Charlotte Bacon, 6. Daniel Barden, 7. Olivia Engel, 6.
They went off to Sandy Hook Elementary School a year ago today, 20 six- and seven-year-olds looking forward to the holidays, an all too fleeting moment of joy and innocence in a child's life. They never came home, victims, along with six school employees, of an inexplicable gun rampage by a deeply troubled 20-year-old Adam Lanza. As the nation pauses today on the anniversary of one of its worst school shootings, we are still no closer to reaching consensus on reasonable gun control. New laws won't bring back the Sandy Hook victims. But their memories deserve better than members of Congress who are more beholden to a small but disproportionately influential gun lobby than to the people they were elected to serve — and protect.
Josephine Gay, 7. Dylan Hockley, 6. Madeleine Hsu, 6.
According to a tally compiled by Slate.com, there have been nearly 11,500 shooting deaths nationwide since Sandy Hook. A year ago, public opinion polling overwhelmingly supported sensible gun control measures such as beefed-up background checks, banning the sale of assault-style weapons and limiting the capacity of magazines. But the awful loss of life at Sandy Hook failed to inspire the Senate to overcome gun lobby pressure to pass even enhanced background checks for gun buyers at gun shows and through Internet sales. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voted for the measure and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio voted against it.
Catherine Hubbard, 6. Chase Kowalksi, 7. Jesse Lewis, 6.
If the loss of 20 children and six school employees who died trying to protect them wasn't enough to persuade the Senate to act, it is probably a fool's errand to expect the same shameless Congress to find the political courage to stand up today to the checkbooks of the National Rifle Association and the rest of the intractable gun lobby to act on reasonable gun control measures.
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6. James Mattioli, 6. Grace McDonnell, 7.
While Washington stalls, several states, most notably Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Delaware, California and Colorado, have moved to pass various pieces of legislation expanding and improving background checks, limiting the sale and transfer of assault weapons, limiting high-capacity magazines and keeping guns away from domestic violence abusers and the mentally ill. Florida could follow the enlightened lead of those states if the gun-happy Legislature wasn't already firmly in the grasp of the NRA's influence.
Emilie Parker, 6. Jack Pinto 6. Noah Pozner, 6.
A year later, it is still impossible to understand what moved Lanza to arm himself and storm the doors of an elementary school. What is clear is that a very troubled young man with a history of profound mental issues lived in a home filled with unsecured but legally purchased weapons collected by his mother.
Caroline Previdi, 6, Jessica Rekos, 6. Avielle Richman, 6.
Sandy Hook was a tragic reminder of the cruel price American society continues to pay for an unrestrained gun culture that labors under the NRA delusion that the best response to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The need for reasoned and balanced gun control measures, as well as a greater focus on mental health treatment, is as clear today as it was 365 days and almost 11,500 lives ago.
Benjamin Wheeler, 6. Allison Wyatt, 6.
Today, the nation mourns the innocents and their protectors who were killed a year ago this morning. Sandy Hook Elementary has been torn down, and Newtown residents have asked for privacy and quiet today. But they are not alone in spirit, and their personal loss has not been forgotten. Supporters of sensible gun control should continue to make their voices heard.
Rachel D'Avino, 29. Dawn Hochsprung, 47. Anne Marie Murphy, 52. Lauren Rousseau 30, Mary Sherlach, 56. Victoria Soto, 27.