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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, December 17th, 2012

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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
December 17, 2012

Guests: Carolyn McCarthy, Anna Maloney, Brendan Rickert, John Engel, Colin Goddard, Stephen Barton

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: On a typical day in America, 33 people are
murdered with guns. On a typical day in Connecticut, no one is murdered
with guns. In a typical year here in Newtown, Connecticut, no one is
murdered with a gun.

But Newtown has now proved to anybody who didn`t already know it that
the worst American way of death, mass murder, really can happen anywhere.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Reality set in a bit today in
Newtown, Connecticut, a town that laid two 6-year-old boys to rest.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Funerals were held for Jack Pinto and Noah
Pozner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They began at 1:00 today.

HALL: Their services planned for Tuesday.

GOV. DAN MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: You try to feel their pain, but you
can`t. You try to find some words that you hope will be adequate, knowing
that they`ll be inadequate.

LT. PAUL VANCE, CONNECTICUT STATE POLICE: We have begun processing
the evidence, analyzing the evidence.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Sandy Hook elementary could be a crime
scene for months.

VANCE: We`ve seized it under search warrants, and we`re going to hold
those locations until we`ve completed our work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: School districts across the country have been
boosting security.

VANCE: We`re going to do our best to secure security statewide.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Caring for our
children, it`s our first job. If we don`t get that right, we don`t get
anything right. That`s how as a society we will be judged.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: In Washington today, the United States Senate observed a
moment of silence for the 20 children and six adults who were murdered here
in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I now ask that the United
States Senate observe a moment of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook
Elementary School tragedy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But United States senators are not being silent now about
gun control. They are already taking up the challenge President Obama
issued when he spoke to the grieving Newtown community here last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex and that
is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world
or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can`t
be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this.

In the coming weeks, I`ll use whatever power this office holds to
engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement to mental health
professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing
more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can`t accept
events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we`re
powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: California Senator Dianne Feinstein who wrote the assault
weapons ban which was signed by President Clinton in his first term and
expired under President Bush announced on "Meet the Press" yesterday that
she will introduce a new version of that bill on day one of the new
Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: It`s a first day bill I`m
going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill will be introduced in
the House, a bill to ban assault weapons. It will ban the sale, the
transfer, the importation, and the possession not retroactively, but
prospectively, and it will ban the same for big clips, drums, or strips of
more than 10 bullets. So there will be a bill --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, Senator Feinstein told Andrea Mitchell that in
1993, when she introduced her bill, the politics were difficult then, and
everyone thought passing that bill was impossible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FEINSTEIN: I came here. We set about writing a bill. I talked to
Senator Biden about it. He was then-chairman of the Judiciary Committee,
and he laughed at me, and he said, Dianne, you`re new here. Wait until the
gunners get hold of you. I said, Joe, I`m going to do this as an amendment
on your crime bill.

I did. It wasn`t -- there was no cloture. It was debated. There was
a motion to table. We won the motion to table.

Chuck Schumer did the bill in the House. Both bills went through un-
amended were signed by President Clinton who mobilize people in the House,
was very helpful and became the law for ten years.

This can be done. I`ve done it. I know it can be done, and I`m going
to do my level best to get it done again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Senator Feinstein might now be able to find support even
from gun rights Democrats such as Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia who
said this on "MORNING JOE."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I`m a proud NRA member and
always have been. But we need to sit down and move this dialogue to a
sensible, reasonable approach. When you look at it, Dianne saying that
basically assault weapons -- I don`t know anyone in the sporting or hunting
arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don`t know anybody that needs
30 rounds in a clip to go hunting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Polls conducted over the weekend for "The Washington
Post"/ABC News found that 54 percent of the public support stricter gun
control laws now, 43 percent oppose it; 52 percent support banning
semiautomatic weapons, which automatically reload every time a trigger is
pulled, 44 percent oppose that. And 59 percent support banning high
capacity ammunition clips, meaning those containing more than 10 bullets.
Only 38 percent oppose that.

Three weeks after Dianne Feinstein surprised the Senate in 1993 by
passing her amendment to ban assault weapons, Dennis McCarthy was shot and
killed on a Long Island railroad commuter train when a mass murderer opened
fire on that train. Six were killed, 19 were wounded, including Dennis
McCarthy`s son, Kevin.

Carolyn McCarthy buried her husband, Dennis, held her family close
through the grieving, and then decided to run for Congress with one issue
in mind, gun control.

Carolyn McCarthy was elected to Congress in 1996 and has been in the
House of Representatives most consistent supporter of gun control since she
first took her oath of office.

Joining me now is New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. Also
joining me MSNBC`s Chris Jansing, who has been here in Newtown,
Connecticut, covering the story since the day of the shooting.

Congresswoman McCarthy, this kind of incident I know, and I`ve heard
you say on other shows, takes you back to that experience, getting the call
about what happened on the Long Island railroad.

Tell us what it`s like and how that was actually able to drive you to
what has become your new career and this cause.

REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY (D), NEW YORK: Well, going back all those years
ago, it was actually when my son -- he had been in the hospital ICU. They
didn`t expect him to live for quite a few months, but it was during rehab
when he was learning how to speak again that he finally asked the question,
what happened? How could this happen here in America? How could it happen
on Long Island?

I didn`t have the answers, but I told him I would find out those
answers, and the more I certainly looked into it, I decided that I was
going to become an activist and try to save any family from going through
what we went through. I became involved with Chuck Schumer back then. I
became involved with Dianne Feinstein then, and I came down here, and I
lobbied the members of Congress. I lobbied the New York delegation.

I went from person to person begging them that this was the right
thing to do. And believe me, it was not easy because my member of Congress
was totally against me, and it was that -- during that time that I decided
that I would run against him. The bill was passed, and it was a lot of
hard work.

The same as it will be this time around, but like Dianne and Senator
Dianne Feinstein, I feel that this time it`s different. It`s different
from all the times that, you know, you and I, Lawrence, have talked about
too many times these killings in Aurora, Gabby Giffords. It`s time. The
American people are fed up with these mass killings.

CHRIS JANSING, HOST, MSNBC`S "JANSING & CO.": Congresswoman, I have
to say that I have covered far too many mass shootings going back to
Columbine, and we always talk about how things have to change, and you say
this time it`s different. And I can tell you that the heart-wrenching
scenes that all of us have seen here and on television are in many ways
different because of the young children, the 6 and 7-year-olds.

But do you think that your window of opportunity for change is finite,
because people do move on? And if so, how do you capitalize on it?

MCCARTHY: Well, it`s not a matter of -- you know, people go back to
their normal day to day living. That`s absolutely true. It`s going to be
up to us and it`s going to be up to the grassroots and it`s going to be the
organizations across the country that are going to be working with us to
make sure that when the bill is introduced and as we go forward, we get
them involved.

I`m hoping that the media down the road will always be concentrating
on this. Remember, we have the anniversary of our colleague Gabby Giffords
getting shot almost under the same circumstances.

There`s a difference, though. The nation did mourn during all these
shootings. What I`m feeling now and what people are telling me is the
anger, the pure anger that someone could be able to use these kind of --
this kind of gun, large capacity clips and take down all these children.

That is what most of -- listen, there are many things that join us
together. You know, even here in Congress. I will reach out to my
Republican friends and say, listen, this is a time to stand up. This is a
time where we have to do the right thing, and for the good of the country
and certainly for the good of the nation, for our children, they should not
be afraid to go to school. No one should be afraid to go to the movies.
Nobody should be afraid to go anywhere without the thought of possibly
being gunned down by these large amounts of guns.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman McCarthy, I agree with you that this does
feel different, and it has not felt this way to me before. If I had been
doing this program on Friday night, I think I would have said then I don`t
expect anything to change.

But based on what I have been hearing since Friday and through today,
with Senator Joe Manchin, with others coming out and obviously being
willing to move in some direction, it does seem like this is a new moment.

What strikes me as so strange is why did it take this much to move
people? Why wasn`t your husband`s murder on the Long Island railroad muff
to prove to anyone that this could happen anywhere?

MCCARTHY: Well, I think that, you know, people thought that this
wasn`t something that happened every day.

And to be very honest with you, because they were able to pass the
assault weapons bill and the crime bill and ban the large capacity clips,
we didn`t see them on the market. They slowly dried up. The assault
weapons became too expensive. You couldn`t get the large capacity clips.

When the bill expired in 2004, that`s when we saw again all these guns
coming back on to the streets -- the large capacity clips, you could buy
them anywhere. And that`s the difference.

And it`s also, I believe, the close proximity to all these killings.
It doesn`t seem to be once a year, once every two years. We are getting
closer and closer where you have the copycats.

Obviously, even those people that are deranged know it`s very easy to
get a gun, and they can certainly get the large capacity clips. So, it`s
easier for them to do their mass killing. That`s why we need to get these
type of guns and the large capacity clips off.

There`s something else too. You know, it is the holidays, and they
know those with families, those with children on how lucky they are that
their child is going to be around them. They can feel the pain of those
parents knowing that come Christmas morning, it`s not going to be a time of
joy. This is going to take certainly the people, the parents, the teachers
an awful long time, an awful long time to get over this, but I do believe
the American people will be with us this time.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, thank you for joining us
tonight, and thank you for your leadership on this issue.

MCCARTHY: Thank you very much.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, remembering those who were lost. Two former
students who credit principal Dawn Hochsprung with their success and a
cousin of 6-year-old Olivia Engel will join me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Twenty-six funerals. That`s when this little town of
Newtown, Connecticut, faces over the next week.

Coming up, two former students of the principal who lost her life
inside that school trying to save her students. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The first two funerals for the 20 children murdered here
in Friday`s massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, were held today.

A funeral was held in Newtown for Jack Pinto. Jack was a 6-year-old.
Mourners say he was buried wearing the jersey of the football player he
idolized, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. Cruz spoke to the
Pinto family on Saturday and played Sunday`s game with the words "Jack
Pinto, my hero," written on his cleats.

A funeral was also held today in Fairfield, Connecticut, for Noah
Pozner. Noah was actually the youngest victim. He just turned 6 last
month.

Noah`s twin sister, Arielle, was his best friend. She was in another
classroom and was not injured.

Noah`s mother said in her eulogy today, "I will miss your perpetual
smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes."

Today, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police said that two
adults whose names they did not release were wounded and survived the
shooting. The police also revealed that they had no previous contact or
concern with the shooter prior to Friday`s massacre. The shooter used a
Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle with numerous magazines, with 30 rounds per
magazine, high capacity magazines, and had used a magazine with 100-round
capacity.

The shooter also had two semiautomatic pistols. He used one of those
pistols to kill himself when police arrived on the scene. The shooter also
had a shotgun in his vehicle parked outside the school.

Federal agents tell "The Associated Press" today that the shooter and
his mother each fired guns at shooting ranges over the past few years.
They also visited ranges together.

The chief medical examiner says that the shooter`s mother died from
multiple gunshot wounds to her head.

Also among the dead is Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung.
According to "The Associated Press" the principal was killed while lunging
at the gunman as she tried to overtake him.

A board of education chairwoman says administrators were coming out of
a meeting when the gunman forced his way into the school and ran toward
him.

Joining me now Brendan Rickert and Anna Maloney, both former students
of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung.

Anna, when -- how long ago was she your teacher?

ANNA MALONEY, FORMER STUDENT OF NEWTOWN PRINCIPAL: About 12 years
ago.

O`DONNELL: In elementary school?

MALONEY: Middle school.

O`DONNELL: Middle school. What grade?

MALONEY: She wasn`t a teacher at the time. She was actually our vice
principal.

O`DONNELL: Oh, OK. Vice principal.

What did she mean to you in your education at that school?

MALONEY: I think that most of us all saw her as a team, Ms.
Hochsprung, because we were part of a program that was called the Summit
Program, and we worked together, and she would check in on her status on a
daily basis and just offer positive reinforcement.

O`DONNELL: How did you find out what happened to her?

MALONEY: I work at the Head Start program in Danbury, and so, all day
we were taking in information and figuring out lockdown. Rumors were
coming in. Some were true. Some proved not. And the name the principal,
which her -- came through, and it didn`t come to me until I went home, and
my mom called.

O`DONNELL: So you found out at home?

MALONEY: Then I knew who the principal was. That just changed the
whole day.

O`DONNELL: What were your thoughts when you discovered that that`s
who had been killed?

MALONEY: I`m glad I knew her. I`m glad she partook in my life. I`m
sad that I didn`t reach out to her this summer the way I had planned to,
but more so I couldn`t imagine Mr. Hochsprung without her because they
were, I don`t know, just two peas in a pod.

O`DONNELL: He is a teacher himself?

MALONEY: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Brendan, when did you get the news? When did you find
out?

BRENDAN RICKERT, FMR. STUDENT OF NEWTOWN PRINCIPAL: I was on the
train to New York City at that point, and I was trying to check in through
social media, and I found through one of my friends, "Rest in peace, Mrs.
Hochsprung" -- Lafferty as we knew her when we were in middle school before
she was married. But that`s when I found out that she was one of the
victims of the tragedy.

O`DONNELL: And a vice principal in a middle school might not be the
most connected to students. What was your connection to her?

RICKERT: Yes. At first I was scared of her because she was
intimidating.

O`DONNELL: Uh-huh. She was a real authority figure?

RICKERT: Yes, she was, especially for someone so young. But when I
got to know her and her husband, they were loving. They just cared about
each and every student.

For me, they pushed me to continue to work hard and focus on my
studies and, you know, I think they really helped get me focused. And for
the next, you know, four years in high school and four years in college and
two years in grad school after that.

O`DONNELL: Where do you think your education would have gone without
her influence?

RICKERT: Well, it`s tough to say because I had so many great teachers
as well throughout the whole process in the public schools, but Ms.
Hochsprung and Mr. Hochsprung, I think, really motivated me exceptionally
well to take advantage of those great teachers that came down the line
after them. So maybe I wouldn`t have gotten a graduate degree. Maybe I
wouldn`t have done as well in high school or whatever it would have been,
but I know they greatly influenced my life, both of them.

O`DONNELL: What did you feel when you got the word that she was
murdered in this most horrific and unimaginable way?

RICKERT: Yes. I think the first thing that Anna said was I felt
awful for Mr. Hochsprung because, you know, that`s someone he connected
with, and you could just tell that they just loved each other
wholeheartedly, and I felt awful for him.

And then I didn`t realize she had kids of her own. I learned about a
couple of days later I felt awful for them, too, because, you know, she was
obviously a teacher to us, but she was a mom at home and a wife at home.
And that`s above all first and foremost for her responsibilities.

O`DONNELL: Anna, what`s the way you would like us all to think of
her, and what`s the way you`ll always remember her?

MALONEY: Energy.

O`DONNELL: Energy?

MALONEY: She just walked into a room, and everyone smiled. Like, she
just -- it was a feeling, like, when I thought of her. Just energy.

O`DONNELL: Anna, Brendan, thank you very much for joining me here
tonight.

RICKERT: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We appreciate it. Thank you.

RICKERT: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, we`ll have two survivors of mass shootings who
are now determined to change gun laws.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Twenty children`s names read by the president, 20
children`s names and names of six adults. Up next, the story of one of the
children lost on Friday. Olivia Engel`s cousin will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was President Obama last night as he read the names
of the 20 children murdered here in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday. One
of them was Olivia Rose Engel. The six-year-old was supposed to make a
gingerbread house and play an angel in a nativity play this past weekend.
In a statement, Olivia`s family said, "Olivia Rose Engel loved school and
she always did very well in math and reading. She was insightful for her
age and had a great sense of humor. She laughed a lot -- including the
people around her. She was very creative and was always drawing and
designing things.

"She was a tennis player, who took art classes. She loved swimming
and her ballet and hip-hop dance lessons. Olivia was involved with her
Daisy Girl Scouts, enjoyed playing soccer, and expressed passion in musical
theater. She was a great big sister, who was always very patient with her
three-year-old brother, Braden.

"Her favorite colors were purple and pink. Her favorite stuffed
animal was a lamb. She was involved in her parish`s CCD program and was
learning her Rosary. Olivia always led grace at the dinner table each
night. She was a grateful child who was always appreciative and never
greedy."

Her father said, "she was a six-year-old who had a lot to look forward
to."

Joining me now Olivia`s cousin, John Engel. John, how can you and the
family deal with what`s happened? I know this is the question everyone is
asking you, but it is completely mysterious to us who have never
experienced the loss of a six-year-old like this.

JOHN ENGEL, COUSIN OF OLIVIA ROSE ENGEL: It`s completely mysterious
to us. Thank you for reading that. That`s the first thing the parents
said, is we want Olivia to be remembered. We talked about it today, and
they said we`re so gratified to see the outpouring of support on Facebook,
people writing in. And they`re saying not your daughter, but they`re
saying we`ve seen Olivia`s pictures, and we know who she is, and I have a
daughter like that. And that`s been hugely gratifying for all of us.

O`DONNELL: I was reading those things about her. I was just thinking
of my daughter at six, with all pretty much exactly the same set of
interests. And there`s such a -- there`s such an easy connection, I think,
that we all have to this tragedy. We can feel it very personally, very
closely. Her funeral is on Friday this week?

ENGEL: Yes, it is.

O`DONNELL: And what -- what do you see after that? How do you as a
family group -- have you figured out any kind of way of planning what
you`ll do together to get through this?

ENGEL: This is a family of tremendous faith. And this is the
Christmas season. And while it`s devastating during the Christmas season,
we have to -- the family is remembering. We have to remember that this is
a season of the holy family. And in many respects, this is a holy family.
This is a family that was so strong, is so strong, they -- and through
their faith and through each other and through the support of their friends
and family, they will get through this, and they will be stronger for it.
I`m confident.

O`DONNELL: John, how did you hear about what had happened?

ENGEL: I found out through the family.

O`DONNELL: On Friday?

ENGEL: On Friday. Olivia`s mother found out early and was there
early in the morning, possibly before 10:00. She`s a schoolteacher, not at
that school. But she`s a schoolteacher. She`s connected with other
teachers in school. She`s involved in the community. She was there early.

They waited all day in the fire house with the other -- with their
best friends, and they were there.

O`DONNELL: She knew all day that she wasn`t going to see her daughter
again. Did she know early on about that?

ENGEL: They held out hope. They held out hope until midnight, Friday
midnight.

O`DONNELL: Because there could always be a mistake. It could be a
wrong identification or something like that.

And what -- are there ways that you think we can somehow help beyond
having brought attention to what`s happened here?

ENGEL: That`s an interesting question. We outside of this want to do
so much. The friends put this Facebook page up as a way we can
participate.

O`DONNELL: What`s is the Facebook page?

O`DONNELL: Facebook.com/FriendsOfTheEngelFamilyFund. And they put up
this page. And they said tell us your stories about Olivia, share. Then
they said if you want to contribute, contribute. We ask the parents, are
you OK with this, and they said just pray for us. Just pray for us.
That`s all we ask.

The friends want to do so much more, and I applaud that. I think that
the family isn`t focused on what they need. And so their friends and their
family are going to rally.

And that`s true throughout this community. It`s gratifying to see the
outpouring of support from the nation, from the world, from Brazil, Aruba,
Finland coming in and supporting this community. This community will
survive, stronger for it.

O`DONNELL: John, thank you very much for coming in. I really
appreciate this.

ENGEL: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, the people who want new gun control laws in this country
are the ones who have survived mass shootings themselves. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: This is usually where we squeeze in a little something
about what`s coming up in the show. But I want to get John Engel, who is
the cousin of Olivia Engel, who was killed on Friday, a chance to just say
one more thing in this amount of time that we have here.

John?.

ENGEL: What are you watching us for? Put down the remote and go and
kiss your six-year-old. And if your child is 20, call them and tell them
you love them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: -- Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison. God has
called them all home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was President Obama concluding his reading of the
names of the 20 children murdered here in Newtown, Connecticut. As the
community grieves for the loss, many victims who survived Friday`s carnage
now have to learn to live with what they`ve been through and what they`ve
seen.

Stephen Barton is a survivor of another mass shooting and an advocate
for ending gun violence. Stephen lives just a few miles away from Newtown,
Connecticut. Stephen was one of the survivors of the movie theater
shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in July, when 12 people were killed.

Colin Goddard is another mass shooting survivor. Colin survived the
2007 shooting rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech that left 32 people
dead.

Joining me now, these two survivors, Stephen Barton and Colin Goddard.
Stephen, I`m struck by this amazing dimension of your story that there you
were in that movie theater in Colorado, a victim of that shooting, and then
very close to where you live here in Connecticut this happens.

What were you feeling Friday when you discovered where this shooting
occurred?

STEPHEN BARTON, SURVIVOR OF AURORA, COLORADO SHOOTING: I -- frankly,
I couldn`t believe that gun violence had struck so close to home again. I
went from having zero experience with this sort of tragedy to, in the span
of five months, two different events that were some of the worst mass
shootings our country has ever seen.

O`DONNELL: Colin, what are the things that you know that this
community is going to experience over the next weeks, months, and years in
the aftermath of this?

COLIN GODDARD, SURVIVOR OF VIRGINIA TECH SHOOTING: I mean, there will
be a day when the media trucks leave, you know, and things will become
quiet again in Newtown. You know, people will be there, but not everybody.
And it`s going to be weird. It`s not going to feel right with having so
many of your community members missing now, gone forever.

So, you know, it`s going to be really tough to find this kind of new
normal in their lives, to find a way to move forward. But I`ve already
seen, from what I can see on television and what I have read about, that
the amount of support is similar to what we got, you know, in Virginia
Tech. I`m sure it`s what Stephen got in Colorado, . From people from
across the world, frankly, reaching out and saying, you know, I`m feeling
for you. You know, I have a family too.

So, you know, I just hope and pray that at some point each one of
these families will find something positive, you know, to put their efforts
towards and remember their loved one and make sure that what happens to
them doesn`t happen to another American family.

O`DONNELL: And Stephen, what was your choice in moving forward from
your experience of being a victim of one of these shootings?

BARTON: Well, you know, I just wanted to turn what had been
essentially a senseless act of violence into something that had meaning for
me. So I decided I really wanted to get involved with gun violence
prevention. And so I joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is a
bipartisan coalition of 750 mayors from across the country, co-founded by
Mayor Bloomberg of New York City and Mayor Menino of Boston.

And it`s been an incredible experience so far, to see how far in the
past year we`ve come on this issue. And in my mind the momentum has really
changed and the conversation is changing, not just in the halls of
Congress, but, you know, over dinner tables across the country. And I
really think the American public is ready for this conversation, ready for
change. And you know, they`re ready to finally say enough is enough.

O`DONNELL: Colin, do you agree that this time it`s different?

GODDARD: I mean, I -- unfortunately, have witnessed a few of these
mass shootings. It was continuing to see this thing happen to other
people, something similar to what I experienced, is what compelled me to
get involved in this work, you know. And I have seen a lot of these mass
shootings since 2007. And, yeah, it`s never quite been as outrageous as
this. It`s never quite been as overwhelming as this.

We`ve never had our website crash so many times, new calls from new
supporters, new donors, new people on the Hill we`ve never heard from, new
politicians. I mean, it`s -- I think the White House just got the largest
petition they`ve ever gotten on any sort of social issue, you know.

So I do think it is different. I think when you see little kids like
that, I mean, that strikes a cord in your human -- in humanity that
everyone, no matter if you are from a red state or blue state, understands.
No matter if you are a gun owner or not, you don`t want to see that happen
to your family or your kids. So I think this absolutely is different. And
I think we will see some change.

O`DONNELL: Yes, Stephen, I have been trying to isolate what made this
different. And I guess it is the children because body counts don`t seem
to matter. It was higher at Virginia Tech. When Gabby Giffords was shot,
there was only one child killed -- I say only. That seemed like a
grotesque enough tragedy at the time, one child killed.

But it seems that the killing of 20, the killing of 20 six-year-olds,
seven-year-olds is somehow -- is somehow the key that unlocked what may be
the right amount of political will to do something about this.

BARTON: Yeah. And frankly, it`s disgusting that it takes something
like this for our elected leaders to actually start paying attention to
this issue. But, I mean, the fact remains that they are paying attention.
As Colin said, Congress people that have never really stood up on this
issue are now standing forward and making their voice heard.

And that`s exactly what their constituents want right now. People are
just fed up. The fact that 20 children, their blood has been spilled, and
-- you know, I hope that it won`t have been in vein.

O`DONNELL: Stephen Barton and Colin Goddard, thank you both for
joining me tonight. And thank you for your work on this issue.

GODDARD: Thank you, Lawrence.

BARTON: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Dawn Hockhprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicky Soto, Lauren Russeau,
Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy, they responded as we all hope we might
respond in such terrifying circumstances, with courage and with love,
giving their lives to protect the children in their care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Chris Jansing, this is a story of tragedy, but it is also
a story of those heroic women, an extraordinary thing that they did do and
tried to do in that school.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: There are so many extraordinary things
about that. You know, you have a principal and a psychologist who
literally put themselves in the way of a gunman, teachers who did the same
thing. The observations that I have had over the last few days, Lawrence,
the clergy members who were in that room and had to be there to help tell
the parents that they had lost a six-year-old or a seven-year-old, and now
a community that this week has already scheduled 14 funerals.

But the support system has risen up in a way that every person I`ve
talked to has said has helped, has made a difference in a situation that is
so heartbreaking, you think nothing could possibly help.

O`DONNELL: You know, the way I have been feeling about this since
Friday was I -- and for tonight for this program, I didn`t want to talk
about it, but I didn`t want to talk about anything else. And I don`t
really know how to -- I didn`t come here with something to say. I`ve said
everything that I think about gun control and ammunition control on this
program for the last couple of years. I didn`t have anything to add.

But it`s watching you here and watching others here. It simply felt
like it was time to come here and listen to what`s happening here. I`m
glad we`re able to do that tonight. But you`ve been doing it right through
the weekend. What has that been like for you? What has it been like to be
-- living through this with this community here?

JANSING: I think it`s an honor. I think it`s an honor to tell their
stories. And what I`ve said all along is I think what`s important is, yes,
we need to know what happened. We need to know why it happened. I know
that once they get past the initial depths of their grief, the families,
many of them, will feel that they need to figure out a way for these
children, for these teachers not to have died in vain.

But I think it is important this week to also talk about what was
lost. It`s not just a number. As horrible as it is, 20 six and seven
year-olds, you need to talk to James Mattioli, who will be buried tomorrow,
who loved recess. That`s what his parents said about him loved recess and
math.

O`DONNELL: I did, too. Loved recess, yes.

JANSING: Right? I mean, three six-year-olds, Lawrence, will be
buried tomorrow. And we don`t want to just use that number. We want to
say Jessica Rekos was called the Little CEO because she ran the household.
Her parents admitted it.

Charlotte Bacon loved pink, and she never met an animal she didn`t
like.

I`ve covered far too many of these stories. And what you do find is
that the families want others to understand really what was lost.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. I mean, when one of the families issued a statement
today about their child. And I was given a little excerpt of it to read.
I said, no, give me the whole thing. If they issued a statement to us, to
the media about their child, I want to read that in its entirety. As much
as we can deliver of these real people is what I would love to be able to
achieve here.

JANSING: The other thing is the incredible generosity and
graciousness. The very first statement that came out from the family
member offered sympathy to the family of the shooter. How do you do that?
How do you do that? How do you find that in your heart?

I guess the question we`re left with, can we find in our hearts, as
Americans, to make these children not have died in vain?

O`DONNELL: Chris Jansing, thank you very much for joining me here
tonight. And I want to end tonight the way "Saturday Night Live" began
this weekend, with the New York City Children`s Chorus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

END

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