The mother of one of the children killed in the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is furious about President Trump’s decision to host National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre at a White House Christmas party on Dec. 14 — the fifth anniversary of the massacre.
“December 14th marked five years since my six-year-old son, Dylan, was murdered in his first grade classroom alongside 19 of his classmates and 6 educators,” Nicole Hockley wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Not only did [Trump] ignore the 5-year remembrance completely — not even a single tweet — he slapped us all in the face by having none other than NRA President Wayne LaPierre at his White House Christmas party that night. The appalling lack of humanity and decency has not gone unnoticed.”
“While they ignorantly partied and remained uninformed on an issue that kills thousands of Americans every year, I was crying myself to sleep,” Hockley continued. “While they got the chance to kiss their children goodnight, I kissed the urn holding my beautiful boy’s ashes.”
She added: “I would request an apology. But I’m not sure there are any hearts in the White House that would understand why an apology is the least they could do.”
"For the five-year remembrance, and indeed for every year and every day, most people show compassion and humanity. This year, the White House did not – on two occasions." https://t.co/Do9cV1PG35
— Sandy Hook Promise (@sandyhook) December 17, 2017
A week after the shootings in Newtown, LaPierre dismissed renewed calls from President Barack Obama and some lawmakers for increased gun control. Instead, he called on schools to arm themselves.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said on Dec. 21, 2012.
“If it’s crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our school to protect our children, then call me crazy,” he said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” two days later.
At the White House party Thursday, LaPierre posed for a photo with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who posted it to Facebook. In a statement to the New York Daily News, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that Trump attended the soiree, but said she was not aware whether the two spoke. LaPierre and the NRA endorsed Trump in 2016, and Trump spoke at the gun lobby’s annual meeting earlier this year.
At a press briefing Thursday, Sanders was asked how the Trump administration is trying to prevent massacres like the ones in Sandy Hook and Las Vegas, where 58 people were killed in a mass shooting in October.
“I don’t think there’s any one thing that you could do that could have prevented either one of those,” Sanders said. “If you could name a single thing that would have prevented both of these, I’d love to hear it, because I don’t know what that would look like.”
Hockley, the co-founder of the gun violence prevention group Sandy Hook Promise, said Sanders’s response showed “a remarkable amount of ignorance.”
“I will happily go the White House and train the administration on regulations like Extreme Risk Protections Orders (ERPOs) and Threat Assessement, both of which could have prevented the Sandy Hook tragedy,” Hockley wrote. “I’d also love to train the White House on recognizing the signs of someone who is at risk of hurting themselves or others, or even about how to store a gun safely and responsibly. Both of these contributed to the Sandy Hook tragedy.”
In an interview with Yahoo News this month, Hockley expressed similar frustration with those who refuse to consider any sort of gun safety legislation.
“It is frustrating that it constantly becomes a fight, with people retreating to their corners and not willing to listen to each other,” Hockley said. “I think we can all agree we just want to be safe, and we want to keep our kids safe, and be able to have them go to school during the day and then come home at night. Isn’t that something that every parent wants? That’s not about politics. That’s about protection. That’s about prevention. That’s where we need to be having this conversation.”
She added: “Whenever anyone says it’s too soon to talk about gun violence, they’re wrong. It’s too late. It’s too late for us.”
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