have been out here. I saw you hugging and crying. You've been here for a while.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been here for about I don't know maybe half an hour now.
LEMON: Why did you want to come out?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lived in Newtown my whole life. I used to go to Sandy Hook until I was 7. You could walk anywhere. Feel OK, such a great community. We're just -- I'm just proud of this town, I really am. All the support everyone's giving us, I want everyone to know how important it is, we really appreciate it. LEMON: You've been very emotional as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Same thing, I've lived here my entire life. My karate school's right around the corner. It's my second home. I look on TV like all this stuff and I -- it's not my home anymore, like, it's not the same.
LEMON: Wolf, people are saying they don't want to -- thank you, ladies, thank you. We're thinking about you. They don't want this to be what their town is remembered for. But, again, if you look at this, it's even going further down the street.
At first, it was just in the middle of the square where they have the Christmas tree and now it is -- there are teddy bears upon teddy bears, flowers upon flowers, and layers upon layers of things that people are dropping off and notes saying "pray for the people of Newtown, don't give up hope," and you can see it here.
This is where people come out and they pour their love and their words. We've even seen people praying openly out here and embracing and people dropping off flowers all day. Not just single flowers, Wolf.
There are people who are -- expensive arrangements they've brought here, poinsettias, balloons. Really just coming out to share that they're thinking and what they're feeling.
As we have been seeing the whole time, to a person, they say, I don't want to feel helpless. I want to come out and I want to support my community.
BLITZER: Yes, one of the saddest things is to see the little notes that little children leave for the 20 young kids, 6-year-olds and 7- year-olds who were killed Friday morning here at the elementary school.
You really can't go much anywhere in this town right now without seeing these little memorials springing up. People are driving from all over the state, from all over the country, with little gifts, little mementos, because they want to be part of this, they want to remember what happened.
Hopefully, we won't see this again. Don, we'll come back to you soon. President Obama calls for a united effort to stop the violence. We'll talk with CNN's Dr. Drew Pinsky about what it might take. Stay with us.
BLIZTER: Chase Kowalski completed his first little kid's mini triathlon. He was a cub scout who played baseball, enjoyed the kids workshop at the Home Depot as well, 7 years old.
Joining us now, CNN's Dr. Drew Pinsky, he has his own show in our sister network, HLN. He is also an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry. Dr. Drew, thanks so much. How important is it first of all for these other kids, nearly 600 of them, to get back into a regular school routine?
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW": It's very important, Wolf, that these parents tell their kids that they're going to be safe and they need to get back to their lives. Important to give sorrow and trauma words, allow the kids to talk about these things and make sense of them.
It's very important for all of us, the head of every household, the head of either community, to begin talking about healing, returning to a normal life, and an understanding that although we will not forget this, we're going to be OK. We are resilient and we're not going to let this happen to our kids again.
BLITZER: I know you heard the president last night. You've heard a lot of other politicians speaking out right now. You've got some strong views. What do we need to do now as a country to try to prevent these kind tragedies?
PINSKY: Wolf, we're looking for leadership. One thing we do in the psychiatric hospital when we're dealing with very disturbed people is we form a team that is a healthy family. We model a healthy family. And we have a unified front so there's no splitting of that front.
And I call upon our leaders at community, at state, and at federal level, to model a healthy family. Divisiveness and splitting is what causes the most vulnerable amongst us to feel like acting out. It creates a vulnerability to these kinds of things.
Two other things I would say. One is physicians must be able to do their job. If they have an instinct that somebody's in trouble, they must be able to act on that instinct despite the concern for somebody's right. The instinct is to protect the individual and the community for their own good.
Doctors must be able to do their job. Number two, because we have such woeful mental health services, law enforcement has become the mental health services of last resort. We must call upon them.
I'm not asking we flood the law enforcement system. But I cannot tell you, Wolf, how often I'm telling parents and family members to just call law enforcement because it's all we got and you have to be willing to do that or something horrible like this will happen again.
BLITZER: Because we really do keep mental health issues at a different level than physical ailments out there --
BLITZER: It's part of the problem here, isn't it? We've got to do a lot more --
BLITZER: -- to educate people about mental health. PINSKY: Absolutely. We have to be able to identify the problems and then doctors -- I was talking to Dr. Oz this morning, saying, look, you, in the middle of an operation, if something goes wrong, could improvise and use your judgment. In mental health, we can't do that.
All kinds of things get in the way of physicians doing their job. By the same token, because we're so underserved in mental health, we got nothing much else at our disposal but law enforcement. Of course, family and friends and communities don't like to do that, but they're there to help.
Physicians are there to help. Law enforcement is there to help. But beyond that, I really strongly call upon our leaders to, A, let our children know today that they're going to be fine, and, B, we're going to be a healthy family.
That we are committed to and we're not going to see all these divisiveness and envy and hatred, which is really -- alongside of me we're looking at love and grace, which is the response to the envy and hatred that resulted in the evil that has happened in that poor town.
BLITZER: Where do you come down, Dr. Drew, on the issue of violent video games, violent films and little boys?
PINSKY: Well, I must tell you, Wolf, I've got very strong feelings about this. Twofold, one is we know that it's not a good thing. There's no doubt about it not being good for kids, particularly vulnerable kids.
Remember, here, we have a young man who went out and was shooting guns so there -- he's gone to the next level with the -- you know, from a toy gun or a video game to shooting guns. But of graver concern, this has not been studied yet, is that people today feel entitled to act out on real people in social media.
The kind of venom and hatred that is expressed towards actual people who receive it and read it and the entitlement young people had to act that out in social media. I think that is where the disassociation comes and the disconnect that allows people to lose empathy that can result in something horrible like this.
BLITZER: Why is it always -- it seems to be almost always young men or boys who are involved in these kinds of mass murders as opposed to girls or young women.
PINSKY: Yes. Well, the reason is that's men, number one, I mean, that is simply the fact, men are more likely to act out violently, 18 to 25 is the window when major mental illness emerges.
Things like schizophrenia, bipolar mania, more serious manifestations of personality disorders and aggression. That's the window when this comes on. Those kids who have intervention during that window are less likely to have the chronic long-term problems.
But if you don't intervene then, you're likely to have someone who progresses and worsens and who has a lifetime of problems. BLITZER: Lots of study. We need action soon. Otherwise these --
PINSKY: None of us -- we all have got to be a part of the solution today, today, today, we've got to start today, now, that's it.
BLITZER: Dr. Drew, thanks very much. This important note to our viewers, you can see "DR. DREW ON CALL" weeknights at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on our sister network HLN.
Remembering Sandy Hook Elementary School as a place of love and now loss, a long time member of that community shares her memories of the victims she knew well.
BLITZER: This afternoon, the first of so many funerals to come for the Newtown victims, 6-year-olds Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto were laid to rest today. Joining us now is Lillian Bittman. She is a Newtown parent, the former chair of the Newtown's Board of Education.
This must be so difficult and so painful for you. You knew some of these people who were killed. So what was it like?
LILLIAN BITTMAN, FORMER CHAIRWOMAN, NEWTOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION: Going through this experience you mean? It's been horrific. From the moment we all heard the news it was devastating to know that someone had come into the school with a gun.
That alone was horrible enough because it's a place of peace and joy. But now as we go forward and we've learned the names and now we're going through the grueling process of the funerals, it's very, very, very hard. Everyone uses the word "Hollow." That's where we're at now.
BLITZER: I certainly want to respect the privacy of the parents and families of the two little boys who were buried today. You can't imagine -- you were there, I don't know if you want it to even tell us what was going on.
BITTMAN: I don't. I don't want to say which one I went to either.
BLITZER: You don't have to obviously.
BITTMAN: But I will say that the grief was overwhelming in the parking lot afterwards from those of us who haven't seen each other yet during this. So it's everything you can imagine plus some. It's worse.
BLITZER: How do we move forward? How does this community move forward because that's one of your responsibilities?
BITTMAN: Yes. I feel like I said before that we really need to lead with love. And that's what I'm seeing our community do. We're putting our arms around people. But there's also the responsibility that as we start this discussion about what are we going to do next. And I'm seeing some of this online where people are already started to yell at each other. And I think it's important if we're going to have these broader discussions on all the issues, not just gun control, mental health, all the other issues, school safety, then we can't yell at each other. That's all we've been doing in this country, it's so divisive.
BLITZER: How do we get over that? People are so passionate on an issue like gun control.
BITTMAN: First, we've got to learn how to have discourse and put the passion away, and I would suggest that one of the ways we do that, as we have these discussions, I want you to imagine that you're talking to one of these 6-year-olds.
If that 6-year-old was in the room with you, would you speak like that? Imagine if you're a political person, if that -- those teachers had the courage to do what they did, and Vickie Soto had the courage, and Dawn Hocksprung, then let's have our politicians have the courage to talk civilly to each other and figure these issues out. We cannot have any more 6-year-olds and 7-year-olds die in their classrooms.
BLITZER: Do we need greater security at elementary, middle, high schools here in Connecticut, here in the United States?
BITTMAN: I think that's a huge part of the discussion. And I don't know if it's security or perhaps it's our building materials, the glass was easily, you know, shot through. Who would have ever thought that? I don't know --
BLITZER: Because he forced his way into that school.
BITTMAN: He did, from what I understand, he shot the windows out. You know, we had prepared for everything except that. I'm sure most schools in the country haven't considered that option. Like in Oklahoma, the bombing, once that happened, federal buildings had big things in front of them.
I don't want schools to be a fortress, I really don't, but bulletproof glass, and then you get into money, so these are discussions. There's no one answer. It's a multilayered answer. I think a lot of it in our country today is civil discourse.
So I would beg everyone, please, let's try to have a civil discourse. When you feel because you're anonymous on the keyboard you want to take the guy out you don't agree with, try to have these angels' faces in their mind because you're not helping them and you're not helping all the children in the United States.
It's what I heard at the vigil and from what I heard from President Obama and what I heard at the services today. Everyone wants this. Now we have to execute on it.
BLITZER: Tell us about this ribbon.
BITTMAN: This ribbon comes from our local grocery store. They're making them in the floral department and handing them out to anyone who wants it. The colors represent Sandy Hook school. These were our school colors -- are our school colors.
BLITZER: I've seen other little ribbons that are similar that have a little angel.
BITTMAN: I know I want one of those.
BLITZER: The community, you know, you walk around, you just see these little memorials that are springing up and you see these notes from other little kids, writing messages, writing notes. Some the -- two the boys were buried today. Who could have thought that we would be living through something like this?
BITTMAN: There's a memorial on the entrance coming into town at the sign there. There's memorials at another school that has nothing to do with this. It's incredible, the outpouring, it really is.
I'm originally from the Midwest and the people in my hometown of Kansas City, the outpouring is incredible, really is incredible and I can't tell you how touching that is to know that people that I've known my whole life that are not just in Kansas City anymore.
I have a friend in Germany and all over the world, and they're all responding to this. That's why I think it's important that we get this message out and let's all join hands and let's lead with love in everything we do. Not just getting through this tragedy, but rebuilding what we want this country to do for our children.
BLITZER: How are these parents, though, going to -- I can only imagine, you know, you were there at the funeral, how could these parents move forward now, knowing what has just happened Friday morning?
BITTMAN: That's a long journey. I have a little bit of experience personally with that. Not like this but a little bit and it's a hollowness. It's weak knees. It's all the horrible things everyone imagines.
All you can do is take it a day at a time and depend on everybody you love and I would tell our community that two weeks is about the time that the family goes away, and that's the important time for friends to rush in. Because then all the family members are out of town. But it's going to take a lot of love and support. It really is.
BLITZER: It's a mourning process.
BITTMAN: It's awful.
BLITZER: I can only, you know, I have no idea but it's -- eye just seen a little bit of it and it's normally parents bury -- children bury their parents. Parents shouldn't be burying their kids, 6-year- old and 7-year-old little kids --
BITTMAN: No, that's the horror of this, the real horror. And the fact that teachers were protecting people. That Dawn tried to stop him and, you know, I heard on another interview --
BLITZER: She was the principal of the school.
BITTMAN: I'm sorry, the principal, yes. I heard someone said if she had had a gun locked in her office, she could have taken him on. Excuse me, she was in another meeting, not her office. To get to her office, she would have had to have gone through the gunman.
I think we need to look at what these teachers did and not just the ones who passed away, but that whole school, I know all those teachers and what they did to protect their children and to keep them safe was incredible.
BLITZER: Lillian, thanks for what you did. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
BITTMAN: Lead with love, please.
BLITZER: Our viewers here in the United States and around the world, the whole world is watch what's going on. Maybe we'll learn some lessons. Maybe down the road we can prevent these tragedies from happening. Lillian, thanks very much.
While emotions here in Newtown are too raw to begin debating ways to stop gun violence, the talk certainly already starting back in Washington. We'll have the latest from the White House right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not alone in your grief.
That our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We've pulled our children tight. And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide it. Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)