Members of the Newtown, Conn., community, including the parent of a teacher killed in a school massacre a year ago, gathered at the National Cathedral Thursday for a vigil to remember those who lost their lives because of gun violence.
Gilles Rousseau of Southbury, Conn., was among those who spoke. His daughter, Lauren Rousseau, had just become a full-time teacher last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She read to her students as a gunman invaded the school, trying to calm them, before she was killed.
“We are here today with the common goal of remembering our loved ones and seeking to make the world a safer place,” Rousseau said.
Rousseau joined family members who lost loved ones to gun violence in the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting, in Chicago street violence and in a San Diego restaurant shooting.
In the months after the Newtown shootings, a divided Congress rejected President Barack Obama’s calls for stricter gun control laws. Opponents say such laws would violate Second Amendment rights and do little to curb gun violence.
Surveys suggest support for new gun laws is slipping a year after the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings.
The cathedral’s dean, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, laid out a moral case for tougher laws and said that he and other religious leaders would reaffirm their commitment to help prevent gun violence.
“One year after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we Americans still live with the epidemic scourge of gun violence,” Hall said. “A year ago next Sunday, I said from this pulpit that the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby. I said that then, and I say it again now because I believe that the forces of love are finally greater and stronger than the forces of hatred.”
Hall said 32,000 more people have been killed by gun violence since the Newtown shooting.
The Rev. Mel Kawakami of Newtown United Methodist Church noted that there have been other school shootings since Sandy Hook.
“We gather to say, ‘No more,’” he said.
Other gun control advocates spoke about their personal connections to gun violence and why they believe there should be more control over access to weapons.
Carole King sang a hymn entitled “In the Name of Love.” And 33 years and four days after he was shot and killed on a New York street, John Lennon’s “Imagine” was played on piano and violin.
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Credit: Channel 2 Action News